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.

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

New scam fighting site

It is always good when a new scam fighting site come to the internet.  The more places where people can find information about these scams, the better!  I was introduced to AllScamsForum.com today due to a comment left on our blog.

Just like us, the allow you to post the names, email addresses and phone numbers that the scammers are using.  And, just like us, they are on Facebook and Twitter.

As with any new scam fighting site, we will look for ways that we can partner together to spread the word about scam education and awareness.

Another sample letter

If you want to join our letter writing campaign, but don’t feel like you can come up with your own letter about why scam education and awareness is important, let me offer this as a sample of what you could say in your letter.

——————–

So many of the online scams involve the scammer sending a counterfeit cashier’s check or money order, asking the victim to wait for it to “clear” and then wire a portion of the money on to someone. The scammers make up all kinds of stories to make the reason for having to wire money to someone else make sense, and of course since the bank has already told you that the check is “clear” you feel like there is nothing to worry about.

Did you know this . . . when you wire money to someone, even if you write on the documentation that the wire transfer is to be picked up in Detroit, Michigan if the scammer has the test/security question and answer along with the wire transfer information then they can pick up the money at any location in the world . . . like Lagos, Nigeria.

These test or security questions are a feature put in place for emergency situations, when the person picking up the money has lost their photo id, which is normally needed to pick up a wire transfer. But if you give the scammer the test/security question information that is how they bypass the need for a picture id when picking up the money. This happens every day on sites like Craigslist. The scammer will pretend to be within the United States so as to not raise any red flags with the potential victim by mentioning that they are really in Nigeria.

With so many scams using wire transfering services like Western Union and MoneyGram we at Scam Victims United would like to see these companies increase their security by making it mandatory that the money must be picked up in the destination zone. If the documentation filled out by the customer says that the money is going to Detroit, Michigan, then the money should not be able to be picked up outside of the state of Michigan, no matter what information the person picking the money up has. This would help to reduce the number of scams going on because the scammers would then have to tell the victims to wire the money to Nigeria for them to be able to pick it up, and with so many people this would be a red flag because of the information about Nigerian scams.

In addition, wire transfering services could have a Fraud Alert posted in their store locations, and when anyone does fill out a wire transfer form and indicates Nigeria as the destination for the money to be picked up they could point out the Fraud Alert or have the customer sign a secondary document saying that they are aware that there are many internet scams coming out of the country of Nigeria which involve receiving a cashier’s check or money order and then wiring money.

Since we cannot go to other countries and arrest the people running these scams we must do as much as we can to provide the correct information to the American public to educate them about these scams. This means that everyone must do their part, including the wire transfer services that the scammers use as a part of their business. I would like to propose laws that would require wire transfer services to implement and follow such security measures.

Education is the key to fighting scams, and that is why we are also asking for scam education and awareness programs. To read more about this please go tohttp://www.change.org/actions/view/crea … s_programs

Make our voices heard!

Years ago we used to organize letter writing events. Everyone would write a letter telling why they think scam education and awareness are important topics that need attention brought to them, and need the attention of lawmakers. Then all you have to do is send that same letter on the first of the month to the contact that I post on this message board . . . someone in the media, law enforcement or government. If we all send the letters the same day then their contact person will get a flood of letters on the same topic around the same time, and could get more attention then just one letter all by itself.

My question is this . . . who is with me and willing to commit to sending out one letter per month? If we do not have a big enough impact, then it will not be effective.