Internet ScamBusters Subscribers Share Even 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!
"They claim to be this wonderful family and this great income opportunity. This supposed I*N*S* Company, located in Orem, Utah had this business opportunity and I fell for it. Being a good salesperson, I thought this was a great idea.
"I signed up and ordered my "product." I used a program called Internet SafePay (sounded real good) to have them debit my account for $50.00 to pay for my product.
"Well needless to say, they repeatedly cleaned out my checking account and did not send any product. I have spent a fortune trying to reach them by phone and fax and I am met with rudeness, put on hold or switched from person to person (they of course do not have a toll-free number).
"Well after going postal on the phone one day after being forwarded and put on hold for 35 minuted, I finally got the company president (supposedly) on the phone, who apologized all over the place for their "mistake" and said he would immediately refund my money.
"That was weeks ago. He also gave me his "personal email address" to contact him if there is any problem. The email is a phony and points to an autoresponder."
"I had ordered from this company once before, by credit card. I had a great talk with the owner. If I send cash, money order, or certified check he'll pay shipping and drop the 'handling' charge.
"I sent a $69 money order to them. The product was slow in arriving. I began e-mail inquiries. I was told, 'it has been shippped.'
"It still doesn't come. I call, I e-mail. I finally am told, 'maybe it wasn't shipped.'
"I say, 'too late I had to buy it elsewhere, refund my money.'
"Again lots of e-mails pass until I'm told, 'Your refund has been mailed.' 3 weeks pass no refund arrives. Silence from the company.
"I may have lost $69 but I ain't going quietly. I have begun with the usual BBB complaints, and have branched out with requests for assistance from the PC users group in his home city. I may never see a dime of my money but for The *** Man ***MAN.com in Miami, there also will be some cost."
"Scam re: "http://www.******man.com
"The owner of this domain is trying to capitalize on the re-selling of domain names for amounts ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 or MORE! InterNIC had been notified and responded with a reply stating that this practice is prohibited. I noticed that the account had been suspended, but is now up and running again."
SysAdmin, Calgary, Alberta
"This one is pretty simple, but I believe someone tried to pull it on my friend (fortunately for him, he has a T1): There is an offer for a very useful or attractive shareware product for download. The downloaded program, instead of its advertised function, automatically disconnects your modem and dials an 809 or similar number. I have also heard of the new modem connection acting as a regular Internet connection, so that the victim surfs the web or goes about his business through the pay number. With the amount of time spent by some on the web, it is hard to imagine what the phone bill would look like. It also makes all warnings about 809 or other numbers moot."
Daniel S., Philadelphia, PA
"This is a combination newsgroup/e-mail spam scam.
"I'll start out by noting that I got taken! It sounded harmless enough: Buy a magazine subscription, and get one free. The company at the time was Krazy***'s Collegetown magazine subscription service out of NYC. I spoke with *** on the phone, and ordered three subscriptions (one free!). Total of about $100 US. This was December of 1995. When no magazines started arriving, I e-mailed him, and he blamed the publishers. After another 6-8 weeks, I wrote again. He blamed the publishers and said he'd keep trying to get them to send my magazines. I find it hard to believe that three different publishers would all screw up for this long after three supposed promptings to date.
"Anyway, he has changed to "T*** T*** and has recently been e-mail spamming countless unprotected LISTSERV lists. It's the same deal, same text. You have to contact him by phone or fax (return e-mail bounces) and then he calls to make the sale. Some research on the web reveals that he is on the Internet Blacklist of Advertisers and is under fraud investigation."
Anonymous, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
"I saw in a newsgroup an article saying that the message would not be posted in just ANY newsgroup, but that this one was special because it was composed of people who could be trusted. The person, so it says, has won $100 in the Kentucky lottery and was just visiting at the time of the ticket purchase.
"Now after learning that the ticket was a winner, but having no plans to return to Kentucky, the "ticket holder" requested assistance from someone in KY to split the winnings and send them $50 in exchange for the ticket.
"I saw this in several newgroups with several states.
"It reminds me of the old "I found a wallet" scheme."
Bonnie R., IL
"I would like to report that in my opinion, a company called *** is a scam artist of the lowest kind.
"If you go to their website and request information from their autoresponder, I believe you will find that they tend to target people who can not leave their homes for employment, such as the disabled. Also they play on the feelings of young mothers who wish to stay at home with their children.
"They promise you many things. I made the major mistake of joining and it is my opinion that they do not come through with much on their promises.
"They have a refund policy, but it is almost impossible to obtain. You must get 25 rejection notices in a 3 month period of time to get a 60% refund. Many, many companies that advertise for jobs, do not send rejection notices. They only contact those people whom they are interested in hiring. So there is no way for many people to receive a refund.
"When a person is compelled to complain to the *** about its practices, they are threatened and intimidated by the staff, namely the Executive Director. When I recently had a disagreement with them, they threatened me with slander and have told me that their lawyers are ready to pounce. I have heard from many other dissatisfied members and former members from all over the country, who many times have felt threatened if they report *** to the BBB."
"WATCH OUT for your PC -- A new type of fraud.
In a nutshell, it's the old "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" thing... Creative thieves have been calling around offering expensive software for "free trials." The thief asks the victim about the make model, speed, configuration, etc. of the victim's home PC "to ensure compatibility." The user expects to get a package, and instead comes home to find his house burglarized, the key missing item being, you guessed it, his PC.
The best thing to do if you're called by anyone offering free software is to say you don't own a computer or, if you think it may be a legit offer, ask for a callback number for the main office. Then check the number you're given against the phone book or information. Call that main number and ask to be transferred to the sales rep who initially called you. If they're hesitant, or don't want to give the number out, that "free" software may wind up being more expensive than you think."
Beth Ellyn R., Dallas, TX
"The scam.... open charge account over the phone with large retailer. Easy ! Total anonymity is assured. Retailer so eager to issue credit they practically drop live multi $K credit cards from airplane. No signature required. Intercept charge plates...wait a while.... go to one of retailer's stores....preferrably in a county other than the one in which you reside (that way District Attorney of county where you are doesn't care to help), purchase gift certificates (good as cash) and merchandise (have it delivered so you don't have to use your own muscles doing lifting or trucking)...put everything on the charge account...phone retailers headquarters a day or two later... change billing address to name on the account. Then forget about it because retailer will mercilessly persue name on account, not you the crook which set it all up! Enjoy. This is a proven scam. I know ! I am the victim !"
Rick, New York
"When I first got on the Net in 2/96, I send The *** **** Forum on AOL (keyword '***') $95 to run a 6 month ad for my business. From day one, there was a typo they'd made, which I kept asking them to fix. No response.
Then, I got an 800 number for my business, and asked them to add that. No response to my many requests.
Finally, about 1-½ months after sending them email after email (there's no phone number available for them, nor do they have a URL, as far as I can gather -- I believe they are 'exclusive' to AOL), I got a response from a new person in charge.
This email was sent by *** ******, DVM, with the title, "Director, *** ****". He said he was replacing the vet that had been in charge. He apologized and said he'd look into the matter and get both the typo fixed and my new 800 number added, free of charge, of course, as this had been my original understanding. As long as they made a mistake, they would fix the error immediately, for free. If it was something I wanted to change in my ad, i.e., add an 800 number, it would still be free of charge, as long as I only asked for changes at the beginning of each month.
Then, nothing. My 800 number wasn't added. The typo wasn't corrected.
So, I then got really fed up and emailed him asking for my $95 back in full, IMMEDIATELY, since they weren't fixing my ad. About another month goes by without a word, and then he writes me saying he's sorry, he is having problems in general since he took over, and if he has to write a check out of his own account he will, since I deserve the refund. I tell him great, do it, & right away! Then nothing, even though I'm emailing them regularly, asking where my $95 is.
More weeks go by and I receive the following email:
Our accountant is sending you a refund today.
Sorry for the delay 🙂
I, of course, believed him, and sent him a thank you. What is that saying about the '3 famous lies?'....
Since August 1, I've emailed about 15 times letting him know I haven't received the $95 he said was in the mail, and have heard NOT A PEEP from him. NOTHING! NADA. Finally, on September 15, I wrote a final note telling them that their lies, deceit and unprofessionalism will not be forgotten. And guess what? I've heard nothing from them."
Cathie Lynn Lamm
This is one I've seen used all the time. On IRC, you go on any server and type: /who (domain name) . For example /who *direct.ca*. This would pull up everyone who is under your domain. (Mine was Internet Direct.) Once you get that list of people you /msg them and say something like 'This is Internet Direct. There has been a clash with your username and password with another user. Please enter your login name and password.
"....user name might be something like 'Sysadmin.' When you give your login and password they'll say something like 'Thank you. Internet Direct will try to solve your problem. If you have any further questions please feel free to call 1-800-xxx-xxxx."
Richard Leschyson, British Columbia, Canada
For Urban Legends, click here.
Here are some Email Fraud Examples.