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

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MyMoney.gov

MyMoney.gov is the Federal Government’s website dedicated to helping Americans understand more about their money – how to save it, invest it, and manage it to meet their personal goals. You can use the resources on this site to learn how to manage your money better – and we hope you’ll share what you learn with others.

There are sections of this website devoted to
Knowing your consumer rights
Scams and Fraud

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.

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

Education is the key

One of the common threads between many of the current scams, including Items for sale/ Internet Auction Fraud, Pet Scams/Puppy Scams, Secret Shopper Scams/Employment Scams, Romance Scams, Roommate/Rental Scams and even Lottery Scams, is that at some point the scammer will send the victim a cashier’s check, money order or traveler’s check. For some reason, the check will be for more than the agreed on amount, and the scammer will ask for the victim to wire that overage back to them. For many victims this will be a red flag, which it should be, so they take the next step and take the check to the bank . . . but this is where the confusion often comes into play.

To demonstrate my point, ask yourself this . . . if you deposited a cashier’s check into your bank account, at what point would you feel safe that the check is legitimate, and that you can use the funds from it with no financial risk?

A) After 24 hours

B) In 7 – 10 business days

C) When the check clears

D) When the funds are made available

E) A and C

F) C and D

G) None of the above

If you said A, you would have become a scam victim. Many banks will tell customers that a cashier’s check is verified in 24 hours. This is what our former bank told us when we deposited the check we received. Then, one week later, they called us and said that same check was now found to be counterfeit, and we owed them the money.

If you said B, you MIGHT NOT have become a scam victim, but it is still possible. As I just stated, our former bank found out that our check was counterfeit in one week, so we would have been saved, but there are some victims I have worked with that have seen there checks come back several weeks or months later. I was once told that a check could come back 6 months later, and the account holder would still be held liable.

If you said C, you would have become a scam victim. The term “cleared” only means that the clearing house has not sent the draft back for non-sufficient funds, closed account, or flag instructions on the account. It DOES NOT mean that the draft was written by the account holder, or that the money belongs to you.

If you said D, you would have become a scam victim. When you deposit a check into your account, your bank advances you the money for that check to keep the wheels of commerce moving . . . you cannot spend the money until you have it . . . so they credit your account with what is called a “provisional loan”, which is a no-signature loan from your bank to you. This DOES NOT mean that your bank has been credited by the issuing bank.

If you said E or F, I’m sorry, I only put those in there to try and throw a few people off. Since I have already shown you how A thru D are not correct, well, two wrongs don’t make a right.

The correct answer is G, none of the above. The sad part is, the scammers know this, and they use that to their advantage. This is why these scams work so well. The scammers are using counterfeit cashier’s checks, money orders or traveler’s checks, that are so good that many bank employees cannot tell the difference. They have watermarks on them and are made on the same quality of paper, so they get passed into the system just like a real cashier’s check would. It could take weeks before the item is detected as counterfeit, and by that time it is too late for the victim.

This is why education about scams, warning signs, red flags and banking procedure and terminology are so important in the fight against internet scams.

Vocabulary – Cashier’s Check

Are the terms and vocabulary used by the employees of the bank confusing to you? You are not the only one. The average American is not fully aware of what the words used in banking conversations really mean, and in the examples below I am going to show you how the definitions of these terms differ depending on the source . . . Webster’s Dictionary, Banking Glossaries and real world usage.

Let’s start with the definition of a cashier’s check.

: a check drawn by a bank on its own funds and signed by the cashier

“cashier’s check.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009.
Merriam-Webster Online. 2 September 2009<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cashier’s check>

A bank-issued check, also called official check or treasurer’s check, signed by
a bank officer and drawn against funds of the bank itself. A cashier’s check is
generally regarded as good as cash.

“cashier’s check.” Business Dictionaries from AllBusiness.com. 2009.
http://www.allbusiness.com/glossaries/cashiers-check/4948626-1.html

A check drawn on the funds of the bank, not against the funds in a depositor’s
account. However, the depositor paid for the cashier’s check with funds from
their account. The primary benefit of a cashier’s check is that the recipient of
the check is assured that the funds are available.

“cashier’s check.” Dictionary of Bank Terms and Phrases. 2009.
http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/dictionary/index.html#c

Knowing what we do about counterfeit cashier’s checks, the second two definitions are very misleading. One says that a cashier’s check is generally regarded as good as cash, and the other says that the recipient can be assured that the funds are available. Both of these statements would give people a false sense of security about the check, making them believe that they are valid checks. This is exactly why so many people become victims of Counterfeit Cashier’s Check Scams. In the minds of most Americans, a cashier’s check represents a valid and secure document to use, and they put their trust in that image of security.

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com

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

Sammy Rabbit

 

Yesterday I spoke on the phone with a wonderful man by the name of Sam Renick.  His site, www.itsahabit.com helps to teach children about good habits when it comes to money and saving.  I spoke with him about a possible partnership where we could teach children about scams and fraud.  My thought is that you need to teach the next generation about these issues so that they can have the tools to better protect themselves when they are out on their own.  How does scam and fraud education tie into financial education?  Well, once you have your money in your wallet/pocket/bank account, you have to know about scams and fraud otherwise the scammers will try to take that money from you.  Now I just have to figure out how to take this idea down to a young child’s level.  I need a good saying, like the old fire safety “Stop, Drop and Roll” that kids can remember and relate to . . . and then Sammy Rabbit and Scam Victims United can bring this message to the kids.

 

Please check out Sam Renick’s site. 

Author, Founder, CEO, Social Entrepreneur
The It’s a Habit! Company, Inc.
Award Winning Financial Education Products & Programs Since 2001
www.itsahabit.com
www.sammyrabbitblog.com
http://twitter.com/sammysays