Holiday Scams And Spams, Keep Alert Brusimm Readers! [Consumer]

by on December 13, 2011

in consumer

scam alertThis is a pseudo parable, relating an experience of a friend of mine, in which I hope that you can take away the lesson to be learned here, and be a smarter, savvy web consumer.  And not become a victim of a scammer or a spammer. Especially during this holiday time.  This is a scam alert!

The other day, my buddy was cruising some ads on Craigslist.  He found a particular ad that caught his attention and he wanted to know more.

So he used his spam-guard email* (something I had suggested to him) to contact the ad poster, asking for more details.

The response seemed odd…  at best.  It started out, after a 1 hour wait,

I apologize for not responding to you earlier, I have been extremely busy the last few days!

Odd, but not.  It goes on…

The good news is that is still available! We had handshake agreement from the first person we showed it to, but now it seemss that they changed their mind.

You were the second one to email me about it.

How convenient, all perfect words that would motivate a buyer to reply in a hurried state-of-mind.  That’s an important aspect to keep in mind, never be in a hurry.  If you have to rush to buy something, then something is afoot!

The person on the other end of the email then had an excuse for not answering another question about the item from my buddy, but in order for my friend to meet and review this purchase very expensive item, they suggested the following:

If you would like to set up an appointment to see , go to the link below and request the free copy of your credit report.

Get your report here: FREE REPORT

Consumer news, Consumer alerts and a Consumer's opinionHe showed me the link, and even though it seemed to end up at a credit reporting site, I hovered his mouse over the link itself, and it pointed to an odd site name with a whole bunch of numbers and letters at the end of the link.

I raised my eyebrows and asked if he went to the site and filled anything out.

He said he didn’t fill anything out.

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This was classic… the link in the Craigslist ad looked like it landed at, for example, bob.com.  The site looked exactly like bob.com, but anyone can mimic a website and mask the real web address to look like you are at where they want you to think they’re at.  Plus the email link, when I hovered the mouse over it, said “creepy.info/oirtowtowewerwyotuo.”

I went back to the Craigslist ad later that day and the website had pulled the and and marked it as a spam ad.

So we were on to something.  Additionally, the item, a usually expensive item, was priced at around 25% less than other comparable items that were for sale out there.

The moral of the story is that this is the time of year that evil-doers are lurking everywhere, trying to trick you into giving up sensitive information.  In this case, it would have been my friends’ financial information that would have helped someone else access his money.

Please, be careful out there.  Don’t blindly follow links in emails you get.  Hover that mouse over them, see if the info that pops up agrees with where the text says you’re going.  If it’s funny looking, even after clicking and everything looks normal, DON’T do it.  There are other resources available to do whatever it is you were doing.

Don’t become a victim.  Be careful Brusimm readers.

*A spam-guard email is one that you ONLY use to interact with new entities on the web, until you know who you’re dealing with.  I use it for nothing more than signing up for contests and inquiring into things and products, like in this experience noted today.  It’s not used for chatting or emailing anyone you know.

In this case, my buddy used his to contact this spammer, and there’s nothing lost or risked.  One of the beautiful aspects of a spam-guard email is that when you get some of those fake emails telling you that  you have a problem with your bank account, you know it’s bull-poop!

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