Internet ScamBusters Subscribers Share More of Their Favorite Stories About Other Scams
We want everyone to be aware of all the scams we've found on the Internet so check out these previous scam winners. They might still be around!
"Have you seen the ads for a free computer? Most of them read something like this...
"233 MMX Pentuim II, monitor, keyboard, mouse, monitor, and color printer. (Some give specifics on the hardware, and the 70 titles already programed in). 100% financing (bad credit accepted) or get it for free.
"Sound too good to be true, IT IS!!
"The company behind this has just been officially brought up on Fraud charges. I was taken in by this scam, and hope by this others won't get victimized!!"
"*** Industries, Inc. advertised for homeworkers to stuff envelopes. Emailed FAQ w/o phone number. For $26.95 plus $3.00 rush delivery, you would receive package that included envelopes, postage, etc to stuff the envelopes. I received a letter indicating to make money I run a similar ad. The "stuffing" you do is when someone sends you $30 and you mail them the same sheet. The letter you receive after you have paid your money basically indicates you're an idiot for believing the ad."
"I got an email saying come to the Web site and we'll take you off mailing lists. Well, it's just a message saying 'email this address and we'll do the rest' Uh huh. *Sure.* I'm pretty sure this is just a way to GET email addreses.
"BTW, I don't care about a t-shirt (won't turn it down either) I'd just like you guys to take a look at it and warn people if necessary. These people make my blood boil. Grr.
"Here is the URL: http://www.freeyellow.com/members*/***
"Here is the email I received:
Get off E-mail lists.
Get everyting here for FREE!
DO YOU YAHOO!? Get your free @yahoo.com address at
"I'm a ticked off consumer who wants to alert others to an Internet scam that I actually fell for. It all started when I answered an ad....for "Free info. on the number one internet money maker". A friendly, convincing salesman called, made his pitch, and made me believe I'd earn back my investment within a year. In December 1997 I purchased an Internet clothing store in the virtual mall "1 W*** C***" for $30,000. This fee was to include the programming and set up of my store, the negociations with suppliers, and advertising. However, my decision to purchase the store was based on false information (they lied to me about several things). They said the mall had about 2 million visitors per month, that I'd have instant access to my sales and statistics, and that my products would be received by the consumers within 3-5 days. I now know that these claims are false.
"The store does exist, but I think it's worthless......
"Here is a summary of the many problems:
- I was told the store would be completed within 2 weeks. In reality it took about 3 months. I called with questions and complaints almost every day, and they kept giving me excuses and telling me "It will be done by next Friday".
- To date, I still do not have access to my sales report, so I don't know the status of my store. I have called and complained over 30 times about this. I keep getting excuses--nobody seems to know what's going on.
- To check up on the quality of the mall's service, I purchased a product from my store. It arrived 1 month and 2 days later. (Not the 3-5 days they promised).
- I call and leave messages but the situation is not getting any better. They rarely call me back.
- Many people who were working on my store are "no longer with the company" with no other explanation.
"In short, I have lost $30,000 plus interest (on my credit cards) and banking fees. I hope you can alert others to this type of Internet scam. they make great promises, but they don't deliver. (The phrase DID run through my mind "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" but I wanted to succeed so badly that I kept believing their lies and giving them chances.)"
[ Editors Note: Check out Internet Scambusters #17 for some great info on Internet malls ]
"In a moderated newsgroup, a poster asked for good newsletters and a replyer recommended to go to "The Newsletter Library". And indeed this seemed a very good initiative: you could enter your interests and e-mail address and then they would subscribe you to interesting news- letters. Before that day I was spamfree (always posting with spamblocks, etc). After that I'm loaded with spam, and I did not receive any newsletter!
"I investigated and found out about the sponsor of "The Newsletter Library". It is **** *****. And the sponsors' site did not make much of a secret about it: "This contains over 700,000 email addresses of Internet users who utilized the Newsletter Library to request sample newsletters with subscription forms. The list is selectable by topic of interest of which there are more than 75.
"What can be done about this ? I certainly want to be removed from their 700,000 email addresses."
[ Editors Note: Check out our Stop Spam page for some great tips on getting rid of spam in your mailboxes. ]
"Sounds like a scam... One number has a recording that states that the number was changed to a 500 area code. I called the operator and she said that 500 area code was not a valid USA area code. The other number is a phone sex number."
You can get free Samuel Adams by calling 1-888-429-3825 or Bud Lite at 1-800-776-4446 and answer three yes or no survey questions. They will send you a coupon to receive a free six pack redeemable at supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide. This is a promotional thing and only takes about two minutes so just listen to the BS and agree with them. If it sounds to good to be true... try it out for yourself!
Send this to all your friends who drink beer.
"On December 26, I received an email message at my office inviting me to join one of the 'get rich quick' schemes floating around the Internet. I promptly deleted it and paid no more attention to it. However, the email came again, several times that day. Again, I deleted the mail absent-mindedly assuming that it was some kind of server error causing it to repeat. While I was away from the office over the Christmas/New Year holiday, the message came numerous additional times. Again I deleted them and began to get irritated that someone would send the message so many times in succession. Last evening was the last straw. I received the message 62 times from the time I went home until I came back in this morning. I decided that it was time this stopped. I set up a filter to redirect the message to my trash, and I suppose I could have it blocked at our email server, but I wondered why someone would want to do this. So, I decided to do some detective work.
"When I backtracked on my email, I found that I had received an offer for an 'email spam blocker' the day after the first message. Miraculously, after the overnight deluge, this morning I received another offer from the same company (using another origination address) advertising their Website:
I would like to introduce you to our newest publication "How to stop junk e-mail, once and for all" Written by an anonymous author...
"I wonder how many others have been electronically blackmailed into buying this guy's 'publication' without making the connection between the two."
"The Disk does all the work... uh-huh, right! If you go to www.total.net/~*****/ you will see the owner's own Web page. He gives all of his reps copies of this page.... advertising one fella who made $100,000. I fell for this scam... and have run into damaged disk problems.... unpaid commissions since JULY, unfulfilled promises.... excuses... excuses, etc. [He] is a real piece of work."
Carrie S., Maryland
"I received a piece of e-mail about a month ago, from a company claming to offer long distance "slam protection". For a $39.95 "processing fee", payable ONLY by online Credit Card transaction, they would insure you against any losses incurred by "slamming" (the unauthorized changing of your long distance carrier).
"You can file a "freeze order" (requiring your signature) with your local telephone company, making it impossible to switch carriers without your WRITTEN permission, making this scheme a useless investment."
"This one is so blatant I knew you would enjoy it...
PLEASE EXCUSE THE INTRUSION. BUT, THIS INFORMATION MAY BE OF GREAT INTEREST TO YOU...
How would you like to BORROW $59,000 and NEVER have to repay the LOAN?
If you answered YES, and who wouldn't, then I would like to invite you to join a very SPECIAL group of people.
The F**** F**** NETWORK.
....HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
Just LOAN 1 existing member $20 (which is your lifetime membership fee) and THAT'S IT!!!
....SEND YOUR APPLICATION ALONG WITH $20 CASH, Sorry, but we ask that all payments be made in cash, to eliminate ALL tax liabilities.
All Checks will be returned.
Please make sure cash does not show through envelope.
NOW, JUST SIT BACK AND RELAX, YOUR LOAN WILL BE ARRIVING SOON!"
"This message was faxed to a member of our office staff. Many of our employees throughout the company are seriously considering it. I have not been able to find any information on this. Any information that you have would be greatly appreciated.
Subject: GERBER BABY FOOD LAWSUIT -- Gerber lost the lawsuit because they advertised that their food was all natural and when taken to court it came out that they used preservatives. In the settlement Gerber Food is now responsible for giving every child born between 1985 and 1997 (under the age of 12), a $500 SAVINGS BOND.
All you have to do to receive it is to send a copy of your child's birth certificate and social security card. The address is....
Let's send this information to anyone you know that can benefit from it."
Editors Note: This IS a scam. Thanks, Ray, for bringing it to our readers' attention.
"What irritates me the most must be Internet 'official' contests, offering great prizes, but turning out to be nothing more than fronts to sell their products. A good example must be a California Tie-dye T-shirt Company which runs a monthly contest offering a great prize...one of their Tees! I've never heard of anyone actually winning one of their Tees, but I sure know plenty of 'runner-ups,' who are informed (repeatedly) that they have been chosen as special recipients of a 2nd place prize of 10% off any of their T-shirts! (probably overpriced by 30% to start with!!!!)
"I hope my experience helps. Keep up the good work."
Mal C., Canada
"I would like to alert you to what I believe is a very scamming individual or individuals on the Web. On 7-8-97 I received an e-mail from an organization claiming to be offering a chance to win $100,000.00 on line and other giveaways. Upon clicking on the url provided it went to a file not found site and proceeded to clear out all of my received email messages in my inbox. Needless to say I was a bit furious and I would like to see these morons caught and dealt with; if you could help in any way I would appreciate it and if you find out who is responsible I would certainly like to have a few carefully chosen words with them myself. The url they provided was http://*****/win"