Internet ScamBusters Subscribers Share Their Favorite Stories About Email Fraud
We want everyone to be aware of all the scams we've found on the Internet so check out these previous email scam winners. They might still be around!
"I have been getting email from several different people that claim they have a dental plan that only costs "a couple of dollars a week." I replied to one and gave them my phone number. A few weeks later I got a call and they tried to get both my social security number and credit card number to start my "policy." I told them that I would like to see the details in writing before I signed up and the response was "we have thousands of people signed up" and "we can't afford to send everyone written material" about the plan. Needless to say, I hung up."
Hello, my name is Tina Strongman and I work at a police station, as a phone operator for 911. Lately, we've received many phone calls pertaining to a new sort of problem that has arisen in the inner cities, and is now working it's way to smaller towns.
It seems that a new form of gang initiation is to go find as many pay phones as possible and put a mixture of LSD and Strychnine onto the buttons. This mixture is deadly to the human touch, and apparently, this has killed some people on the East Coast. Strychnine is a chemical used in rat poison and is easily separated from the rest of the chemicals. When mixed with LSD, it creates a substance that is easily absorbed into the human flesh, and highly fatal.
Please be careful if you are using a pay phone anywhere. You may want to wipe it off, or just not use one at all. If you have any questions, you can contact me at the links listed below. Please be very careful.
Let your friends and family know about this potential hazard.
[ Editor's Note: This is a recent urban legend making the rounds on the Net. If you're ever in doubt as to whether something is true or not, check out our Urban Legends page to see if it's listed. ]
I just received this mail from a friend of mine in Illinois. Please respond to it. It will just mean employing a little bit of time and won't cost you a penny. All it needs is the heart for you to send this mail. PLEASE pass this mail on to everybody you know. It is the request of a little girl who will soon leave this world as she has been a victim of the terrible disease called CANCER. Thank you for your effort, this isn't a chain letter, but a choice for all of us to save a little girl that's dying of a serious and fatal form of cancer. Please send this to everyone you know... or don't know. This little girl has 6 months left to live, and as her dying wish, she wanted to send a chain letter telling everyone to live their life to the fullest, since she never will. She'll never make it to prom, graduate from high school, or get married and have a family of her own. By you sending this to as many people as possible, you can give her and her family a little hope, because with every name that this is sent to, The American Cancer Society will donate 3 cents per name to her treatment and recovery plan. One guy sent this to 500 people!!!! So, I know that we can send it to at least 5 or 6. It's not even your money, just your time! PLEASE PASS ON!!!"
[ Editor's Note: This is a very old urban legend but apparently is still making the rounds on the Net. If you're ever in doubt as to whether something is true or not, check out our Urban Legends page to see if it's listed. ]
"I feel like an idiot, but I fell for this scam. But this story does come with a somewhat happy ending.
"This happened about 1 month ago when I was a new, really naive marketer. It was a Friday night. I purchased 2500 names from a person who claimed that the names were opt-in. (This should have been my first clue that this was a scam. Opt in names can not be purchased.) I paid with a check-by-fax (this site did not accept credit cards. Another small clue that this guy was a con).
"He gave me a copy of the list and then told me that he would send them in the morning. Guess what? On Saturday morning, he did not send them. Now I was stuck with 2500 names. After 2-4 unanswered phone calls and half a dozen emails, I decided to send them myself. (Another stupid mistake. I was new to the Net and the vision of making money clouded my better judgment.)
"On Sunday I received a lot of flames and complaints to my ISP and webhost. I decided to check out this guy's site. It was no longer there. This was the last slap in the face for me.
"Well, this story has a sort of happy ending. On the Monday, I rushed to my bank and I tried to cancel the check. I was really lucky! My bank was still in the process of checking this out when I came in and I got the check canceled! I also did not get kicked off my ISP or webhost after I explained to them what had happened to me. But I still feel bad for spaming those people.
"Well, here is my story. I hope your readers will not have to go through what I had to go through to find out some telltale signs of an opt-in scam."
Anonymous in Canada
"This scam says that Bill Gates of Microsoft and Disney have hooked up to see how information moves through the net through tracing the path of an email. Once this email goes through 13000 email addresses, then 1300 of those will receive $5000 and the rest will receive an all expense free vacation at Disney during the summer of 1999."
Everyone is to resend to 15 individuals. Please read and forward to as many friends as possible... we've checked up on this and this is no joke of a chain letter or something if this reaches 13,000 people... duplicate entries don't count, though... So, please help & pass on... thank you, and here you go!!!
WALT DISNEY JR.GREETING
Hello Disney fans,
And thank you for signing up for Bill Gates' Beta Email Tracking. My name is Walt Disney Jr.
Here at Disney we are working with Microsoft which has just compiled an email tracing program that tracks everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. It does this through a unique IP (Internet Protocol) address log book database.
We are experimenting with this and need your help.
Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 13,000 people, 1,300 of the people on the list will receive $5,000, and the rest will receive a free trip for two to Disney World for one week during the summer of 1999 at our expense. Enjoy.
Note: Duplicate entries will not be counted. You will be notified by email with further instructions once this email has reached 13,000 people.
Your friends, Walt Disney Jr., Disney, Bill Gates, & The Microsoft Development Team.
[ Editor's Note: Yes, folks this is another urban legend so please don't forward it on. BTW, Walt never had any sons, only daughters. <g> You can read more about these hoaxes on our Urban Legends page and in Internet Scambusters Issue #22. ]
Kiara E., Florida
"I am 74 yrs old and this is my first computer. I signed on with AOL. A few days later I received email saying they needed me to redo some of the information. I filled out the form and the next thing I know I was getting billed for $700.00 $400.00 was in fines and the rest was for signing up on different servers."
Clark, New York