crime http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1389/all en-US Top 5 Ways Thieves Use Your Stolen Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-ways-thieves-use-your-stolen-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-5-ways-thieves-use-your-stolen-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_card_phishing.jpg" alt="Credit card phishing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be a shock. You go online to check your credit card statement, and you're presented with a series of hefty transactions you know you didn't make. Thousands of dollars, gone in the blink of an eye.</p> <p>Luckily, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards-vs-debit-cards-a-comprehensive-comparison" target="_blank">credit cards have fraud protections</a> not offered by debit cards. As long as you report the errors quickly, you're covered for these fraudulent charges. But it does make you wonder &hellip; how do the thieves do it, and how might they have used your stolen card? Here are the five most common uses for a card that has been &quot;liberated.&quot;</p> <h2>1. A blowout shopping spree</h2> <p>Once the thieves have a working copy of your credit card information, they are off to the races. Timing is paramount for thieves, because they know the second you realize what's up, you'll call and cancel the card. Plus, credit cards these days will stop working on their own if the bank's algorithms detect suspicious activity, such as purchases of many high-cost items in one go, or purchases made out of state.</p> <p>So, credit card in hand, thieves hit up several different stores in a mall, or anywhere else that has a variety of stores close by each other. They pick out items that they can sell easily with a good return, such as electronics, designer clothing, and jewelry. They are lightning-fast &mdash; they can rack up thousands of dollars in purchases in under 30 minutes. By the time the card is shut down, they have already made off with quite a haul. Sadly, the stores and the credit card companies rarely catch them.</p> <h2>2. ATM withdrawals</h2> <p>Most people assume that a stolen credit card won't be used for ATM withdrawals because those require a PIN. However, depending on how the thief got your card, that may be wrong. If the thief stole your entire wallet or purse, they can often get clues from the contents, including your birth date (still a common PIN used by many people) and house number.</p> <p>Your best defense here is to choose strong passwords and PINs. If your PIN is still somehow compromised, report the card stolen as soon as possible. Luckily, you won't be on the hook for the money withdrawn, as long as you can prove it was a result of theft.</p> <h2>3. Sold to other criminals as part of a bulk lot</h2> <p>When your card details are breached, it's not always the thief's intention to use the information on goods or cash withdrawals. More sophisticated thieves will collect a large number of cards and then sell those details to cybercriminals as part of a &quot;job lot.&quot;</p> <p>Interestingly, these cybercriminals price the cards in different ways, depending on how much information is provided. If it is simply the card number and expiration date, it will not bring much money. These cards are sold for a few bucks, because the chances of successfully making off with a chunk of money is slim. If the security number on the back is added, the price goes up. If the PIN is known, the asking price is higher. The highest price goes to sellers who can provide additional data, including purchasing behaviors and security question details.</p> <p>Of course, once cybercriminals have the info, they either use it quickly, or resell it again. The black market for card numbers is vast.</p> <h2>4. Gift cards</h2> <p>A simple form of money laundering is for criminals to use the stolen credit card to buy up a large number of high-denomination gift cards. If you think about it, it's the simplest way to turn a liability into cold, hard cash.</p> <p>The thief will hit a local grocery store and pick up handfuls of different gift cards. If the store clerk questions the large purchase, the thief simply says it's a great way to buy goods and services from merchants that won't take credit cards.</p> <p>By the time the stolen card is reported and canceled, the thief has made off with thousands of dollars in gift cards. Now, the criminal has all the time in the world to spend them, or sell them to someone else, because these cards are 100 percent legit and won't be shut down. Even if the thief only gets half the face value of the gift cards, it's all profit for them.</p> <h2>5. Online shopping</h2> <p>Thieves have many options when it comes to buying merchandise online with a stolen card. Only the dumbest thief will actually use a stolen credit card to have a big-screen TV delivered to his or her own home. Instead, the criminal can have the products delivered to an address they know to be vacant. They can use a mail drop scheme, which is basically a remailing service that makes the final destination of the product impossible to trace. They can also set up an intricate &quot;triangulation&quot; scheme on auction sites like eBay.</p> <p>All in all, if you think your stolen credit card will not be used online, you're in for a rude awakening. Thieves are always thinking ahead.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-ways-thieves-use-your-stolen-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-stash-your-money-besides-a-savings-account">10 Places to Stash Your Money Besides a Savings Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today">Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards">What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance atm withdrawals black market crime gift cards online shipping prepaid cards shopping spree stolen credit cards theft Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 1958435 at http://www.wisebread.com Insider Trading Is a Lot More Common Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_counting_cash_17235688.jpg" alt="Man learning what insider trading is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've heard the term. You've seen the headlines involving celebrities like <a href="http://coveringbusiness.com/2012/05/15/what-martha-stewart-did-wrong/">Martha Stewart</a> and <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/pro-golfer-phil-mickelson-made-1-million-from-insider-trading-w207122">Phil Mickelson</a>. It has also been a focus for movies like <em>Wall Street</em> and <em>Boiler Room</em>. But do you actually know what insider trading is, and why it is illegal? Here is a breakdown of the practice that can land people in jail, and ruin careers.</p> <h2>What Exactly Is Insider Trading?</h2> <p>To be honest, it's not something that is a black or white issue. If you Google the term, you will get a result that is something like this:</p> <p>&quot;The illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one's own advantage through having access to confidential information.&quot;</p> <p>That all seems cut and dry, until you dig into a few of the terms.</p> <p>Now, an insider can be anyone who's ownership of the company stock is greater than 10% of the firm's equity, and/or someone who has access to information about the company that has not been made public.</p> <p>The problem comes with the legality of how and when you use that information. There is no law against an insider buying and selling shares of the firm that he or she works for (that would be ridiculous, and incredibly prohibitive, if you think about it). As long as these transactions are logged with the Securities and Exchange Commission (more commonly known as the SEC, who regulates trades and monitors for illegal activity), it's completely fine.</p> <p>However, once an insider takes undisclosed, or secret, information that he or she has and uses it for monetary gain, then it becomes an illegal activity. And in this instance, an insider is not just a person working directly for that company. It can be a spouse, a relative, a friend, or a colleague.</p> <p>One of the best ways to illustrate this is from the movie <em>Wall Street</em>. Bud Fox is a young stockbroker, and his father works for Bluestar Airlines. During a casual conversation, Bud's father reveals some information about the company that has not been made public. Bud gives this information to the infamous Gordon Gekko, who buys stock in the company, and makes a sizable profit when the shares rise in value.</p> <p>If you want another example, imagine you are chatting with a friend who works at a big company that is currently involved in a lawsuit. Your friend tells you that the lawsuit is going to be settled out of court, and the company will be fine. You go and buy shares in that company, and your shares rise when the lawsuit settlement is announced. Congratulations, both you and your friend are now involved in an illegal insider trading deal.</p> <p>This, in a nutshell, is illegal insider trading. Using undisclosed, insider information to take advantage of stocks and make money. However, it is <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-difference-between-a-hot-day-trading-tip-and-i.html">not the same as a <em>hot tip</em></a>, and that can muddy the waters a little. If you hear, through rumors or gossip, that a company like Apple or Google is going to have a great quarter, and you buy shares, you are not breaking the law. This tip has not come directly to you from an insider, and is not based on undisclosed information. It's simply a tip, like the Internet reporting that &quot;More Spirit is a favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.&quot;</p> <h2>Why Is Insider Trading Illegal?</h2> <p>This has been debated among professionals in the industry for decades. After all&hellip;who really loses from insider trading? Someone who works at the company gives a friend some information, they buy shares, the shares go up, and everyone makes money. There's no specific loser in this scenario. That money was not stolen. It was created by the stock market.</p> <p>However, insider trading creates a &quot;rigged game.&quot; If corporate insiders use the information they have to make money, then it would lead to a scenario in which only a chosen few would make most of the profits from the stock market. This would lead to a lot of people running away from the markets, because they know they will not be able to make any money, and the entire system would come crashing down.</p> <p>Basically, if insider trading were made legal, the stock market would experience a catastrophic meltdown, and businesses worldwide would be ruined.</p> <p>Think of it like a casino. If you knew that some people at the Craps table were allowed to a play with loaded dice, would you bother taking a turn?</p> <h2>How Do You Know if You're Doing It?</h2> <p>Here's the part you need to be aware of; you do not want to end up like Martha Stewart.</p> <p>The first question to ask yourself is, &quot;Does this feel right?&quot; Really, we all know when we're doing something a little shady, and although it's very easy to justify our actions, we know when something is wrong. However, if your conscience is clear, but you still want to make sure you're doing the right thing, consider the following points:</p> <ul> <li>If you are acting on information that has not been made public, you are almost certainly breaking the law. Don't do it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you are passing on undisclosed information to someone, and they use it to make money, you are both guilty of insider trading.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you receive a tip from someone, check to see if it is based on information that has been made public. If it hasn't, you could be in trouble.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you know someone who works at a company you want to invest in, do not ask a lot of questions. You may inadvertently get them to reveal insider information, and then you will both be in a lot of trouble.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you are worried about the trade, don't do it. Or, report it to the SEC.</li> </ul> <p><em>Have you ever been tempted to use insider information to score a win on the stock market?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/insider-trading-is-a-lot-more-common-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-add-gold-to-your-portfolio">4 Ways to Add Gold to Your Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-mental-bias-is-harming-your-investments">This One Mental Bias Is Harming Your Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market">Here&#039;s How Boomers and Millennials Are Creating Winners on the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment crime gordon gekko greed illegal insider knowledge insider trading martha stewart phil mickelson stock market Wed, 03 Aug 2016 09:30:44 +0000 Paul Michael 1757853 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do When You Suspect a Scam http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_using_phone_39165382.jpg" alt="Man reacting when he suspects a financial scam" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Within days of filing my taxes this year, I started getting suspicious phone calls. Apparently, the IRS was suing me and I had to pay a &quot;settlement&quot; amount, or I would be hearing from lawyers pursuing a much greater amount of money.</p> <p>Fortunately for me, my husband works in the financial industry and knows <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-the-irs-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about-them" target="_blank">how the IRS works</a> &mdash; they always send a letter first. Since I knew from the outset that the call was a scam, it was actually kind of funny to be on the receiving end of one of these calls that I'd heard so much about.</p> <p>But for many, many people &mdash; up to one in 10 in <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/9401927/One-in-ten-people-fall-victim-to-scams-investigation-finds.html">the general population</a>, and one in five in <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303330204579248292834035108">the over-65 demographic</a> &mdash; these calls aren't funny at all. They are terrifying, and people will spend whatever they have to in order to keep the supposed IRS off their backs. And this IRS scam isn't the only one!! In fact, there are several common phone scams that take financial advantage of people who simply don't know any better.</p> <p>Wondering how to spot one of these scams, both in the calls you get and in the lives of those you care about? Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>Government Agencies Won't Call You Out of The Blue</h2> <p>Most government agencies will <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/scam-phone-calls-continue-irs-identifies-five-easy-ways-to-spot-suspicious-calls">contact you first by mail</a>, even if they think you owe them quite a bit of money. So if someone calls and claims to be from the IRS, FBI, local law enforcement, jury duty enforcement, or any other government agency, you can be pretty sure that they are scamming you. This is especially true if they are asking you for money, for you Social Security Number, or anything else like that.</p> <p>If you're unsure as to the legitimacy of the call, tell the scammer that you are driving and cannot pay right now, but you'd like to call back as soon as you've stopped. Get as much information as you can, like the name and the official title of the person calling you, and the name of the department they claim to be representing. Then, when you're off the line, do some research. Find a phone number or email address for the department and call them directly. Explain the call you received and that you aren't sure it was legitimate, and let them help you figure it out.</p> <p>These calls can be especially harmful to people who feel vulnerable or afraid, like many elderly people, people living alone, etc. If you know or love someone in one of these categories, make sure they know that these calls can be fake. Offer to back them up if they ever need it, and remind them that they have rights, too.</p> <h2>Cold Calls From Charities</h2> <p>Did you ever get a call out of nowhere from a charity, cause, or campaign asking for an immediate donation? These can be among the most confusing calls to receive, because some non-profits use this as a legitimate marketing technique.</p> <p>If you aren't sure that the call is legit but you're interested in a cause, explain that you are uncomfortable giving out financial information over the phone. Get the exact name of the organization and Google it. See if you can find any reviews of the organization. Then, donate online or call the number provided on the website to make your donation.</p> <p>Also, don't share personal information, like your Social Security Number, over the phone. It is perfectly acceptable to simply say that you don't give out that data that way. If they pressure you, they either aren't legitimate or they might not be an organization you'd want to donate to anyway.</p> <h2>Computer Support Scams</h2> <p>If anyone ever calls you out of the blue and <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/consumer-protection/how-to-identify-a-phone-scam/">asks you to install</a> something on your computer, run away. The programs they have you install will mine your personal data and collect things like usernames and passwords, which the scammer can then use to steal your identity and your money.</p> <p>Instead of following the directions a cold-calling supposed computer tech gives you, you can either tell them that you're not worried about your machine or you can thank them for their information and tell them you'll have someone look at the machine in person (and you can actually do this, if you're concerned).</p> <h2>If You Get Scammed, Act Fast</h2> <p>If you get scammed, take a deep breath. There are still some things you can do to give yourself the best chance of recovery. First, create an <a href="https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/">identity theft report</a> through the Federal Trade Commission. This might not get you your money back immediately, but it will help them follow up on and catch scammers.</p> <p>Next, place a fraud alert on your credit report with one of the three credit reporting agencies (<a href="http://www.experian.com">Experian</a>, <a href="http://www.transunion.com">TransUnion</a>, and <a href="http://www.equifax.com">Equifax</a>). This automatically causes all three agencies to tell potential creditors to take extra steps to confirm your identity before opening any sort of line of credit, which can stop scammers in their tracks.</p> <p>If you think your Social Security number might be compromised, contact <a href="https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3792/What-should-I-do-if-I-think-someone-is-using-my-Social-Security-number">Social Security</a> and the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft">Internal Revenue Service</a>. They will help you take steps to ensure your number is not used fraudulently.</p> <p>Even if you don't get scammed, report potential scam calls to the FTC. This helps them track and stop scammers before they hurt someone else.</p> <h2>Helping Potential Scam Victims You May Know</h2> <p>Maybe you feel confident that you could avoid being scammed, but you're concerned for elderly relatives or other people you know. Start by having a conversation about the types of scams that are out there and the impact they could have. If you are in a place to do so, set up a system for a loved one where you or another close friend or family member can verify the legitimacy of an organization before the vulnerable person donates. Having this in place ahead of time can help stop the scam before it starts.</p> <p>If you can't have that conversation or you're not sure how well the other person took it, keep your ears open. Many scams play on fear and anxiety, and people who have given into that often talk about it. If someone mentions owing money to the IRS or another government agency, ask some more questions.</p> <p>Similarly, listen for discussions about donating money, prepaying funeral expenses, and more. Even if your loved one has already been scammed, keeping your ears open can help you nip the problem in the bud before it destroys their financial future.</p> <p>If you have a loved one who has been scammed in the past, it might behoove you to set up some sort of joint access to their bank and credit card accounts. That way, you can monitor any money movement and spot transactions that might be fraudulent.</p> <p>You can also teach yourself and your loved ones to become scam resistant. Don't answer calls from numbers you don't recognize (if they have something to say, they can leave a message!). Google the numbers before you call them back, as there are websites that will report on whether or not the number belongs to a fraudster. Look up the numbers for the folks who call you independently, so you can check on the legitimacy of the call before you disclose any information.</p> <p>Maybe most importantly, learn to control your own feelings. Dealing with scammers is difficult because they try to manipulate emotions. Staying calm is usually more than half the battle, rather than giving in to fear, anxiety, a desire to help, and more. Train yourself to do this and help the potentially vulnerable people in your life to do the same, and you will be nearly scam resistant.</p> <p><em>Have you or a loved one been scammed? What was the scam and how did you recover?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-ways-thieves-use-your-stolen-credit-card">Top 5 Ways Thieves Use Your Stolen Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-a-digital-camera-online-until-you-read-this">DO NOT buy a digital camera online until you read this.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance crime elderly fake calls federal trade commission financial abuse fraud IRS scams theft Tue, 12 Jul 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1749903 at http://www.wisebread.com The World's 4 Biggest Credit Card Scams http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-scanner-492297013-small.jpg" alt="credit card scanner" title="credit card scanner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know that you need to keep your credit cards close and keep an even closer eye on your statements, lest you fall victim to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it?ref=inarticle">credit card fraud</a>. But how do credit card scams really happen? Here's a look at some of the biggest card heists, and how they went down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-be-fooled-by-2014s-most-common-new-scams?ref=seealso">Don't Be Fooled by 2014's Most Common New Scams</a>)</p> <h2>1. Fake Payment Terminals</h2> <p>In England in 2008, computer science student <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2008/10/29/men-jailed-for-16m-fake-credit-card-factory-81691/">Anup Patel</a> and an accomplice could have caused more than $27 million in losses to banks when they stole some 19,000 credit card numbers through gas station credit card terminals, and set up a home credit card factory to put those numbers on new, working cards.</p> <p>Devices known as skimmers, attached to a credit card scanner or ATM machine and painted to blend in, are a common way for thieves to collect card information. The pair also set up hidden cameras, in order to capture information consumers typed in, such as PINs or other identifying data.</p> <p>In this case, the scammers pocketed about $3.5 million &mdash; before they landed in prison.</p> <h2>2. Employee-Operated Skimmers</h2> <p>Sort of like the above example, but with more sleight of hand, is the technique of double scanning a credit card in a restaurant or retail establishment. A waiter or waitress can slide your card through the restaurant terminal to apply legitimate charges, then slide it through another scanner in an apron pocket to collect data for future fraud. The irony here is that you will probably tip the person who just robbed you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a>)</p> <p>In 2011, the <a href="http://www.usfoods.com/your-business/cost-control/archive/beware-of-credit-card-skimming.html">Secret Service busted a 28-person ring</a> who worked at steakhouses, targeting high-limit cards, and ran up $1 million in charges at luxury stores before getting caught.</p> <h2>3. Hackers</h2> <p>The largest thefts of credit card information hit the stores directly, not individual customers. Hackers sneak software onto the store's credit card processing computers, or break into databases where customer information is stored, accessing millions of card numbers at a time. Fortunately, the merchants and credit card companies involved typically cover any losses to consumers in these incidents.</p> <h3>TJX Companies: More Than 45 Million Card Numbers Stolen</h3> <p>With a <a href="http://www.securityfocus.com/news/11455">security hole that gaped open from 2005 through 2007</a>, the owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and other stores admitted that it would probably never know the full extent of customer information stolen from it. Because the breach had been going on so long before the company warned cardholders, lots of fraud was perpetrated using the stolen information, including $8 million in merchandise theft by one gift card fraud ring in Florida alone.</p> <h3>Target: 40 Million Card Numbers Stolen</h3> <p>Target advertised hard in the run-up to 2013's Black Friday, and was rewarded by millions of shoppers pouring through store doors. Unfortunately, many of those shoppers later found out their credit card information had been stolen when they swiped their cards at Target's registers. The culprit was a simple piece of malware installed on a company computer that managed to spread itself to every register of every store, and siphon up customer data as they swiped their cards. Target promised that customers would lose no money due to the breach, but Target lost big time, with a <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-13/target-missed-alarms-in-epic-hack-of-credit-card-data">46% decline in sales and a $61 million recovery bill</a>.</p> <p>It also cost CEO Gregg Steinhafel his job.</p> <h3>CardSystems Solutions: 40 Million Card Numbers Stolen</h3> <p>A <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/17/news/master_card/">virus installed on computers of this third-party Mastercard and Visa transaction processor</a> in 2005 resulted in the compromise of 40 million customers' card numbers, in an incident that first awakened many consumers and credit card industry insiders to the very real danger of cybercrime. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keep-your-credit-card-safe-while-shopping-online?ref=seealso">Keep Your Credit Card Safe While Shopping Online</a>)</p> <h2>4. Credit Cards Created for Fake or Stolen Identities</h2> <p>If a thief steals your credit card number and starts running up charges, chances are you'll notice the illicit charges on your card statement and put a stop to it. But crooks who manage to take out new credit accounts in real or fictitious names can get away with running up more bills for longer.</p> <p>In 2013, <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/newark/press-releases/2013/four-plead-guilty-in-200-million-international-credit-card-fraud-conspiracy">four conspirators were charged</a> in Trenton, NJ with setting up an elaborate network of fake identities to borrow more than $200 million. The victims here were mainly credit card companies and businesses, since many of the 7,000 false identities under which they set up credit accounts were fictional. They managed to create good credit profiles for their fictional identities by setting up shell businesses and reporting paid-off loans in the straw borrowers' names.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of credit card fraud? How did you find out?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out">The scams and cons that could clean you out.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top 7 Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified">Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: Are You Pre-Qualified?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-a-digital-camera-online-until-you-read-this">DO NOT buy a digital camera online until you read this.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit cards credit theft crime identity theft scams Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1203754 at http://www.wisebread.com DIY Home Defense: 10 Ways to Protect Your Home From Burglars http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-defense-10-ways-to-protect-your-home-from-burglars <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/diy-home-defense-10-ways-to-protect-your-home-from-burglars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/burglar-5318614-small.jpg" alt="burglar" title="burglar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Based on numbers from the <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012">FBI&#39;s annual crime report</a>, there were an estimated 2.1 million burglaries in the United States in 2012. What&#39;s more, nearly 75% of those crimes took place at residential properties. And, while those statistics reflect a slight drop in burglary rates, the numbers are still a wake-up call for every safety-conscious renter and homeowner in the country. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-choosing-the-right-home-safe">How to Choose the Right Home Safe</a>)</p> <p>Surprisingly, <a href="http://www.crimedoctor.com/home.htm">most burglaries aren&rsquo;t random</a>. Rather, thieves use an active and careful selection process to target homes with specific vulnerabilities. Since the best defense is a good offense, now is the time to do a security check of your own home and look for weaknesses that might make it attractive in all the wrong ways. And as you do, keep in mind these 10 DIY ways to protect your home from burglary.</p> <h2>1. Beef Up Doors</h2> <p>As a rule, all exterior doors should be solid wood or metal-clad with a wood core. Anything less doesn&#39;t offer protection against break-ins. Burglars can easily kick in hollow-core or thinner wood-panel doors, completely compromising your home&#39;s security. Refer to the The Family Handyman&#39;s step-by-step <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/doors/installation/how-to-replace-an-exterior-door/view-all">guide on replacing an exterior door</a> for details on installing a more secure exterior door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-afford-a-home-alarm-system-you-probably-already-have-one">A Cheap Alternative to a Home Alarm System</a>)</p> <h2>2. Deadbolt It</h2> <p>A quality door deserves a quality lock, and that starts with a deadbolt. Deadbolts are more difficult to tamper with and offer an essential first line of defense against intruders gaining access to your home. According to <a href="http://blog.allstate.com/10-tips-to-improve-your-homes-security/">home security tips</a> from The Blog by Allstate, homeowners should install a deadbolt to each exterior door and make sure that the bolt portion of the lock has at least a one inch reach inside the door frame. The DIY Network offers a great guide on <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-install-a-deadbolt-lock/index.html">how to install a deadbolt lock yourself</a>.</p> <h2>3. Reinforce Glass Near Entry Points</h2> <p>Doorways framed by narrow and tall windows are an attractive design feature in many contemporary homes, but they&#39;re not great for home defense. Glass near entryways can be broken and provide easy access to locks and other security devices. Security professionals suggest bulking up these types of windows by adding quarter-inch clear Plexiglas panels attached securely to the wall or solid window frame.</p> <p>A safety note here: Reserve the Plexiglass shields for windows around doorways or other non-essential decorative windows. Installing them throughout your home can interfere with exit points if there&#39;s a fire.</p> <h2>4. Add Motion-Sensitive Lighting</h2> <p>Take away burglars&#39; biggest advantage &mdash; the cover of darkness. Motion-sensitive exterior lighting is activated by even the slightest movement, serving to surprise intruders and provide a visual alarm to the rest of the neighborhood.</p> <h2>5. Landscape Defensively</h2> <p>Make your home less appealing to burglars by keeping vegetation trimmed. Trees, shrubbery, and tall grasses close to your home provide the perfect camouflage for intruders &mdash; offering ideal places to hide and cover the traces of a break-in. Pruning shrubs is a free offensive move and the results are immediate. Reserve a few hours next weekend to strategically cut back overgrown hedges, trees, and other greenery.</p> <h2>6. Cover It Up</h2> <p>Burglars often shop their targets before break-ins, peeking in windows to gauge the value of what&#39;s inside. Shutting blinds and drawing drapes, especially when no one&#39;s home, can help keep the contents of your home away from prying eyes.</p> <h2>7. Stash the Trash</h2> <p>One of the burglary prevention tips from Houselogic.com urges homeowners to be <a href="http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-security/how-to-prevent-burglaries/#.">more aware of the trash they set at the curbside</a>. Burglars are busy on trash day, scouting for boxes and other packaging that may signal expensive new purchases. Don&#39;t advertise that new 50&quot; flat screen TV you bought by displaying the box curbside. Instead, break packages down, seal in garbage bags, and mix with other refuse.</p> <h2>8. Add Interior Timers</h2> <p>Again, <a href="http://blog.allstate.com/10-tips-to-improve-your-homes-security/">home security advice</a> from The Blog by Allstate stresses the importance of making your home look occupied at all times. Typically, burglars want to avoid a face-to-face confrontation, instead targeting homes where there&#39;s an obvious vacancy. Connect timers to interior lights, TVs, and radios. Set lights to come on about hour before sunset and have TVs and radios activate periodically throughout the day.</p> <h2>9. Watch Your Paper Trail</h2> <p>Just as boxes from big ticket items advertise what&#39;s inside your home, mail and newspapers piling up advertise that you&#39;re out of town. Keep your comings and goings low-profile by holding your mail and stopping and newspaper delivery while you&#39;re out of town. If you have a sudden trip and don&#39;t have time to prepare, ask a trusted neighbor to collect these deliveries for you and hold them until you return. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eliminate-junk-mail-with-the-click-of-a-button">How to Eliminate Junk Mail</a>)</p> <h2>10. Get to Know Your Neighbors</h2> <p>There&#39;s safety in numbers. Work to build a sense of community between your neighbors. Without being intrusive, get to know names, recognize faces, identify cars, and become familiar with general schedules, etc. Understanding the pattern and flow of your neighborhood can help everyone notice the anomalies that sometimes indicate trouble. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-boost-your-neighborhood-and-your-homes-value">How to Boost Your Neighborhood and Your Home&#39;s Value</a>)</p> <p>Home defense doesn&#39;t have to cost a fortune. There are some simple and valuable measures every homeowner can take to make their spaces more secure. With a critical eye, some basic planning, and a few weekend projects, you can make your home safer and build a bit more peace-of-mind in the process.</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to protect your home and property?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-defense-10-ways-to-protect-your-home-from-burglars">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-afford-a-home-alarm-system-you-probably-already-have-one">Can&#039;t Afford a Home Alarm System? You Probably Already Have One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-ways-to-protect-your-home-during-the-holidays">7 Frugal Ways to Protect Your Home During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home burglary crime home security self defense Wed, 30 Oct 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 1031609 at http://www.wisebread.com Take These Costs Off Your Worry List in 2011 http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011 <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011-tom-harnish" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/take-these-costs-off-your...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011193166XSmall.jpg" alt="Worried couple" title="Worried couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us spend a lot of time and money worrying about things that really aren't problems. For example, violence and oddballs fill our screens because news today is more about attracting eyeballs to advertisers than informing viewers. &quot;If it bleeds, it leads&quot; has been the driving philosophy of the evening news, if not in fact, then in principle. As a result, we're left with the impression that all sorts of terrible things will happen if we're foolish enough to venture out of the house, use our cell phones, get vaccinations, or live near power lines. But that's not reality.</p> <p>In fact, the rate of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and assault) has continuously declined since 1980. That's true of property crimes (burglary, larceny, and car theft) too. And there's conclusive evidence that cell phones don't cause brain cancer, vaccines don't cause autism, and high-tension power lines won't make you crazy. Sure there are people who get a lot of airtime claiming they know more than everyone else, but that doesn't make them right.</p> <p>Likewise, as business owners with real problems like cash flow, you may be focusing your worries on cutting costs that don't really affect your bottom line. Here are 3 costs you can take off your worry list.</p> <h3>The Price of Gas</h3> <p>We worry a lot about gas prices and car mileage, too. But fuel costs are less than 20% of the cost of operating your car. The difference in fuel cost for an SUV that gets 20 miles per gallon and an economy car that gets 30 miles per gallon (assuming you drive 10,000 miles a year and fuel costs $2.50 a gallon) is about $35 a month. That's probably half of your cable and Internet subscription.</p> <p>Or look at fuel costs another way: If you typically need to put 15 gallons in your car to fill it up, and you have a choice of pulling in to a station that charges $2.50 per gallon or waiting in a line for gas that costs $2.40 per gallon, which will you choose? Think about it for a minute. The difference is a buck and a half. And that doesn't include the cost of the gas you consumed while you were waiting or the value of your time. Assuming the same 10,000 miles a year and the higher fuel consumption rate (20 miles per gallon), you'll put 15 gallons in about 30 times. So in a year you'd only save $45 (or about $30 a year if you have an economy car) if you wait in line for the lower price.</p> <p>Is that really worth worrying about? If you run a company and spend that same time and thought to make a few more sales, you'd cover those small cost differences and a lot more.</p> <h3>Computer Electricity Costs</h3> <p>Do you worry about office electricity costs, for computers in particular? There has been a lot of ink (or pixels) used to warn us about the electricity they waste when they aren't being used. After all, there are about 100 million personal computers used in the United States, and about half are left on all the time. That means that 75% of the time those computers are sitting there doing nothing but using energy and costing money while they tirelessly ask themselves, &quot;Did someone press a key, did someone press a key, did someone press a key, is there any new email, did someone press key, did someone press a key?&quot;</p> <p>Well, that <em>would</em> be a waste, except computer makers thought about it. They built low-energy and sleep modes into your computer, and your computer spins down your hard drive when it's not being used. According to Apple specifications, a Mac Mini, for example, uses about 1.5 watts when it's asleep. An idle HP inkjet printer uses even less, about .4 watts, the same as your iPod charger. So they cost you about $1.50 a year and 50&cent; a year, respectively, if you never turn them off (assuming a U.S. average 10&cent; per kilowatt hour). That's compared to about $60 a year that it costs to actually use the computer and an LCD monitor eight hours a day every day &mdash; about half what your dishwasher costs if you run it once a day.</p> <h3>Vampire Power</h3> <p>While we're on the topic of energy, have you seen the scare headlines about how appliances &ldquo;leak&rdquo; power? Televisions, cable boxes, answering machines, cordless phones, fax machines, video games, and even rechargeable electric toothbrushes do draw power all the time. But vampire power usage isn't very much per device. A cellphone charger uses barely a watt when it's plugged in but not connected to a cell phone. Your electric toothbrush uses less than a watt when you aren't brushing. What about that old TV that uses 10 watts of standby power even when it's off? (Modern TVs all use less than a watt.) Even that sucker is only costing you about a buck a month. In any event, the problem will go away soon as old TVs are junked and more countries require vampire power usage of no more than one watt on new devices.</p> <p>All told, standby power accounts for only 5% of your energy use. Instead, if you want to worry about something, worry about your heating, cooling, and lighting costs.</p> <p>Now stop worrying and get back to work.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/take-these-costs-off-your-worry-list-in-2011">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center crime gas prices reduce electricity small business Sat, 25 Dec 2010 16:00:41 +0000 Tom Harnish 397690 at http://www.wisebread.com How to travel to and from Canada http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-to-and-from-canada <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-travel-to-and-from-canada" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/canadian_flag.jpg" alt="canadian flag" title="canadian flag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting to and from Canada is getting to be a real pain in the ass. I should know, since I cross the border several times a year to visit family and friends all over the Great White North.</p> <p>The border has always given me the jitters. I've never tried to illegally take anything over the border, but I'm still always a bit freaked out by the process, especially since the guards are getting touchier and touchier as travel restrictions and passport rules get stricter.</p> <p>Years ago, the way to get pulled over on the way into the US was to speak with a Russian accent. I know this, because my immigrant grandmother would do it every time. Despite being instructed to keep her mouth shut during the mild interrogation, she would always make a point to pipe up and say &quot;I'm see-tee-sen United States of Amerrrrreeca.&quot; She'd look really proud, too. And then we'd get sent over to the border patrol office to prove that she was not, in fact, a Commie spy sent by the Canadians to social medicine or whatever.</p> <p>Crossing into Canada has always been a comparatively easy experience. The guards often have some kind of cute Saskatchewan accent, they ask roughly 2.3 questions, and then they wave you on. Recently, they've been considerably snarkier, as evidenced by my family's recent hour-long diversion at the Blaine border, where we attempted in vain to convince a grouchy Canadian guard that my mother was not, in fact, actually a Canadian citizen. In any case, the Canadians are still vastly more accepting and less freaked out by their duties than the American border guards.</p> <p>Want proof?</p> <p>American guards now Google you.</p> <p>Yup. If go get pulled aside for a random search, and the American guards are so inclined, they can just go ahead and Google your name, look at your web persona and records, and harrass you based on what you've said or done in the past. It happened to <a href="http://thetyee.ca/News/2007/04/23/Feldmar/">Andrew Feldmar</a>, a Canadian psychotherapist who was trying to get to Seattle to visit some family back in April of this year.</p> <p>Having written an article about <a href="http://www.janushead.org/4-1/feldmar.cfm">using LSD</a> as part of therapy apparently got Feldmar barred from entering the US. In his online writings, Feldmar admitted to having used LSD during the 1960s and 1970s (you know, a few years before the current President of the United States was snorting cocaine and driving around drunk as a skunk). Having discussed this online, Feldmar apparently is now a <strong>confessed criminal</strong>, and the US won't let him in.</p> <p><a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11734810">NPR</a> broached this subject as sort of a &quot;Hey! Technology means that people know a lot about you! So be careful about what you say online!&quot; angle, which I understand, but I feel sort of misses the point. Writing blogs or anything personal online is risky, because giving out personal information always makes you vulnerable, be it to vicious criticism, general scrutiny, or in this case, over-caffeinated border guards. That's the double-edged sword of the blogging world - you get to share experiences and advice with other people, but the flaws or mistakes that you divulge are easy for anyone to find.</p> <p>I think about this often - I worry that I might have trouble traveling to China, given that I am highly critical of their current export crisis. But this isn't enough to keep my quiet - I'd rather not get into China (Taiwan will still have me, anyway, right?) than to silence my objections to what I see as unethical practices.</p> <p>And Feldmar's situation is completely insane - the man dropped acid 40 years ago, along with half of the youth of the day. He has no criminal record, yet discussing his drug use online is enough to get the US government to ban him from visiting family.</p> <p>Anyway, having crossed the border many times without <strong>major</strong> incident, here are my tips for getting back and forth between the US and Canada:</p> <h4>Don't even think of taking anything illegal across the border.</h4> <p>If you are going into Canada, don't take your fire arms. They don't like that. If you are crossing into the US, please smoke all of your weed beforehand. It'll make the experience more fun.</p> <h4>Be polite.</h4> <p>Not overly polite - you don't have to grin like an idiot. I'm sure the guards get a kick out of hearing your voice get all high-pitched as you use your telephone voice to sweettalk them, but don't bother. Speak loudly enough so that they can hear you.</p> <h4>Get your story straight.</h4> <p>Have one person do the talking unless the guard addresses someone else in the car. You don't have to tell them everywhere that you are going to go, but you should have some details. I once had a Canadian guard ask me the name of the street where my cousins live. It took me a minute to dregde this info out of my brain, because I always drove to my cousins' place by site - I just knew where to go without knowing the street names. If you are staying at a hotel, know the name. Have your reservation info printed out.</p> <h4>Bring your passport.</h4> <p>No, it's not required yet (and if you're a US citizen, it'll be months before you receive it, due to serious lack of foresight by our State Department), but this will not prevent guards on either side from getting all power-trippy and forcing you to pull over for a lecture from a broad-shouldered, stern border guard named Bertha. If you don't have your passport, make sure to bring every ounce of documentation that proves that you are who you are. Birth certificate, Social Security card/National ID, driver's license, state-issued ID, bills, whatever. Bring it all. You'll still experience much huffing and puffing by the border, but at least you'll likely be let into and out of the country.</p> <h4>Don't take pictures of anything.</h4> <p>We learned this on the hard way, when a guard started shrieking at my boyfriend to <em>TURN</em> <em>OFF YOUR PHONE TURN IT OFF NOW NOW NOWNOWNOW!</em> when my boyfriend (clearly a terrorist) tried to check his voicemail while waiting for the guards to inspect our car. They assumed that we were taking a digital photo to send to our terrorist friends. Keep your hands in site and don't do anything fun until you're across the border.</p> <h4>If you get Googled, deny deny deny.</h4> <p>OK, so it's possible that you've already discussed your illegal drug use online, posting photos of you with your crack pipe. Perhaps take these down from your blog beforetraveling? It's one thing to talk about drug use, but it's quite another to have photographic proof of you doing something illegal. Try to limit this kind of thing if you plan to cross the border frequently.</p> <p>That said,<strong> you are allowed to lie online</strong>. People exaggerate all the time, and saying something in a blog is not the same thing as a written confession following an arrest, in which you've waived your Miranda rights. If you are not being investigated for a crime, you cannot be treated like a criminal. Just in case, it wouldn't hurt to keep your government representatives' phone numbers handy.</p> <h4>A little flattery can go a long way.</h4> <p>Things that have helped me win the affection of the US border patrol:</p> <ol> <li> <div>Mention that you bought your Canadian friend/relative a shirt that says &quot;Go USA!&quot;. They usually find this pretty funny.</div> </li> <li> <div>If you are an American, sigh dreamily and say, &quot;Wow, it's good to be back home!&quot; Nevermind if it doesn't make any sense since you're technically STILL in Canada.</div> </li> <li> <div>If you are a Canadian, tell them that you can't wait to catch an MBA/NFL game (try to get the season right, though). Say something like &quot;We don't have anything like that in Canada!&quot;</div> </li> <li> <div>When asked if you have anything to declare, say, &quot;You know, I don't think that Canadian beer lives up to the hype. Gimme a Coors/Bud/favorite microbrew any day! Oh, like declare for customs? No, nothing.&quot;</div> </li> </ol> <p>Things that seem to help with Canadian border patrol:</p> <ol> <li> <div>Ask them directions to the nearest Tim Horton's. Lick your lips and say that you haven't had a proper crueller (pronounced &quot;crooler&quot;) in <strong>months</strong>.</div> </li> <li> <div>Have someone in the car loudly declare &quot;You know what? The metric system really makes so much more sense!&quot;</div> </li> <li> <div>Canadians heading home: When they ask if you have anything to declare, say &quot;God save the Queen!&quot; or &quot;You're totally right about American beer! Blech!&quot; Americans heading into Canada: &quot;Yay! Canadian beer! We were getting tired of all that bottled water that passes for beer in America!&quot;</div> </li> </ol> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-travel-to-and-from-canada&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20to%20travel%20to%20and%20from%20Canada.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20travel%20to%20and%20from%20Canada" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20travel%20to%20and%20from%20Canada.jpg" alt="How to travel to and from Canada" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-to-and-from-canada">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-take-stunning-travel-photos">8 Simple Ways to Take Stunning Travel Photos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-travel-destinations-for-wine-lovers">5 Cheap Travel Destinations for Wine Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Travel blog border Canada crime drug use guard LSD patrol security Thu, 05 Jul 2007 00:30:33 +0000 Andrea Karim 808 at http://www.wisebread.com DO NOT buy a digital camera online until you read this. http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-a-digital-camera-online-until-you-read-this <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/772806_crime_scene_7.jpg" alt="Crime" title="Crime" width="300" height="247" /><br />Wisebread readers, take note. This is not just a case of buyer beware. This is “buyer run for your life clutching your credit card close to your chest.” Bestpricecameras.com, one of hundreds of Brooklyn-based digital camera stores with very shoddy reputations, is out to do one thing…deceive you and take your money. In my opinion, they are performing a classic fraud called Bait And Switch (more on that later).</p> <p>So, my wife has her own photography business. I decided it was time to upgrade her camera to something rather special. A Fujifilm S5 Pro, which has an RRP of $2400. I did what I always do when searching for a new product…I went to Google Products and did a search. </p> <p><strong>THE BAIT</strong><br />Many results came back from Google Products, but I was surprised to see a result for $1089. No, that’s too cheap. It’s too good to be true, right? Well, the web page said no. A very professional site gave me the lowdown on the new camera. It said it came with a full one-year US warranty, instantly calming my fears that this was gray market (Chinese) product. They don’t carry that kind of warranty. And the deal, wow, what a deal. Not only was I promised the Fuji Camera (body only of course, she has all her own lenses) but I also was offered an MP4 player, a digital flash, full-size tripod, cleaning kit, and express shipping FREE. I patted myself on the back for getting the deal of the century, entered my payment details and sat back, smug and impressed with myself. I got my wife a great camera for half price. Sweet.</p> <p><strong>THE SWITCH</strong><br />A few minutes after placing my order, I got the email saying I had to call and confirm. No big deal, sounds professional. And that’s when the whole world came tumbling down. </p> <p>A very pushy salesman called Richard, with an accent right out of The Sopranos, answered the phone. His first job was to tell me the camera I had ordered was a Chinese model and came with nothing else but the body. “That’s what body-only means” he said smugly. “No battery, no strap, no charger, just the body…and it will take 6-8 weeks to deliver. Oh, and it only comes with a 90 day warranty. You’ll need to upgrade to the US model, I can do you a special deal on that, just $2100.” I haggled and haggled and was very confused, eventually he put the price of $1999.99 out there and before I knew what was happening, he said my new order would be on its way. </p> <p>A few seconds after I put the phone down, I felt sick. What had just happened? Was this bait ‘n’ switch? Had I just been through the oldest con in the game? I called back to immediately cancel my order. By that time, it was too late. The store had closed. I set my alarm to get up at 7.30 (9.30 NY time) to instantly call and cancel, and get a refund (you can see how badly that went in a second).</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/763499_fishing_hooks.jpg" alt="hooks" title="hooks" width="300" height="174" /></p> <p><strong>Bait And Switch. A rough guide. </strong></p> <p>Wikipedia defines Bait And Switch (BAS) as…</p> <blockquote><p>“…a form of fraud in which the fraudster lures in customers by advertising a product or service at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute good is. The goal of the bait-and-switch is to convince some buyers to purchase the substitute good as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait, or as a way to recover sunk costs expended to try to obtain the bait. It suggests that the seller will not show the original product or product advertised but instead will demonstrate a more expensive product.”</p></blockquote> <p>You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that Bestpricecameras.com are experts in Bait And Switch, even when the deny furiously that they are. I urge you all to <a href="http://www.bestpricecameras.com/">visit their website right now</a> and look at the myriad products and deals they have. Everything is well below retail, sometimes half of retail. There is no mention anywhere of Chinese models on the order page. In fact, on the whole site I found one mention. It was buried at the bottom of the help page, and read as follows….</p> <blockquote><p>BestPriceCameras carries US &amp; Non-US products. Non US products may be considerably less expensive. The product packaging may or may not include all software, accessories, and features intended for US customers. Please allow three to four weeks for delivery on some international products. USA warranty may be additional. Images and specifications are for illustrative purposes only.</p></blockquote> <p>Since my experience, and logging a complaint with the BBB, it has been reworded slightly and moved up the page. But it’s still deceptive and well-hidden from the main order pages (and now, I cant even copy &amp; paste it...they have disabled that feature, hence the screen cap below)….</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Picture_1_1.png" alt="small print" title="small print" width="768" height="48" /> </p> <p><strong>What does that all mean?</strong><br />Well, in either case, this one piece of verbiage is keeping bestpricecameras.com from being shut down permanently. They are basically covering their butts by saying ANYTHING on the site could in fact be gray market, stripped down and not available for immediate delivery. Crooks? Fraud? Make your own mind up, but I know a scam. </p> <p><strong>My continuing customer service nightmares.</strong><br />So, back to my hell. I called the customer service department the next day, very early, and talked to someone called James. I told him that I had been railroaded into a fraudulent deal, and wanted an instant cancellation before the order leaves their warehouse. The website states a 48 hour processing time, so no problem. Well, not so. He explained that the camera was in a warehouse ready to be shipped out with over 2500 other products and they could not find it (hmm, that’s handy). I stated clearly that as I had called to cancel, I was not going to pay a restocking fee, and he agreed. He also put a note on my account saying ‘no restocking fee’ so that when I received the camera I could return it without losing any money. </p> <p><strong>Lies, lies, lies.</strong> <br />A few days later, the camera arrives. I don’t even open the box. I just call and ask for my return authorization number. And that’s when bestpricecameras.com went on high alert. I was passed around from one rude salesman to another, speaking to over 11 people in all, just to get a return number (which to this date I have not received). Guess what? No note had been placed on my account. I owed them 10%, or $200, to return a product I had tried to cancel less than 24 hours after ordering it. It hadn’t even been opened. <br />I was shouted at. Verbally abused. At one point I was even questioned about why I would want to return a product, and that as a company they only make about $6 on a camera like a FUJI S5 (somehow I’m doubting that). Then, they hung up.</p> <p>I called back again and talked to another CSR. Explaining why I thought I had been victimized, I pointed out that I was well aware of the phrase body-only, and that every reputable site includes the battery, charger and so on with the body. Body-only means no lens. He was adamant, I was wrong, he was right. “But hang on, the site said 1-yr warranty” I said. “The site is wrong” he said. Hmm, good to know. </p> <p>I had another question. “Why then, if it takes 6-8 weeks to deliver, does the site offer shipping options as quickly as overnight?” I was given no answer. “And why doesn’t it state on the site that this model is Chinese?” I asked. “It does” he said, look at the help center page. Well, I have already shown you that verbiage. </p> <p>I asked another salesman if he had heard of the term Bait And Switch. “We are not bait and switch” he said, parrot-fashion. He said it several times. When I asked him what he thought Bait And Switch meant, he fell silent for a few seconds and then said “we are not bait and switch.” This guy would not have done well on a debating team. Then he hung up on me.</p> <p>I called again, a day later, still trying to get a return number. This time I was shouted for asking for the customer service rep’s name. “HOW DARE YOU ASK THAT, YOU DON’T DESERVE TO KNOW THAT” he screamed before hanging up on me. My total number of hang-ups to date…seven. This company will not talk if they are backed into a corner. </p> <p><strong>Do everything you can to protect yourself.</strong><br />Across the Internet there are hundreds of very professional sites offering amazing deals. But save yourself a lot of time, money and effort and follow these pieces of advice, which I have garnered from several newsgroups, blogs and news stories about this epidemic.</p> <p>Do a Google search for the camera store name, and most importantly, add something like scam, rippoff or problems in the search. Read every comment. <br />Visit the BBB and do a name-check. If they have an unsatisfactory record, or no record, run like the wind. Here is what the BBB says about bestpricescameras.com (aka <a href="http://www.infinitycameras.com" title="www.infinitycameras.com">www.infinitycameras.com</a>, <a href="http://www.infiniticameras.com" title="www.infiniticameras.com">www.infiniticameras.com</a>, <a href="http://www.mraccessory.com" title="www.mraccessory.com">www.mraccessory.com</a>, <a href="http://www.regencycamera.com" title="www.regencycamera.com">www.regencycamera.com</a>, <a href="http://www.hellocamera.com" title="www.hellocamera.com">www.hellocamera.com</a>, <a href="http://www.beststopcamera.com" title="www.beststopcamera.com">www.beststopcamera.com</a>, <a href="http://www.jandkcameras.com" title="www.jandkcameras.com">www.jandkcameras.com</a>, <a href="http://www.eastcoastdistributor.com" title="www.eastcoastdistributor.com">www.eastcoastdistributor.com</a>) </p> <blockquote><p>Complaints to the Bureau allege that Best Price Cameras engages in high pressure sales tactics and false claims in order to intimidate consumers into buying extra items while they are placing their original order. Reports allege that these extra items are usually not compatible with the camera and consumers are not given an exact total of all items at the time of purchase. As a result, consumers are charged for warranties, batteries and other camera accessories that they did not know they were buying and that were advertised on the website as being included with the camera. Consumers report that invoices from Best Price Cameras are not itemized so it is difficult to know what consumers are being charged for and it is very difficult to obtain a refund. Consumers also detail grievances with the company such as being lied to about order status, cancelled orders without notification, purchasing and never receiving a product, being charged in excess of their original purchase without their consent, and difficulty contacting the company. </p></blockquote> <p>Check out this amazing collection of <a href="http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/">Brooklyn Camera Store images by Don Wiss</a> . If your camera store is included in the collection of images, run screaming.</p> <p>Do not trust ratingsplanet.com. From what I have uncovered, this is a front for companies with bad reputations. Bestpricecameras.com got amazing reviews. But go to a legitimate site like <a href="http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Best_Price_Cameras_6">reseller ratings</a> for a true picture. As you can see, it’s appalling. </p> <blockquote><p><strong>Bestpricecameras.com - </strong></p> <p>0.27 out of 10 - Lifetime rating</p> <p>0.42 out of 10 – 6 month rating (wow, they’re getting better)</p> </blockquote> <p>If it’s too good to be true, IT IS. No-one is going to sell you a $2400 camera for $1200, and I feel ashamed that I fell for it. Go to reputable sites like Adorama.com or Wolfcamera.com. They have great reputations and good customer service.</p> <p>Check the blogs for Digital Camera Scams. Here’s a story I found about wawadigital.com, and it’s way scarier than my experience. </p> <blockquote><p>They list cameras for the lowest prices out there and then after you give them all your credit card information will not sell you the camera unless you purchase inflated and unnecessary accessories to go with it,&quot; wrote Kristin of Troy, Mich.<br />&quot;When I told them I didn&#39;t want to purchase anything else, just the camera that they advertised, the representative yelled at me, spoke belligerently and told me that if I didn&#39;t buy the extra accessories he would cancel my order and charge my credit card a 20% restocking fee,&quot; Kristin said.<br />One blogger recounted the frightening experience one of his coworkers had. After refusing to purchase accessories, a representative left this message on the coworker&#39;s answering machine:<br />&quot;You better not pick up, b****. I&#39;m gonna to come down there and break your god**** neck. You heard me, alright? Kid, you better hear me, b****. Do you hear me, b****? Yes, you&#39;d better believe it. You&#39;re in big trouble, my friend.&quot; </p></blockquote> <p>And if you haven’t had enough punishment yet, try these links for yet more stories and complaints about bestpricecameras.com. Bottom line…they will lure you in with a great deal, then try and take you for as much as they can. You have been warned folks. </p> <p><a href="http://www0.epinions.com/msg/show_~threads/cat_id_~22/id_~6938/forum_id_~145">http://www0.epinions.com/msg/show_~threads/cat_id_~22/id_~6938/forum_id_~145</a> </p> <p><a href="http://www0.epinions.com/msg/show_~threads/cat_id_~22/id_~4653/forum_id_~145/sec_~forums/pp_~1#posts">http://www0.epinions.com/msg/show_~threads/cat_id_~22/id_~4653/forum_id_~145/sec_~forums/pp_~1#posts</a> </p> <p><a href="http://www.marketingsyndrome.com/blog/stay-away-from-bestpricecamerascom/">http://www.marketingsyndrome.com/blog/stay-away-from-bestpricecamerascom/</a> </p> <p><a href="http://boards.nbc.com/nbc/index.php?showtopic=738509">http://boards.nbc.com/nbc/index.php?showtopic=738509</a> </p> <p><a href="http://forums.photographyreview.com/showthread.php?t=10918&amp;page=2">http://forums.photographyreview.com/showthread.php?t=10918&amp;page=2</a> </p> <p><strong>And...the status of my camera horror story…</strong><br />As you can imagine, I gave up calling bestpricecameras.com. They either verbally abuse you, transfer you to someone else, or hang up. So, I have filed a complaint with the <a href="http://bbb.org/">BBB</a> and the <a href="http://www.ic3.gov/">Internet Crime Complaint Center</a> . I also called my credit card company to dispute the charges. I will let you know how it goes. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-a-digital-camera-online-until-you-read-this">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-key-to-free">The Key to Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-bargains-you-should-skip">10 Types of Bargains You Should Skip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Bait And Hook Bait And Switch BBB bestpricecameras.com crime digital cameras digital photography fraud ripoffs scams Wed, 23 May 2007 18:39:00 +0000 Paul Michael 674 at http://www.wisebread.com The scams and cons that could clean you out. http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-600407692.jpg" alt="protect yourself from scam artists" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Last time I gave you advice from the Real Hustle team, it was how to grab a few free drinks. A bit of harmless fun. This time, it&rsquo;s much more serious. These former professional con artists take you through some of the easiest, most effective ways that thieves can rip you off. Anything from a simple watch theft, to grabbing everything you own.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I looked through The Real Hustle archives and found so many scary scenarios, but these are the ones that seemed to affect everyone. So, watch carefully and keep your guard up at all times. It&rsquo;s a jungle out there.</p> <h2>1. Waitstaff Card Cloning</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">I&rsquo;ve always had a problem giving my credit card or debit card to anyone, especially in a restaurant when you typically lose sight of it for several minutes. Here, the con artists show you how easy it is for someone to copy your card and clean you out.<span> </span></p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/sexUus0igWs" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/sexUus0igWs" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <h2>2. Crutches Spell Trouble</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">I believe a certain Mr. Ted Bundy used crutches to lure his victims. Well, these days con artists are also using them. Here are two ways that being a Good Samaritan could leave you out of pocket. You have been warned.</p> <h3>The ATM Scam</h3> <p>All it takes is a few seconds of distraction, and worse still, you don&rsquo;t even realize you&rsquo;ve been robbed. Don&rsquo;t think you&rsquo;d fall for it? Well, I&rsquo;m sorry to say I fell for something very similar and I thank goodness the bank refunded my money.</p> <h3>The Watch Swipe</h3> <p class="MsoNormal">Not something to worry about if you have a $20 Casio on your arm. But if you happen to love your watch or have a Rolex on your arm, helping out a limping stranger may leave you looking for a new timepiece.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/XeI48Xm6G0w" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/XeI48Xm6G0w" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <h2>3. The Window Tap</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">How many times has someone distracted you while you were sitting in a bar, restaurant or café just casually getting on with your own thing? Well, be careful where you place your valuables. Lose sight of them for a second and you could lose sight of them forever.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/C89zYAjVmkg" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/C89zYAjVmkg" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <h2>4. Pickpockets</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">We've all heard of pickpockets. But as we evolve to outsmart them, they're always one step ahead of use. Watch your wallets, purses, phones and other personal items closely.</p> <h3>Jacket Pickpockets</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s amazing how downright brazen some thieves can be. In this clip, the expert con artist spots three &ldquo;marks&rdquo; and grabs a whole bunch of valuables in less time than it takes you to drink a cup of coffee.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9IwdtAIRBcY" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9IwdtAIRBcY" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <h3>The Newspaper Wallet</h3> <p class="MsoNormal">First of all, I would never carry my wallet in my back pocket. I just don&rsquo;t feel like it&rsquo;s safe there. But some guys do, and will often reach back now and again to make sure they still have it. Well, that could be just a bunch of newspaper they&rsquo;re safeguarding.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/N-OKWpfJ7G0" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/N-OKWpfJ7G0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <h2>5. The Booster Bag Scam</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">Sometimes, the simplest cons are the most effective. By using a larger bag with a hole cut in the bottom, a good scammer can walk away with your precious cargo. And for you ladies who keep everything in your purse, that could mean walking away with your most valuable possession &mdash; your identity.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/HWC1xQmdF5M" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/HWC1xQmdF5M" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I hope this has opened your eyes to just how many ways there are to lose anything and everything you call valuable. Generally, if you keep your wits about you, you&rsquo;re safe. But drop your guard, become too trusting or just be in the wrong place at the right time and a stealthy scammer can take you to the cleaners. Stay safe, people.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams">The World&#039;s 4 Biggest Credit Card Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged">How To Get Mugged</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-ways-thieves-use-your-stolen-credit-card">Top 5 Ways Thieves Use Your Stolen Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks crime identity theft protect yourself scams stolen theft victims Thu, 22 Feb 2007 18:12:56 +0000 Paul Michael 292 at http://www.wisebread.com