It appears most of us have wised up to the so called ‘Nigerian’ scams that have plagued the internet.
But those con artists are getting more clever.
A Houston man recently wrote me and said how he was conned out of $1300 on Craigslist.
A Harris County woman was taken down last week after passing counterfeit $100 bills for an online purchased. She was arrested by the Houston Police Department.
I even posted an electronics device on Craigslist and someone attempted to run a Paypal scam on me.
Also, some Ebay accounts have been hacked by scammers who are trying to get your money.
That means you have to be more careful than ever when you are attempting to do business on the internet.
Here’s a look at some of the new scams you need to keep a look out for:
Those checks that came with letters telling us we’d won a lottery or had been selected to become mystery shoppers are so yesterday.Today’s Nigerian scammers try to convince us with the “real” thing — $100 bills.In a new trick, seen for the first time in Kansas in April this year, a scammer sent $3,000 worth of forged bills to a man and asked him to use it to buy a Moneygram.The victim had been corresponding by email supposedly with a woman in Nigeria. He received the “cash” from a person claiming to be the woman’s uncle, who asked him to send the Moneygram to her so she could come to the US.He fell for it, but the forgery was spotted at the Moneygram office.A few days later, a Nevada man tried the same thing, after receiving $3,000 of forged notes. He was told he could keep $500 and tried to buy a $2,500 Moneygram with the remainder.Action: Watch out for more of these tricks in the coming months. Bluntly, never send Moneygrams on behalf of someone you don’t know, whether you receive cash or a check.
Piling on the PayPal pressure-
We wrote previously about the use of forged PayPal emails used in Nigerian scams, supposedly confirming that your account has been credited following a sale you made on eBay.Now it seems that the Nigerian scam crooks have developed a whole suite of “PayPal” messages they send out in swift succession, aimed at forcing you to send the item. Relying on people’s trust that PayPal is a safe way to do business (which it is, if you use it correctly), the scammers bid for an expensive item you’re selling, then spoof a message to you from the online payment service saying the payment has been received.Our advice, when this first happened, was to sign on to your PayPal account and check for yourself that the money was in your account.To get around this, the scammers now send out a message, again claiming to be from PayPal but saying the money will not be credited to your account until you send confirmation, with a tracking number, that the items have been shipped.If you reply to either of these emails questioning the arrangement, the scammer sends another “PayPal” message threatening to close your account unless you complete the sale.
Action: PayPal doesn’t hold money pending a shipment nor does it threaten account closure in this way. As we previously advised, check your PayPal account. If the money isn’t there, don’t send your sale item.(Another giveaway, by the way, is that the bogus messages usually have misspellings and poor grammar — Nigerian scam artists haven’t wised up to that yet!)
Here’s “proof” of my story. As we mentioned at the start, one of the most common, longest-standing Nigerian scams is the invitation to share in some ill-gotten gains.To get your hands, supposedly, on the dough, you have to either supply personal bank account details (for ID theft) or make a money-wire or credit card payment to get the money released (which, of course, it never is because it doesn’t exist).To deal with the inevitable skepticism, the scammers often supply a link to a true story, usually about someone (the benefactor) being killed in a road accident.
A variation is the Nigerian scam email message, supposedly from a US soldier who got his or her hands on a slice of Saddam Hussein’s fortune.Now scammers have knitted together a clever variation of these ruses by pointing to a story about money in Iraq that really has gone missing.Usually purporting to come from “Sgt. Martin Hems,” this letter points to a BBC story about hidden money in Iraq and the fact that five soldiers were questioned after some of the cache of cash went missing.
Action: Don’t put 2 + 2 together and make 5. Just because there’s a true story doesn’t mean that a claim to be linked to it is true. The money may be missing, but it still isn’t coming your way!Bottom line — just don’t believe any story that you’re in for a cut of someone else’s fortune. It’s 99.999% unlikely — and you can get a lawyer to check out the remaining 0.001%.