Beware of Internet Scammers

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 @ 07:08 PM gHale

By Dave Huffman
I know the content is normally about automation, but recent personal experiences compel me to want to remind everyone they need to be extremely vigilant about online financial activity for selling items and dealing with checks.

My family has now twice been targeted by online scammers in the last two months. Both I and my now octogenarian parents have experienced attempts to scam us in our attempts at selling items with online services. I am glad to be able to say that neither attempt proved to be successful, but I wanted to provide a reminder that everyone needs to be extremely careful.

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Both attempts involved huge red flags that I spotted, but I know my mother did not in her case, but she did at least ask when things seemed a bit odd.

Both attempts involved a buyer that had a “handicap” that prevented them from communicating by means other than email. Both ended up actually sending checks (pretty good, but not perfect fakes) written for much larger sums than expected along with new instructions to cash the check and then send the additional money to a third party that the buyer required to be involved because of the handicap or a situation where they would not be able to accept delivery directly. Both eventually involved emails that on Google Search had been previously used and reported on scam information sites.

One additional piece of information in case you didn’t know this … My wife works in the banking industry and she would like to pass along that it actually takes 5-7 business days for a check to be fully processed through two banks and the Federal Reserve. Any time you are depositing an unknown check, the money is not really yours until that much time has passed. In the online selling world where checks are involved as payment, it is a best practice to make buyers wait at least 7 business days before you send them their purchase or act on any special requests.

I just wanted to take this forum to create a reminder that scammers are out there and everyone needs to pay attention. If you have friends and relatives that attempt to sell goods online that may not be savvy to scamming techniques or at least skeptical of little things that just don’t seem right, then please offer to help them out and review their activities to protect them against those on the web looking to take advantage of them.
Dave Huffman is a marketing support manager at ABB. Click here to view his automation blog.

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