I thought everyone knew about these things, and it is heartbreaking when you hear that no, everyone doesn’t know. On a much lesser scale, I feel like I fell for the Free Credit Report scam just last week. Shoot, I should have known better!!
One of my coworkers (I’ll call her Sheila) fell prey to an Internet scammer not too long ago. They got to her through Craigslist.
Sheila’s ex-husband gave her a wide screen television so she decided to put her 6 month old TV up for sale on Craigslist. She’d paid $250 for it so she listed it for $150. She got a few emails, several of them asking her to come down in price, but she really felt she could get $150 if she just waited.
Finally, she got an email from a person that asked if she could ship the television to her as they were a couple hundred miles from our city. She agreed to ship it for an extra $50, but she said she’d have to wait for the check. A couple of days later, the person emailed and said they had a little problem. The check had been written the check for the wrong amount. They said they were teaching their teenage daughter how to manage money and she’d been writing the checks for a couple months and they didn’t get a chance to double check her work before the checks were mailed out. They discovered she had accidentally written the check for $1200 which was actually their mortgage amount. They’d discovered the error when the mortgage company called to let them know their check was short $1000. All fairly believable, right?
They asked my coworker if she could please help them out, cash the check and wire the money to them as soon as possible as they were already late on their mortgage? Of course my friend fell for it hook, line and sinker.
She did exactly as they’d asked: deposited the check, shipped the television and wired the money.
She didn’t find out that anything was wrong until about a week later, when the $1200 check finally bounced, which of course meant lots of other checks started bouncing in her account.
Poor thing – she had to take out a short term loan from work just to make ends meet. It’s been 3 months and she’s still struggling to get back on her feet financially.
Here is a great video log from One Money Dummy Getting Smarter about Internet Fraud. Her husband works in risk management at a bank and in this video log she tells how he got to be a hero and save a bank customer from wiring $8000 to a scammer.
Also read here about the Nigerian 4-1-9 Scam.
The scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. It used to be enough if you could spot typos easily, but they are learning how to use spellcheck!! Back in October 2008 I posted about a Bank of American phishing email that got me.
Have you ever fallen prey to one of these scams?