Pope scam shows nothing is sacred, counterfeit postal money orders, phishing and more: Internet ScamBusters #123
Today we have an important issue for you with 4 ScamBusters Snippets:
- A New Pope Scam - Nothing is Sacred 😉
- Alert: Beware of Counterfeit Postal Money Orders
- Phishing Quiz: Catch a Phish
- On the Very Light Side - Twinkies' 75th Birthday
OK, let's get started...
A New Pope Scam - Nothing is Sacred
Just as with the Tsunami and 9/11 scams, scammers were busy taking advantage of the death of Pope John Paul II, even before his body was laid to rest.
The most popular of the new Pope scams offered a free collection of books about Pope John Paul II. However, rather than delivering on the offer, the link in the email went to a page that apologized for "being out of the books" and instead offered free money-making secrets.
This scam is part of a larger trend where scammers use the news to get people to open email they'd normally delete. Scammers are also getting faster and faster at exploiting natural disasters, tragedies, and other historic events.
Alert: Beware of Counterfeit Postal Money Orders
We've written a lot about how fraudulent international money orders can look real, where even banks accept them as genuine. For example, see the first item here.
Many subscribers have written to tell us that we should advise people to insist on US Postal Money Orders as payment, since they believed these are always safe.
This is NOT true.
Foreign scammers are now counterfeiting US Postal Money Orders.
In fact, according to U.S. Postal Inspector Larry Dziomba, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bogus US Postal Money Orders have been sent from overseas in the past six months.
Tip: All US Postal Money Orders now have a watermark and an embedded security strip, similar to U.S. currency. Check any US Postal Money Order you receive very carefully and don't assume it's as safe as cash.
Phishing Quiz: Catch a Phish
The Washington Post created a phishing quiz. See how many of these 10 real emails you can correctly identify as legitimate or phishing scams -- we think you may be surprised at some of the answers:
For more on avoiding phishing scams, visit now.
On the Very Light Side - Twinkies' 75th Birthday
This month, Twinkies celebrates its 75th birthday. This celebration has rekindled many of the Twinkies urban legends, such as:
- Twinkies have a shelf life of 50 to 100 years.
- Hostess hasn't produced any new Twinkies in years, and the Twinkies in stores now have been sitting in warehouses for years.
- Our personal favorite: That Twinkies have an incredibly long half-life, and could survive nuclear fallout. <g>
For more Twinkies urban legends, see the last item on this page.
That's it for today. Wishing you a great week.