Internet Scam Victims – Real Stories

When I first became a scam victim I was embarrassed and did not want anyone to know . . . that lasted all of 5 minutes and then I was angry at so many things . . . the scammers for their greed, the banking system for not giving me accurate information about how long it takes for a cashier’s check to clear, the wire transfer company for not having more warnings about these scams in their businesses and for turning a blind eye to the problem.

That is when I KNEW I had to do something.  I started to contact the media in order to get our story out there, and you know what . . . it HELPED!  It helped me to talk about it and get it out there, but it also helped so many other people.  My phone was ringing off the hook from people saying “The same thing happened to me” or from people who heard our story in the media in time for them to know the situation they were about to enter into was a scam and it saved them thousands of dollars.

If you are a scam victim, you could do the same thing for someone else.  I am contacted by the media in a regular basis asking for help in locating recent scam victims who would be willing to share their story.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that you saved someone else from going through the living hell that becomes your life when you discover you are a victim of a scam.

If you would like to be able to help to educate people about scams and fraud, and possibly save someone from becoming a victim, please email me and I will work to connect you with a media person that will do your story justice and help us to take a step forward in educating people about these scams.

Also, you can connect with me and follow our updates from http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch/

Guest Blog and Scam Warning

Today I am sharing a blog post written by my good friend Denise Richardson

If you are looking for work-at-home opportunities –you may have already come across this deceptive marketing website dressed up as an investigative news site. A number of scam websites try to make themselves look legitimate through the use of bogus claims and website scripts that detect where visitors are browsing from and update portions of the site to mention their towns or cities.

Unfortunately, some websites try to take things one step further and attempt to pass themselves off as sources of legitimate news in hopes of tricking those who are looking for legitimate opportunities. It appears that The Consumer Warnings Weekly site at ConsumerWarningsReport.com does exactly this; it masquerades as a consumer website that purports to separate the scams from real opportunities, all the while being disguised as an investigative news organization.

The Consumer Warnings Weekly site features information about fake consumer investigations which claim to reveal a work-at-home program that isn’t a scam, and further claims that the one the site promotes has worked for people in the visitor’s hometown. Included are pictures of checks and a variety of comments which are most likely fake, along with “endorsements” from major news organizations such as CNN and MSNBC which are either taken out of context or are completely fake. Pictures on the site are stock photos, taken from free photo libraries and other websites to try and give the site the look of a more professional operation. Even the advertisements on the page are fake, directing users to other portions of the scam site when they think that they’re clicking on an ad to learn how to avoid online scams. To top it all off, the site even features a Facebook “Like” button so that unsuspecting visitors can share the scam with their friends and potentially draw in more victims.

Of course, if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website then all of this is revealed to you in fine print. An “Important Consumer Disclosure” is located at the bottom of the page where many websites print their copyright information, obviously with the hope that it will be ignored by a number of visitors who routinely ignore similar text on other sites. This disclosure reveals that the site is in no way affiliated with any news outlet and that the story presented is only loosely based on an actual story. It goes on to reveal that both the comments and pictures are bogus and that the page receives compensation for any ad clicks or purchases made while on the site. To quote the disclosure, “I understand this website is only illustrative of what might be achievable from using this/these products, and that the story depicted above is not to be taken literally.”

A number of websites and products use fictionalized accounts of what their product may be like to avoid having to pay endorsement fees, but few of them attempt to pass themselves off as consumer news reviews. The way that the site presents itself is intended to trick users into thinking that they’ve stumbled upon a legitimate opportunity when the disclosure itself states that results like those presented on the site may only occur with the top 1% of users of the program.

A number of savvy opportunity seekers will see through the site almost immediately because they’ve seen similar scams and know to avoid them. Unfortunately, not everyone who’s searching for a way to make money at home will be as experienced in avoiding work-at-home scams. These are the people that the Consumer Warnings Weekly website is aimed at, those who will see supposed endorsements from major news networks and assume that the site is a legitimate opportunity instead of being nothing more than a scam.

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Denise is the author of the book Give Me Back My Credit

 

The benefits of using Cross Cut Shredders

Today we have a guest blog post to share with you from Chris at http://www.shreddingmachines.co.uk/


The benefits of using Cross Cut Shredders 

Identity Theft is a buzz word in today’s World with endless mailings and adverts telling you to shred sensitive information that you don’t need (remembering to keep documents required by the tax man) and to take out an ID Theft insurance policy. Doing these, they lead you to believe, will protect you from ID Theft and let you lead a happy scam-free life.

However what they don’t tell you is that not all shredders will keep your information secure. When purchasing a shredder you need to choose between a “Strip” or “Cross” cut model. Strip Cut (or Ribbon Cut) models shred your documents into long strips of a certain width (depending on the model). If someone had the time and patience they could piece together your document and read the contents. Cross Cut (or Confetti/Particle/Crypto Cut) models shred your documents both length and widthways leaving you with small particles that look like confetti. Depending on the security level of the machine you could end up with between 300 and 1500 tiny pieces of confetti from each piece of paper that you shred. This makes the final information much harder to piece together for a potential criminal. Can you imagine trying to join together pieces of confetti only a few millimetres in width and length to recreate a document, particularly if that document has been shredded along with others?

Any shredder owners out there will tell you how annoying it is to constantly empty the bin of your shredder. Fortunately Cross Cut shredders will cause the shredded waste to compact into the waste bin more than Strip Cut models meaning that the bin has to be emptied less frequently. This all seems to mean that Cross Cut shredders are the best thing since sliced bread, however, as with everything; they do have some disadvantages as well.

The first of these (and probably the most important) is that due to higher manufacturing costs, these machines are usually more expensive than the equivalent strip cut models and in some cases can be over double the price. Another drawback is that the higher the security level of the machine (and therefore the more shredded pieces you get from each piece of paper), the fewer sheets can be shredded at one time. An office level Strip Cut machine may be able to handle 30 sheets at once, but an equivalent Cross Cut model may only be able to handle half as many, meaning more time spent standing at the shredder and less time doing something constructive!

Unfortunately the downsides don’t end there. Due to the special nature of their cutting blades, Cross Cut shredders need to be oiled with special lubrication oil on a regular basis to prevent the machine from jamming or shredding even fewer sheets per pass. A busy office would find it necessary to oil at the start of every day, although occasional home users can get away with only doing so once every month. The final downside can be found out by trying to empty a Cross Cut shredder into an outside bin whilst it’s windy outside. Having done this myself I can confirm that the result is a disaster! Waste sacks can also be purchased but this will further increase the cost.

Fortunately there is help with these costs as UK users can visit ShreddingMachines.co.uk where you will find various special offers that give you Free Shredder Oil and Free Waste Sacks (on certain models) so that the cost of switching to a Cross Cut shredder is reduced. They have some of the lowest prices in the UK around and a unique Shredder Wizard will help narrow down the machine that would meet your individual needs.

Non-uk users looking to buy a shredder could check out the wizard to choose your model (as most models are available across the world) then do some research in your home country to find the best price.

Better Business Bureau Tips for Consumers – June addition

The BBB sends out tips for consumers, and here is their June addition.

BBB Advice on Avoiding Wedding Scams
Love is in the air as many couples prepare for their long-awaited wedding day this summer. When preparing for the big day, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) advises people to proceed with caution when it comes to buying a wedding dress online, choosing a photographer and selecting a wedding planner. Doing so will help you ensure your wedding goes off without a hitch.
Asking for referrals and doing a little research can make a big difference in helping your special day go smoothly. Last year alone, the BBB received more than 970 complaints against wedding-related businesses. Services like wedding planners, bridal shops, car or limousine rentals, DJs, wedding photographers, florists, and jewelers all made the list. Many of the common complaints were centered on the company’s unwillingness to honor cancellation and refund policies after a deposit had been paid.
From choosing a florist to picking out the perfect wedding gown, more and more couples are opting for online retailers. While most venues have the brides’ best interest at heart, it’s important to recognize the danger signs before shelling out hard-earned cash to unreliable businesses.
“With the cost of today’s wedding averaging around $28,000, you want to make sure you get everything you pay for,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB. “It’s important to do your research before securing your wedding vendors and paying any upfront fees.”
The BBB recommends couples consider the following when planning for their special day:
Research all online vendors. When choosing to go with an online retailer for your wedding services or products, start with a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can often lead you to unscrupulous websites or phishing scams.  Also, look for the BBB seal and other widely-recognized “trustmarks” on retail websites. Click on the seals to confirm they’re valid. Confirm that your online purchase is secure by looking for the “s” after “http” in the URL or the lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Be sure to check the company out with the BBB at www.bbb.org before doing business with them.

Review all terms and conditions. Whether you’re dealing with an online firm or a brick and mortar store, review the terms and conditions of the contract carefully. What are the company’s refund and exchange policies? What is their cancellation policy?  What happens if the company can’t hold up their end of the bargain?  Who will perform the service on your special day? Be sure you understand your rights as a consumer before doing business with the company.

Keep documentation of your order. For online orders, save a copy of the confirmation page or e-mails confirming the order until you receive the item or service and are satisfied. If you’re dealing with a company representative in-person, be sure to get all details in writing, including specific dates, products, prices, cancellation and deposit policies and signatures from both parties.
Pay with a credit card.Credit cards offer consumers the added protection of disputing any charge over $50 within 60 days of the purchase. Most established businesses accept major credit cards, so use them whenever possible, including payment for deposits Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on the card, and many card issuers have “zero liability” policies if someone steals your card number and uses it. Never wire money.Consider purchasing wedding insurance. Wedding insurance can cover a range of prospective problems including vendor no-shows, cancellations, inclement weather, military deployment, medical emergencies, travel delays and more. Many policies start at $200 and can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

For more consumer tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org/us/bbb-news.

Survey

I put out the request for people to take a survey the other day, and it seems like there was a “glitch” in the system that would not allow some people to complete the survey.  I spoke with the person in charge of the survey and it has been fixed.  The survey can be accessed here.

http://survey.scamresearch.info//43356/lang-en

Survey on Scams and Fraud

A post-graduate researcher has asked us to help them with a survey they are doing.  I have personally taken this survey and feel it is safe for all of you to take, otherwise I would not even ASK for your help.  It does NOT ask for any personal information at all, just some questions on your feelings and thoughts on different real life situations.

Here is a link to the survey
http://survey.scamresearch.info//index.php?sid=43356&lang=en

And here is a link to some more information on the person doing this research if you are interested
http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6529

Thank you for your help!  Please spread the word to other scam fighting websites that you know.

What’s your story?

I am being contacted by media personal, and I want to have a little info about people that may be willing to speak with them about why the topic of scams and fraud is so important to them. I was thinking of "sorting" them by states, since I usually get a media contact that wants someone in their state.

If you would be willing to speak to a media person about YOUR PERSONAL connection with the topic of scams and fraud here is an example of what I am looking for . . . mine would read like this

Shawn and Jeff Mosch
full mailing address for contact
best phone number for them to contact you at
best email address to contact you at

Summary:
Shawn and Jeff Mosch are scam victims turned Victim’s Advocate who work to educate people about internet scams. After their personal experience with a counterfeit cashier’s check scam in 2002, they found a lack of information and resources available at the time. This was the motivating factor in creating their website, ScamVictimsUnited.com. They continue to be passionate about this issue and work with other agencies to bring more awareness to the topic of scams and push for laws that will help to protect people from these scams.

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It does not need to be long . . . if you were a victim it can just be the type of scam you were a victim of, when it happened and how much you lost.

<b>DO NOT POST YOUR INFO ON A MESSAGE BOARD ON IN A COMMENT TO THIS POST SINCE IT WILL INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFO!</b>
Please send it directly to me from my blogger contact info
http://www.blogger.com/profile/00668897360179366316
or contacting us through the Feedback page or our site which goes to our main Admin email address.
http://scamvictimsunited.com/feedback.htm

If you could put Summary and your name in the subject line that will help me find them all in my inbox

Thanks!