Internet Scam: The FDC Warns That Crooks Follow Money and Headlines

Girl on the Internet using social media. Photo by: Walton LaVonda, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

NEW YORK (ViaNews) – According tot the Federal Trade Commission (FDC), criminals use ingenious schemes to deceive “millions of people every year”. Old and new tricks are used to get people to send money or give out personal information. The FDC warns about two things that never change, crooks follow: headlines and the money.

According to the FDC, when lawbreakers look for new ways to deceive people, the best options are the intersection between knowing where the money is, and what information people are exposed to, so to be used against them.

The list of scams is huge and comes in many forms, employment opportunity, romance, IRS emails, and links that collect data, just to name a few,

Michelle Allen is one of the many people who have fallen victim to this crime, “I was offered the job of my dreams, to be an editor and proofreader. They promised to cover the charges of the programs and software I’d need.” From there, they emailed Allen two checks, one of $1800 and one of $1200. She printed them out, mobile deposited them into her bank account and waited for them to clear.

“I was then asked to send them via Western Union to someone in Oklahoma,” Allen said. She was new to the ‘work-from-home’ field and didn’t want to seem unaware, so she did as she was told. “I had a weird feeling about it, but I did it anyway,” she said.

The next day, Allen received a phone call from her bank, explaining that the checks were fake. “The man in Oklahoma received the money that wasn’t actually there, to begin with,” Allen said. The bank froze her account until the checks posted, and she ended up losing $3000.

“The worst part isn’t even the loss of my money,” Allen said. “It’s realizing that a job opportunity I’d love and excel at was a scam.”

A reception center who chose to keep their name withdrawn has been scammed this month as well. From an online purchase, their credit card information was stolen, and someone was purchasing goods with their money. They now have to work with their bank to try to recover some of their funds, which can take months.

“Do your research,” Allen said when asked about ways to protect yourself. “Look into everything closely that you do online. If a link seems strange, if a message seems a bit off, pay attention.”

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