Scams do happen: Marissa’s experience.
The work from home scams.
When Marissa’s youngest child started school she decided it was time to return to work…
Marissa searched the online classifieds of her local paper for a job that would fit in with her family duties, but suitable jobs were hard to find and she was getting discouraged. When Marissa received an email advertising a ‘choose your own hours and work from home’ opportunity, Marissa was immediately interested. According to the advertisement, Marissa could earn $1500 to $3000 per month, plus bonuses. The position did not require specific experience; just a willingness to learn, access to a computer and the internet and good managerial skills.
There were career opportunities too! The position was in the area of transaction processing, which meant that Marissa would receive transfers from buyers, process them, and then send payment on to agents at the direction of the company.
With her background in retail and her basic knowledge of computers and internet banking, Marissa was pretty sure the job would be perfect. Marissa responded to the email and provided some personal information as well as details of the bank account that she would be using to receive and transfer money from.
It was all too easy, and Marissa soon had herself all set up. For several hours each morning, Marissa would process transactions and organize transfers. Some were quite complicated and involved large amounts of money which made Marissa a bit nervous, but it was worth it as she was able to earn good bonuses for these transactions.
After several weeks, Marissa’s bank notified her that her account had been frozen due to suspicious activity and asked her to come into meet with the manager. The authorities became involved too, and Marissa was horrified to learn that she had been involved in an illegal money-laundering ring and she could have been prosecuted for her activities. Marissa’s dream work-from-home job turned into a nightmare for Marissa and her family, but eventually, Marissa was able to assist authorities to trace some criminals involved.
Yes, scam does happen. Marissa’s story is not an isolated case. Marissa could be you, me or a loved one. At a point in time we have either been scammed or attempted to be scammed.
In the present day, scammers have invented all sorts of methods to achieve their mischievous aims. Scamming is taking different forms and shapes and we need to be aware of our financial security and that of our friends and family. We are here to review so forms of the most common scamming around…
Job and employment scams.
The easiest way to scam people looking for employment is to use the ‘work from home’ ‘opportunity’. Many of these kinds of job promoters are fronts for illegal money-laundering activity or pyramid schemes.
If any Work from home joy requires your bank details, or want to use your bank for financial transaction, chances are that you are dealing with scammers.
In order to get some upfront payment from you, the scammers will ask you money in order to provide you with software that you will be working with.
In this category are the pyramid scheme. In a pyramid scheme, you will have to recruit more people in order to get your payment. This is the most common form of scam.
To avoid this kind of scams, don’t give out your personal info to people you don’t know and trust. Don’t give out your bank account info to people you don’t trust. Get details in written before signing or paying anything. Don’t make an upfront payment or any kind to get a job.
Internet scams are the most subtle of all kinds of scams. The most common path used by internet scammers is unsolicited emails (spams). This category of scammers are well aware that many people do not respond to junk or unsolicited emails. However, they work on a probability of 1% respond. They send out 1 million emails, expecting only to get $100 from the 1% of gullible people who will respond. Mathematics tell us that they will harvest somewhere around 1 000 000 x 1% X $100 = $ 1 000 000. This is a juicy harvest only one campaign!!!!
What you must do in case of recurrent unsolicited email is simply to unsubscribe.
Internet scammers can also propose to give you free software. Maybe a software that will help you to earn money online. Once you install that software, they will be able to get access to your personal info such as PayPal, bank account details, etc. In case you want to buy a software or you are being offered a software from unsolicited source, you need to make a Google search of an article reviewing the product or try to get professional advice.
Internet scammers can also try to propose you products outside the known internet auction site. Avoid those kinds of offers. Amazon or eBay products proposed outside the known Amazon or eBay sites are generally from scammers.
Banking, Credit Cards, and online account scams.
Since most of us are using the Internet to make our purchases, scammers have re-strategized with the advances in technology. They don’t want to be left behind!!!
The three most useful technology to digital scammers are phishing, fake fraud alert and card skimming.
Phishing has to do with tricking you in order for you to provide your banking information. The emails you receive might look and sound legitimate but in reality, genuine organizations like a bank or a government authority will never expect you to send your personal information by email or online.
Fake fraud alert. Generally this type of scammers will make you believe them from Google or Yahoo. They will make you believe there is a problem with your account and if you do not provide some kind of information to them, your account will be close down.
These type of scammers can even tell you that someone has been using your credit card to make a purchase into a foreign country. They would like to get some more details from you in order to fix the problem. In this case, contact your bank to confirm their information.
Card skimming. Card skimming is the copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit card or ATM card. Once scammers have skimmed your card, they can create a fake or ‘cloned’ card with your details to make changes to your account. Or they may simply photocopy your card and use the details. This kind of scammers can use the intermediation of a shop assistant who insists to take your credit card out of your sight.
The Nigerian scammers.
Who has not heard about the big-money transfer scam of Nigerians? Many cases of Nigerians scams have been reported in Australia. Although many of these sorts of scams originate in Nigeria, similar scams have been started by scammers all over the world (particularly in other parts of West Africa and in Asia). These scams are increasingly referred to as ‘advance fee fraud’.
This is how this kind of scam operates: You receive an email requesting you to help transfer a large sum of money in a foreign country. You are promised a percentage of the money if you can facilitate the transfer of the money with your bank account. In order to do this, you need to send your bank account details. When you agree, they will ask you to pay some kind of taxes for the transfer to take place through your bank account. Once you pay the requested taxes, ‘your business partner disappears’ and goes in search of the next victim.
General tips to protect yourself from scammers.
1. Protect your identity
Unveil your identity only to people you really trust. When you write your personal information on papers, make such you keep those papers safely or destroy them.
2. Unidentified home visitors.
When you have unknown people visiting you at home. Don’t let them in unless you have been warned of their coming by legal authorities you trust. If you have unsolicited visitors, speak with them outside the gate and not in a close.
3. Be careful with Business on the phone.
Never close business on phone with unknown people. Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
Is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognize. Be especially wary of phone numbers beginning with 19. These may be charged at a higher rate than other numbers and can be very expensive
4. Be careful with unsolicited emails
I case of unsolicited mails, delete them or unsubscribe.
5. Be careful with internet scams.
Install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept current.
If you want to access a website, use a bookmarked link to the website or type the address of the website into the browser yourself. Never follow a link in an email.
Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate websites.
Beware of websites offering ‘free’ downloads (such as music, adult content, games, and movies). Downloading these products may install harmful programs onto your computer without you knowing.
Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not sure is genuine.
Never send your personal, credit card or online banking details through an email.
Avoid using public computers (at libraries or internet cafes) to do your internet banking or online shopping.