Thought today would be just the same as every other morning but when I checked my Inbox I found out that I had won 2 international lotteries that I had no idea that I had ever entered and the family for some dead prince in Nigeria wants me to act as the next of kin and they will let me keep 10% of his net worth. With all this money coming in I am going to be living on easy street and never have to work again.
Anybody with an email address could become a victim in the ever-growing outbreak of Identity theft, Nigerian scams, phishing scams, etc. People fall for the scams because we are always looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. These scammers would make great salespeople because they realize that everything is a numbers game. I get so many emails from all these different banks asking me to click here and update my information. The scammers know that most of the recipients of these emails will never respond but if they send one that looks like it’s from CitiBank they know that anybody that actually has a CitiBank account will probably respond.
I’ve got an email that has asked me to update my eBay account, my Paypal account, and my Chase Manhattan account. I know for a fact that I do not have an eBay or a chase account. You would think that sites like eBay, who have 120 million registered users, would send an email to educate their registered users but eBay says that they want no liability so they just let their users get scammed. Most of these people will only lose money while others will spend time in jail or have their credit damaged beyond repair.
If you check just your local news you should see many stories regarding the scams that are currently out there. If you are selling an item via eBay or the classifieds and a buyer send you a check for over the payment price then chances are this is part of a scam, especially if they want you to wire the excess funds via Western Union. If you get an email about working from home collecting payments for a company and they say you can keep 10% then chances are you are involved in a processing scam. If you get an email about someone dying with no next of kin and they want you to act as the next of kin well do you remember the old saying “if it looks to be too good to be true then chances are it is?
Earthlink has come up with a web browser that will help you identify these phishing sites and I am sure that other companies have come up with something also. A lot of sites have cropped up in recent months that will help educate you on what’s going on plus some of them will even offer assistance if you have become a victim. There’s one called ScamSafe, another called Fraudaid, and my wife has one called theft nightmare. I cannot include the extensions because people then think I am promoting these sites which I am not.
Just keep in mind that there are no shortcuts in life. if you get a questionable email then please ask for the opinion of someone else so that you don’t fall victim to a scam. Also, remember that most banks and credit card companies will not send your info via an email and if they want you to verify something chances are they will have you call them.