Job scam tricksters target truckers and stay-at-home moms: Internet Scambusters #580
Job scams come in all sorts of varieties from simple pyramid schemes to clever ID theft con tricks.
We have the details of these latest tricks in this week's Snippets issue, along with info on two new parking lot theft dangers.
We also have a hoax warning for new Xbox One owners.
And now for the main feature...
New Job Scams, Car Theft and Facebook Tricks
Despite repeated warnings and work offers that are just too good to be true, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people still fall victim to job scams every week.
And sometimes it's the simplest of scams that pull in the most money and victims.
Pyramid schemes are perhaps the best known. They work on the premise that each person has to bring in at least two more paying participants, who in turn must bring in two more -- and so on until the whole thing collapses.
The lure is always that you can make a lot of money, fast -- but that's usually only true for the perpetrator of the scheme.
In one recent case, at least 65,000 people, mainly stay-at-home moms, were lured into a scam promoted in parenting magazine ads.
It was as simple as having to pay an upfront fee of $30 to $50 for a stack of postcards that victims had to mail out to people they knew, inviting them in, in turn, to sign up (and pay $50) to join the scheme.
If they signed up, the sender earned a payment of just $2, though fake testimonials claimed they could earn thousands.
Happily, this scam has been shut down by postal inspectors, but not before it pulled in an estimated $1 million for the alleged perpetrators.
Action: The message is clear -- don't pay to get a job, especially a work from home job, or one that promises easy big money.
More tips on avoiding work-at-home scams can be found in our article, Work At Home Jobs: How to Avoid Getting Scammed.
Another new job scam has a different purpose than just stealing cash -- stealing victims' identities.
The targets this time are truck drivers, and they're usually picked off at rest stops, though they're also hunted on the classified ads site Craigslist.
The lure is either a new trucking job or a freight-load for delivery. In both cases, victims are asked to fax personal details including a copy of their drivers license and Social Security card, which are then used for the ID theft.
Action: As always, you should never fax personal information to people you don't know.
And, if you know any truck drivers, please pass this alert to them.
Is It Locked?
Staying with rest stops, or at least parking lots in general, police are expressing concern about two new car theft techniques in which crooks intercept signals from remote locking devices.
In the first instance, seen mainly in Canada and the UK so far, thieves use a cheap device, bought on the Internet, to block the signal from a remote.
So, when the remote locking device is clicked, the lock doesn't engage and the alarm is not armed. Once the driver is out of sight, the thief can simply then open the door and either steal the vehicle or its contents.
Action: After using your remote, check the vehicle is actually locked -- or lock it with your key.
More worrying, in the US, is the growing use of devices which actually intercept and record the remote signal to keyless locks, which can then be duplicated.
So the car may be locked at first but the crook is subsequently able to unlock it by replicating the signal.
Action: Keyless-lock cars have a button inside the vehicle, which ensures it locks when you get out. Use that, rather than the remote.
Beware of Duplicate Facebook Friends
Now, a new Facebook scam to be on the lookout for.
In this trick, you get a "friend" request from someone who's already a friend.
Their page looks like the real thing, with a genuine photo and often a list of other friends you already know -- others who have been fooled into following the same imposter.
It's not clear what the motives are for this trick but it could be an attempt to find out more about you or your friends, for the purposes of ID theft, or to set you up for an emergency or distress scam -- you know, the phone call or message from a supposed friend or relative in urgent need of money.
Or the imposter may just want to spam them.
Action: Don't accept a duplicate friend request. Message your friend using their original listing to check if it's them.
And once you've confirmed it's a fake, tell Facebook about it and let your other online friends know.
Check out our latest report on Facebook scams, The Highs and Lows of a Facebook Scam.
Don't Open It
Finally, if you own an Xbox One, beware of forum postings and emails currently doing the rounds that claim if you open the device and make some changes, you can make it backwards compatible with Xbox software for earlier versions.
The messages may include instructions on how to do this, but according to the maker, Microsoft, the claim is not true.
If you mess around with the innards of the machine, you're more likely to render it inoperable -- so don't do it!
Whoever is doing this is just out to cause trouble, as surely as the job scam that offers you big money for doing next to nothing!
Time to close today, but we'll be back next week with another issue. See you then!