Online scams have taken a very dangerous turn. Thieves have become very creative in how they steal your identity and life.
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Identity thieves could care less who you are, where you live, or what your financial status is.
Everyone is at risk and a target for becoming a victim.
Identity theft scams have been around for a long time, but with the majority of us having access to, and now using the internet to such a large degree, identity thieves have a much easier job of gaining access to our personal information and making us a victim of their online scams and committing ID theft.
I know someone these particular online scams/email scams happened to.
My friend received an email that her husband had planned her death.
In the email, the scammer would specify her husband was going to pay them $20,000 to kill her but, if she paid them $10,000, they would forget about it.
There is another version of this scam that the thief uses that involves threatening to kidnap a loved one unless a ransom is paid immediately.
The thief names a specific loved one, or relative, with personal information the thief got, of course, through searches online.
When the scammer names a loved one and gives specific information about the person, the victim tends to belief the authenticity of the threat even more.
Recently, there was also a case on the national news of a newlywed, only married 6 months, who hired a hit man to kill her new husband.
A male informant tipped off the police that the woman was looking for a hit man to murder her husband. The police conducted an elaborate sting by staging the murder of her husband.
This hit cost the woman $3000.00 and the cost of a gun. The hit man happened to be an undercover cop. At stake was a $243,000 town house.
At this point and time, this woman is in the process of being prosecuted.
Online scams in the form of an online bond-payment hoax are ripping renters off for thousands and thousands of dollars.
Scammers are advertising rental apartments that require a months rent of $250 and up, per week, and bonds of $1000 or more in exchange for keys that are never delivered.
One victim made an inquiry about a completely furnished town house in San Diego, which she said was “too good to be true”. (Beware! When it’s too good to be true, it usually is.)
The transaction was completely done online. The victim was asked by the agent to provide personal banking information and send him $3,000.00 through Western Union.
Unfortunately, the victim did as the agent asked and provided her banking information.
She never did receive the keys and her bank account was wiped out.
Normally, the crooks that run these online scams will give the victims an online link to check out...these links are usually bogus.
Some mystery shopping is legitimate and some are just out and out scams.
My niece was a mystery shopper for awhile, and was lucky enough to work for a company that was on the “up and up” and actually got a paycheck from.
My niece also did research on whether the company was legitimate and was reputable before she gave information so she could be paid.
Learn more about this scam and ways to protect yourself at mystery shopping scams.
Some not so reputable mystery shopping companies will send victims a letter in the mail offering $500 to shop at a few select stores.
The company also funds the purchases with a check for thousands of dollars.
The victim thinks they are safe to deposit the check into an account at their bank, then go shopping at some stores and then are asked to wire back $3000.00 to the company.
In the meantime, the original check has bounced, so the victim is now out all the money they spent shopping And the $3000.00 they wired back to the company.
Wow! Get a load of this scam alert!
No sooner had Michael Jackson died than the crooks came out of the woodwork.
Because there has been such a huge demand for Jackson information, the spammers have been prompted to become very dangerous and sophisticated by creating malicious websites that infect a victim’s computer, and also by sending out a “glut” of specifically created spam emails.
A barrage of Internet attacks are usually triggered by major world events and celebrity deaths.
The scammers know there will be a huge interest in certain topics and are ready to take advantage any way they can, and make you the victim in the process.
Recently, there was a video about Michael Jackson on YouTube that advertised “Michael’s last works”, and one that showed “unpublished photos”.
If you clicked on these links, it tries to install a program that steals your passwords.
It is very dangerous to open unsolicited mail from a sender you don’t know, go to sites just to check out what it is all about, or click on one of their links. Don’t download anything from a site you know nothing about.
It can infect your machine, steal your identity, and basically make your life a living hell.
Nowadays, a very popular way for singles to meet is online, and women are not the only ones affected by this crime that affects the heart and pocketbook; it has also had its share of men that have become a victim.
A woman will receive an email from a guy that wants to chat and be friends.
The two will begin exchanging emails, exchanging gifts, etc.
This will go on for a few weeks, or months and remember, up to this point, the victim has never even met this man.
The man will tell her he works with a large company and is out of the country much of the time, (Nigeria for example).
He will promise to come and meet her as soon as he returns.
The man will profess his “love” to his “new girlfriend” and then proceed to tell her something has come up, his mother is ill or he has been unable to cash the postal money orders his boss sent.
He will ask her to cash the money orders for him and send him the cash, which she does.
This goes on for some time and she has now cashed $4000.00 worth of money orders for him. Then the bank calls…..
All the money orders were what they call “washed”.
The original money orders were purchased for $30.00 but, altered (washed) to read $1000.00 and the bank informs her she is the one responsible for paying the bank back the money.
This is one way the Nigerian scams work.
I personally have a friend whose son was scammed in much the same way by a woman in Nigeria that he had been emailing.
Just be aware that these online scams do not care what sex you are, and a large portion of the victims that become involved in this scam become involved out of loneliness.
Protect yourself and learn another, potentially dangerous, variation of this scam at internet dating scams.
In addition to all the better known online scams, here are some of the new ones popping up;
There has been such an excess of online scams and identity theft from these scams, the FBI is targeting the top 10 Internet scams.
This is collaboration between consumer protection organizations from 9 countries, 23 states, 5 U.S. agencies, and 251 law enforcement agencies. Please protect yourself and become educated on identity theft.