December 11, 2009

"You've won! Give me your Money" Scam

Just deleted yet another email sent to me from clearly a fake email ID. The email said I had won £10,000 in a competition I never entered. Lots of such emails being sent out every second makes me wonder there maybe people out there who are falling victims to such scams.

Its known as an Advance fee fraud. It tricks people in sending money to the imposters in hope of receiving large sums of money in return out of no where. The scammers often use fake email addresses, fake office locations and fake photographs to take the victims into confidence to persuade them to send advance money for "legal" proceedings. The surge in social-networking sites everyday makes it too simple for the fraudsters to procure User details that look genuine to represent themselves.

The scam usually begins with an e-mail which appear to have been sent to a selected recipient but actually sent out to many. Once the victim replies back agreeing to the deal, he/she then receives one or more fake documents bearing some "official" government stamps and seals and signatures making it look authentic. On some occasions the victim is also asked to send sensitive information like full name, birthdate, insurance number and even Bank details. The trick then involves the victim to send money as a fee to take their application forward as processing fee involving large sums of money they have won (not). More "processing" fees and delays follow eventually keeping the hope within the victim alive promising an imminent large money transfer soon. The victims are convinced that the money they are paying will be covered during the payoff - which never happens.

The reason for money not being covered by the payoffs is because the promised winning amount never existed, ever. But by the time victims realize this, they are already short of hundreds or thousands or even millions of Pounds from their bank accounts. Even worse when the money had been borrowed or stolen in hope or greed of getting more money in future. The scammers or the emails or offices are never traceable.

Various other forms of Advance fee fraud exists like, Lottery scam, Charity scams, Fake job letters scams. There are even Fraud recovery scams which targets former victims of such scams.

Emotional, physical and monetary losses to the victims are very hard to gauge. But for the fraudsters even a couple of replies to hundreds of such emails sent around may help them cheat for large sums of money hard earned by the people. But at the same time responsibility lies with the people too, to avoid such scams to loot money from them in broad daylight. As they say, "A little common sense can take you a long way.."

October 30, 2009

10 Ways to Protect Your Credit Cards

A list of do's and dont's published by the National Check Fraud Center.

You may think these ten rules are unnecessary. But if you ignore them, you make it easy for the wrong people to use your cards

   1. Never leave your cards unattended at work. There are more credit card thefts in the workplace than in any other single location.

   2. If your credit card is programmed to access an Automated Banking Machine (ABM), protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN) or security code. Don't write it down, memorize it.

   3. Don't leave your credit cars in your vehicle. A very high proportion of credit cards are stolen from motor vehicles.

   4. Always check your card when returned to you after a purchase. Make sure it is your card.

   5. When traveling, carry your cards with you or make sure they are in a secure location.

   6. Report lost or stolen cards immediately. Most fraudulent use of cards takes place within days of their being lost or stolen.

   7. Sign the back of a new card as soon you get it. Destroy unwanted cards so no one else can use them.

   8. Make a list of all your cards and their numbers. This key information is helpful when reporting lost or stolen cards.

   9. Always check your monthly statement. Make sure the charges are yours. Report them to your card company if the entry is not yours.

  10. Never give your card number over the phone unless you are dealing with a reputable company. The only time you should give it is when you have called to place an order.