10 Common Spam Scams - Slide 8

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The Bait: A response to your ad or online auction posting, offering to pay with a cashier's, personal, or corporate check. At the last minute, the so-called buyer (or the buyer's "agent") comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price, and asks you to wire back the difference after you deposit the check.

The Catch: If you deposit the check, you lose. Typically, the checks are counterfeit, but they're good enough to fool unsuspecting bank tellers and increase the balance in your bank account – temporarily. But when the check eventually bounces, you are liable for the entire amount.

Your Safety Net: Don't accept a check for more than your selling price, no matter how tempting the plea or convincing the story. Ask the buyer to write the check for the purchase price. If the buyer sends the incorrect amount, return the check. Don't send the merchandise. As a seller who accepts payment by check, you may ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can visit personally to make sure the check is valid. If that's not possible, call the bank the check was drawn on using the phone number from directory assistance or an internet site that you know and trust, not from the person who gave you the check. Ask if the check is valid.

Forward check overpayment scams to spam@uce.gov and your state Attorney General. You can find contact information for your state Attorney General at www.naag.org.

While some consumers find unsolicited commercial email – also known as "spam" – informative, others find it annoying and time consuming. Still others find it expensive: They're among the people who have lost money to spam that contained bogus offers and fraudulent promotions.

Many Internet Service Providers and computer operating systems offer filtering software to limit the spam in their users' e-mail inboxes. In addition, some old-fashioned 'filter tips' can help you save time and money by avoiding frauds pitched in email. OnGuard Online suggests computer users screen spam for scams, send unwanted spam on to the appropriate enforcement authorities, and then hit delete.

This slideshow features 10 common spam scams end users need to know about.


Fighting Back

Con artists are clever and cunning, constantly hatching new variations on age-old scams. Still, skeptical consumers can spot questionable or unsavory promotions in email offers. Should you receive an email that you think may be fraudulent, forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov, hit delete, and smile. You'll be doing your part to help put a scam artist out of work.

How to Report Spam

If you receive an email that you think may be a scam:

  • Forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov
  • Forward it to the abuse desk of the sender's ISP.
  • Also, if the email appears to be impersonating a bank or other company or organization, forward the message to the actual organization.

If you think you may have responded to an email that may be a scam:

  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Report it to your state Attorney General, using contact information at naag.org.
  • Then visit the FTC's identity theft website at ftc.gov/idtheft. While you can't completely control whether you will become a victim of identity theft, you can take some steps to minimize your risk.

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Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

 
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