con http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5764/all en-US Five quick and simple scams that could happen to you today http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2046188221_dbd7640faf.jpg" alt="Scam" title="Scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Any long-time readers of Wise Bread know that I like to keep up-to-date on hustles, scams and con jobs. They change all the time, and new ones are invented daily. A US version of the UK show The Real Hustle has been trying out some very simple but effective cons on the American public, and they&rsquo;re getting away with some serious money. Watch, learn and stay alert. One of these could catch you out the next time you leave the office or home, even if it&rsquo;s just to grab some quick cash from an ATM or a small bite to eat. </p> <p><strong>The ATM Hustle</strong><br /> Here, two ways to grab your cash at an ATM are outlined, and in both methods you never even know you&rsquo;ve been the victim of a scam. The second version is more prevalent and has many variations as it requires no technology. Street teams work areas in busy cities, I was victim to a version of the second one about ten years ago in London. When using an ATM, keep your wits about you and if anything looks or feels suspicious, walk away. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=C_EaYT7pkYZfjPgmhgnE57YCh1go1VlX&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Laptop Switch-Off</strong><br /> Right now I&rsquo;m on the hunt for a used laptop for my wife, so this one really caught my attention. If you&rsquo;re a fan of Craigslist, you may be tempted by a used laptop at a great price. In this case, a $1000 Macbook for $500. But listen to that voice in your head, and realize that deals too good to be true usually are. When you buy a laptop, keep your eye on the machine at all times, test it thoroughly and most important, don&rsquo;t hand over your cash until the actual laptop is in your possession. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=dyGkeqs6THGTxkqGCmcLNLsMm19mUzSf&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Caf&eacute; Manager Scam</strong><br /> This one is all about questioning authority, or in this case, never questioning it. In most cases, we believe what we are seeing and hearing because we have no reason not to. When a guy in a suit approaches you in a caf&eacute; or restaurant and says he is the manager, why wouldn&rsquo;t you believe him? Big mistake. It just goes to show how far confidence can get you (hence, con man). At a restaurant table, there should be no reason at all to hand your credit card before the start of a meal, even if you&rsquo;re ordering drinks. And if you want to open a tab with a card, do it at the bar.&nbsp; </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=Jy0t_nuDRWTy3DNakCWiJZGJhjlTvr8X&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Bag Snatch</strong><br /> So simple and yet so effective. All it takes is a small distraction, just a conversation or someone asking the time, and your valuables are gone. Never put your bag down in a busy place, or if you do, keep one foot on the handle or strap. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=DB___c28VZ3ynJgcHSthwfi9PWsBgfxM&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"></embed></p> <p> <strong>The Distract &amp; Conquer Con</strong><br /> Here, the con artists take advantage of the Good Samaritan syndrome. BY posing as tourists and asking for help, they&rsquo;re able to get close to people and walk away with some very nice valuables. Again, keep these items on you, there&rsquo;s no need to have a cell-phone laying out on the table when jacket pocket will do the job just as well. </p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.trutv.com/video/embplayer/truPlayer.swf?PID=hBld8p5_222dCFFr3t8NCMzinTi_bbhY&amp;feedPID=NkdkaqXR_sXW88L24x_8SJ9lQiETubcc"></embed> </p> <p> You can find many more examples of hustles and con jobs at <a href="http://www.trutv.com/shows/real_hustle/">TruTV.com, under The Real Hustle</a>. Stay safe and aware folks.</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/five-quick-and-simple-scams-that-could-happen-to-you-today">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/the-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune.</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</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/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</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/could-you-determine-someones-creditworthiness-by-his-or-her-looks">Could you determine someone&#039;s creditworthiness by his or her looks?</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-overdraft-protection-racket-why-banks-want-you-to-overdraw-and-how-you-can-get-your-money-back">The Overdraft Protection Racket: Why Banks Want You To Overdraw, And How You Can Get Your Money Back.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs General Tips ATM cash con hustle police robbery scam theft Thu, 07 May 2009 19:50:17 +0000 Paul Michael 3138 at http://www.wisebread.com So, will Cash4Gold offer me cash to kill this story? http://www.wisebread.com/so-will-cash4gold-offer-me-cash-to-kill-this-story <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/so-will-cash4gold-offer-me-cash-to-kill-this-story" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1565420749_283e7c15ed_b.jpg" alt="Pirate gold" title="Pirate Gold" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="219" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="rteindent3">You&rsquo;ve seen the tacky ads; you&rsquo;ve been entertained by Ed McMahon and MC Hammer; but hopefully, you haven&rsquo;t fallen for any of it. Cash4Gold has a simple promise; send them your unwanted gold (and we all have a ton of unwanted valuables lying around I&rsquo;m sure) and in return they&rsquo;ll pay &ldquo;top dollar&rdquo; for it.&nbsp; But as you&rsquo;ll see from over 260 complaints to the <a href="http://www.seflorida.bbb.org/BusinessReport.aspx?CompanyID=16000679">Better Business Bureau</a>, top dollar certainly doesn&rsquo;t mean what it used to.</p> <p>The Cash4Gold operation is at best misleading, and at worst is more like a sophisticated version of highstreet robbery. What they ask you to do is hunt around in your home for gold that you no longer have a use for, and pop it into an envelope. In return, Cash4Gold will estimate its value and send you an offer for it. You can choose to accept it or turn it down. And as the offer is usually well below market value, most people reject it and get a slightly better offer. <a href="http://www.insideedition.com/news.aspx?storyID=2588">This from Inside Edition</a>:</p> <p><em>INSIDE EDITION's Senior Investigative Correspondent Matt Meagher asked master appraiser and jewelry expert Don Palmieri to assemble a collection of gold, 23 pieces in all, to sell to the company Cash4Gold. Each piece was weighed and analyzed with precision instruments to determine exact gold content, and laser etched for identification purposes. Based on the going rate for gold at the time of INSIDE EDITION's investigation, Palmieri and a second independent expert said we should get between $975 to $1,200 for the 23 pieces of gold in our collection. So we sent the gold off to Cash4Gold to see how much they would pay. About a week later, a check came for just $209.81. Expert Don Palmieri laughed when he saw the amount. &quot;It's not a very good offer,&quot; he said. When INSIDE EDITION called to turn down the offer, Cash4Gold nearly doubled it instantly to more than $400, still much less than the experts said it was worth.</em></p> <p>The ads are generally aimed at certain sectors of society, which is clear from the times and channels where their advertising appears. They want people who are at home during the daytime, usually retirees or people down on their luck. And they&rsquo;re hoping people will be ignorant to the current market value of gold. A great story I read at <a href="http://www.cockeyed.com/citizen/goldkit/cheat.shtml">Cockeyed.com</a> highlights one guy&rsquo;s encounter, Brent, with the Cash4Gold lowballers. Here&rsquo;s an extract: </p> <p><em>The pawn shop prices were as follows:
$10 per DWT for 14K gold.
$8 per DWT for 10K gold. With these prices, Brent's booty was worth $198.
He had $110 worth of 14 K gold plus $88 worth of 10 K gold.<br /> Brent had initially noted prices on the Cash4Gold site as:
$15 per DWT for 14K gold.
$13 per DWT for 10K gold. Better, but all any prices had been removed from the Cash4Gold site by the time he was ready to send in his gold.<br /> Cash4Gold operates in a manner similar to GoldKit. They send you an envelope, you send your gold to them in it. They determine the value and cut a check for that amount. If the amount meets your expectations, you cash it. If not, you have 15 days to return the check and get your gold back. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. He also noticed that Cash4Gold offers a &quot;fast cash&quot; scheme to forego the paper check and deposit their payment directly into your checking account within 24 hours. This setup would be faster, but gold sellers would give up their chance to examine and renegotiate their offer. And that, it turns out, would be a huge mistake for anyone selling gold to Cash4Gold. Brent did not use the FAST CASH option, he wanted to see what they would offer, and was willing to wait to see how much it was. The offer check from Cash4Gold arrived, for $60! Brent called Cash4Gold and immediately and asked for his stuff back. They made a new offer on the phone: $178!</em></p> <p>I think the phrase that resonated most strongly for me from the article was this one; &ldquo;How can you offer someone one price, then TRIPLE it, and not call the first offer a rip-off?&rdquo;</p> <p>How indeed?</p> <p>At this point I would usually warn you all to stay as far away from Cash4Gold as you can, and bid you a good day. But there&rsquo;s now an interesting new twist to this sordid tale. As it turns out, some of the many people out there who are writing bad things about this shady outfit are getting noticed; they&rsquo;re appearing in the top searches on Google. And in turn, that has the Cash4Gold guys getting pretty nervous. </p> <p>An article I found on <a href="http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/03/rob-cockerham-writes.html">BoingBoing </a>tells the story of a guy, not unlike myself, who tries to keep consumers informed. And his story on Cash4Gold was met with an offer from them to pull his story in exchange for cold, hard cash. I wish I were making it up. Here is one of the letters Rob Cockerham received:<br /> <em><br /> Rob,<br /> I work with Cash4Gold on the reputation management. Your article is ranking #3 on their brand term. They would really like to make it worth your while to take it down or make it more positive. They did something similar by joining (OTHER CONSUMER AFFAIRS WEBSITE)&rsquo;s advocacy program. Is it worth a few thousand to take it down? If not, maybe a donation to your favorite charity is more to your liking?<br /> Feel free to call me anytime to discuss further.</p> <p>Thanks, <br /> Joe Laratro 
<br /> President 
<br /> Tandem Interactive - Trendy Online Marketing Solutions <br /> Hollywood, FL 33020</em></p> <p>This is a new low. And what&rsquo;s even more concerning is that other sites with your interests at heart have taken the bribe and pulled the story. Outrageous is too small a word. I popped over to The Consumerist to see what they had on Cash4Gold. And yes, they had plenty, including <a href="http://consumerist.com/5144296/10-confessions-of-a-cash4gold-employee">this article in which a former Cash4Gold employee tells all</a> (no doubt to repair a very bruised conscience). I advice you to read the full article, but here's an extract:</p> <p><em>I am a former employee of Cash 4 Gold. I did not know much about the company before being hired. On my first day of being hired, I was taught the &quot;Cash 4 Gold Scam&quot; from beginning to end. </em></p> <p><em>5. We do offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your jewelry returned, BUT THE CATCH IS, that the guarantee is to contact us within 10 DAYS from when your check is DATED. (This begins with the time it took for the accounts payables dept. to ISSUE the check and also including the TRANSIT TIME for you to receive your check in the mail. **** NOTATE THE COMMERCIALS THAT INSINUATE THAT YOU GET YOUR CASH IN 24 HRS.*** If you request (sign) for FAST CASH (direct deposit) you automatically WAIVE your rights to have your items returned, EVEN if you are not satisfied with amount of your deposit.</em></p> <p><em>6. You generally receive your check around the &quot;7th-10th&quot; business day, AND majority of the time Customers are outraged when they lay eyes on the amount of their check. Some Customer's even receive a check for 0.01 cents.</em></p> <p>So, Wise Bread readers, spread the word. Let everyone you can know that Cash4Gold is not only a very shady organization with whom you shouldn&rsquo;t trust you valuables, but it&rsquo;s also one who will attempt to pay off people who try and tell the truth. If I do get an offer from the Cash4Gold people to pull my article, I'll let you know. And of course, I would never take it anyway, even for my favorite &quot;charity!&quot;</p> <p>And folks, if you want money for your gold, try your local pawn shop. If you don&rsquo;t like their offer, walk away with your gold; perhaps sell it on eBay or Craigslist. But never pop it in an envelope and mail it to this company&hellip;you may never see it again, or be offered a paltry amount of money in return. <br /> &nbsp;</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/so-will-cash4gold-offer-me-cash-to-kill-this-story">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-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune.</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-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.</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/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</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/the-jury-duty-scam-coming-to-a-phone-near-you">The Jury Duty Scam – coming to a phone near you?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Cash4Gold con gold money scam warning Thu, 05 Feb 2009 17:49:37 +0000 Paul Michael 2816 at http://www.wisebread.com The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned. http://www.wisebread.com/the-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/292246_5528 copy.jpg" alt="House Trap" title="House Trap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="194" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="rteindent4">It seems like new variations of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance-fee_fraud">Nigerian 419 scam</a> pop up every week. The one that caught my attention recently involved renting a home, and it&rsquo;s a nasty trick that could take anyone by surprise. But if you know what to look for, you can avoid it. </p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been looking around for a home rental recently. There are several resources out there for home renters, but the first place I tried was Craigslist. It seemed like an easy way to cut out the middleman and deal directly with the family renting out their home.</p> <p>One home that I found seemed way too good to be true. For $1200 a month inclusive, I could rent a beautiful 5-bedroom home with wooden floors, new appliances, a finished basement and even a whirlpool tub. That&rsquo;s a whole lot more house then we have now, for a whole lot less than our current mortgage payment.</p> <p>I emailed asking for details. I expected a reply saying &ldquo;sorry, it&rsquo;s $2200 a month, my bad,&rdquo; but the reply I actually got was more than a little weird. The English used in the ad was perfect, clearly stripped from a different listing; the English in the email was broken and awkward. Here&rsquo;s the reply:</p> <p><em>Hello Dear,<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Thanks for the email. I own the house and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer to (West Africa, Nigeria) that makes us to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person and God fearing person who can take very good care of the house in our absence.we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean all the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in West Africa and will be staying here for the next 4 years in our new house and also with the keys of the house for rent, we try to look for an agent that we can give this documents and the keys before we left but could not find, and we as well&nbsp; do not want our house to be used any how in our absence that is why we took it along with us. I and my Wife came over to Africa for a missionary work, so i hope you will promise us that you will&nbsp; take very good care of the house. So get back to me if you know you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home. Hope you are okay with the price of $1200 per month and the security Deposit is $600.Get back to me for the rental application. You can go and view.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>Here is my contact number: +2347058014164 or 0112347058014164</em></p> <p>Alarm bells instantly started ringing in my head. What was with the &ldquo;Hello Dear&rdquo; opening line? Why the constant references to God and missionary work? And how come they still had the keys and no agent? </p> <p>This all sounded like the classic Nigerian 419 scam, right down to the broken English and references to religion. So I did a quick search for the exact term &ldquo;Craigslist Rental Scam Africa.&rdquo;&nbsp; It turned up over 259,000 hits, including<a href="http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/dec/03/new-scam-out-africa-rents-denver-homes-craigslist/"> this one</a> about the very same ad I had seen. </p> <p>After a little more digging around, I found out that this scam has been around for years but is rapidly on the rise due to the rotten economy. Some people, like myself, are looking for a bigger house to rent until we can sell our smaller one. Other people want out of a big house payment, or have bad credit and can&rsquo;t get a mortgage. </p> <p>The <a href="http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_072008_news_rental_scam.74080660.html">Associated Press </a>reports: </p> <p><em>Because of tighter restrictions on financing for home buyers, many are renting instead. And the rising cost of gas is pulling people closer to work, transportation or schools. Jim Kight, past president of the Rental Housing Association of Greater Portland, says renters bidding for good homes have helped drive up rates at his rental properties as much as 15 percent from a year ago. &quot;This rental market isn't hot; it's beyond that. It's steaming,&quot; Kight said. &quot;The sad part is that this kind of market opens it up for these kinds of scams.&quot;</em></p> <p>Regardless of the situation, the market has been flooded with people looking to rent a home; and when that happens, scammers come out of the woodwork. </p> <p><strong>The Scam</strong></p> <p>There are variations on the theme, but the basic premise is the same. Scammers will take a legitimate listing for a home, complete with pictures, and repost it on Craigslist for a lower price. This gets way more people to bite, people are eager to find a great house for a small payment. </p> <p>The scammer usually replies with a story about quickly moving out of the country to work as a missionary. References to God and missionary work are supposed to instill a basic level of trust in the potential tenant; if it&rsquo;s a man of God, he can&rsquo;t be a bad guy, right? </p> <p>The scammer will ask for a month&rsquo;s rent and a deposit, plus a completed rental agreement. This, of course, is the key to stealing your identity. You may be asked to mail it to someone and the keys will be returned to you. Or, you may get a more sophisticated scammer who will give you a tour of a home first. In the latter case, the con artist may have actually rented the home for a month and plans on scamming many people in one or two days before disappearing. </p> <p>You may think you&rsquo;d be too smart to fall for one of these scams, but there are many people who have already fallen victim to this crime. It&rsquo;s easy enough to dismiss someone speaking pidgin English and asking for money to be sent to Nigeria. 99% of us would spot it. But, what if it was someone with a greater grasp of English, who gave you a tour of the home and had all the right paperwork? </p> <p>As <a href="http://www.10news.com/news/13962225/detail.html">10 news </a>reports: </p> <p><em>&ldquo;According to authorities, the scam has recently popped up because the type of locking system on most homes for sale needs an access card. However, the glut of available homes on the market has reduced the supply for the access cards, so many agents have been forced to use older systems.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>So now, the scammers don&rsquo;t even need to rent the home themselves. They can gain access to a home for rent, and look like a legitimate landlord or agent. So what can you do? How do you know if the rental property is legit?</p> <p>Unfortunately, this crime hasn&rsquo;t appeared on the Craigslist sams page yet, but with enough media attention it should make the page soon enough. But a site called <a href="http://rentalscams.org/">rentalscams.org </a>has some great information, like the warning list below.I highly recommend checking it out if you&rsquo;re in the market for a rental property. </p> <p><em><strong>There are commonalities with all rental scam emails. Below are some tips when dissecting a rental scam email.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp; 1. Does the email start out with Sir / Madam?<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 2. Are there misspellings in the email?<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 3. Are there character mistakes in the email? i.e Hello,my nameis Susie.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 4. Is there excessive capitalization?<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 5. Does the email reference God, UK, Cashiers Check, Doctor, Nigeria, Reverend, etc.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 6. Is the email from a free email provider. i.e gmail, yahoo, aol, hotmail.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 7. Does the email refer to another person or agent?<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; 8. Does the email reference wanting to move in site unseen?</em></p> <p>If the email has a majority of these commonalities, then the chances are very good it is a scammer. If you are unsure, it is best to not reply to the email.</p> <p>Scammers aren&rsquo;t just targeting tenants though. If you&rsquo;re a homeowner planning on renting out your property, you may also be conned; a site called <a href="http://www.fraudguides.com/tips/august7.asp">Fraud Guides </a>offers the following sound advice.</p> <p><strong><em>Rental Scam Warning Signs</em></strong><em><br /> </em></p> <ul> <li><em>You are contacted via email regarding a property. You may have posted on Craigslist, for instance, so email is hardly unexpected. </em></li> <li><em>Be on the lookout for poor grammar or comments that make no sense.<br /> </em></li> <li><em>The request comes from outside the country. This may turn out to be a legitimate inquiry but once you know it originated from somewhere overseas proceed with caution.<br /> </em></li> <li><em>There is a sense of urgency. If you feel pressured to act quickly because of some immediate need, be especially cautious. Scam artists count on decisions made in haste.<br /> </em></li> <li><em>Third parties become involved. If the person wanting to rent your property needs to use a friend or someone else as an intermediary in order to pay, you should be at your own highest alert level. This is a common Nigerian Scam ploy.<br /> </em></li> <li><em>You will be over-paid. This is one of the tricks these scam artists use to get money out of you. Normally, you would be the one receiving cash in a transaction. In this case, however, the check or money order is made out for more than you requested. Oops. Now they'll want you to wire the extra amount back to them. Once you do, they back out of the entire arrangement and days later you will find out that the check or money order was a forgery and you're stuck with the loss.</em></li> </ul> <p><em><strong>How to avoid Nigerian rental scams</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em>Only deal with landlords or renters local to you.</em><em><br /> </em></li> <li><em>Do not let someone pay more than you asked for.<br /> </em></li> <li><em>Do a web search for the renter's name to see what comes up.</em><em><br /> </em></li> <li><em>If the payment arrives in the form of a money order, inspect it carefully in case it's a counterfeit. Despite your best attempts to determine its authenticity, it may still turn out to be a forgery.</em><em><br /> </em></li> <li><em>Do not let someone else use your name or Social Security number to buy a property, especially if they offer to pay you for using it.</em><em><br /> </em></li> <li><em>Don't do anything until the money order or check clears the bank. You could be pressured to act sooner and you might even receive threats. </em></li> <li><em>Don't give into anything. Nigerian scams depend on you sending money to someone before the money order clears the bank.</em></li> </ul> <p> So whether you&rsquo;re looking to rent a home, or rent out your home, you really need to keep your wits about you folks. Stay safe. Be vigilant. And if in doubt, back out. </p> <p>Further reading:</p> <p><a href="http://www.therealestatebloggers.com/2008/09/12/warning-craigslist-rental-scam/">http://www.therealestatebloggers.com/2008/09/12/warning-craigslist-rental-scam/</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/02/11/2008-02-11_craigslist_scams_targeting_renters_despe-2.html">http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/02/11/2008-02-11_craigslist_scams_targeting_renters_despe-2.html</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.419legal.org/blog/2008/06/02/craigslist-rental-scam/">http://www.419legal.org/blog/2008/06/02/craigslist-rental-scam/</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/291192/how_to_spot_and_avoid_a_rental_scam.html">http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/291192/how_to_spot_and_avoid_a_rental_scam.html</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Crimes/InPerson/MajorPerson/rent_scam.htm">http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Crimes/InPerson/MajorPerson/rent_scam.htm</a></p> <p><a href="http://paulm.com/inchoate/2004/06/419_rent_scam.html">http://paulm.com/inchoate/2004/06/419_rent_scam.html</a></p> <p><a href="http://berealct.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/rental-scammers-using-craigslist-to-target-landlords/">http://berealct.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/rental-scammers-using-craigslist-to-target-landlords/</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/CraigsList_scams.php">http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/CraigsList_scams.php</a></p> <p><a href="http://activerain.com/blogsview/199990/Beware-Rental-Scams-Operating">http://activerain.com/blogsview/199990/Beware-Rental-Scams-Operating</a></p> <p><a href="http://7r3y.com/2008/05/06/craigslist-rental-scam/">http://7r3y.com/2008/05/06/craigslist-rental-scam/</a></p> <p><a href="http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2008/08/craigslist-rental-scam.html">http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2008/08/craigslist-rental-scam.html</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Nigerian/room_rentals.htm">http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Nigerian/room_rentals.htm</a><br /> &nbsp;</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-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">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-8"> <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/419-baiting-keeping-online-scammers-running-in-circles">419 baiting – keeping online scammers running in circles</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-10-scams-of-2006">Top 10 scams of 2006</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-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune.</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/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing 419 con craigslist fraud Nigeria scam Mon, 05 Jan 2009 19:17:04 +0000 Paul Michael 2704 at http://www.wisebread.com 419 baiting – keeping online scammers running in circles http://www.wisebread.com/419-baiting-keeping-online-scammers-running-in-circles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/419-baiting-keeping-online-scammers-running-in-circles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1276202472_875ce2a422.jpg" alt="Hooked" title="Hooked" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="332" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How many of you have received an email telling you that you’ve one a lottery that you never even entered? Or, that a rich widow wants help distributing millions of dollars to the poor? Or, that YOU, and only you, can help free a fortune from a corrupt nation? Well, after years of deleting these cruddy emails I’ve discovered that there is a way to use them against the scammers. </p> <p>419 scams were given their name because they violated a formerly relevant section of the criminal code of Nigeria. To any moderately intelligent or aware person, these scams fall on deaf ears. But, people do actually fall for them every day. To date, the 419 scammers have made hundreds of millions of dollars from poor, unsuspecting (and let’s be honest, slightly greedy) folk who have blindly given away money, bank details, passport scans, social security numbers and more. Ouch.</p> <p>Anyway, when I received an email from a Mrs. Stella Cole this weekend, asking me to help distribute her dead husband’s fortune to the poor and needy, I spotted the scam in a nanosecond. </p> <p>The spelling was awful, the scenario was ridiculous, the details were sketchy, and the whole thing reeked of a traditional 419 scam. However, I decided not to delete it but instead pass the information on to a professional scam baiter. I found one through the Internet and this person, who shall remain nameless, devotes his time and energy to scam baiting. And it’s a worthwhile cause indeed. </p> <p><strong>419 baiting – hooking a scammer.</strong><br />First, a warning. Scam baiting means dealing with real crooks. Some 419 scam baiters have received death threats (and curses…oooohhhh, scary). Of course, 99% of 419 scammers are operating out of Internet café’s in the middle of Nigeria, most of the time, and would never follow up on any of these threats because it would take too much time and effort; time which is always better spent trying to con other victims. </p> <p>However, there are real risks associated with this “sport” which is highlighted below:</p> <blockquote><p><em>Though humorous, and arguably productive in diverting and discouraging scammers, there is a small, though real, risk of harm to the scambaiter. The entire idea of a scam bait is to frustrate the scammer and waste his time and money; if and when the scammer becomes aware his supposed victim is in fact a baiter, death threats are not uncommon (they are in fact a trophy among baiters, as they provide proof of how angry the scammer is). There is little doubt among scambaiting groups that if a baiter&#39;s real identity and personal information were made known to the scammers, those death threats could be carried out. Many scammers work in highly organized gangs, operating similar to a telemarketing firm where lower-level scammers send the first mass e-mails and higher-level scam artists receive the positive responses and work the scams from there. These gangs often have contacts in many countries across Europe and the Americas (many of which are in fact actual victims conned into doing the bidding of the scammer), and are thought to have connections to organized crime. Such highly organized gangs would have the resources to organize a kidnapping, assault or even murder of a baiter that had successfully wasted months or years of time and hundreds of dollars in plane tickets, hotel fares, etc. as part of a bait.</em></p> <p><em>For this reason, and also because some of the tactics used by a baiter are similar to those used by scammers and therefore legally questionable (such as providing false information and IDs), sites like 419 Eater constantly remind visitors that scammers are criminals, and to &quot;bait safe&quot;. The personal information of a bait character, such as the name, address and bank account info, is totally fictional or fictionalized. Web-based e-mail services and proxy servers hide the sender&#39;s actual IP address, since the mail is sent from the website, and such accounts are set up with the bait character&#39;s fake information. Phone calls are usually handled using operator-assisted relay services for the deaf, web-based answering services that send faxes and voice mail messages to an e-mail address, and VoIP-based &quot;telephony&quot; services. Images, such as pictures of the baiter&#39;s character or scans of IDs or documents, are &quot;PhotoShopped&quot; and/or otherwise obfuscated to ensure that innocent third parties are not affected by use of their picture and that the scammer cannot use them. It is also a valuable time-wasting tactic to provide the scammer with an &quot;image&quot; that is unviewable.</em></p> <p><em>Scambaiters are also highly connected, and sometimes call upon each other to help with a bait. The other baiters could be called on to make phone calls, provide phony documents, play other characters in the bait, take over a bait or focus the scammer&#39;s attention elsewhere, or maneuver other baited scammers to complement the bait&#39;s plot. In addition to increasing the scammer&#39;s confidence that they are dealing with real people, such activities increase the anonymity of everyone involved because no one person is behind the character.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>So as you can see, although it carries a hint of danger, the reason people get involved is simple; the longer you keep them busy, the less time they have to work on other, more susceptible people. To use a movie reference, scam baiters are throwing meat at a bunch of wild dogs to help the innocent family escape from the house, or something like that.</p> <p>419 baiters often string along scammers for months, getting them to do some of the most unusual stuff. One of my favorites comes from this <a href="http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com/">site</a> (there’s some NSFW language on it, be warned). He has some of these people sending him photographs with some lurid (but clearly non-translatable) signs. One has the scammer holding up some Madonna lyrics! Priceless. </p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/image002.jpg" alt="Papa" title="Papa" width="273" height="417" /></p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/1.jpg" alt="Rain" title="Rain" width="331" height="500" /></p> <p>The baiting goes on for weeks, sometimes months, taking the scammers&#39; time away from other victims. While I certainly don’t like the language he employs, ebolamonkeyman keeps scammers busy for a long, long time. And that has to be good.</p> <p>Am I encouraging you to become a scam baiter? <strong>Big fat NO on that one</strong>, it could carry serious consequences. But next time you get one of these nasty emails, you may want to think about forwarding it to someone who has the time, resources and bravery to do something about it. In fact, just by forwarding your scam email to someone who keeps these on public record, you are increasing awareness of yet another strain of the ever-growing 419 epidemic.</p> <p> Stay safe people, and never, ever respond to any email that seems too good to be true. </p> <p><strong>Further reading:</strong><br /><a href="http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com/">http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com </a> <br /><a href="http://www.419baiter.com/">http://www.419baiter.com/</a> <br /><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scam_baiting">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scam_baiting</a> <br /><a href="http://home.rica.net/alphae/419coal/">http://home.rica.net/alphae/419coal/</a> <br /><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud</a> <br /><a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/09/419_scam_anatomy/">http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/09/419_scam_anatomy/</a> <br /><a href="http://www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/fraudschemes.htm">http://www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/fraudschemes.htm</a> <br /><a href="http://www.allyourbase-arebelongto.us/node/39">http://www.allyourbase-arebelongto.us/node/39</a> </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/419-baiting-keeping-online-scammers-running-in-circles">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-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.</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-10-scams-of-2006">Top 10 scams of 2006</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/pet-lovers-beware-theres-a-new-scam-in-town">Pet lovers beware - there&#039;s a new scam in town.</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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs 419 scam advance fee fraud con email fake fraud Nigeria Mon, 03 Mar 2008 20:35:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1878 at http://www.wisebread.com Mind Control Guru Can Pay With Blank Sheets of Paper http://www.wisebread.com/mind-control-guru-can-pay-with-blank-sheets-of-paper <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mind-control-guru-can-pay-with-blank-sheets-of-paper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6401589133_7b4e52593d_z.jpg" alt="mind control" title="mind control" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="183" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My wife told me recently about a guy from my homeland, England, who has such powers of mind control that he can pay for almost any item with blank sheets of paper. I laughed it off. Then I saw the video and was quite amazed by the power of the human mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-free-and-its-power-over-you" title="The Psychology of Free, and Its Power Over You ">The Psychology of Free, and Its Power Over You</a>)</p> <p>The video shows you how he does it, but it basically revolves around the idea that the mind sees what it expects to see. No one would dare pay for an item with blank paper, and because Mr. Brown keeps your mind busy your primal brain kicks in and concentrates on <a title="25 Ways to Communicate Better Today" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">language</a> rather than something more obvious. The result is that Mr. Brown can pay for almost anything with nothing. Quite a trick.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3Vz_YTNLn6w" name="movie" /> <param value="transparent" name="wmode" /><embed width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3Vz_YTNLn6w"></embed></object></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He gives everyone their money back. But other folks may not be so nice and could certainly use this against you if you work in a store or buy something from a market vendor and expect change.</p> <p>Derren Brown also uses a similar technique at the dog track, handing over worthless tickets for large piles of cash. It's quite amazing. When interviewed afterwards most people swore blind (no pun intended) that they saw the money, or the winning ticket.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/II_-QcW4Q4I" name="movie" /> <param value="transparent" name="wmode" /><embed width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/II_-QcW4Q4I"></embed></object></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As someone who loves learning about the latest and greatest scams and cons, I think this one tops them all. Using the power of your own mind against you is quite a scam and requires little to no set up, no partners, and no real props. If you're interested in seeing just how he does a lot of his mind control experiments, check out his show on the <a href="http://www.scifi.com/sfw/interviews/sfw16497.html">sci-fi channel</a> . Amazon.com also has some Derren Brown goods. But please, don't go using you new found powers for evil, ok?</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006RIRF2?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0006RIRF2">Pure effect: Direct mind reading and magical artistry</a><img width="1" height="1" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisebread07-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=B0006RIRF2" alt="" /></p> <p>Lucky for all of us the Derren Brown is merely filming TV. And by the way, I have checked, several times, to see if this is all done with plants or actors. It is not, I assure you. Certainly makes you think, doesn't it?</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/mind-control-guru-can-pay-with-blank-sheets-of-paper">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/expert-tips-to-help-you-make-your-own-holiday-cards-and-save-a-small-fortune">Last minute tips for quick and easy homemade Holiday cards. .</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/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</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/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</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-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</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/almost-2000-uses-for-a-can-of-wd-40-1">Almost 2000 uses for a can of WD-40</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks awareness con Derren Brown Mind Control paper senses swindle Sun, 12 Aug 2007 19:26:35 +0000 Paul Michael 984 at http://www.wisebread.com The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune. http://www.wisebread.com/the-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/686558_debt_and_demand_5.jpg" alt="debt" title="debt" width="224" height="300" /></p> <p>For many years now, thousands of folks have been earning a little extra cash by doing Mystery Shopping (aka Secret Shopping). You probably already know what&rsquo;s involved, but here&rsquo;s a quick rundown from the FTC:</p> <blockquote><p>Some retailers hire marketing research companies to evaluate the quality of service in their stores; these companies use mystery shoppers to get the information anonymously. They assign a mystery shopper to make a particular purchase in a store or restaurant, for example, and then report on the experience. Typically, the shopper is reimbursed, and can keep the product or service.</p> </blockquote> <p>Sounds good. And it is, when it&rsquo;s genuine. Mystery shoppers get to eat for free, try new products (and keep them) at another company&rsquo;s expense, and basically get paid for doing do what they were going to do anyway. Sweet deal.</p> <p>However, once again the con artists have found another avenue to practice their trade, and it&rsquo;s costing people a small fortune. </p> <p><strong>The scam</strong><br /> It&rsquo;s a combination of employment fraud and a wire-transfer scam. Unfortunately, it preys on people who actually need money the most. Mystery shoppers tend to be folks who need a little extra income to make ends meet, and the promise of good money for little effort is way too tempting.&nbsp; What&rsquo;s more, as I pointed out earlier, this is a legitimate way to make money. So spotting the real shopping assignments from the fake ones can be tough (more on that later).</p> <p>You may answer an ad in the newspaper, or get a piece of mail, but the premise is the same. It involves a cashier&rsquo;s check (warning sign #1) and a simple assignment. You&rsquo;ll probably receive the check in a very official-looking employment packet, along with instructions on what to do with it. Usually, you&rsquo;ll cash the check, say for $3000, and then wire the sum of $2600 to an address provided. You will keep the remaining $400 and submit a report on the whole process. Was it good? Did it go smoothly? How was the customer service?</p> <p>Other versions of the scam ask you to cash the check, use the Western Union service at a local store, such as a WalMart, and then send some of that money to a given address. Again, you keep the difference for yourself. </p> <p>The &ldquo;shopper&rdquo; is also put under extreme pressure to do the whole assignment in 2 days or less, for obvious reasons. And you can guess what happens. The cashier&rsquo;s check bounces and the mystery shopper is left out of pocket. Sometimes, it can be five-figure damage. You may think &quot;Ha, I'd never fall for that!&quot; Good for you. But hundreds of other people have said the same thing and have also been scammed. These guys look and sound like the real deal, complete with corporate stationery and professional websites. </p> <p><strong>So, how do you tell the real assignments from the fake?</strong><br /> The FTC has some good advice, listed below, on spotting the real firms from the scam artists. Read it carefully.</p> <p>First, how to spot real companies:</p> <blockquote><p>Search the Internet for mystery shopping companies that are accepting applications. Legitimate companies don&rsquo;t charge an application fee. Many accept applications online.</p> <p>Do some homework about mystery shopping. Check libraries or bookstores for tips on how to find companies hiring mystery shoppers, as well as how to do the job effectively.</p> <p>Visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website at <a href="http://www.mysteryshop.org" title="www.mysteryshop.org">www.mysteryshop.org</a> for information on how to register to be a mystery shopper with a MSPA-member company, a database of available jobs, and additional information on the industry in general. </p></blockquote> <p>And be skeptical of mystery shopping promoters who:</p> <blockquote><p>Advertise for mystery shoppers in a newspaper&rsquo;s &lsquo;help wanted&rsquo; section or by email. While it may appear as if these companies are hiring mystery shoppers, it&rsquo;s much more likely that they&rsquo;re pitching unnecessary &mdash; and possibly bogus &mdash; mystery shopping &ldquo;services.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sell &ldquo;certification.&rdquo; Companies that use mystery shoppers generally do not require certification.</p> <p>Guarantee a job as a mystery shopper.</p> <p>Charge a fee for access to mystery shopping opportunities.</p> <p>Sell directories of companies that provide mystery shoppers. </p></blockquote> <p> I think the best advice I can offer is NEVER accept a cashier&rsquo;s check from someone you don&rsquo;t know and trust, and never wire money to strangers. Legitimate mystery shopping companies will never ask you to disburse money from your own checking account, so that should be a warning sign for you.</p> <p>And of course, the golden rule always applies. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Keep your wits about you folks.</p> <p><strong>Some helpful links:</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/mysteryalrt.shtm">From the FTC</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.snopes.com/fraud/employment/shopper.asp">From Snopes.com</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.myfoxcolorado.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail;jsessionid=C7AB5478A68358CAF8BE6025468C3A41?contentId=3530869&amp;version=2&amp;locale=EN-US&amp;layoutCode=TSTY&amp;pageId=1.1.1">From my local news station</a></p> <p><em>Photo by <a href="http://www.sxc.hu/photo/686558">The Stock Exchange</a> </em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520mystery%2520shopping%2520scam%2520that%2520could%2520cost%2520you%2520a%2520fortune..jpg&amp;description=The%20mystery%20shopping%20scam%20that%20could%20cost%20you%20a%20fortune."></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20mystery%20shopping%20scam%20that%20could%20cost%20you%20a%20fortune..jpg" alt="The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune." 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/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">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-9"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-vicious-home-rental-scam-dont-get-conned">The vicious Home Rental Scam – don’t get conned.</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/so-will-cash4gold-offer-me-cash-to-kill-this-story">So, will Cash4Gold offer me cash to kill this story?</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/6-signs-your-college-is-a-scam">6 Signs Your College Is a Scam</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-protein-water-scam-kellogs-special-k2o-can-do-anything">The Protein Water Scam: Kellog&#039;s Special K2O Can Do Anything!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs cashiers check con money order mystery shopping scam secret shopping wire transfer Tue, 19 Jun 2007 20:12:24 +0000 Paul Michael 759 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 more ways to hustle free drinks. http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-ways-to-hustle-free-drinks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-more-ways-to-hustle-free-drinks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/free drinks.jpg" alt="free drinks" title="score more free drinks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My favorite scammers from The Real Hustle have been busy. I know over 130,000 of you enjoyed (and hopefully tried out) the friendly scams in my <a href="/top-5-ways-to-hustle-free-drinks">last post</a> . Well, the hustlers have come up with a whole bunch of new ways to grab some free booze. There are some great new cons here, some require props, others a little practice, but I guarantee any one of them will get you something for nothing. What I do like is the justification behind them, which I never thought of before but it works every time.</p> <p>&quot;If you lose and buy me free drinks, you can play this trick on your mates and get free drinks bought for you.&quot; Great! It&#39;s like Pay It Forward in reverse. At some point everyone in the world will get a free pint of ale or a wee dram of scotch. What a wondeful world that will be.</p> <p>So, here&#39;s your new ammo. Take notes people and have fun.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1 - On a roll: The Beer Bottle and the 20</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/acSCYFohO0U" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/acSCYFohO0U" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object><p>2 - Chain of fools: The escaping ring</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/OfzoTkTJj_w" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/OfzoTkTJj_w" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object><p>3 - Balancing act: The impossible stack of coins</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/eovwCWG6T8c" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/eovwCWG6T8c" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object><p>4 - Swipe it: The hand is quicker than the dough</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/kyOlaUH64vM" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kyOlaUH64vM" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object><p>5 - Hole truth: The note and the coins</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/kmo23yS846Q" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kmo23yS846Q" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object><p></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/5-more-ways-to-hustle-free-drinks">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-cool-bar-tricks-that-anyone-can-master">SIX cool bar tricks that anyone can master.</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-mystery-shopping-scam-that-could-cost-you-a-fortune">The mystery shopping scam that could cost you a fortune.</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/mind-control-guru-can-pay-with-blank-sheets-of-paper">Mind Control Guru Can Pay With Blank Sheets of Paper</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/carnival-of-scams-top-4-fairground-cons">Carnival Of Scams - Top 4 fairground cons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks bar bets con free free drinks free stuff games hustle proposition bets Real Hustle scam tricks Mon, 28 May 2007 21:47:49 +0000 Paul Michael 684 at http://www.wisebread.com