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Are Scams and Frauds Really Dated? Do They Ever Expire or Go Away?
posted at March 8, 2013 10:30 AM EST
First: March 1, 2013
Last: April 23, 2013
I have noticed a trend about many kinds of scams and fraud. The trend is that they never go away for long, and they also return in a different variation or over a different medium.
There are so many people and so much money to be had, and there are many variations of approaches and tactics for scammers to use. Odds are that someone or many people will fall for an approach.
There is also a loop involved where scams cross over from the mails to the telephone to the Internet to text messaging and then start back through all those mediums again.
I like to post dates with public news or announcements about scams and frauds, mostly to help people to search for this information elsewhere, if they wish to do so.
But if a date appears to be old by several years, that does not mean that the information has gone bad and become worthless in today's current times. Actually, scams will loop and cross over several mediums over periods of years and the cycle is hard to break.
So, the date of a scam alert or announcement may be helpful to our understanding of when the scam or fraud was originally discovered and publicized in the past. The content of the scam alert or public announcement may be valid for earlier times and continue to reflect a scam or fraud in play now.
The detection and recognition of scams both old and new is an ongoing process. New categories of scams and fraud may be created at any time in response to our recognition of trends in both old and new scams. Such newer categories will aid us in appreciating our vulnerability and risk to all scams, and may even help us to change our behavior to be more secure from them.
What do you think about scams and fraud? What do you feel is important to keep in mind on old and new scams?
Re: Are Scams and Frauds Really Dated? Do They Ever Expire or Go Away?
posted at March 9, 2013 10:37 AM EST
First: March 1, 2013
Last: April 23, 2013
A scam is successful when the scammer gets something for free from a victim and the scammer is able to get away and hide before being discovered. The scammer may only contribute up front to the victim something of low value or promises that will never be kept.
Usually that "something for free" is a victim's money or some other negotiable item that is as good as cash. Consider your personal financial details to be negotiable items. Your personal information can be sold outright to other criminals or used right away to get to your savings or other financial accounts like debit card, credit card, checking, or even your investments.
Why is this important in a discussion about scams and frauds becoming expired or outdated?
There is always a time element in scams and frauds that the scammer is personally monitoring and counting on. This means that the scammer wants to obtain something from the victim at the earliest opportunity to enable a getaway before being discovered. Getting away is paramount to avoiding capture and arrest and prosecution. The scammer wants to live another day to carry out more scam approaches on more victims in the future, because there will be limits on what the scammer obtains from each victim.
Sometimes those limits will be low cash balances or fast-approaching time limits on completing a transaction before it can be discovered as a scam and halted. Those limits may vary so much that the scammer feels compelled to continue with more scam approaches on more victims to keep up a lifestyle or meet personal financial obligations or even personal obligations to other criminals.
One example is the Fake Check scam. The scammer issues a fake check to a victim and invites the victim to deposit it immediately and to send back to the scammer some or most of the money that comes available on the victim's account. This ruse can be a significant "overpayment" interpreted to be in the favor of the victim. In fact, the scammer will offer up this interpretation and even give detailed instructions to hammer the point home to the victim. The time element is extremely important here, and the scammer needs to get the victim quickly on their clock.
For one, the financial institution is required by law to make funds available to its customers within a few days of check deposit, which can happen well before a fake check is discovered as a fraud. Discovery of fake checks can take two weeks or more if the check looks legitimate enough.
The scammer understands this disconnect between funds availability and the detection of the fraud, and will make frequent contact with the victim to ensure that this time gap is exploited successfully. The scammer will make many casual contacts or perhaps make the contacts more urgent as the window of opportunity approaches its end.
If the victim ultimately does nothing to withdraw any funds from the fake check, then the scammer misses out and loses. The victim is notified of the fake check by the financial instutution and the fraudulent funds will be taken back out of the account.
If the victim complies with the scammer's instructions and urgent timetable, then the scammer will get to keep the transferred funds sent by the victim. The victim will be held responsibile for all funds withdrawn on the fake check deposit, even if the victim's account becomes wiped out or overdrawn.
The lesson is that anyone should not accept any urgent financial timetables proposed by others. In our great financial system, checks are designed to be good for several days, weeks, or even months before expiring.
Ideally, a concerned person (like you) will take unusual checks directly to a customer service supervisor at the financial insitution and ask for advice to clear it for deposit. The financial institution may be able to examine the instrument and detect a scam outright or offer advice for your personal circumstances. Share with the financial institution representatives all details about how you got the check so that the best advice will come to you. There will be plenty of time to get qualified advice and protection before finally depositing an instrument that bears up to scrutiny by experts. Both the financial institution and the account holder deserve this opportunity to protect themselves against scams and fraud, and it also denies funding to any scammers.
Here is another example of how time is important to scammers. A scammer counts on the passing of time for people to become complacent about their financial well being. If a person was notified about a potential fraud, then the passage of time may erase or lower that concern. The person comes to feel that such scams may have been detected and eliminated due to past publicity about them. The person may feel reassured that no dumb scammer would try the same approach ever again. So, this passage of time means new opportunities for the scammer to revive the old approach that was so effective in the past. Old approaches can become new overnight.
This is why dates of scams are not as important as the actual scam approaches over various mediums, such as telephone, text messaging, email, instant messaging, Internet web pages and chat rooms, or even the US Mail. Let us also remember the face-to-face approach as well, which can be very effective after an acquaintance blooms into friendship and professional networking with an in-depth understanding of likely victims. After all, so much emphasis is placed on sharing our personal details with strangers online, but less emphasis is placed on the same sharing with people we know in real life. Just how well do we really know them?