More on how to avoid scams and internet fraud….
Image from LATimes.com
A while ago, I received this ad when economic stimulus checks were the rage: I Got a $12,000 Stimulus Check in Less Than 7 Days. Get Yours! I found this ad in my email represented by a gigantic check from Uncle Sam. I did some research and discovered, oh surprise, that there is no stimulus check or outright grants for most of us. But because of the terrible economic news, scam artists are more active than ever. Many people are hurting financially and may become desperate enough to try anything.
Beware of Internet Scams: Avoid “Get Rich Quick” Schemes
Aside from the most obvious scams that tell you that you just won the lottery in Germany or England (mine said that my email had been chosen among millions of people), some scams are using names you trust in order to get your private information. Another example that happened to me recently:
Your gmail account will be terminated because it has been reported as robot mail unless you provide us with your user name and password.
~ Signed: Google.
Naturally I declined to fall into the trap. After reading through this scam and other stories involving something called the Google Money Tree, I realized that everything with the Google logo in it should not be trusted right away.
Have you heard of Prime Bank Instruments? Sounds pretty official, doesn’t it? This term should sound suspicious to you when you are offered to participate in an online investment project. The term is used by scammers to dress their scheme with the clothing of legitimacy. Usually, such programs claim that your funds will be used to acquire and trade “prime bank” financial instruments for huge gains. But actually such “prime bank” instruments never exist and you can lose all of your money.
No Check Please!
If you are selling stuff online, do not trust payments by check: the con men are going to try to send you some kind of check, and mention that right off the bat in their initial email. Then of course, there is the classic “bank” email asking you for your private information because “they just want to confirm that you are really the owner of that account”. Yeah, right! This is a phishing ploy, and it seems so obvious, but millions of people fall into that trap every year, especially elderly citizens who trust too easily. Keep an eye on grandma or grandpa to avoid financial scams. One of the tips given by legitimate banks is that you should examine the type of English that is used in these messages. If there are many mistakes or the sentences are poorly constructed, you know that no bank would ever write such an email.
What About The Saints?
Having discussed some of the demons that plague the Internet, I thought about balancing this story by providing some mentions of those folks who are doing good things for others. Not everyone out there is someone to be suspicious of. For instance, there are nonprofit organizations out there that exist and are designed to help the working poor during unexpected financial emergencies, saving people from falling into a downward spiral of poverty. They are especially geared toward the growing segment of the population squeezed by credit card debt and the mortgage crunch. Take a look at a company called Modest Needs, that aims to help in this manner. If you’re unemployed and your unemployment checks run out, this is one organization you may consider turning to.
The generosity does not stop here for many folks around the nation. When Haiti experienced its big disaster some days ago, we were all stunned about the human costs. These days, we see just how the Internet has helped bring generous minds together, through contributions made to certain organizations, such as the following:
When trouble happens, countless people react in the positive. This reconciles us with humanity; total strangers helping somebody in need is one of those things that helps restore our faith in people.
So as you can see, even on the Internet, there’s both yin and yang, the evil and the good. Now I have met many good people in my life; some of them helped me at critical times and I have tried to do the same with the ones in need around me. That’s called the Golden Chain which unites all of us on this beautiful chunk of the universe. So how about let’s try to put the focus here on the good and the positive, shall we?