This week the Hump Day Hmmm topic is a tricky one. How I Matter is this week’s topic. There are many subjects I could have written about but I chose the one I’ve been involved in for almost three years now – online scams, scammers, and how to protect yourself.
Snoskred Is Educational –
There are many email scams out there in the world. I try to educate people about some of them in order to stop them from being scammed. These scammers are criminals. If there is something I can do to stop them, I’m sure as heck going to try.
What Is An Email Scam?
There are many types of email scams but let me sum it up simply for you.
Someone you don’t know and never heard of before is contacting you by email to tell you they have money for you.
An Important Point To Remember –
NO MONEY is coming to your email inbox as a surprise.
Variations On A Scam –
Someone you don’t know and never heard of before is contacting you by email to tell you you have won the lottery.
Someone you don’t know and never heard of before is contacting you by email to tell you they need to borrow your bank account and they’ll pay you a large sum of money to do this.
Stay At Home Moms Watch Out!
Someone you don’t know is contacting you by email to tell you they have a job for you, or you apply for a work at home job on a legitimate job seeking website. You may have heard of the company because the scammers use legitimate companies to make their scams seem real. I know you want to be able to stay at home with the kids but getting scammed out of money is not going to achieve that. Always check independently if you can – don’t use the number the scammer gives you.
Online Sellers Watch Out!
Scammers often use Ebay, Craigslist and others in order to find people they can scam. Usually this will be a fake check scam but sometimes they may try to wire stolen funds into your account, use stolen paypal accounts or stolen credit cards and the list does go on. Be very careful. Get educated on the scams they try to use and how to protect yourself before you start selling.
What Does Snoskred Do About It?
The number one thing I do –
is talk and get the word out – here on the blog, in the media via radio and press interviews which I have done many times in the past, on various scam victim support websites.
The second thing I do –
is hook the scammers up with a special *baiting tool, which keeps them busy with fake victims rather than real ones. Recently I have been a little busy and neglected this somewhat but I intend to get back into this over the next couple of months. It isn’t difficult. I have the tools all set up and ready to bait, I just need to hook scammers up to the machine.
The third thing I do –
is bait fake checks out of the scammers. I then contact the companies on the checks and warn them that the scammers are using their account details. Do not try this at home, ya’all. I use a safe PO box which my name is not attached to in any way to receive the mail. These scammers are criminals who have been known to kill their victims.
The fourth thing I have done –
in the past but currently am not involved in is warning actual scam victims. Some of the victim support websites receive information about people being scammed – from friends or family of the victims, law enforcement, web hosts who take down the scammers websites and sometimes from very brave people on the inside of these scammer gangs who do not like what they see – they email us victim email addresses, phone numbers or street addresses.
Some might say that I do this one to feel good about myself, that’s baloney but occasionally it does feel good when you have called at the right time to stop someone being scammed. Some might say I do it to help the victims, well that is partly true – it is a side effect.
Sometimes it works and the victims listen to me. Sometimes it does NOT work and the victims get angry and abusive towards me because they have grown to trust their scammer. That is tough to take. That is one reason I am taking a break from it right now. You can only do it so long before you burn out.
The real, deep at the heart of it, reason that I do this? To stop the scammers from making money out of people who are vulnerable. I don’t want them getting a cent from their scamming.
The fifth thing I did –
I took three months out to volunteer full time to assist when the Fraudwatchers website was launched. I truly believed in what they were doing – I still believe in it, I just had a falling out with the management there about the best way to do things – and the Fraudwatchers site sadly no longer exists.
Why We Know Our Actions Are Working –
Currently there is a major denial of service attack against several of the sites which bait scammers and sites that support scam victims. It has been going on for roughly two weeks now. They would not go to all this effort if we weren’t putting a major dent in their income. Unfortunately this means many of the scam baiting and scam victim support websites have been offline for extended amounts of time.
How You Can Help –
– Tell your family and friends about the scams, and ask them to speak to you if they ever wonder if an email might be legitimate.
– Stumble this post to get the word out about these scams to more people, if you’re a stumbler.
– Link to this article in my internet safety series which speaks about these scams.
– Ask me via email to guest post on your blog on the topic of scams to help educate your readers.
– If you know anyone who has any questions about these scams I am only an email away. However there are some great websites on the internet that try to help as well though some of them are currently offline due to denial of service attacks – Scam Victims United – Fraud Aid – Scamwarners Is This A Scam Forum.
– Let the readers of your blog know about the Scam-O-Matic – a web form which can look at an email and tell you if the email looks like a known scam. Is this email a scam? Ask the Scam-O-Matic –
– Become a scambaiter. 419eater has a mentor program where they will train you to bait scammers safely and with no danger to yourself. I will warn you, it is an addictive hobby. :)
Further Reading –
Snoskred’s Internet Safety Series –
Over To You –
Have you ever received an email you thought might be a scam? What did you do about it? Have you known someone who was scammed out of money?
*Note – these aren’t tools that regular humans can get access to – this is something only long time scambaiters can use. So if you want to use it, get into baiting – when the time is right you’ll be given access.