Monday, November 13, 2006

Top Five Online Scams (Summarized)

(via PC World)

  1. Auction Fraud
    The setup: Online auction fraud accounts for three-quarters of all complaints registered with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (formerly the Internet Fraud Complaint Center). There are many types of eBay chicanery, but the most common one is where you send in your money and get nothing but grief in return.

    What actually happens: You never get the product promised, or the promises don't match the product.

  2. Phishing Scams
    The setup: You receive an e-mail that looks like it came from your bank, warning you about identity theft and asking that you log in and verify your account information. The message says that if you don't take action immediately, your account will be terminated.

    What actually happens: Even though the e-mail looks like the real deal, complete with authentic logos and working Web links, it's a clever fake.

  3. Nigerian 419 Letter
    The setup: You receive an e-mail, usually written in screaming capital letters, that starts out like this:

    "DEAR SIR/MADAM: I REPRESENT THE RECENTLY DEPOSED MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE FOR NODAMBIZIA, WHO HAS EMBEZZLED 30 MILLION DOLLARS FROM HIS STARVING COUNTRYMEN AND NOW NEEDS TO GET IT OUT OF THE COUNTRY..."

    The letter says the scammers are seeking an accomplice who will transfer the funds into their account for a cut of the total--usually around 30 percent. You'll be asked to travel overseas to meet with the scammers and complete the necessary paperwork. But before the transaction can be finalized, you must pay thousands of dollars in "taxes," "attorney costs," "bribes," or other advance fees.

    What actually happens: There's no minister and no money--except for the money you put up in advance.

  4. Postal Forwarding/Reshipping Scam
    The setup: You answer an online ad looking for a "correspondence manager." An offshore corporation that lacks a U.S. address or bank account needs someone to take goods sent to their address and reship them overseas. You may also be asked to accept wire transfers into your bank account, then transfer the money to your new boss's account. In each case, you collect a percentage of the goods or amount transferred.

    What actually happens: Products are purchased online using stolen credit cards--often with identities that have been purloined by phishers--and shipped to your address.

  5. "Congratulations, You've Won an Xbox (IPod, plasma TV, etc.)"
    The setup: You get an e-mail telling you that you've won something cool--usually the hot gadget du jour, such as an Xbox or an IPod. All you need to do is visit a Web site and provide your debit card number and PIN to cover "shipping and handling" costs.

    What actually happens: The item never arrives. A few months later, mystery charges start showing up on your bank account. The only thing that gets shipped and handled is your identity.

Click here for the full list

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