Here are examples of cyber criminals favor schemes to defraud the public.
To good to be true schemes
Advanced Fee Schemes: Clever con artists will offer to find financing arrangements for their clients who pay a “finder’s fee” in advance. They require their clients to sign contracts in which they agree to pay the fee when they are introduced to the financing source. Victims often learn that they are ineligible for financing only after they have paid the “finder” according to the contract. Such agreements may be legal unless it can be shown that the “finder” never had the intention or the ability to provide financing for the victims. They use lawyers and it will be very, very difficult to proof that they are frauds, since you don’t know where they are located and you signed the agreement.
So be wary of businesses that operate out of post office boxes or mail drops and do not have a street address. Also be suspicious when dealing with persons who do not have a direct telephone line and who are never in when you call, but always return your call later.
So don’t trust strangers even if they are on the internet with flowers and hearts. Especially then. Remember what Reagan said: “Trust but Verify“. Make a habit of visiting the FBI’s website for tips. They keep up to date for us on the latest tricks and tax payers pay good money for that service. However unless we use their knowledge it is wasted on us, for all the tips visit. FBI Advance Fee Tips
Unless you know the company don’t buy from them. Even if you do know the company you should check Yelp.com, google the company and the product and check out how many complaints come up. Read reports online about them.
Purchase merchandise from reputable dealers or establishments. Before you make a buy, obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the seller to see if the telephone number is correct and working, check if their email is working.
Many business scams happen that you pay and they never ship the product, or you get a large refund from an Eastern Block country, that gets returned for overpayment, and then it turns out the original payment was fake, but your repayment was not fake – money gone. This even happens with fake non profit companies or fake copies of legitimate companies. Watch out and beware. Especially seniors are targeted by Cyber Criminals who often hide in “legitimate” business.
Joan Serioux-Forde, 72, thought that she couldn’t feel more devastated after her husband, Christopher, died last year. Then, roughly a month after the funeral, she received a letter from Generation Mortgage, a reverse mortgage lender, informing her that unless she paid $293,000, she would lose her home in San Bernardino, Calif. Ms. Forde said she was never informed that if she wasn’t on the reverse mortgage deed, she would have virtually no right to stay in her home unless she bought it outright. “It’s a nightmare,” she said. Generation Mortgage declined to comment.NYT
Reverse mortgage scams are engineered by unscrupulous professionals in a multitude of real estate, financial services, and related companies to steal the equity from the property of unsuspecting senior citizens or to use these seniors to unwittingly aid the fraudsters in stealing equity from a flipped property. For the other numerous tips on how not to fall victim to fraud scan the FBI popular fraud schemes.
Protect your Kids
Drug dealers put on parties, human traffickers kidnap kids and sell them to child molesters, kids are recruited by gangs, and kids are bullied.
Gwen, the product of a broken home (her mom, caught up in an abusive relationship, did not allow her to know her father) in a lily-white Vermont village, had met Paris in an irregular fashion. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she had been sold to him, for $1,200, in a package deal with her best friend, Alicia. The vendor was Brian Forbes, a six-foot-five-inch, 40-year-old bodybuilder, whom local law enforcement understood to be employed in the bail-bond business. Dennis Paris remitted Forbes $1,200, and the girls, court documents show, were his. Buying girls like livestock is not unusual. Cheryl, a gems girl, at about 14 was sold by one pimp, “Love,” to another pimp, “Junior,” for $600. The New York City Police detective Wayne Taylor—convicted in July 2008 for the attempted kidnapping of a 13-year-old—purchased his thrall for $500 from a Brooklyn “pimp partner.” In fact, the price for an adolescent female slave is far lower than it was in the mid–19th century, when, adjusted to today’s dollar, the going rate was roughly $40,000, the price of a car. Full article Vanity Fair
Most importantly, be aware and involved with your kids and stay educated together with them.
- Monitor your children’s use of the Internet; keep your Internet computer in an open, common room of the house.
- Tell your kids why it’s so important not to disclose personal information online.
- Check your kids’ profiles and what they post online.
- Read and follow the safety tips provided on the sites.
- Report inappropriate activity to the website or law enforcement immediately.
- Explain to your kids that once images are posted online they lose control of them and can never get them back.
- Only allow your kids to post photos or any type of personally identifying information on websites with your knowledge and consent.
- Instruct your kids to use privacy settings to restrict access to profiles so only the individuals on their contact lists are able to view their profiles.
- Remind kids to only add people they know in real life to their contact lists.
- Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names or nicknames.
- Talk to your kids about creating strong passwords.
- Visit social networking websites with your kids, and exchange ideas about acceptable versus potentially risky websites.
- Ask your kids about the people they are communicating with online.
- Make it a rule with your kids that they can never give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent. If you agree to a meeting between your child and someone they met online, talk to the parents/guardians of the other individual first and accompany your kids to the meeting in a public place.
- Encourage your kids to consider whether a message is harmful, dangerous, hurtful, or rude before posting or sending it online, and teach your kids not to respond to any rude or harassing remarks or messages that make them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and to show you the messages instead.
- Educate yourself on the websites, software, and apps that your child uses.
- Don’t forget cell phones! They often have almost all the functionality of a computer.
Get your kids to join you to regularly visit the FBI website and together stay up to date on what could happen to avoid it from happening. FBI Protect your Kids.
Enjoy the holidays with your friends and family, without the trauma of falling victim to cyber crime.