I hope that none of you fell victim to a scam this year, but every time we turn around, there is a new scam to watch out for. There are the oldies, like bogus lotteries and work-at-home rip offs, and new ones related to H1N1. This one directed email openers to a site claiming to be the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fill out a personal vaccination profile. This wouldnt prevent you from getting h1N1, but it probably would give you another type of virus. Oh yes and dont forget the 1.7 Million dollars that was left for you from an African Prince.
To avoid scams, anytime you receive an email from someone you arent familiar with, I would suggest you avoid the provided link or even delete it. If you think there is something of value on that link, I would instead research and verify the link first.
Here is a list provided by the Better Business Bureau of the top 10 scams of 2009.
1. Work-at-home schemes: If they ask for money up front, be on alert. Also use caution before giving out personal information.
2. Bogus credit counseling offers: These services offer to help you lower you interest rates on yur credit cards, if you pay them their fees up front. If you need legitimate advice, please go to your closest nonprofit credit counseling agency.
3. Lottery scams: If you didnt enter it yourself, you probably didnt win it. And if you did win, you dont have to pay upfront to collect.
4. Vacation scams: If it is free, why do they need your credit card number?
5. Advance-fee loans: Most lenders include any fees in the balance of your loan, so beware of those asking for fees up front. You may end up giving them money, instead of them loaning it to you.
6. Identity theft: A lot of these types of scams begin with an invitation supposedly through Facebook, MySpace, or some other social media site. If you really want to confirm a friend, login to the actual site to confirm. Also, do not post too much personal information on your profile.
7. Home repair rip-offs: This is one of the oldest around, going back farther than the internet, but it is still on the top ten list. If someone comes to your door with an offer to fix everything for a low price, it is probably too low. They usually take your money, and do little to none of the work. If you are considering hiring someone to do repairs on your house, ask them for copies of licenses, insurance, and a contract. Also be sure to get names and numbers of previous customers and do not be afraid to call them.
8. Spoofing attacks: Im sure youve seen the emails that claim to be your bank and ask for your personal information or to download some software. Dont click on these links. Financial institutions never solicit for private information via email.
9. Check-overpayment schemes: if youve tried selling on auction sites, you have probably seen this one. Someone wants to purchase your item and needs to send you a check for more than what the price is. They ask you to send them a refund for the remainder. What happens is this, you deposit the check in your account, send them the money for the overpayment, then their check is returned, and you are out lots of money.
10. Prizes with a catch: How can you win a prize that you didnt enter to win? And why do you have to pay to claim it? Be careful, you may be paying for a prize you dont want.
If you think you have been a victim of a scam, please contact the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. If you think you have been victim of a virus, please contact Kotori Technologies. And if you would like to eliminate spam emails, please check out or email solutions.
And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.