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Recognize a hoax

Fraudsters use a variety of techniques to get at your cash, the most common hoaxes and scams that you’ll come across online, they were all thought up and used successfully before the dawning of the internet, but your email inbox is the most likely place you’ll find them these days.

This old hoax has been doing the round for year; it involves tricking victims into paying money in the many names, including money transfer fraud, advance fee fraud or 419 scam. Even before the internet existed, this fraud was rife it was usually spread using regular letters and fax machines. Email is cheaper and easier to send to millions of people, so the criminals have adapted the new technology.

The name 419 comes from the article of the Nigerian criminal code that refers to fraud, the 419 scam originated in Nigeria in the 1980s, although similar cons had been occurring in many other countries long before then. Although there are hundreds of versions of the 419 scam, they all have a common theme. The con artists ask for the victim’s help in moving an astronomically large amount of money from an account in secret.

In return, the victim is promised a chunk of the proceeds, in realty, there’s no account and no money, as the scam unfold, the con man will tell the victim that a problem has occurred that can be solved by sending a sum of money, this is small change compared with the vast profit expected at the end of the deal problems will continue to occur, followed by more requests for money, victims who stop paying will be harassed with telephone call.

After the first few payment, victims may fell unable to talk away from the deal and will continue to pay in the desperate hope that there will be pay-out, there never is. You can spot scam email because it will feature one or more of the following characteristic:

  • You will be asked to help transfer an enormous amount of money from a bank account in another country to another account that you will set up.
  • The sender will claim to be a government official of acting on an official’s behalf
  • In return for your help, you’ll be offered a percentage of the total sum of money, which will usually amount to millions of US dollars
  • The deal must remain secret
  • The grammar and spelling in the letter will be poor. This may be international to trick potential victims into underestimating the fraudsters.

Don’t respond to a fraudulent request, you risk being harassed by criminal who have now confirm that your email address is valid, if you really know what you’re doing, you could string the bad guys along, but that best left to the professional pranksters at www.419eater.com, visit this site if you want to feel some satisfaction that the scammers can sometimes be scammed beck.

Lottery fraud
Have you just won a foreign lottery you don’t remember entering? If so, a fraudster is trying to ensnare you using a similar scam to the Nigerian advance fee fraud, if you respond, you’ll be asked to send information about yourself to an email account, which in itself is a dangerous thing to do at this stage, the only thing between you and your millions is small fee that’s required to release the funds, there will then be another problem requiring another small fee and so on.

Targeted attacks
You’re far less likely to become the victim of a targeted attack than any of the other scams listed here, most scam are spread for and wide in the hope that they will catch enough victims to make a large profit. A targeted attack is must more work for the criminal and much more worrying for the victim.

The popularity of social-network sites make it relatively easy for criminal to use software to scan for certain types of people recruitment sites provide similar opportunities. In august 2007, the employment site monster. Com was hacked and information about its subscribers stolen, this was used to send convincing phishing emails, where criminal tricks people into revealing their banking details.

Internet auction fraud
Auction fraud can be as simple as someone accepting payment for an item and not sending the goods, however action sites take measures to reduce this problem, most issues occur when people take their business away from the site and try to get a better deal in private.

In a more typical scam, which amounts to be targeted attack, a fraudster contacts people who have bid on items but failed to win. They’re offered a similar item at a lower price, to be paid through a money transfer service, once the funds have been sent, the goods should be dispatched, but they never arrive.

Cash back fraud
If you sell something online, be wary if a buyer abroad sends you a cheque for more than you asked for, you’ll be asked to send some or all of the overpayment via money transfer to another individual or account, the excuse may be something like “the extra money is to pay a shipping agent to send the goods out of the UK”.

Don’t do this, even if the cheque has cleared a stolen cheque can be recalled by the bank, event after it has cleared, however, you won’t be able to retrieve the money you sent by money transfer and the bank won’t reimburse you, for more details on this particular scam, visit this web site www.met.police.uk/fraudalert /section/cashback_fraud.htm

Money transfers
Money transfer system such as western union provide quick and reliable way to send money across the world, they can be very useful when used properly, but if you send cash to someone you don’t know or trust, you can kiss it goodbye. Scammers who perpetrated advance free frauds often use money transfer services, as do those running lottery, action and cash back cons.
The recipient of the transfer must provide proof of identify, but documents can be forged as money is handed over in cash rather than transferred to a bank account; it can disappear without a trace when collected.

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