horrors at the hands of creeps
Thieves, fraudsters, con artists, scammers, phishers
-- whatever you call them, they used a lot of dirty tricks this year
to take other people's money.
Who took my mother's money?
My mother opened a money market account. No ATM card was issued
to her at the time. She came to me with her bank statement and asked
me what the withdrawals meant. I asked her what she was doing with
her money. She said, "I'm not doing anything. I haven't withdrawn
On her statement were 12 withdrawals, each in the
amount of $800 totaling $9,600. Well, that shook me up enough to
look back at her previous statement -- which showed the first withdrawal
of $800, for a grand total of $10,400.
We went to the bank and spoke to the manager. They
got their fraud department involved. To make a long story short,
someone inside the bank had somehow attached my mother's money market
account number to another person's ATM account and they took advantage.
The money had been withdrawn from several different branches over
a month's time. The tapes from the security cameras showed different
people had withdrawn the money.
It took almost three months, but the bank finally
returned the money, plus interest, to her account.
E-mail scam story
About a week ago I got an e-mail stating that my credit card had
been charged $263.54 for kiddy porn and to enter my account number
to confirm the payment. I wouldn't have anything to do with that
-- but I think others would be scared into entering their account
number to see if they really were charged for something like that.
I didn't investigate the site. I did check my accounts to make sure
nothing like this had been charged to it.
My wife received this e-mail: "We have just charged your credit
card for money laundry service in the amount of $234.65 (because
you are either a child pornography webmaster or deal with dirty
money, which requires us to laundry them and then send to your checking
If you feel this transaction was made by our mistake, please press
If you confirm this transaction, please press 'Yes' and fill in
the form below."
Then it asked her to fill in her credit card number and expiration
Rebate never sent
I purchased a computer from a reputable company through the Internet
with a rebate offer of $100. I mailed the rebate request a month
later. When the rebate did not arrive, I inquired and was told that
it was not received, and was told to resubmit copies of the documents.
I resubmitted the documents and was told that it was postmarked
beyond the eligibility date.
Repeated attempts to get my rebate haven't worked.
Each time I only get the same standard printed response and an unfulfilled
promise of a telephone call, letter or postcard explaining the problem.
Debt counselors from below
I had been through several "debt counselors" who did more
harm than good to my credit. One took $268 per month out of my account
for 24 months. While they did take care of one creditor, they still
needed to take care of two others. They signed me on for another
A month later, I discover that there wasn't a withdrawal
from my account. I called their offices, only to find that they
were in bankruptcy and in court for fraud! I lost $4,000 plus fees
and money market interest from deposits into their account.
The hot machine -- ATM fraud
I was scammed and did not even know it.
In March I went to an ATM to withdraw $20. It said
my account had exceeded its daily withdrawal limit. When I went
to my bank, I was horrified to find out that someone had duplicated
my ATM card and made deposits and withdrawals from my account as
well as requested a direct deposit advance of $500.
I immediately canceled my check card and opened a
new checking account. The bank was great at getting my money back,
helping me open a new account and erasing all the fees.
As I was getting my new account information, the bank
employee working with me let it spill that I was the tenth person
she had dealt with on this exact same issue. She went on to tell
me that there was a huge ATM/check card fraud problem there. She
said I must have used a "hot" ATM -- more than likely
a stand-alone machine in a store.
What happened was, when I swiped my card and entered
my PIN number, the ATM flashed "processing," and then,
"time exceeded" -- so I went through the process again
and got my cash. By going through the process again, they got me.
The first time I swiped, they got my PIN number; the second time
I swiped, they got the information off my card.
I learned a valuable lesson -- only use the ATM at
an official bank.
I have not been scammed, however I work for one of the largest banks
on the East Coast. The other day a customer came in with an official
bank check for about $14,000. He had sold a car over the Internet.
He was instructed by the other party to deposit the check and wire
back $7,000 to close the deal.
Fortunately, the teller who took care of this customer
became suspicious and called our security and fraud unit. The check
was deposited so that it could be tracked to the source, but we
did not do the wire and saved our customer from being scammed by
the other party. Please alert your readers to be on their toes because
there are a lot of crooks out there just waiting to use the new
technology to fatten their pockets.
Editor's note: Here's how this scam works.
The scammer buys a product from you, sends you a check for more
than the amount and asks you to send back the difference. You deposit
the check and when you think it has cleared, you send the buyer
the difference. In a few days, the con's check bounces and you are
out all the cash you sent him. For more on online auction scams,