Scammers Looking to Cash In During Financial Crisis

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In a bad economy, scam artists usually work overtime. If you receive an email, text or voice mail message from someone claiming you need to verify your information - urging you to contact them by using the number provided, or clicking on their provided link -don't click -and don't respond.

Legitimate companies won't ask for your personal or financial information via email -and they don't need you to verify information they already have! In any case, if you are concerned about your account, contact the organization mentioned in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company's correct Web address yourself. Don't cut and paste the link from the email - into your Internet browser -- scammers can make links look like they go to one place, but they will actually send you to a different site.

Here are a few recent headlines pointing out various scams that are circulating;

Alert woman sniffs out Internet scam: Elaborate fraud scheme more common than people realize

About three months ago, Iva Rabon, of North Kenai, received a $30,000 check from Central Bank of Nigeria.All Rabon had to do was deposit the check in her account, keep $3,000 for herself and send the rest back to the bank.

After the remaining amount "cleared," the bank would send her back the money. Although tempted, Rabon didn't cash the check. Something just didn't seem right to her. "Nobody just gives people money," Rabon said. Rabon contacted the Better Business Bureau about the check, and they confirmed it was a fake. "It looked just like a real check," she said.

On Sept. 17, about two months after Rabon got the fraudulent check, she received an e-mail from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the subject line, "FBI seeking to wiretap internet." "This is pretty serious," Rabon thought. "I wonder what I did?" Like the check, the e-mail was a fake Someone claiming to be Robert Mueller, FBI executive director, sent the e-mail to Rabon.

The letter said the FBI was aware of Rabon's transaction with Central Bank of Nigeria. The e-mail went on to say that the FBI "finally confirmed that your contract payment is 100% genuine and hitch free." Rabon's contract fund was for $8 million. Two days later, Rabon received another fraudulent e-mail.

This one was supposedly from Fredrick Wilson with the Central Bank/United Nations 2007 Compensations Payments Directive.

The e-mail read, "Scam artists (are) operating in syndicates all over the world today.

In order to retain the good image of the country, the president of the country is now paying 100 victims of this (operation) $300,000.00 each. You are listed and approved for this (payment) as one of the 100 selected scammed victims. Get back to us as soon as possible for the immediate payments of your $300,000 compensation funds." MORE

Loan Scam

Shari Harris is coming out of a bankruptcy and is looking for ways to rebuild her credit. "I wanted to pay off all of my bills and have one payment," says Harris. She searched the internet for a debt consolidation loan and found Universal Alliance Corp. of Kentucky. Harris says, "I got back the loan documentation from them stating I had been approved for a $15,000 loan at 9% and a monthly payment of $311 and some change."

Harris says she did her homework, talked to a banker, even checked the Better Business Bureau. "The Better Business Bureau had them listed, they were not members but there were no complaints. In my eyes it all looked legitimate," says Harris. The company asked Harris to wire $1,500 as an insurance deposit to Canada, which she did.

When the loan was delayed, they asked for an additional $1,100 because of her bankruptcy, which she also sent. Harris is still waiting on her loan. When she checked the Universal Alliance Corp. Kentucky, it did not exist." They're still trying to scam people and I've lived here all of my life and I don't want to see others get scammed like this," says Harris. Harris borrowed money to pay the fees and now she has to pay that money back. Watch Video

Chase Warns of Phishing Scams.

Scammers appear to be looking to cash in on the financial crisis with an old scam that has a new twists and hooks.

The body of the e-mail reads:

Dear Customer, You have one new message at: JPMorgan Chase
From: Customer Service Date: 9/27/2008
Subject: Official service renewal notification. In order to read the message click here to login at JPMorgan Chase and access your MAIL section.

To read the message, the e-mail asks readers to click on a link provided in the e-mail.

Do not click on the link...this is a phishing scam.The sender is an impostor -hoping to get you to divulge more personal or account information.

Several examples of the phishing e-mails are listed on J.P. Morgan's official Web site.

Customers have reported seeing this message with different subject names, including:

Mail Alert! Chase Bank XP Upgrade Install problem Buy, Upgrade, Install -
Chase Bank customer service Mail Alert!
The Chase Bank Upgrade Advisor will help you Chase Bank - Free Download for Upgrade
Chase Bank Security Alert Chase Bank Support Team

To learn more about known J.P. Morgan Chase phishing scams visit their official site.

For more info on scams see archive of earlier blogs.

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