Sunday, November 9, 2008


Whether it's something you want or something that simply pulls on your heart strings scammers know how to dangle an offer that makes you act before thinking and then they've got you.

Rick Brinkley, President and CEO of the Tulsa Better Business Bureau says "I can guarantee you that these scams are out there trying to target you and your family members."

1. The "Son Scam" Brinkley: "What is happening is kids today are very used to posting their resume online. So not only do they post their resume online that has a lot of information they probably shouldn't be handing out to absolute strangers but it also makes them targets."Scam artists know they've got someone who needs money by the fact they're looking for a job. Many fake jobs involve asking you to pass cashier's checks at a bank and wire part of the money somewhere. Those checks turn out to be forged so you're on the hook for a lot of cash and could face jail time.Brinkley says "You're the only one on video tape walking into a bank and cashing forged documents so you've got a whole set of legal issues there."

2. The Daughter Scam This scam burned Katy Lasater. She's expecting her first child and was anxious to find a nice place, quickly. She says she found what she wanted on Craigslist. Lasater says that "ended up not being a good idea."In her case there were numerous e-mail exchanges. Katy says the man even sent a scanned copy of a passport. Then she wired $1,200 to the man claiming to own the house. He said because he's in Africa the only way to get the money was by Western Union.Lasater says "I had talked to the guy so much. I mean, he sent me his passport. Everything seemed legit. We had gone by the house, it was cleared out. So I figured everything would work out ok and it did not." She never heard from the man again.In every scam targeting your family Brinkley says he and his staff see the same exact thing: "The common thread is you've got to act right now."

3. The dad scam Dad gets an e-mail claiming some sort of insider information on a stock ready to go sky high. Dad buys, the scammers sell, Dad loses.Brinkley led a BBB investigation into one of these e-mails to show what a bad deal it really is. "And we opened up a trade account and we bought $1,000 worth of this stock at 91 cents. Now, about six months later it's trading for 34 cents a share. We've lost about $600 on the deal."

4. The mom scam This one aims to steal your money and your identity. Mom gets an e-mail claiming she can get free tickets to a talk show. The most common one says you'll get into Oprah's "Favorite Things" taping where audience members get tons of free stuff.The trap is laid according to Brinkley "All you have to do is fill out this information. And it's really just a mechanism to steal your identity."The protection is to follow the simple rules of keeping your personal information safe. Never give out your social security number, mother's maiden name or banking information by phone or on the internet.

5. The grandparents scam Brinkley calls the scammers who target our grandparents "the slimiest of the slime."In this one a senior gets a call, usually in the middle of the night, claiming their grandchild is in big trouble and needs money wired, immediately, to help them out.

Brinkley explains "Common sense goes out the window and you run down and wire the money and it's long gone."Whether it's an emotional plea or promises of big rewards, never leap before you look closely.Always do your homework before replying to an e-mail or letting loose of your money.Scammers rely on people being too embarrassed about being scammed to do anything about it. If you do fall victim report it to the BBB and police.


  1. Yep, and as the economy worsens so will the scams. It's a shame for sure. Excellent post on what not to fall for. Have a great Sunday. Big hug. :)

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