Avoiding “second chance” offer scams at online auctions: Internet ScamBusters #205
Today we have three Snippets for you about very common scams
— and we’ve never written about the first two:
- Online Auctions – The Second Chance Offer
- Cheap Prescription Drug Scams
- Most Bank Robbers Don’t Wear Masks or Carry Guns Anymore
Let’s get started…
Online Auctions – The Second Chance Offer
Let’s say you’re visiting a popular online auctions website like eBay and you bid on a car that you fall in love with. You notice the car didn’t sell because it didn’t meet the reserve price, and to your surprise, you receive a “second chance offer” email from the seller.
It seems that the seller is willing to let the car go at a lower price — the price you were willing to pay.
All you have to do is send a deposit of a few thousand dollars to hold the car, and then when you receive the pink slip, you send in the rest of the money to the seller.
Sounds great, right? Almost too good to be true?
It very well may be.
Unfortunately, many people have been in this very situation, and after they send the money, they never get the pink slip and they go on to find out that the person they sent the money to wasn’t even the person selling the car in the first place!
So what’s going on?
There are scammers who prowl the auto auction sites, and when they see a car that doesn’t meet the set reserve price, they get the email addresses of all of the bidders and send the bidders an email with a second chance offer.
The bidders, who think they are buying the car based on this second chance offer, send the scammer thousands of dollars — and then the con artist ups and disappears.
Actions: If you receive a second chance offer (and second chance offers can be legitimate), make sure you deal directly through the auction website you were bidding through and that you get the contact information for the seller from the site. You can then verify that you’re dealing with the actual seller. Only then should you consider taking advantage of a second chance offer on an auction website.
You can find out more about how the second chance offer works on eBay and other online auctions here.
Cheap Prescription Drug Scams
Your e-mailbox is undoubtedly filled with spam offering incredibly low prices on prescription drugs.
Scammers know that cheap prescription drug prices are irresistible to many people, so they send billions of spam messages that purport to come from online pharmacies selling prescription drugs at steep discounts.
To take advantage of these amazing offers, all you need to do is supply your address and credit card information. 😉
This seems reasonable to many victims, since they do need this information to process your order and then ship the products.
Unfortunately, you never receive the prescription drugs, but you do find gigantic charges on your credit card bill.
Action: Never respond to spam. And if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Most Bank Robbers Don’t Wear Masks or Carry Guns Anymore…
Here’s an interesting — and different — way to look at a common phenomenon (we thought you’d find this perspective intriguing):
Today, many bank robbers don’t fit the stereotypes most of us have: they don’t wear masks and they don’t point guns at their victims. They won’t get caught by video surveillance, and they don’t set off standard alarm systems.
In fact, they never even walk in or out of a bank when they’re robbing it!
Instead, they just steal the identities of account holders, and drain the money from their accounts.
This means that credit cards aren’t the only target of identity theft criminals. These modern-day bank robbers are targeting bank accounts, too.
So how do these robbers get your bank account information?
The most common method is through the many phishing scams we’ve talked about in past issues. You can read about phishing here.
In addition, a scammer will occasionally succeed in hacking through a bank’s security system (but this is very rare). Another uncommon method is that some scammers buy information directly from a bank employee. There are, of course, many other methods scammers use to steal your information.
Sometimes they steal money from one or a handful of accounts; other times, they steal from many account holders at once.
If you want to make sure you don’t become a victim, keep a close eye on your banks accounts and immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank’s manager — even if it’s just a few dollars. And don’t forget to change your passwords often.
Time to wrap up for today — have a great week!