Scams and Trying to Educate People

I had a former co-worker email me the other day and she told me she was reading her Homemade Simple Magazine, and saw my name in it.
While I was VERY happy to see this article about scams, since this helps to educate people to what is going on, I was disappointed to see that some of the facts were not accurate.  Here is a portion of the article that is speaking about how to verify the status of a cashier’s check . . .
To find out a check’s status, call your bank twice (talk to two different workers in case one doesn’t understand the process) to verify that the check has been fully processed. Otherwise you lose the money if the check is a fake.
This would not be accurate.  In the case of our story, I spoke with two different bank employees BEFORE I withdrew the money from the account, and both of them told me that the check was “good”, “clear”, “verified”, “funds were available” and that I “had nothing to worry about”.  Once we found out the check was counterfeit and were dealing with the bank’s loss prevention department we asked them the same question, and we had two different people from THAT department tell us that “a cashier’s check is verified as good within 24 hours”.  These people in the loss prevention department knew what had happened to us, yet they were still giving us the same inaccurate information.
The ONLY real way to find out if the check is counterfeit or not is to call the bank that is listed on the check as the issuing bank.  Also, you cannot trust the phone number listed on the check.  The scammers have gotten smart and have started altering those also so that they go to one of the people within their group who will tell you that the check is good.  You need to do a Google search to find the official website of the issuing bank, or the Yellow Pages listing for that bank, and then call that phone number.
The advice from this article in regards to counterfeit cashier’s checks would not save anyone from becoming a victim of these types of scams.  It is sad, because the point of the article was to show real world situations that the everyday person could become involved in, and how they can be aware and protect themselves from these scams.
It looks like we still have a LOT of education to do, especially to the people that are trying to help educate the average American.
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Teaching cyber safety in our schools

A recent survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance interviewed school staff members about the cyber safety information being taught to students today. Below are some of the results that relate to the information we educate people on at Scam Victims United

What Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and Cybersecurity issues have come up within classroom discussions with your students?

Scams, fraud, social engineering, and phishing 1%
Identity theft 1%

Who is primarily responsible for teaching children to use computers safely and securely?
72% of Teachers answered Parents
46% of School Administrators answered Parents
58% of Technology Coordinators answered Parents

This part scares me since many parents do not know the correct information, so how are they supposed to teach their children? We need to get more information on scams and fraud into the schools. This is why I go to local high schools to give presentations.

If you would like to see scam education in your school system there are several things you can do.

1)  Contact me and I can assist you with finding an expert in your area to speak at your school
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

2)  Sign our petition asking for scam education and awareness programs http://www.change.org/petitions/view/create_scam_education_and_awareness_programs

3)  Contact your school and have them contact us for more information.  If they have a Personal Finance teacher they are usually open to these presentations.  http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

No, you didn’t win the Pepsi Lottery

Here is an email that got past my Spam filter.

This is to inform you that your e-mail has won you a total sum of £950,000.00 GBP (NINE HUNDRED & FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS) in the Pepsi lottery of 2010. To claim your prize Contact Shaw Hendrick at: shawhendrick-pepsi@admin.in.th

Name:
Address:
Mobile No:
Age:
Sex:
Occupation:
Country:

NOTE: ALL REPLIES MUST BE ADDRESSED TO Shaw Hendrick: shawhendrick-pepsi@admin.in.th
Judith Hodge
Public Announcer

First, you have to enter a contest/lottery/sweepstakes in order to win.  Second, I am going to guess if there was a Pepsi Lottery going on, they would have ads EVERWHERE telling people about it.  Third, if this person really worked for Pepsi, they would have an official Pepsi Company email address.

So how does this scam play out?  I am going to guess that you will either be asked for your bank account information so that they can directly deposit your winnings, but instead will take everything from your account.  The other option is that they will send you a cashier’s check for your winnings, and you will have to send a portion of that check back to them (maybe to cover legal fees for your winnings) but the problem will come AFTER you wire them the money and the bank calls you to tell you that the check is counterfeit and they now want you to pay them back.  You cannot just wait for the check to “clear” or be “verified” because even if the bank told you it was “clear” it can come back as counterfeit a week later . . . I know . . . that is what our former back told us!

For more information on Lottery Scams check out our website or talk with others on our message board.

Financial Reform 101 with Prof. Elizabeth Warren

I was asked by my friends at AFFIL to share this information with you.

Americans for Financial Reform invites you to a special online event!

Financial Reform 101 with Prof. Elizabeth Warren

Tuesday, April 6
4:00 – 4:45 pm Eastern time

AFR is hosting this special discussion with Professor Elizabeth Warren and AFR Director Heather Booth for the general public. It will focus on where we stand in the movement for financial reform, and how everyday citizens can get involved in the fight to rein in the big banks and get the economy back on track. We hope you can join us and promote the webinar far and wide!

You and your members can sign up here:

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/482147880

* Find out about reform efforts in Congress—including the Senate bill currently being debated, and the House bill which passed in December
* Learn why we need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to protect us from abusive financial products
* Ask Professor Warren and Heather Booth your question about financial reform
* Hear about ways to join the fight around the country and online

Space is limited so sign up now!

Special thanks to the National Consumer Law Center for providing the webinar software. Please contact Sarah Byrnes, Sally Brzozowski or Chris Bowers with questions.

What are they thinking!?!?!

A fellow scam fighter alerted me to an article this past week about a new feature in mobile banking.  Soon you will be able to take a photo of a check with your phone and then get that check deposited into your banking account.  My first thought was that the banks need to fix the problems and issues that they already have with check deposits before they create a whole new way for people to deposit their checks.

The article says

Banks have already offered smartphone applications that let customers check balances, transfer funds and make payments.

Yes, they do.  I have even heard some banks say that they can send you an email to alert you when a check has cleared.  If you read this blog on a regular basis, you will know that I have a big problem with the banks using the term “cleared” to customers.  Our bank told us that our cashier’s check was “cleared” and then one week later they called us to tell us that it was counterfeit.

Back to the article that I was talking about.  It goes on to explain how this new technology would work.

A bank customer takes a photo of the front of the check and the back of the check that has been signed by the customer. The photo gets sent to the bank through its mobile application. In most cases, funds are in the customers account immediately.

Wait a minute . . . immediately!?!?!  So now if someone were to take a picture of a cashier’s check, they could start using that money right away?  What about waiting for the check to be verified at a legitimate check?  What about protecting the banking customer’s funds by holding the check until it has passed through the system?  Oh wait, they don’t do that now with paper checks so why would they do it with electronic image checks.

Here is the ONLY positive side I could see about this.  There are some people that have taken a cashier’s check that they wanted verified into the bank and have been arrested for presenting a counterfeit check.  With this technology they could send a picture of the check into the bank instead of actually going into a branch location.  Of course, if the check is found to be counterfeit the bank could probably send the police to the person’s house to arrest them for trying to pass a counterfeit check.

More banks are expected to add the feature, especially as consumers demand 24 hour banking.

I would think that those same customers who are demanding 24 hour banking would also demand that the bank is looking out for their best interest.  How about giving us accurate information on when the money from a check is truly ours to use and spend without any worries?  How about telling the customer that the funds are available, but it could take 10 business days or more for the check to be verified as legitimate.  That is what this bank customer demands.

Have Banks No Shame?

I saw this article by Joe Nocera of The New York Times and I had to share it with you.

Lobbies representing the banking industry are opposing the creation of a consumer financial protection agency.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/business/10nocera.html

Brought to you by
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Scam Jam 2009

Please join us in Portland, Oregon for Scam Jam 2009!

Learn how to protect yourself from ID theft, investment fraud, repair scams, financial exploitation . . . plus speak with Shawn Mosch of Scam Victims United!

 http://portlandscamjam.com/

You can also go to http://www.chuckwhitlock.com/scamjam.html to see footage from past events.

 Shawn Mosch

Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through

http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch