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Saturday, August 28, 2010


Steve Cole writes:

None of these are real. Do not reply to them. EVER. There are more of these things than I can count, but here are some of the most popular ones.

1. You just won a lottery you never heard of; enter your bank account number for us to wire your winnings. (There is no such lottery. If you give them your bank account number, they'll steal your money and then write hot checks on your account.)

2. I need your help to move a bunch of money out of some foreign country into the US. Send your bank account number and I will send the money. (Sometimes this is the estate of a deceased dictator. Sometimes, it's oil industry bribes that the crook who was going to collect it never got. The truth is, there is no money, except what they steal from your bank account. Then they'll write forged checks on your bank account.)

3. I want to order some of your products. Please confirm you will ship to my country. I will be paying by credit card. Attach a list of your products or your web shopping cart address. (They have no idea what products you sell, and won't until you tell them. They'll use a stolen credit card and the police in their country will never find the products you ship.)

4. Your UPS package has been delayed. Click this link or open this attachment for details. (It's a virus.) This also comes in a phishing variation where you go tell them where to send the package, and sometimes pay them an extra fee for forwarding it. That gives information to identity thieves which they will use to rob you.

5. Access to your Paypal account (or your account in some bank you don't have an account in) has been suspended. Go to this website and fill out the form to have your access reinstated. (Your account is fine, until you tell this crooks where it is. Then, they'll steal every dime and write a bunch of hot checks on it.)

6. I am your friend from Facebook. I was on vacation in England when I was robbed at gunpoint. They stole all my money, but left me my passport. I need you to loan me a thousand dollars to cover the hotel bill and get me a taxi to the airport. My plane leaves in two hours, so please hurry. (This is not your friend, just someone who hacked your friend's Facebook page.)

7. Get your prescription medications for less! (Two chances. One is they take your money and send you nothing. The other is they take your money and send you fake pills which are not your medication. This also applies to sex medications you don't have a prescription for.)

8. Buy a fake Rolex watch to impress your friends. (In all probability, you'll just get your money stolen. Maybe you'll get a really awful copy of a Rolex that won't fool anybody.)

9. Work for us as a mystery shopper. Go to stores, buy things, send us a report, and we'll send you a cash reward! (Well, in the first place, you won't ever get a cash reward. What you will get is your identity stolen using the information you gave them to register for the program.)

10. Buy OEM software. (Two chances. One is they take your money and send you nothing. The other is they take your money and send you illegal copies of software.)

11. Buy this hot stock! (The scammers already bought a bunch, and will dump it as soon as enough internet suckers buy enough of it to make the price go up. Then it will go down. A lot.)

12. Single girls (or attractive older women) want to meet you for no-strings sex. (Yeah, right.)

13. Discount membership is being offered to you in a porn website. (Two chances. One is they take your money and you get nothing because they aren't actually associated with that website. The other is they take your money and give you access to only some of the content for only a few days, then charge you full price for full, or maybe still partial, access without your knowledge or consent.)

14. Someone with the same last name as you died, leaving a lot of money in my bank. If you'll agree to pretend to be his relative, I'll arrange to send you his money. (Nobody died, there is no money, and you cannot cheat an honest man, so if you agree to lie, you deserve what you're going to get. If you give them your bank account information, they'll drain your account, then print and write checks on it. If you pay a fee to process the claim, you'll never get anything back for it.)

15. Enter your information and we will send you free samples of something, usually Viagra or other sex pills. (Do it, and they steal your identity.)

16. Your Amazon order was shipped, or was canceled, or was delayed, or something. (Perhaps you ordered something, but rest assured that the guys sending you this email are not from Amazon, they just want you to go fill out a form so they can steal your identity.)

17. You are getting a gift card from some business. (No, you aren't. You're about to get your bank account and your identity stolen.)

18. The United Nations is going to pay $500,000 to anyone who says he was a victim of an internet scam. (No, they aren't. These emails aren't from the UN; they're attempts to get more people to send them addresses, bank account numbers, and so forth.)

19. The FBI sends you an email advising that those Nigerians you have been getting email from are on the level and it's ok to go ahead and accept the money, i.e., give them your bank account number. (No, the FBI did not send that, the Nigerians are not on the level, and sending them your bank account number means having your money and identity stolen and a bunch of hot checks written.) This same scam shows up from "the Nigerian government" which wants to compensate you for someone who scammed you.

20. You get an email from your ISP saying that your account is suspended, or infected, or being hacked, or something, asking you to send them your name, address, account name, password, date of birth, and so forth. (No, it's not your ISP that's emailing you. They already HAVE your email account and password.)

21. You've been offered a loan, or a mortgage, at a great rate. (Yeah, right. The people offering this have no money to loan you, but as soon as you fill out the application, they'll start using YOUR money.)

22. Go here to review changes to your credit report (and to get your money and identity stolen).

23. We will print free personalized checks for you! (And by the time you notice they never showed up, your account will be empty anyway.)

24. The Social Security Administration wants you to review your account status. (Do that, and you're thieves a golden pass to your entire life and financial dealings. Get ready to have every dime stolen and thousands of dollars worth of stuff charged to new accounts they will open for you.)

New scams show up every week, and the old ones keep coming around. Be warned! Be watchful! Be suspicious.