Red Flags

Written by Bob Osgoodby

Most of us think of hype as exaggerated or extravagant claims, made especially in advertising or promotional material. Sometimes it is deceptive and deliberately misleading. While we have become a bit immune to this through constant exposure, it always seems that someone comes up with a fresh approach that is not immediately recognized. There are a number of "Red Flags:" being raised.

Con artists have been around sincerepparttar beginning of time, and are always willing to take advantage of another "hot prospect". But every scam has "red flags" and a little common sense should prevail so you do not fall prey to them. Let's examine a few we get by email everyday.

"Complimentary Vacation Package" - this one has been around a long time, but has now found its way torepparttar 127563 web. It starts off with "Congratulations! You will be our guest in Orlando, Florida, home of Walt Disney World, for 4 days and 3 nights. All compliments of major Vacation Resort Developers." Reading it, you might feel you have won a contest. In actuality, this is notrepparttar 127564 case. It is a high pressure sales campaign designed to sell you a "timeshare" vacation package.

Another variation promises deeply discounted vacation packages. You pay for a package that seems great onrepparttar 127565 surface, but in reality is either third rate accommodations or doesn't exist at all.

"Guaranteed Winner" - they state - "You're going to get one of these top five prizes, guaranteed!" In this scam you normally send some information, and either return it by email or fill out a form on a web site. They require that you supply your telephone number to be eligible. You will then be contacted by a telemarketer who confirms that you have been chosen for one of repparttar 127566 five "valuable" prizes; however, you must pay a processing fee for handling, customs duties or taxes, and you must send a check or money order to them by overnight mail. The prize usually winds up being small trinkets of minimal value, discount coupons or vouchers, worth far less than what you paid.

Or, you might receive an e-mail informing you that your order has been received and processed, and your credit card will be billed forrepparttar 127567 charges. The trouble is, you haven't ordered anything. They contacted you using bulk email, using inactive return addresses which prevent you from refutingrepparttar 127568 orders by email. They do provide a telephone number inrepparttar 127569 area code 767, which is actually inrepparttar 127570 West Indies. They try to keep callers onrepparttar 127571 line as long as possible, and you are reportedly billed as much as $25 per minute. Be aware that your local telephone company may bill for services provided by other companies, and not be able to provide you relief.

Before you spend that money, let's talk about history

Written by Kathy Burns

Have you noticed all ofrepparttar advertisements onrepparttar 127562 Internet from "gurus" and people who have "made it" with their Internet business? You knowrepparttar 127563 ones, they tell you how in demand they are. They tell you how they get several thousand dollars for each seminar they give. They tell you how they've made hundreds of thousands of dollars online. And they tell you they'll give you their secrets and formulas forrepparttar 127564 "ridiculously low price of $99.95"!

These characters are all really slick. Their one page web site is designed to draw you in, convince you, and take your hard earned money. Some of them are written really well andrepparttar 127565 product is very tempting to buy. But does a little doubt linger somewhere atrepparttar 127566 back of your mind? Is there something holding you back but you just can't quite put your finger on it? There might be a valid reason for that.

Let's travel through history a bit and see if we can figure out why you get those tiny doubts....

Orson Wells. Heard of him? War ofrepparttar 127567 Worlds. Heard of that? I think almost anyone inrepparttar 127568 U.S. knows both names, but for amusement I'll summarizerepparttar 127569 story. The War ofrepparttar 127570 Worlds was a fiction radio story. I think it was broadcast inrepparttar 127571 1940's or 1950's era but I don't rememberrepparttar 127572 exact date. This story happened to be science fiction, and happened to involve aliens landing on Earth and starting a war. Nowrepparttar 127573 story was put on in full production mode -- just likerepparttar 127574 fiction movies you see on TV today with professional actors. The only problem is, many people tuned intorepparttar 127575 radio show while it was in progress, and they had no idea it was a fictional story! Panic and chaos ensued.

Jump torepparttar 127576 1960's era. Did you know there was a book that was put on to best seller lists, even thoughrepparttar 127577 book didn't actually exist? Yep. A radio DJ cooked up a plot to "fool" some people. He arranged to have listeners go to bookstores and request a specific book. The book didn't actually exist, and this was part ofrepparttar 127578 prank. To his and his listener's surprise: Their requests for this book stirred up interest acrossrepparttar 127579 world. People were talking aboutrepparttar 127580 book everywhere -- reviews were even written about it! And soon enough it showed up on a bestseller list. Butrepparttar 127581 book did not even exist. The non-existent book was called "I' Libertine", and due torepparttar 127582 furor created fromrepparttar 127583 prank,repparttar 127584 radio DJ went on to write a real book by that name later in life.

Now let's jump ahead about 30 years. Inrepparttar 127585 1990's, some of you may remember computer communities called a "BBS". BBS stands for bulletin board system, and back then this was a computer that you dialed in to. Once connected, you could download files, chat with other members and play games. The public Internet was not available back then, so this was as close as you could get. One BBS was having a difficult time getting itself offrepparttar 127586 ground. They had one major competitor, and they couldn't seem to win customers away from that competitor. Sorepparttar 127587 owners decided to enticerepparttar 127588 customers. The customers were almost 100% male back then, and one thing they were all looking for was a friendly female. So one ofrepparttar 127589 owners ofrepparttar 127590 new BBS -- a man -- took on a BBS personality of a female. They set up a charade basically, with allrepparttar 127591 trimmings. This man would pretend to be female and chat with allrepparttar 127592 guys onrepparttar 127593 competitor's BBS. Duringrepparttar 127594 chats, "she" would make sure they all understood that she could be found more often on this other, newer BBS. So, if they wanted to talk to her more, they would have to go over there. And they did.

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