Top 10 Internet Scams

Anatomy of a Scam:

Scams like this are all over the internet…
1: The hook: Click here to win a new iPad2
2: The frustration: Just one more step to get your FREE iPad
3: The redirect: Oops, looks like you’re not logged in.
4: The folly: Log in here
5: The payoff: Oops. Looks like there was a problem logging you in….. (But thanks for your credentials…)
Here’s the Top 10 List provided by the Massachusetts Better Business Bureau

Job Hunter Scams
Pitch:  We will match you up with a perfect job that’s already and waiting for you.
Target:
Bank account and/or Social Security numbers.
Result: Victims must pay a fee to be considered for a job.  Out of money they don’t have, still no job.

Debt Relief and Settlement Services
Pitch: We will help you eliminate most of all your debt (for a fraction of the amount you owe).
Target:
  Collection of upfront fee(s) in order to “settle your debts.”
Results:  Potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt than they started with and completely ruin their credit.

Work from Home Schemes
Pitch: Fire your boss! We can teach you the secrets to making money online, assembling items at home or being a mystery shopper.
Target:
  Employees tired of the same 9-5 routine.  In some cases, they unknowingly work to fence stolen goods.
Result: Instead of getting paid, you can end up losing hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars or in legal trouble.

Timeshare Resellers
Pitch:   We will help you get out from under your costly vacation property and do it fast.
Target:
  Collect several thousand dollars to cover fees.
Result:  After paying the fees, the seller never hears from the company again.

Not So “Free” Trail Offers
Pitch:  Try a free offer and never be charged – unless you want to continue the offer.
Target:
Repeated monthly billings.
Result:   The free trial offers seem easy, the consumer is repeatedly billed every month and is difficult to cancel.

Rogue Home Repair/Roofers
Pitch:   We can get that tree out with half down, and fix your roof for a fraction of what that guy is going to charge you.

Target: Initial upfront fee(s) to get the job started.
Result:  Homeowners are often stuck with either an unfinished or never started project and are out the initial money as well.

Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
Pitch:  You have won a large lottery or sweepstakes and just have to cover taxes before
receiving your money.
Target:
  Payment under the guise of “covering taxes” or other bogus “fees”.
Result:   The victim wires the money, but the prize or money never arrives.

Advance-Fee Loan Scams
Pitch:   You or your business qualifies for a large loan but you must pay some upfront fees.
Target:
  Initial upfront fee(s) – often more than a thousand dollars.
Result:  The victim wires “the fee” to the scammers but never receives the loan.

Over-Payment Scams
Pitch:  Oops, I accidentally sent you too much money, would you please wire some back?
Target:
Any amount of money that is wired back.
Result:   Transaction is reversed, and the victim is out the money wired back to the scammers.

Identity Theft
Pitch:   Hi, this is a very legitimate business, we need to confirm some information today, is that ok?
Target:
  Gathering personal sensitive information to open lines of credit or just straight stealing money from the victim’s account.
Result:   Victim is left spending countless hours trying to repair all of the damage the thieves have done or are still doing.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, visit Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/phishing-scams.aspx

Special thanks to the Better Business Bureau for this timely information. http://boston.bbb.org

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