Physics 3333 / CFB 3333 Modern Scams
Doonesbury comic 21 January 2007
A scam is some form of scheme designed to get something from you that you would not normally be willing to give up - like money, or your e-mail address list, or everything you typed on your keyboard, or.... In this modern world, the variety of scams is HUGE and the scammers are getting ever more creative. Scammers can approach you via telephone, e-mail and postal mail. The important thing to remember is this: if there is a possible way of deceiving and swindling you, someone is likely out there trying to do it. Beware!
One approach to such things is to look at the item and ask "Might I be seeing this if it were false or deceptive?" If the answer could be "Yes" you need to increase your probability estimate that the item is a scam. If the item offers you something that looks really good, always remember the old rule: "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is."
Holiday Scams by Pamela Yip (Dallas Morning News)
Modern E-mail Scams
The following is a list of common scams circulated by e-mail. Would you bite on any of them? We hope not, because you could suffer some large losses if you do.
- Nigerian Advance-Fee Scams
- You have won the lottery!
- Phishing scams
- Spam e-mails
- e-card from "family"
- Hot job opportunities
- Super Bowl tickets
- Nifty business opportunity
- Virus/malware attacks
How many times have you answered the phone and found a telemarketer on the other end?
Hot Off the Press - More New Scams!
The FBI and Secret Service web sites
yielded MORE scams. The scammers get ever more creative!
Here's a new one taken from the FBI web site.
Prepared by the
Internet Crime Complaint Center
ATTENTION-FBI E-MAIL HOAX ALERT!!
The FBI has become aware of e-mails being generated with the subject line “FBI Investigation” and implying the e-mail originated from the FBI. The e-mail requests the recipient’s assistance by purchasing merchandise via the Internet. This e-mail is fictitious, and its origin is being investigated. The FBI would never direct someone to expend personal funds in furtherance of an investigation. Note that, although the copy of the e-mail shown here appeared in July of 2004, the FBI press release file indicates that it is still appearing as of September 30, 2005.
The following is the actual message brought to our attention.
This is, of course, a hoax. Read the FBI web site (link below) for more such scams.
FBI press releases about MORE new scams.
Other Types of Scam
Here are some more scams. You can find scams almost anywhere you look.
In November of 2005, the Ohio Attorney General reported in a press release that "The problem of fraud-induced transfers is substantial. Based on a survey conducted by seven states, it was estimated that over 29 percent of Western Union transfers in excess of $300 from the U.S. to Canada were fraud-induced, representing 58 percent of all such transfers.
The AG's office was reporting on an agreement between Western Union and 47 states for an attack on fraud-induced wire transfers.
Scams Presentation by Agent Paul Ahner, U.S. Secret Service
There are lots of resources available to help you learn about and dodge scams. We'll add more as we locate them. All of these have VERY useful information about scams and fraud.
- FBI site
- Secret Service site
- Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC)
- ICCC Annual reports (be sure to read the latest one)
- National Consumers League
- Federal Trade commission
- FTC Consumer information
- ID Theft Center
- Scambusters. Lots of good information.
- Looks too good to be true
- Good anti-phishing information
- Education about phoney check scams
Also - the Attorney General of any state almost certainly has useful information about various scams.