Category Archives: Fraud and Scams

FBI Common Fraud Schemes

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FBI Common Fraud Schemes


The world has always been full of scammers. However, because of communications that are worldwide, by telephone and the Internet and by mail, etc., scamming is a multi-billion-dollar business.

There are as many way of scaming as there are activities envoling money. Credit card scams, medical scams, arrest warrant scams, online dating scams, counterfeit merchandise scams, employment scams, fake check scams, fake loan scams, grant scams, lottery scams, phishing scams and rental scams for a few.


Following are some of the scams covered by the FBI. You will learn how to fight scam and to protect yourself. I will give information only on the telemarketing scams as an example. Go to the site to learn how to fight each scam.

Note that the FBI does not cover all scams. Beware!

Telemarketing Scams (FBI Report)

Years ago when we lived in Arizona, we looked after an old lady who lived alone. Everyone so  often I would get a call from her which would go something like this: John, I have just won $200,000.00.

I would tell her to do absolutely nothing and that I would be right over.

One time she said that her money was coming from Readers Digest. I told her that Readers Digest would not ask her for money and for her bank information.

She still wouldn’t believe me. I called Reader’s Digest and let her talk to the person there assuring her that the offer was not from them and and that she should not pay any money, the sum of $2000.00 of the scammers from Montréal were looking for.

Of course, I called Toronto and reported it to their anti-scam bureau.

From the FBI

Here are some warning signs of telemarketing fraud—what a caller may tell you:

“You must act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be good.”

“You’ve won a ‘free’ gift, vacation, or prize.” But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.

“You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.” You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.

“You don’t need to check out the company with anyone.” The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.

“You don’t need any written information about the company or their references.”

“You can’t afford to miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.”

If you hear these or similar “lines” from a telephone salesperson, just say “no thank you” and hang up the telephone.

Tips for Avoiding Telemarketing Fraud:

It is very difficult to get your money back if you have been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember:

Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to comply.

Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But beware—not everything written down is true.

Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. However, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.

Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business.

Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers—verify the accuracy of these items.

Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.

Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question: “What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?”

Don’t pay in advance for services; pay only after they are delivered.

Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.

Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you to make a snap decision.

Don’t pay for a “free prize.”

If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.

Before you receive your next sales pitch, decide what your limits are—the kinds of financial information you will and won’t give out on the telephone.

Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor. It is never rude to wait and think about an offer.

Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly.

Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.

Be aware that your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.

If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.

If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.

Here is what I do:

I don’t answer any call that is not identified on caller ID and if the caller is not someone I know. I never pay for anything over the telephone. I have all offers sent to me by mail. I don’t give to any charity that is not on my safe list. I never give to police, military or humanitarian organizations which are full of fraud.

Read About the Following Scams at the FBI Site

Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud

Identity Theft

Advance Fee Schemes

Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud

Redemption / Strawman / Bond Fraud

Investment-Related Scams

Letter of Credit Fraud

Prime Bank Note Fraud

“Ponzi” Schemes

“Ponzi” Schemes

Market Manipulation (“Pump and Dump”) Fraud


Always call your local police if you have concerns about fraud. You can contact your state’s attorney journal for information.


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