Beware of Today’s Targeted Scams

    March 12, 2003

There are zillions of scams floating all over – online websites, emails, regular snail-mail, and phone calls. You need to be wary of everything – and that’s a tough call.

As a funding agent, I got a call the other day, and this woman was asking of we can do a certain type of loan – I asked her to explain, and she said she needed a huge sum of money to build some sort of housing project – in NIGERIA.

I asked her several more questions, to try to see if she was the scammer or if she was being scammed. She said there was a large amount of money left behind that needed to be laundered and brought here, and it would repay the loan she wanted. I told her about the Nigerian scams and she said, no- she was raised in Nigeria and believes the paperwork. I told her we flat-out will not deal with Nigeria or any such story as that. It is too high a risk factor. She hung up and then I realized I should have gotten her name and number – to report it. To either stop the scam on her end or keep her from being a victim by being part of it.

The scammers will try to get to you where your passion is – obviously they send out relentless spam, but some will take the time to investigate your site and your business – to see where he can get you to believe this line of his. I just got an email that went to my publisher’s box, and it was from someone who apologized profusely for some turkey using his tools to send out spam in his name. He apologized so much that he threw in a REDUCED PRICE for his product, which I would be free to resell. And guess what? I never got that spam message from his domain, and from what I can see, I never got a prior message from him before! He just tried to get me to empathize with a wronged publisher so he can hawk his goods on me. Guess what? It didn’t work.

Now is the time of year for scams concerning taxes and how to beat the tax system. There are so many ways that they tell you not to pay legitimate taxes – and then they somehow redirect your payments to them. Watch out – many of the scams arte summarized at

Oh yes – there are also more job scams popping up – where a job search provider will sit in on a networking meeting and get everyone’s contact info – then send out an invitation to some paid presentation – and tell you it’s endorsed by the group! This happened at our job seeker group at our church! And Pastor was out sick the day this guy said he spoke with him. He asked for up front payment for this presentation, and even offered a discount if we referred more people to come. He was going to make a lot of money had anyone fallen for it – thankfully our group leaders caught on and warned everyone.

Another type of job scam involves getting information from you. This may work in one way – where your social security and bank or credit information is asked for – these are never needed in the interview or application process, and your bank and credit information is not needed at any time, unless you direct your payment sot be directly deposited – but there are bank forms to fill out for that. Another type of information gathering scam asks you to list 3-10 contacts you use in business, or for you to “hypothetically” solve a real problem for them. They are sucking information from you for a one time solution and you will not get the job. The contacts will be used in their business, to try to drum up more business for them.

Watch out for those “cash flow providers” – they are abundant lately! I have been fighting perceptions and trying to get clients to check out the crazy offers they have been quoted – but certainly will not ever see. These people lie and cheat to get the deal to come their way, and guess what? With many, the deal never works out! The contract says it will pay, but you’ll never see the money. Just watch out what papers you have signed so they don’t run off with your property. Most seem to be just plain incompetent – perhaps well meaning and overzealous, but unable to pull a deal to completion. I get many calls about this – asking if I know some company or person – which I sometimes have heard about, but usually not. I dealt with a doozey of a case today! Thankfully he listened to my reasoning and decided he had better deal with us and not the high offer – because they assured him of unrealistic promises. It scared him off. If only more people were like this!

Does this tell you how easily you an fall for a scam? Does it tell you it’s often hard to spot a scam? They prey after your passion and dreams. You want to believe in them. You need to think it all out rationally and don’t let them get the best of you. For more information on scams, see

P. Roe does website optimization work, and is working on her sites all the time – many are in number 1-10 ranking on Google and Yahoo! Subscribe to “Wise Little Tidbits” for more optimization tips.