Every day, I receive offers that just sound too good to be true. In the past, these offers came through the mail or by telephone. Now the con artists and swindlers have found a new avenue to pitch their frauds — the Internet.
The on-line scams know no national borders or boundaries; they respect no investigative jurisdictions. But, as with all scammers, they have one objective — to separate you from your money!
I have been a victim. I ordered a cosmetic after reading a bogus “testimonial” from someone from Hamilton, Mississippi.
“How could she lie”? I thought. She didn’t, only because she didn’t exist. That’s apparently a common way to get your attention – have someone who lives near you offer glowing testimonials.
I got stung for $78 (it was supposed to cost $5). That doesn’t sound like much, but I’ve spoken to friends who’ve had similar experiences much more costly.
The “product” was for a tooth whitener which came in a big hypodermic needle. It was filled with a clear serum swimming with glitter. Yes, glitter. Like I would ever use such a product. My teeth would probably fall out.
I keep that needle on my desk to remind me never to be such a sap!
An interesting point about fraud is that it is a crime in which you decide on whether to participate. Hanging up the phone or not responding to shady mailings or emails makes it difficult for the scammer to commit fraud. But con artists are very persuasive, using all types of excuses, explanations, and offers to lead you — and your money — away from common sense.
You can now go to <lookstoogoodtobetrue.com> to get more information or register complains.
This website was developed to arm you with information so you don’t fall victim to these Internet scam artists. Education, good judgment, and a healthy dose of skepticism are the best defenses against becoming a victim. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
In the meantime here are a few tips:
- Do not respond to unsolicited (SPAM) e-mail.
- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations.
- Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
- Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
- To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
- Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization’s website rather than following an alleged link to the site.
- Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization.
- Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.