Natural disaster scam: Sadly, scammers seem to come out of the woodwork during a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy to catch consumers when they’re in a panic, looking for answers, and when they’re most vulnerable.
People should not click on links or respond to phishing e-mails for relief donations that ask for credit card numbers or other personal information. In addition, be wary of tiny URLs on social media services and posts on social networking sites.
Follow these guidelines to ensure that donations to victim relief efforts are sent through legitimate sites:
- Verify that the organization is actually a registered charity by going to http://www.charitynavigator.org/
- Recognize that solicitations that arrive by unsolicited email, especially those sounding overly urgent or desperate, are very likely to be scams.
- Be aware that donation requests made via advertising banners can also be scams.
Black money scam: Scammers send thousands of phish emails regarding an unknown inheritance. Ok right there should be a red flag. But, for many who think their ship has come in, it’s opportunity to get paid. Once engaged, the victim is told of the mass amounts of money needing to be snuck in/out of the country and told the money is dyed black to avoid detection by custom officials.
Once a meeting is arranged the victim is shown a trunk full of dyed black money, then to whet the appetite of the victims, a few of the bills are pulled out, and a magic solution cleans off a few nice crisp $100.00 bills.
The ruse is to get the victim to buy thousands of dollars of this magic cleaning solution for the promise of making hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Grandparents scam: One of the easiest and most vile scams on the block is the “Grandparent Scam”.
The phone rings and an elderly person answers the phone. The caller says either “Grammy, Granny, Grandma, Nana, Nonna, Papa, Baba or Grandpa?” The elderly person says ‘Yes” and the caller states “It’s your grandson!” When the elderly person responds and rattles off a name of a grandchild and says “Robby is that you”, the scammer responds “YES!” and knows he’s got a fish on the hook.
The scammer begins to hem and haw that they’ve been arrested or are stranded or car broke down or lost their wallet and need the grandparent to wire some money to them. Once the grandparent agrees they instruct the victim to go the address of the local check cashing place that wires money and the scammer siphons as much as possible out of their victim.
If there is someone in your life that could possibly, even remotely fall for this scam you need to educate them on what to look for. Put systems in place to make it difficult for them to make financial withdrawals without a cosigner.
Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures