Real Scams:

Internet ScamBusters Subscribers Share Their Favorite Stories About Other Scams

We want everyone to be aware of all the scams we’ve found on the Internet so check
out these previous scam winners. They might still be around!

Real Scams

   "I would like to put out a serious warning for anyone considering
the supposed ‘credit’ offer from a company called ***. They are not only extremely
unprofessional and deceptive, but quite rude about it as well. This is what happened.
I received an email, actually it was ‘spam’, and something I usually delete right
away. However, with the "enticement" of a guaranteed 2 or 3 credit cards,
with no security deposit required, and myself in need of a laptop for my web design
and still being at the mercy of my ex-husband’s bad credit, I was ‘sucked in’. Now,
in the email ad it very clearly states ‘Risk Free’, and invites you to ‘Apply Now’…
So, thinking I had nothing to risk, I "applied", to see what would come
up. Now, I am a very particular person about fine print and finding the ‘catches’
in everything. I don’t know at this point if I just ‘missed’ the ‘catch’ or if something
was changed since I applied, but it appears that when filling out the application,
I had legally bound myself to pay them the $35. Not realizing this, I very innocently
emailed them and told them that I was still considering their program, but how would
I know that I wouldn’t receive offers from 2 of the credit cards I already have?
What I received back was an email telling me to make a payment on my account now
or risk late fees. Totally befuddled and confused, I again, very innocently emailed
back and said ‘What payment? I haven’t done this yet’… and the reply I received
was the most rude, threatening, and harrassing email that I think I have EVER received
from a so-called company.

   "They stated to me that not only was I obligated to pay the
$35 (which is something I am willing to admit WAS perhaps my oversight), BUT that
I was NOW going to be charged a $75 late payment fee, threatening that they "have
my credit report" in their possession, as if holding it hostage almost :) What
was ludicrous about this is that it had NOT been 30 days, but only 23 days, so their
supposed bill was NOT late, yet they continued their very threatening letter. ***,
a supposed company who boasts of being listed with Dunn and Bradstreet, didn’t even
spell the name of the credit agencies correctly, which to me, was a big tell-tale
sign of their lack of professionalism. AND, what was the absolute WORST most obnoxious
part of the email was the last sentence that stated ‘You will not hear from us again’
… What kind of company operates like THAT, unless an unethical one?

   "I have sent them 2 very scathing emails of my own, informing
them that they way they conduct business will not be tolerated, and that their treatment
of their customers is deplorable. Here we have a company who is supposedly in the
business of HELPING people’s credit, and the only promise I received from them was
that they would HURT my credit if I didn’t pay late fees that were not even owed.

   "I hope that my experience will help others in not falling
for their deceptive business practices. And in addition, I have saved all emails
from them for my own records, and will share with anyone who have also perhaps been
scammed by them."

Darla D.

   "The ISP I use, and have used since 1995, Netcom, was recently
purchased by Mindspring. Somebody using a Mindspring return email address sent out
a mass notice this evening, April 14th, to Netcom users, requesting that they send
their updated credit card expiration date info through the email because their credit
card was about to expire. The email does not identify the Netcom or Mindspring accounting
department, and very cleverly avoids mentioning any specific reason why credit card
numbers are requested, except to say that "it appears" one’s credit card
is about to expire. For what? They don’t say. The email also said that if I didn’t
respond, they’d simply renew it for another year. (Sorry, but that’s a dead giveaway.
No company does that; when you don’t cough up new expiration dates, they cancel your
subscription. I know, because it’s happened to me in the past.)

   "I forwarded a copy of the email to their abuse addy, and
also to everybody on my mailing list. I can’t believe how gullible people are; friends
actually wrote back like overly patient parents, trying to explain to me that the
ISP had changed hands and needed my new credit card info through the email in order
to continue the ISP’s service to me.

   "What a scam; somebody used the timing of the sale to collect
credit card numbers. And if I’m right about this, an awful lot of people I know are
buying this b.s. I can’t believe the emails I received from people who thought it
was perfectly normal to cough up a credit card number to a nameless person at an
unfamiliar mindspring email address.

   "A reputable online company will NEVER ask you to send credit
card numbers through email. Nor will they tell you that if you don’t respond, they’ll
simply renew. The email in question didn’t even review what the credit card number
was for; every sale and major accounting change I’ve been through with this ISP,
the emails around it have been MUCH more detailed than that.

   "I feel sorry for people who really believe this is a bona
fide Mindspring site doing these mailings. It can’t possibly be; for one thing, my
credit card doesn’t expire until the end of this year. And for another thing, I received
a very suspicious, poorly written notification that Mindspring had purchased Netcom
hot on the heels of the credit card number request. This has to be a scam; I’ll be
very surprised if it’s not.

   "Somebody is gonna cash in BIG, and my friends are buying
it. Too sad."

Candice C.

Editor’s Note: Candice gives excellent
advice in her letter. No one should give out any kind of private information such
as credit card information simply because an email tells them to – this goes for
passwords as well.

   "Here’s a scam for you…

   "There’s a guy in Oklahoma who goes from employer to employer
as a part-time employee. He never stays more than 6 months or so, but while he is
there, he uses his employer as a base of operations for an Internet scam where he
claims to be publishing a nationwide PRINT Internet yellowpages, and sells listings
and ads for what seem to be unbelievably low prices – i.e. a full page ad for $200.
Right now, he is running this ‘nationwide business’ out of a motorcycle shop without
the owner’s knowledge, and when you answer his phone calls or faxes, they claim he
is just a part-time employee there and they know nothing about his Internet business.
He calls his fictitious product "gold pages", and the fact is, he has been
selling this advertising for two years, and nothing has been printed yet."


   "This site offers to ‘fix’ your computer to be safe from
the Y2K bug. The site sells a disk for $25 to test your PC to see if you’re safe
from the bug & they sell the ‘fix’ for the bug for $160. What people need to
know is, most personal computers bought in the past few years are already safe from
the bug and most PC manufacturers offer the test and the fix for free! Check the
Web site for your PC manufacturer or call them before you pay anyone any money."

Sandy K.

   "A new scam you probably won’t hear about for awhile is
this: A scam-artist lists 25, 50 or 100 quantity of a very high cost software program
(i.e. MS Office) for sale for $20-$40 on an auction site. Because of the low price
the product is usually sold out quickly. The scam artist then sends you the e-mail
saying you won the bid and you can send the money (money order or cash) to him at
a PO Box. He also states your product will be shipped as soon as the money is received.
You then send your money because you are bound by the rules of the auction to honor
your bid. Guess what? He never had the product and never intended to send anything
to you. He just made $1,000 to $2,000 in 24 hours and you and 50 others are out the
money. The auction site keeps it quite to protect its own image, and someone pulls
the scam all over again!"

David R., Connecticut

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