We go to great lengths to ensure that all posts on the websites are 100% genuine and trustworthy. So you can trust that you are in safe hands. Nonetheless, we recommend you take some precautionary measures to guard against scam and other fraudulent activities that may escape our radar. Here are some useful anti-scam tips you can adopt:
- Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.
- The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable. Con artists are present on most dating and social media sites.
- The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money.
- If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.
- An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.
- The variety of advance fee schemes is limited only by the imagination of the con artists who offer them. They may involve the sale of products or services, the offering of investments, lottery winnings, found money, or many other opportunities.
- Business email compromise (BEC) also known as email account compromise (EAC) is one of the most financially damaging online crimes. It exploits the fact that so many of us rely on email to conduct business both personal and professional. In a BEC scam, criminals send an email message that appears to come from a known source making a legitimate request, like in these examples:
- A vendor your company regularly deals with sends an invoice with an updated mailing address.
- A company CEO asks her assistant to purchase dozens of gift cards to send out as employee rewards. She asks for the serial numbers so she can email them out right away.
- A homebuyer receives a message from his title company with instructions on how to wire his down payment. Versions of these scenarios happened to real victims. All the messages were fake.
- Charity fraud: Using deception to get money from individuals believing they are making donations to legitimate charity organizations, especially charities representing victims of natural disasters shortly after the incident occurs.
- Internet auction fraud: A fraudulent transaction or exchange that occurs in the context of an online auction site.
- Non-delivery of merchandise: Fraud occurring when a payment is sent but the goods and services ordered are never received.
- Non-payment of funds: Fraud occurring when goods and services are shipped or rendered but payment for them is never received.
- They are fake medicines not produced to the pharmacological specifications of the drugs they claim to be.
- These counterfeit prescription drugs may be contaminated or contain the wrong ingredients or no active ingredient.
- They also could have the right active ingredient but with the wrong dosage.
- Don't be fooled by fake prescription drugs masquerading as legitimate medicines, as using them may worsen your health conditions.
- Romance scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find companions.
- Tech support scam: Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.
- Grandparent scam: Criminals pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial need.
- Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scam: Criminals claim to work for legitimate charitable organizations to gain victims’ trust. Or they claim their targets have won a foreign lottery or sweepstake, which they can collect for a fee.
- Business E-Mail Compromise (BEC): A sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and companies that regularly perform wire transfer payments.
- The scam is carried out by compromising legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds.
- Data Breach: A leak or spill of data which is released from a secure location to an untrusted environment. Data breaches can occur at the personal and corporate levels and involve sensitive, protected, or confidential information that is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen, or used by an individual unauthorized to do so.
- Denial of Service: An interruption of an authorized user's access to any system or network, typically one caused with malicious intent.
- E-Mail Account Compromise (EAC): Similar to BEC, this scam targets the general public and professionals associated with, but not limited to, financial and lending institutions, real estate companies, and law firms. Perpetrators of EAC use compromised e-mails to request payments to fraudulent locations.
- The seller is moving or being deployed by the military.
- The seller received the vehicle as part of a divorce settlement.
- The vehicle belonged to a relative who has died.
- Sextortion can start on any site, app, or game where people meet and communicate. In some cases, the first contact from the criminal will be a threat.
- The person may claim they already have a revealing picture or video of a child that they will share if the victim does not send more pictures.
- More often, however, this crime starts when young people believe they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship or with someone who is offering something of value.
- The adult will use threats, gifts, money, flattery, lies, or other methods to get a young person to produce an image.
- The first rule of thumb is to patronize posters you can meet with in person.
- Sending money via western union, Money Gram or through any unauthorized payment system is a total no-no.
- Never accept checks
- Carry out due diligence before hitting the purchase button; Verify the name, address, telephone number and other essential details of the seller.
- Keeping copies and receipts of all correspondence and transaction details is paramount; you never know when you will need "evidence."
- Learn to trust your gut instinct; if a deal seems or looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- The seller or marketer resides abroad or is en route to a foreign country.
- The poster adamantly refuses to meet you in person, stating flimsy excuses.
- Payment is strictly limited to western union, Money gram or checks.
- You can barely understand the seller's messages because the language being used is broken.
- The texts have the makings of a “copy and paste" format.
- The offer is too good to be true.
Advance Fee Schemes
Business Email Compromise
Business fraud consists of dishonest and illegal activities perpetrated by individuals or companies in order to provide an advantageous financial outcome to those persons or establishments. Also known as corporate fraud, these schemes often appear under the guise of legitimate business practices. An array of crimes fall under business fraud, including the following--
Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
Counterfeit prescription drugs are illegal and may be hazardous to your health.
Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or confidence scheme, including romance, lottery, and sweepstakes scams, to name a few.
Internet fraud is the use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them. Internet crime schemes steal millions of dollars each year from victims and continue to plague the Internet through various methods. Several high-profile methods include the following--
Online Vehicle Sale Fraud
The FBI warns consumers that criminal perpetrators may post fraudulent online classified advertisements offering vehicles for sale that are not, nor have ever been, in their possession.
The fake advertisements usually include photos matching the description of the vehicle and a phone number or e-mail address to contact the supposed seller. Once contact is established, the criminal sends the intended buyer additional photos along with an explanation for the discounted price and the urgency of the transaction. Common reasons provided include--
The FBI has seen a huge increase in the number of cases involving children and teens being threatened and coerced by adults into sending explicit images online—a crime called sextortion.
How to recognize the tell-tale signs of a potential scam
The vast majority of fraudulent deals, posts and transactions can take on one or more of these forms: