Today we have three more interesting Snippets for you:
- HYIP and the "Secret Banking System" Scams
- Data Theft News and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
- Tips for Protecting Your Money While Traveling
HYIP and the "Secret Banking System" Scams
HYIP, which stands for High Yield Invest Programs, are investment scams that are exploding right now.
The scam artists focus on greed as well as spinning tales of the (non-existent) "secret banking system." The hype can be very convincing -- and millions of dollars of money is lost to these scammers.
Here's how it works: The scammer says that they -- or their employers -- are one of only a handful of traders in the world who can pull of these special kinds of trades. These trades are usually only done at the $100M level, but for some (made up) reasons, you can now invest a small amount of money and quickly get the $100M level.
Why do they say that they are not just continuing to do the trades for themselves? They claim they've been doing them for 15-20 years, and they have secretly made hundreds of millions of dollars. So, they've now made enough money and they want to help you benefit some charity.
Naturally, you are told your money is not at risk, and that you can earn between 1% to 250% return per day!
These high interest rates are tip-offs that the "investment" may well be a Ponzi scheme or other type of scam.
Perhaps the most compelling part of these scams to many victims is that they supposedly tap into the (non-existent) "secret banking system" that normally only the very rich can benefit from. That's why they claim astronomically high rates of interest can be achieved.
There are many variants of these scams, including those that claim:
- There is a major U.S. bank that guarantees these investments.
- The U.S. government is covering up this secret banking system.
- The program uses International Chamber of Commerce Approved Forms.
- These programs are backed by the International Monetary Fund.
Action: Delete any email that promises you extraordinary investment returns. Recognize there is no "secret banking system," and regardless of the promises, your money is NOT safe. Don't be fooled by the hype. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
For more on avoiding investing scams, visit here.
Data Theft News and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Perhaps the most ironic recent data theft news was that Equifax Inc., one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, reported that a laptop which contained employee names and Social Security numbers was stolen from an employee traveling near London.
The Department of Veteran Affairs announced that it is offering a year of free credit monitoring to the millions of veterans and military personnel whose data were stolen last month.
More data theft news: Visa USA recently confirmed that an ATM security breakdown compromised the personal information of more consumers. And the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that a hacker may have stolen the personal information of 26,000 employees, retirees and contractors.
What you can do to protect yourself: see the second item on this page.
Finally, for an interesting article on recent data theft and identity theft from the FTC -- and what we can learn from it -- click here.
Tips for Protecting Your Money While Traveling
Here are a few tips on how to protect your money and important papers while traveling:
- Don't take along extra credit cards (or other items in your wallet) that you won't need.
- Put your driver's license, passport, primary credit card, and prepaid phone card in one carrier, along with some emergency cash.
- Divide your cash, other credit cards and traveler's checks into different carriers. For example, some may go in your wallet, others in a zipped pocket of a tote.
- Put emergency cash in a zippered pocket of a money belt.
- Leave your passport, along with any credit cards, etc. in the hotel safe when you don't need them.
- Take a copy of the list of bank and credit card 800 numbers with you on the trip, and keep it in a different location.
For help on avoiding travel scams, see this article.
Travel safely, and have a great trip!
That's all for today -- we'll see you next week.