An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Top 10 Scams of 2006!

This is a good list of the Top 10 Scams of 2006!!

Fake Lottery Scam
Phishing-Vishing Scams
Phony Job Scam
Negative Option Scams
Nigerian 419 Scams
Pump & Dump Scam
Bogus Fuel Saving Devices
Grandparents Scam
Oprah Ticket Scam
craigslist Scam

1. Fake Lottery Scam

Topping our list for 2006, the fake lottery or sweepstakes scam only seems to get bigger and more dangerous. Promising victims they have won thousands of dollars in a Canadian or European lottery, they target the elderly, who seem to be particular susceptible to these schemes. ConsumerAffairs.com reported on one case in which an elderly Kansas man lost over $300,000.

More than 400 New Yorkers fell victim to sweepstakes and lottery scams in the first seven months of 2006, with losses ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $35,000, according to an analysis by the New York State Consumer Protection Board.

While elderly people lost the most money, lottery scams also tricked younger people into believing they had won a large cash prize from a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. In each case, the victims sent money, usually to Canada, thinking they had to pay insurance or taxes before they could collect these bogus prizes.

“No legitimate contest makes you pay a fee to collect a prize,” said CPB Chairperson and Executive Director Teresa A. Santiago. “For many of the elderly victims, the scam artists made multiple demands for cash, falsely claiming that more money was needed in order to pay for ‘taxes’ or insurance.”

Sons and daughters have filed complaints after failing to convince their elderly parent that there was no prize.

“You can’t win a contest that you didn’t enter. But it’s hard to convince someone that they are the victim of a scam, especially when the con artists have made numerous phone calls and formed a bond with the victim,” Santiago said.

2. Phishing-Vishing Scams

This scam, in which identity thieves “phish” for a consumer’s personal information, are getting more prevalent, due in large part to technological advances. The use of email now makes to increasingly easy for criminals to trick people into revealing account numbers, passwords and social security numbers.

Cleverly designed emails appear to be from a bank, credit union, or online payment service like PayPal, requesting account verification. If the consumer clicks on a link in the email, they are taken to a site designed to look like the bank’s actual site, where they are instructed to enter the sensitive information, which is captured and used for identity theft purposes.

In 2006, “vishing” arrived on the scene. Instead of asking the spam recipient to click on a link, they are instructed to call a toll-free customer service number, which seems more the way a financial institution might do business. When they call, an automated system instructs the caller to enter account numbers or passwords, which are then recorded by the scammer.

Secure Computing, which specializes in secure connections over networks, sent up the red flag over this new method in 2005, though the first recorded incident didn’t take place until May 2006, involving a Santa Barbara, California, bank. Secure Computing engineers have been tracking news group sites and open disclosure discussion groups discussing vishing.

“This is just a natural evolution of phishing itself,” said Paul Henry, vice president of strategic accounts for Secure Computing.

“Simply put, people are becoming more aware of the fact that an e-mail containing a URL could be malicious in nature. So hackers are moving away from the URL and using something victims are more familiar with like calling a number.”

This “advancement” has forced some financial institutions to consider additional changes to the way in which they communicate with customers.

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