New Investigative Series Wants to Help You Settle The Score!

Exciting New Investigative Series Wants to Help You Settle The Score!

Have you been the victim of a bait & switch?
Have you been stung by a scammer?
Have you been duped by an online seller, shamed on the internet or outright ripped off by someone on social media?

The internet is something we use everyday…but dangers lurk everywhere.
Online thieves, con artists, shysters & scammers are having a heyday, and their crimes are often too small scale to call the cops or file an expensive & time consuming lawsuit.

You don’t know where to go, or who to turn to…so turn to us.
If you’ve been burned by an online thief, if you’ve ‘clicked this link’ and ended up losing money, or had your reputation tarnished by a facebook or Yelp type post, then this is your chance to stand up & let your frustration be heard!

New TV Series for a Major Cable Network wants to help you find the perp, settle the score, and get even.
We’ll find out what happened, what went wrong, and chase down the person you think is guilty.

Please send an email to LetsEvenTheScore@gmail.com and tell us your story!
And please tell them that Shawn from Scam Victims United sent you!

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When the Kids Are Away, the Scammers Come Out to Play

I was asked to share this information about scams related to students away on Spring Break.  That time of year is just around the corner, and this is something that all parents need to be aware of.  Much like the Grandparent Scams, this scam preys on an adult wanted to help out a child in trouble.

MoneyGram Offers Advice to Parents of College Spring Breakers 
To Avoid Fraud During Popular Travel Period

DALLAS (Feb. 22, 2012) – While most Americans will prepare to lose an hour of sleep when Daylight Saving Time ends in mid-March, many parents are preparing to lose something else: their peace of mind when their college-age children travel on spring break

According to MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, spring break can end up “breaking the bank” if parents don’t stay alert to the “family scam” – when a scammer calls parents to inform them their child is in trouble in a distant location, asking for money for medical care or bail, even though the child is perfectly safe.

“Spring break can be a letting-go experience for parents of college students,” said Kim Garner, Senior Vice President of Global Security for MoneyGram. “But along with letting go, parents should hang on to their common sense, especially when it comes to helping their kids stay safe and avoid certain common scams.

Garner offers the following advice to parents of college students to safeguard their physical and financial health during spring break:

Check in before heading out: American students traveling internationally can register with the U.S. State Department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which will help with communications in the event of an emergency. Canadian students can register with their country’s similar program, Registration of Canadians Abroad.

Take a lesson from E.T.: Phone home: Parents should make a deal with their students traveling for spring break – a little freedom for a few phone calls and some extra phone numbers. Parents should establish specific times for phone calls to check in, so they will know where their students are and what they’re up to, and get cell phone numbers for the friends of their traveling children as a back-up means of communication.

Just say no: With personal belongings left scattered on beach towels, scammers often will use student IDs to find parents and ask for money to be wired in the aid of their child who can’t come to the phone. Garner of MoneyGram advises parents to say no – and never wire money to anyone they don’t know – instead checking in by calling the child’s cell phone or the local authorities where their child is vacationing.

Give them credit: Parents can temporarily add a child as an approved user to a credit card, and place a pre-set spending limit on the card as a way to prompt financial responsibility while the student is traveling.

Put a policy in place: To guard against a financial loss, parents should check with their insurance company to make sure their child’s possessions are insured on their homeowner’s policy while the student is traveling, especially if the child will be traveling outside the United States.

“The best way to ensure a safe spring break and avoid a scam is to talk to your child in advance about these types of precautions, and schedule regular contact so you can hear directly from them that they’re safe,” said Garner of MoneyGram. “And while the student is traveling, parents should focus on their own protection against scams by never sending money to anyone they don’t know, regardless of what the individual on the other end of a phone might be telling them.”

As part of MoneyGram’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from wire transfer fraud, the company recently launched an enhanced version of its fraud prevention website – www.moneygram-preventfraud.com. MoneyGram recommends that before initiating a money transfer, consumers should:

· Know – Always know the person to whom you are sending money. Never send money to strangers.

· Show – Never show or share information about your money transfer to anyone but the recipient.

· Throw – Discard or throw away any offers that promise easy ways to earn money, especially if the offers require you to send money before earning money.

Consumers who suspect fraud associated with money transfers should contact their local law enforcement. Consumers should call 1-800-MONEYGRAM (800-666-3947) if they believe MoneyGram was used to wire money as a result of a scam.

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Another tip from Scam Victims United
When we were kids they taught us about “Stranger Danger” and avoiding becoming a victim of kidnapping.  We were told to never go with a stranger, even if they looked “nice” or said that they were a friend of your parents and your parents sent them to pick you up.  In my family, we had a “code word” so that if someone we did not know DID have to pick us up, they would have to know the “code word” before we would go with them.  Similar to this, create a code word with your child before they leave for Spring Break.  If someone calls saying that they are your child’s friend you just need to ask “What is the code word?”  If they don’t know it, you will know right away that they are lying.

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Minnesota Bill HF343

I have mentioned the Minnesota Bill HF343 on this blog in the past.  It is one that several people who are concerned about the growing number of scams and fraud wish to see become a law.  Just this week it was sent to the General Register, which means it is one step closer to becoming a law.

To hear the audio from that meeting you can go here . . . http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/audio/archivescomm.asp?comm=87004&ls_year=87

I encourage all of you to read the bill and contact the Representatives that are backing this bill to thank them for their work and share with them why you believe this bill needs to become law.

Thousands Scammed by Facebook Starbucks App

Guest Blog Post by Brittany Lyons ~ 

For many Facebook users, the offer of free Starbucks gift cards is simply too much to pass up. Recently, many users clicked on just such a link that popped up in their friends’ status updates, after those friends had “liked” the page. Instead of taking them to a legitimate corporate website, the users were directed to a fraudulent website, where they gave up their private information in order to receive the non-existent gift cards.
Facebook scams like these are not a new occurrence. In August of 2010, the statuses of users’ Facebook pages were flooded with messages letting people know that Justin Bieber was giving away free concert tickets. When users clicked the link, they went to a Facebook application page that asked for the user’s mobile phone number in order to enter a contest to win £50,000 (80,000 USD). The catch is that it was also a premium service that charged £4.50 (7 USD) to the mobile phone bill once a week.
The one thing that Justin Bieber and Starbucks have in common is an extremely large fan base, and thus more potential victims who scammers can target. This is also why scams will often be disguised as popular services like online PhD programs. That large number of potential victims is then multiplied by the number of friends that these fans have, and scams like these get passed along from friend to friend like wildfire. It is possible that thousands of people may have given up their personal information before the Starbucks scam app was removed by Facebook.
This connection between friends is what makes Facebook scams different than the email spam messages of the past. Email spam would just get sent to random people, typically by unknown senders, which made them relatively easy to block, filter or just ignore. Facebook scams, on the other hand, rely on trusted connections between friends in order to spread. Once someone has clicked on the link, the app re-posts that same link on their status, sending it out to all of their connections. Since a Facebook user would not be as suspicious of a message or link from a friend as they would with a random sender, there is a better chance of them opening the scam link or message and passing it on.
To avoid scams like this, it’s important to know the posting habits of your friends. For example, if friends are posting links when they normally do not post links, or they are linking to something you don’t think they are a fan of, there is a good chance that they have been scammed and didn’t even post the link in the first place. Most of these links are actually rogue Facebook apps installed on a user’s Facebook page. If you are ever taken to a Facebook application install page, pay attention to whether or not the application asks for authorization to post on your wall, and think carefully before granting that authorization—your friends will thank you.
Users should also avoid giving out personal information as a rule, especially in the case of promotional offers. Check the security setting on your Facebook profile, so that you are using “secure browsing”–that means there is an “https://” in front of the page URL rather than the “http://” that’s more common. Secure browsing has a tendency to block all apps, rather than just the scams, but the extra step it takes to open a link will prompt you to think twice about how secure it is. Finally, users can also keep track of ongoing scams and frauds by checking the Facebook page of Sophos, a company that monitors and reports scams, viruses and frauds that are spread throughout the Internet.
Overall, the best mentality to have when seeing promotions that offer gift cards and other goodies on Facebook is this: if something seems to be too good to be true, then it probably is.

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Brittany Lyons aspires to be a psychology professor, but decided to take some time off from grad school to help people learn to navigate the academic lifestyle. She currently lives in Spokane, Washington, where she spends her time reading science fiction and walking her dog.

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

 

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!