Halloween addition of Scam Victims United

Here are some scary facts about fraud and scams . . .

From the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s annual report


The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $264.6 million with a median dollar loss of $931.00 per complaint. This is up from $239.1 million in total reported losses in 2007.

Of those complaints reporting a dollar loss, the highest median losses were found among check fraud ($3,000), confidence fraud ($2,000), Nigerian (west African, 419, Advance Fee) letter fraud ($1,650).

The Consumer Federation of America released the results of a survey in May 2009 which relates directly to information we at Scam Victims United work to educate people about. They found that fifty-nine percent of the respondents incorrectly believe that when you deposit a check or money order, your bank confirms that it is good before allowing you to withdraw the money. The number goes up to 70 percent among young adults age 18-24, and 71 percent of people with incomes under $25,000 and who did not complete high school. More than 40 percent of those surveyed do not know that they are liable if the checks or money orders they deposit or cash are counterfeit. Fifty-two percent age 18-24 and half of Hispanics incorrectly said the person who gave you the check must pay the bank back. This is precisely the type of information that we at Scam Victims United work to educate people about.

Shawn Mosch

Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com

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Know your codes

Here is one way to know if a person is trying to pull a fast one on your . . . check and see if their area code matches up with where they say they live. If they are calling from a landline, and they tell you that they are in a certain state, just check here to see if their phone number matches up with where they say they are.

If you go to http://www.whitepages.com/area-codes they make it really easy for you. There is search box where you can enter an area code, and they will tell you what city and time zone that area code is connected to. That would be another good way to check on someone . . . if you have their phone number, ask them what time zone they are in, and then check their answer with that search.

You can also enter a city or a state, and it will search and tell you all of the area codes that would be found in that area.

For international calls, you can go to http://www.countrycallingcodes.com/ and enter the country that you want to call and it will tell you the numbers you would need to dial.

Since many of the internet scams today come out of Nigeria, look for a phone number with a Country Code of +234 http://www.countrycallingcodes.com/country.php?country=Nigeria

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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Facebook Login Scam

I was checking my spam folder for scam emails, like I always do, and I found TWO from different email accounts with the same Facebook Login Scam. Below is a copy of the text along with the email addresses that they were sent from.

Subject: new login system

From: update+fronaltlwvdsv@facebookmail.com

From: update+gbidzxt@facebookmail.com

Dear Facebook user, In an effort to make your online experience safer and more enjoyable, Facebook will be implementing a new login system that will affect all Facebook users. These changes will offer new features and increased account security.

Before you are able to use the new login system, you will be required to update your account. Click here to update your account online now. If you have any questions, reference our New User Guide.

Thanks, The Facebook Team


If you recieve a similar email, do not click on the links in it. This is how the scammer gets your Facebook account, and maybe other iformation about you.

Be safe!

Spammers Misusing Name of U.S. Attorney General Holder

This press release can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm


10/27/09—As with previous spam attacks, which have included the names of high-ranking FBI executives and names of various government agencies, a new version misuses the name of the United States Attorney General, Eric Holder.

The current spam alleges that the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were informed the e-mail recipient is allegedly involved in money laundering and terrorist-related activities. To avoid legal prosecution, the recipient must obtain a certificate from the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman at a cost of $370. The spam provides the name of the EFCC Chairman and an e-mail address from which the recipient can obtain the required certificate.


Government agencies do not send unsolicited e-mails of this nature. The FBI, Department of Justice, and other United States government executives are briefed on numerous investigations, but do not personally contact consumers regarding such matters. In addition, United States government agencies use the legal process to contact individuals. These agencies do not send threatening letters/e-mails to consumers demanding payments for Internet crimes.

Consumers should not respond to any unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links associated with such e-mails, as they may contain viruses or malware.

It is imperative consumers guard their Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Providing your PII will compromise your identity!

If you have been a victim of Internet crime, please file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.

Vocabulary Lesson – Clear

Quite a while back, I wrote a “vocabulary lesson” about cashier’s checks.

I wanted to continue on this to show why I believe the wording used by the banking industry is so misleading and why it is so easy for so many people to become victims of counterfeit cashier’s check scams.

So let’s say you receive a cashier’s check from someone and you are concerned if it is a valid check or not. You want to receive the payment you are entitled to, and you do not want to end up liable for money from a bad check. This is the case with many people who become victims of counterfeit cashier’s check scams. Many of them do not know how to make sure that a check is legitimate, so they bring it to their bank. They trust that the people who work with forms of currency every day will know how to make sure that this check is legitimate.

If the bank teller tells you that “the check will be clear in 24 hours” what does that really mean, and why is that confusing to the banking customer? Let’s take a look at the definition of the word clear.

free from blemishes; unhampered by restriction or limitation; unencumbered by debts or charges; free from obstruction

“clear.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009.
Merriam-Webster Online. 25 October 2009

Banking: collection of funds on which a check is drawn, and payment of those funds to the holder of the check

“clear” Business Dictionaries from AllBusiness.com. 2009.

From reading these definitions one would think that when the bank tells you that an item, such as a cashier’s check, is “clear” that would mean that you are free to use that money with no worry . . . it should be unhampered by restrictions and funds should have been collected from the bank on which the check was drawn according to the definitions I found online from reliable sources. So then why is it that banking employees will tell their customers that the check is “clear” in 24 hours, but then contact them a week later to say that the check was found to be counterfeit? You cannot un-ring a bell. If it is clear one day, it should still be clear a week later.

Maybe the real problem is not the word “clear” but the fact that it takes on average 7 – 10 business days for a check to go through the entire clearing process, but many bank’s train their employees to tell people that cashier’s checks are “clear” in 24 hours. If it is a legitimate cashier’s check, then there would be no problems since it would be drawn against funds of the bank itself, but these checks are counterfeit and they are very good counterfeits, so good that they fool bank employees and bank managers on a daily basis.

So to make the vocabulary fit the situation, wouldn’t it be better for bank employees to inform their customers that “it could take over 10 days for the check to clear”. I know that the bank that we are currently with does this because I asked them before I opened an account with them. Test your bank out. Go in and ask them if you brought in a cashier’s check how long would it take for it to clear. If they tell you 24 hours, you might want to rethink who you are trusting with your money.

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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Medicare Fraud on 60 Minutes

Make sure you watch 60 minutes tomorrow night!

They will be talking about Medicare Fraud. Here is a link to the preview


Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a growing problem in the world today. It seems like there is a new story in the media every day about some becoming a victim. The site http://www.identitytheft.org/protect.htm has a lot of great information on things that you can do to protect yourself, like using secure passwords and not things like your mother’s maiden name, where you went to high school or where you were born as your password or security question.

Every home should own a shredder. If you do not need a document any more and it has information about you on it . . . name, address, email, date of birth, social security number, bank account or credit card account information . . . then it should go in the shredder NOT the garbage.

One program that we would recommend would be The Personal Records Vault.

If you go to http://www.securisphere.us/ and click on the lock you can then view all of the different features of the different levels this program has to offer. Once you decide if you want to go with Bronze, Gold or Platinum level, click on the word Purchase for that level.

You will then be redirected to this site, https://www.thepersonalrecordsvault.com/default.aspx and you will need to click on the ENROLL button on the far right of the screen (under the picture of the key)

It will then ask you if you have an Access Code . . . click on yes.
Once you get to the Enrollment form the first thing you need to enter is the Access Code.
Enter SVU as your access code (this will let them know that we referred you)

Here are some other great place to check out for Identity Theft protection.

ID Watchdog Identity Theft Resolution

Instant Free SMART Credit Report
Check your SMART Credit Report Now and
Fix Your Problems Online for Free Today

Trusted ID- The Top Name in Identity Theft Protection. Click here for more information & 30 Day Risk Free Trial!

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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Is this a scam

If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then the situation that you are involved in is a scam!

Did you receive the check from selling an item online, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc.?

Is the amount of the check more that the item’s selling price?

Did you receive the check via an overnight delivery service (not the US postal system)?

Is the check drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?

Have you been informed that you have won a lottery in another country?

Have you been instructed to wire, send or ship money as soon as possible?

Have you been asked to pay money to receive a deposit from another country?

Are you receiving pay or commission for facititating money transfers through your account?

Did you respond to an email requesting you to confirm, update or provide bank or credit card account information?

Are you sending/wiring money to someone that you met on the internet, never in person, who needs your help to get through hard times (relative died, someone is in the hospital, etc.) and they promise to pay you back as soon as they can?

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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Do you know what you are sleeping on?

While I was at Scam Jam in Portland Oregon, I was in a presentation by Chuck Whitlock. He has done a lot of investigative reporting over the years, and one of the stories that he shared with us was about a mattress scam.

Stores were purchasing old mattresses that people collected out of dumpsters and paying them cash for them. Then they would take the mattress inside their building and cover it with new foam and new fabric . . . right over the old, dirty mattress! These mattresses were then being sold as new to unknowing customers. I believe that the investigators purchased 7 different mattresses at 7 different locations and when they cut them open to look inside of them they found old, dirty mattresses inside 4 of them!

Kind of makes you want to go and check your own mattress out.

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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MoneyGram International Reaches Agreement with FTC

This press release can be found at http://www.moneygram.com/MGICorp/InvestorRelations/News/index.htm

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 20, 2009– MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI), a global leader in the payment services industry, today entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to make certain enhancements to its consumer anti-fraud program to further combat consumer fraud perpetrated by criminals who use MoneyGram’s services illegally.

“At MoneyGram, we take the issue of consumer fraud very seriously. Our ability to provide safe and reliable money transfer services for our consumers is critically important,” said Pamela H. Patsley, MoneyGram chairman and CEO. “MoneyGram has committed extraordinary resources to building a state-of-the-art consumer anti-fraud program.”

The company has begun implementing new systems and processes to further bolster consumer protection, which have been effective at stopping millions of dollars in fraudulent transactions every year.

“While we don’t agree with the FTC’s allegations regarding our fraud prevention in the past, we can agree on fraud prevention today and in the future,” said Patsley. “We don’t want our customers being victimized by third-party fraud. What we are announcing today with the FTC is our commitment to enhance our already comprehensive efforts to combat fraud and ensure our customers can continue to rely on MoneyGram for safe, reliable money transfer services.”

MoneyGram provides consumer warnings about the latest scams on its website and money transfer send-forms, and through its 24-hour customer service center. The company also works closely with local, state, federal and international law enforcement to combat this global criminal activity.

“We are committed to be vigilant in our efforts in protecting our customers from fraudulent activity,” said Patsley. “Ensuring safe and reliable money transfers for our customers all over the world is at the forefront of all we do.”

As part of its agreement with the FTC, the company has also agreed to pay $18 million into an FTC-administered fund to refund consumers who have been victimized through third-party fraud.

Brought to you by www.ScamVictimsUnited.com

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