Nigeria http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5971/all en-US 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-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/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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-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/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</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/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> </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 Pet lovers beware - there's a new scam in town. http://www.wisebread.com/pet-lovers-beware-theres-a-new-scam-in-town <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/484053721_34b7c95747.jpg" alt="big eyed pup" title="big eyed pup" width="317" height="187" /></p> <p>If you thought those <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud">Nigerian scammers</a> could not sink any lower, think again. It was reported today by <a href="http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/13455297/detail.html">WTAE.TV</a> that there&#39;s a new scam making the rounds, and this time the scammers are praying on the good nature of pet lovers.</p> <p>It&#39;s a simple enough set-up. Someone either emails or posts an ad (often local, so beware of Craigslist and MySpace) featuring a beautiful free puppy. Many reasons are given for the free giveaway, ranging from a poor environment to lack of funds to keep the little pup. The correspondance tugs on the heart strings like a professional harp player, hitting all the right notes. And then when you reply saying you&#39;d like the free puppy, the con begins.</p> <p>First, they&#39;ll ask for the hefty shipping fee to be sent, something like $160. If you bite, and send the fee, then all of a sudden the shots for the pooch will need to be administered. And guess what, they&#39;re not cheap. Before you know it, you&#39;ve sent several hundred dollars to someone you don&#39;t know. Most likely the dog doesn&#39;t even exist, and cute pictures of helpless puppies are not exactly difficult to come by online (see main picture). </p> <p>If you really do want to adopt a dog and give a homeless animal a good life, go to your local Humane Society or animal adoption center. They are legitimate, you&#39;ll need to pay a few fees for adoption, but at least you know everything is above board and the money is helping real animals. The people who commit these crimes are animals of an entirely different kind. </p> <p><em>Main photo of a beautiful pup by <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/shuck/">Shuck</a> . Thanks, it&#39;s wonderful. </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/pet-lovers-beware-theres-a-new-scam-in-town">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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-tips-for-animal-lovers">7 Personal Finance Tips for Animal Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance adoption deception dog dogs email fake Nigeria puppy scam Wed, 06 Jun 2007 22:08:35 +0000 Paul Michael 706 at http://www.wisebread.com Top 10 scams of 2006 http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-scams-of-2006 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-10-scams-of-2006" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000030774058_Full.jpg" alt="fraud keyboard" title="fraud keyboard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After examining roughly 50,000 consumer complaints last year, <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/12/top_ten_scams.html" target="_blank">Consumer Affairs</a> picked out the ten most insidious scams people fell for in 2006.</p> <h2><strong> </strong>1.<strong> </strong>Fake Lottery Scam</h2> <p>Scammers convince victims that they've <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/08/atlantic_lottery.html">won a foreign lottery</a> and that they need to pay a few fees and taxes to clear the award money.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Remember that you cannot win a contest you did not enter.</p> <h2>2. Phishing-Vishing Scams</h2> <p>Scammers <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/01/cpb_phishing.html">send e-mails to victims</a> that look like an official correspondence from a bank, a legitimate online service, or a government agency. Victims are then tricked into entering their personal information at &quot;official&quot; websites. Some fake e-mails ask victims to call a fake 800 number where they are asked to enter personal information via the telephone.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Never respond to e-mails asking you for personal information without first double checking the alleged &quot;source&quot; of the contact. If you need to confirm whether something is from your bank, find the official customer service phone number listed on your bank's official website. Don't just go by what is on the e-mail.</p> <h2>3. Phony Job Scam</h2> <p>Scammers <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/05/career_building_scam.html">post fake job listings</a> and &quot;hire&quot; victims as &quot;couriers.&quot; Scammers send large checks to victims who are then instructed to deposit that money into their personal accounts, and then wire the money overseas. The checks turn out to be counterfeit and the victim ends up wiring his <em>own </em>money overseas.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Beware of any job offer that sounds too good to be true. Always do background checks on the companies hiring you. Be suspicious of any job given to you without an interview.</p> <h2>4. Negative Option Scams</h2> <p>This one is the worst one because it is done by legitimate businesses. Consumers are <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/negative_option.html">offered &quot;free gifts&quot;</a> either through pop-up ads, junk mail, or spam phone calls. By accepting these gifts, consumers are enrolled into some kind of &quot;discount club&quot; or &quot;travel club&quot; which will end up charging them mebership fees if they don't cancel it. Usually this whole process isn't made clear to the consumers. Personally I've had to cancel a whole bunch of these deals for my parents.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch. Tell your banks and credit cards to stop offering you these gifts.</p> <h2>5. Nigerian 419 Scams</h2> <p>Scammers pose as <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/07/nigeria_419.html">rich people from Nigeria</a> who desperately need someone in the United States to help them transfer some money or help them claim a large inheritance. The catch is you need to send them some cash to help with the initial fees involved.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Remember that unless you are Alan Dershowitz, Madonna, or Oprah, no one should be contacting you for help.</p> <h2>6. Pump &amp; Dump Scam</h2> <p>Junk e-mails with <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/10/pump_dump.html">unsolicited stock advice</a> are sent to millions of investors touting the bright future of certain &quot;hot&quot; stocks. The scammers already hold millions of shares (these are usually penny stocks), and when enough victims buy the stock, the scammers <a href="/explaining-the-climax-scene-of-trading-places" target="_blank">dump their shares</a>.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Get <a href="http://mail.google.com/mail/" target="_blank">Gmail</a> and stop worrying about junk mail.</p> <h2>7. Bogus Fuel Saving Devices</h2> <p>Infomercials make amazing claims about <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/06/tx_gas_pill.html">fuel-saving devices</a> that never quite work out in the real world.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Stop watching infomercials and start practicing <a href="/gas-efficient-driving" target="_blank">gas efficient driving</a>.</p> <h2>8. Grandparents Scam</h2> <p>This sucks. People <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/11/grandparents_scam.html">call older folks</a> pretending to be their grandchildren. &quot;Help me, I need some money but don't tell mom, okay?&quot;</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Call your grandparents once in a while!</p> <h2>9. Oprah Ticket Scam</h2> <p>Scammers pretend to give or sell tickets to the <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/11/oprah_scam.html">Oprah show</a> to victims. Victims reveal personal information during the process.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Visit <a href="http://www.oprah.com/index.html">Oprah's official website</a> and get tickets through there.</p> <h2>10. Craigslist Scam<strong> </strong></h2> <p>There are tons of variations of <a href="http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/08/craigslist_scam.html">scams on Craigslist</a>. Think about scams one through nine, and multiply the craziness by a thousand.</p> <p>How to protect yourself: Don't give away any personal information or money to anyone on Craigslist. That girl who said she was a 17-year-old Japanese exchange student looking to have some fun? Answer that ad and you'll wake up in Chinatown with a kidney missing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-scams-of-2006">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/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</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-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</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-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</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> Consumer Affairs craigslist fraud money laundering Nigeria scams Mon, 01 Jan 2007 21:03:29 +0000 Will Chen 138 at http://www.wisebread.com