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6. Auction Antics
You can get a lot of terrific deals through online auctions, but you need to be careful. Before buying anything that seems too cheap, or that shouldn't be on an auction site at all, ask questions.
Look at seller's feedback rating and comments. You'll get a lot of clues from that. Check retail price of merchandise. If it's new merchandise, you can probably expect to pay 1/2 to 2/3 of retail, even at auction.
Remember old story of fellow who raffled off a brand new Lincoln at a small town carnival? Tickets were $1 each, and everyone figured they had a good chance.
He sold a lot of tickets, and, as promised, he delivered a brand new Lincoln... penny.
For more on auction fraud, you can check out issue of Internet ScamBusters called "Online Auctions: Deals or Steals" at: http://www.scambusters.org/Scambusters43.html
5. Chain Letters
"Add your name to position X, move name in position Y to position Z, send 200 copies of this letter to your closest personal friends, and very soon you'll have no personal friends left!"
Don't believe claims about legitimacy, folks. These things are illegal, immoral, and probably fattening.
Get a good anti-virus program, keep it updated, and keep it running.
Huh? What are viruses doing in ranks of scams?
They're actually among more clever of scams, if you think about it. Deceptive subject lines, hidden code that causes you to spread them to your friends, and almost always appealing to most common desires.
3. Nigerian Fee Scam
This is an oldie, and a real baddie.
The basic line goes like this:
"I represent some high mucky muck who wants to get a lot of suspicious money out of my country, and we need help from you to do it. We'll pay you stupid amounts of cash to be a front person."
The system escalates until you've got money sunk into scam, and they want you to visit country in question in person. There have been people who played along with this and never made it home alive.
Originally this was focused through Nigeria, but with recent events, you may hear about Taliban leaders wanting help, or people from other war-torn countries.
Don't respond to these people in any way. People die falling for this one.
For more on this scam, check out: http://www.scambusters.org/NigerianFee.html
2. Identity Theft
This is a VERY serious problem. We covered this in our last issue of Internet ScamBusters. If you haven't read it, do so now at: http://www.scambusters.org/Scambusters47.html
1. WTC Scams
The spams relating to World Trade Center began within an hour of attacks. They range from appeals for aid to victims, usually sent through spammers' web sites, to fake news items concerning reported attacks.
There's nothing funny to be said about these.
Don't pass them along, and don't contribute through any site that doesn't belong to a recognizable charity, such as Red Cross or United Way.
You can read more about these scams at: http://www.scambusters.org/Scambusters46.html
When you consider doing any sort of business online, look over this list and see if appeal sounds like one or more of these scams. If so, check it out carefully before sending money.
Most online businesses are run by honest folks and are quite safe. Just use a little common sense and caution, and you should be fine.
Avoid getting scammed on the Internet. Sign up for a free subscription to Internet ScamBusters, the #1 publication on Internet fraud. Send a blank email to email@example.com or visit: http://www.scambusters.org/