Scams and Fraud: Legerdemain

 

    Dictionary.com‘s word for today was Legerdemain [lej-er-duh-meyn], which made me think about scams and fraud.  So I have provided presentations about scams, fraud, and different methods used to deceive people.  In most cases, the goal of the deception centered around gaining access to someone’s banking information or getting them to send money under false pretenses.
pexels-photo-929285.jpeg
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com
Earlier this week, I received a friend request on Facebook from an old acquaintance of mine.  Of course, I was excited to catch up and discover the beautiful changes they had been through since we last spoke.  Initially, the conversation began like any other discovery.  Unfortunately, the conversation took a turn when “she” asked ” if I had heard of the new grants from the United Nations Democracy Fund. Now, the first thing I did was research UNDEF.  It is, actually, real.  However, if you’re inclined to look at the information, the goal of the grant projects are to promote democracy in areas facing challenges.  That means introducing strength’s based strategies to assist underprivileged communities with finding and raising their voices.  Great, right?  So, when I went back to the conversation, I noticed a picture with a paper bag full of money, a twin bed with a Hello Kitty blanket.  Let me put this in perspective for you.  The person they claimed to be is a creative, artistic person that I can’t imagine having Hello Kitty anywhere.  Next, they told me they received $150,000 cash that they didn’t have to pay back.  So, I asked what country did you receive the grant for.  Response: Wisconsin.
The BS meter was ringing in my head, alarms were sounding, and warning lights flashing.  So, I asked if she had moved to Wisconsin and if she had worked on any new art projects.  Well, I guess their own bell and sirens alerted them that I wasn’t buying it, and they blocked me.  I wanted to post the conversation, but Facebook caught up with them and disabled the account.  Before that, I was prevented from continuing to message them, which is excellent.  Long story short, if it looks like a scam, sounds like a scam, there is a pretty high chance it is. Things to Consider:
  • Grammatical errors (I know I am not the poster child for the English language. Don’t judge me.)
  • Misspelled words
  • Addresses that do not match the location of the agency
  • Modified logos
  • If you live in the United States, it is illegal to play the Nigerian lottery.  You did not win.
  • The IRS will not demand you pay them money without sending you a notice in the mail.
  • The Attorney General is not sending demanding money from you
  • Do your research to verify charities are legitimate before sending money
  • When working with contractors, repair services, tree removal, medical…anything you can think of
    • Verify licensing information (most service providers have a license or certification that can be verified)
    • Check reviews and complaints before making a commitment
    • If someone calls offering a service, ask them if they can call you back in 24 hours to give you time to think about it.
    • If no services are required, say no thank you
    • Try to avoid contractors that just show up at your door(Remember: Look up reviews and licenses)
      • You may not be protected if something goes wrong
    • Report anything suspicious
  • Check your monthly bill statements for miscellaneous charges
    • Call the agency/company to verify and/or dispute charges
  • Do not provide anyone demanding money with your banking information
    • If you owe money on an account and you’re unsure if the call is legitimate, tell them you will get back with them
    • Hang up and call back using the number listed on your statement
    Below are a few useful websites that will aid you in staying vigilant against scammers. Keep on pushing, Visionary Trailblazer   Resources https://www.un.org/democracyfund/ https://www.usa.gov/consumer https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes/internet-fraud https://www.ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-consumer-protection/about-bureau-consumer-protection