Scammers on FaceBook

I  just read two articles

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/20/latest-facebook-scam-phishers-hit-up-friends-for-cash/

and

http://redtape.msnbc.com/2009/01/post-1.html#posts

that are talking about how scammers are hacking into people’s Facebook accounts, changing their passwords to lock them out, and then sending messages to all of their friends saything that they are overseas and their credit cards will not work and asking friends to wire them money so that they can get home. Now, remember, all of these messages would show up in your inbox on Facebook with your friend’s profile picture right next to the message, making it LOOK like it is really them.

My suggestion . . . if someone asks you to wire them money, even if it appears to be someone that you know, verify that it is them first! If you have their phone number, call them! If you only have Facebook contact info on them, then force them to give you some sort of information that only they would know (remember, the scammer can see their profile so their spouse’s name, kid’s name, where they went to school and things like that are not safe questions)

Best option . . . call them to verify that it is really them. Or tell them to call you collect to verify that it is really them and that you will not send money until you speak with them. If it is a scammer, they may remove you from the friends list so that you cannot post on the person’s wall that this is a scam.

Here is the link that you will need to go to and report this scam if it should happen to you. Save this to your bookmarks because you will be locked out of Facebook and will not be able to get to it when and if you need it.

 http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=account_compromised

Shawn
ScamVictimsUnited.com

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Ponzi Scheme – in the news

There has been a lot of talk about Ponzi Schemes in the news this week, like in this article about Nicholas Cosmo and Agape World

http://www.usatoday.com/money/markets/2009-01-27-ny-ponzi-arrest_N.htm

A lot of the victims of this event are sharing information at our message board http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=39

Would warning signs help?

I have been wondering for a while if warning signs would help to stop people from becoming victims of these scams.  Or would a warning sign be too little too late?

I know that back when we fell victim to the counterfeit cashier’s check scam, if I would have seen a sign at the bank that said “Money from cashier’s checks are made available for use in 24 hours, but the customer is still liable for the money until the time that the check is honored from the issuing bank.  This process could take 10 business days or more.”  I would have stopped right there and we would have NOT taken any money out of our account for well over 10 days.  My husband and I actually agreed that what ever time period the bank told us to wait, we would double it. 

Or at the store where we wired the money . . . if there was a sign that said “Be aware of scams involving counterfeit cashier’s checks being sent for payment on items bought online.  The checks will be for more than the selling amount and you will be asked to wire the difference to someone.”  We would have never wired the money.

Now, some say that by the time a person gets a check in their hands or is at the money wiring store it is too late . . . they already think this is for real and there is nothing that will change their mind.  I would say that this might be true for some people.  I have talked to some of these types of people.  They are holding on to the hope that no matter how crazy this all sounds that it is true.  I compare them to the gambler who is down to his last dollar, but will sit there and continue to play because they are sure that there is a chance they could win.  For these people, yes, nothing will change their minds. 

But I think that there are a LOT more people who would think twice if they saw such a warning.  This information might be out there right now, but most of it is on the internet and the company websites, but the problem with that is that the average person is not going to go to the bank website and read their fraud and scam warnings if they do not think they are getting sucked into a scam.  Once they know it is a scam, that is when the go to the website and they see the warnings . . . but this is too late.  These warnings need to be where they will do the most good . . . at the point of sale/point of transaction at the banks and money wiring locations.  For a few dollars, the cost to print up a post these signs, MILLIONS of dollars could be saved every year.

And, instead of these millions going into the hands of scammers overseas, this money would stay here in the USA . . . wouldn’t THAT help our economy?

Ask for change

I found out today that there is a site where you can submit questions asking our new President Elect what he is going to do about issues, and if someone else has entered an issue, you can add your vote that you agree that this is an important issue.

Go to

http://change.gov/page/content/openforquestions20081229/

On the far right there is are blue letters that say Sign In . . . fill out the info there, and then go back to the questions page and there is a search box.
If you type ‘check clearance’ into the seach box, you will find the question I posted, which is

How can we reduce the amount of money being lost to overseas scams? Full disclosure of the true time period fpr check clearance to banking customers would help. Currently customers are told that checks are “clear” in 24 hours, but this is not true.
ScamVictimsUnited, Bloomington, MN

You can also seach the term scammers, and you will find some other people have entered similar questions and vote on those too.

Let’s see if we can get a lot of votes for this cause!

Recent article on scams

I recently read an article on scams . . . It’s a new year, but the same old scams . . . which can be found here, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28435684/

I totally agree with the author, Herb Weisbaum, that scams will continue to hurt the American financial situation in 2009.  With so many people being laid-off or working harder to just get by, when the check comes in the mail and you are told you have won the lottery, or have been accepted for a new position with an overseas company, sometimes the red flags don’t go up quite as fast as they should.

The work-at-home and secret shopper scams are the ones that I believe will have the largest increase in them.  So many people are out there now a days looking for some way to make some extra money.  If there are no companies that are hiring in your area, the next best thing sounds like a work-at-home job where you can sit in pj’s and work on your own time from your computer and make money.  If only it were that easy.

And the secret shopper scams are growing too.  The one I see the most is the one that says you are being hired to evaluate a money wiring service, such as Western Union or Money Gram.  The company that you are working for will send you a check for you to cash . . . you will need to have cash to wire if you are going to evaluate their customer service skills, right . . . so it makes sense in that respect.  People have said that they are given forms that look legitimate to fill out and review the services.  It is not until you have wired the money and are waiting for your next assignment that you will find out that the check that you cashed to get the money to wire is counterfeit, and then the bank will hold you liable for the entire amount.  Now, a person who was already tight on money and looking for extra work to try and make ends meet is really in trouble because they could be out thousands of dollars.

There needs to be a raised awareness about these scams, or 2009 will be an even harder year for the people who fall victim to the scammers trap.