Scammers are everywhere online, and their main goal is to separate you from your money (or identity, or both). They’re getting better all the time, but the more knowledge you have on both their behavior and what you can do about it will go a long way in protecting you.

One of the more prevalent scams these days breaks down like this. The scammer finds a cold hard cash somewhere which he decides to keep. He will then ask you to send that cash to some account on his list, which he will then ask you to wire back – again sending the money back to him. He will keep the cash, and use it to pay his employees, who will then either lose the money or turn around and would have been paid out on time if the money had been sent back in the beginning. You will then find that your wire transfer has been deposited and is waiting for you to send back the funds, when a strange message comes through your email account – DON’T DO THIS.

That’s right, in this scam, the scammer decides to hold your money hostage in exchange for you sending him the harmless little e-mail. You’ll see plenty of these e-mails everyday, and they usually start out with something along the lines of “I feel badly about leaving this money on your account, but there is no one you can turn to”. By using this line the scammer is hoping that you will simply believe his story and pay him for the money, despite knowing full well he had nothing to do with it. The same e-mail also claims that there is a transfer situated in “the Pokerace99“, although it is clear from the context the message is about escrow or third party services. Furthermore, a number of the scammer’s contacts in the UK are agents or their close friends, and they simply e-mail the victim with a message saying something like “FOOD TRUCKER RIGHT NOW – CASH AND WATERFRONT”.

It’s not just e-mails anymore, by the way. House hopes, as we all know, can change. Email is still important, but it’s not like it used to be. The people doing scam jobs are stooping to new levels of stupid. They think about what they’re saying, and they know how to make a lot of money with very little effort. It’s amazing to me how clever some of these people are to pull this off. They’re getting more clever all the time, too. I’ve even found scams where kids are using the sites to coordinate coerctions — trying to get kids intoASED (adult dating online). Don’t ever believe a word of it.

How can you tell if it’s a scam? There are a few things you should know about.

  1. Websites that claim to have the authority to offer a service that you cannot find on your own. If a website says they have the authority to do something, and they tell you that in their e-mail, they are giving you the information that you need, then you can believe them.
  2. If you find a website that has some authority to do something, and they’re offering a service that you want, and they’re asking you to pay them money in advance in order to get the service, then you can pay them if you want to.
  3. And, for the most part, you should pay them whatever amount you need to anyway.

Money is weird, and it comes in different forms. Some people pay their babysitter to watch their children for free, because they’ve found free child watch sites on the internet. Some people pay their housecleaner to collect the garbage and then they pay him to do the cleaning, because they’ve found a clean site on the internet for $150.00. If you can imagine it, chances are someone has created a website charging hundreds of dollars for the service.

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