Federal Trade Commission: Protecting Yourself From Online Scammers
By Bridget Small, FTC Consumer Education Specialist // August 25, 2015
protecting you from the latest scams
ABOVE VIDEO: This video shows some common money wiring scams, and what happens to some people who meet the scams. (Federal Trade Commission Video)
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (Consumer.ftc.gov) – Online scammers are recruiting and they’re looking for people to help them transfer money and stolen goods.
Of course, they don’t come right out and say that’s what they want.
Instead, they claim to offer work at home jobs or pretend to be your romantic partner and ask you for a ‘favor.’
The scammers’ goal: to use your bank account, personal information and address to help them steal money.
The scammers may send you an email offering a job as a ‘clerk,’ ‘correspondence manager’ or ‘import/export specialist.’
The application asks for some personal information and your bank account number.
If you agree, your first assignment may be to accept a wire transfer to your account and then transfer most of it — minus your commission — to their contact.
Next task: accept packages sent to your home, re-label them with information they provide, and ship them out. The “sweetheart” version of the scam opens with an email from someone you met on a dating site.
Your new flame claims he’s stranded outside the U.S. on business, and desperately needs to use your bank account to ‘relay money from the home office.’
In truth, the checks the scammers send are bogus. If you deposit them and withdraw money, you’ll be on the hook to repay the bank everything you withdrew.
In another twist, he’s in a bind and asks you to forward a package of ‘machine parts’ he’ll have delivered to your home.
The packages he wants you to forward might have anything from fake checks to stolen goods to electronics bought with stolen credit cards. If you get involved, it’ll be your name and address that the police find on the shipments.
Here’s the bottom line: If someone you don’t know — and that includes someone you met online — asks for personal or financial information, don’t respond. If they ask you to deposit checks, accept funds or wire money, don’t get involved.