How Top Three Online Scams Work
Some people collect baseball cards or ceramic figurines. I collect scams, which come in all varieties.
These days, I don’t have to go far to see how thieves all over the world are operating. I just go to my spam folder. The most obvious scams are sitting there.
All online scams have one thing in common: They want to tap your greed to get at personal information they can steal. These “phishing” ruses are happening 24/7.
Here are a few gems I discovered:
— “Bank of America” email. It would be wonderful if Bank of America owed me money. But since I’ve never had an account there, that would be the first time.
Here’s how the email, with the subject “Message from Bank of America,” read:
“Be informed that we have verified your payment file as directed to us and your name is next on the list of our outstanding fund beneficiaries to receive their payment.
Be advised that because of too many funds beneficiaries, you are entitled to receive the sum of $14.5M,(Fourteen Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars only), as to enable us pay other eligible beneficiaries.
To facilitate with the process of this transaction, please kindly re-confirm the following information below:
1) Your Full Name:
2) Your Full Address:
3) Your Contact Telephone and Fax No:
4) Your Profession, Age and Marital Status:
5) Any Valid Form of Your Identification/Driver’s License:
6) Bank Name:
7) Bank Address:
8) Account Name:
9) Account Number:
10) Swift Code:
11) Routing Number:”
Wow, all I have to do is send them all of my personal and financial information and they will send me $14.5 million. What a deal! By the way, Bank of America has nothing to do with this message, as if you haven’t already surmised.
This is a fairly typical banking scam. They will ask for information so that they can access anything from your credit cards to your checking account. Never reply to these emails.
— American Embassy Note. It would be really neat if the U.S. government owed me money as well. Boy, I’d sure like to get some of my hard-earned tax dollars back — just for being a good citizen.
Here’s a novel approach that pairs the U.S. Embassy with an African Bank, no less (note the bad syntax):
“American Embassy in conjunction with the United Bank For African, has come to agreement to send your funds in consignment worth about $7.5 Million USD without any further delay and they have did as instructed by the United Nation, as matter of fact your funds has already arrived in the one of the airports in your country but the diplomat signaled us that she lost your contact address as result of security inspection and screening in the airport.”
How kind of the United (sic) Nation to get involved. But they could use a proofreader if they want people to fall for this swindle.
— Your Order Has Arrived/Shipping Status. These emails will appear to come from Amazon or some other ecommerce transaction.
They aren’t really banking scams, but they will ask you to click a link and ask for personal information. You will pay dearly if you do.
How to avoid a phishing scam? Just don’t open any email with an offer to send you money or one pretending to be from a bank, which will mostly send you paper notices.
And never send personal or financial information to an email address, even if you think you know who it is.
It’s that simple and it will save you a lot of aggravation — and money.