29 5 / 2011
If it’s too good to be true, it’s a scam, warns experts in the Devere Group
Most of our mail boxes are crammed with offers, scams and swindles that sometimes even catch the most cynical web user off guard.
Some scams are easy to see coming, but others are more complicated and take some time before we can smell a rat.
Around 3 million adults in the UK are fraud victims every year, losing and average £850 each, according to Consumer Direct.
That adds up to a staggering £2,550,000,000 flowing in to the brimming bank accounts of scammers.
For the less wary, here’s a list of the top scams to watch for:
Premium rate phone calls
You receive an email or letter congratulating you for winning a fabulous prize - just call this number to claim your reward. The trouble is when you dial, the longer you listen to the spiel and hold on for an operator, the bigger your bill. No one wins but the phone company and the scammer.
Pay up, sign up and watch the cash roll in from the new members you recruit as you pick up a share of their joining fees. Just do the math - every person has to sign up at least two more, who sign up two more and so on.
That means only 20 levels below you, the pyramid needs a million people to keep going.
Nigerian or 419 scam
Everyone with an email address has had a message from a diplomat, minister or minister of religion with an eye-watering amount of cash to transfer in to your bank account - and a slice of the pie is yours, just send your bank details or a fee to cover their costs.
Don’t send your details because they will just take your money and run to find the next sucker.
You get a call, letter or email promising a free holiday. All you have to do is turn up for a presentation, what harm can that be? These crooks pressure their victims in to signing up for a deal that’s loaded with extra fees. There’s no such thing as a free holiday.
Lotteries, draws and sweepstakes
These are not just the ticket - always check out before buying. It’s not good luck to win one of these, but bad luck because you are buying tickets for something that is not real or that will end up cost you yet more cash.
Most of these cons charge a fee for a list of firms that may offer envelope stuffing jobs that pay minimum wages. The only people that make money are the guys collecting the cash.
Give up smoking, burn off those extra pounds and improve your life with some magic pills you just cannot afford to do without - at a price. The only pounds you are likely to lose are from your wallet.
If you are not sure whether they too good to be true offer is a scam, then it probably is, so keep your money in the bank and politely turn down the offer.