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The Top 10 Scams for 2001

Scams on the Internet are growing -- and with the vast ... was hard to only choose ten. We've tried to soften this listwith a bit of humor. But please don't let the humor make ... seem

Scams on the Internet are growing -- and with the vast selection,
it was hard to only choose ten. We've tried to soften this list
with a bit of humor. But please don't let the humor make these
scams seem any less serious than they really are.

Some of these scams are very dangerous.

A word of warning, so to speak. These aren't ranked by dollars
lost or people scammed. There's nothing scientific about the
list. It's just the ten scams that we find the most disturbing.

You'll note that most of these involve spam. There's a reason
for that. The mentality of a spammer is exactly the same kind
of mindset as a con artist.

As we always say: "If it's spam, it's scam."

Here are the top 10 scams of 2001...

10. Herbal Viagra

This is really a whole category of scams, relating to the sale
of medical or "alternative" medical treatments online. Usually
using spam to get to the "customer."

If you're lucky, these products will do nothing at all. Some of
them are seriously dangerous by themselves. They promise cures
for life threatening illnesses, causing those who buy the
promise to delay proper medical treatment, sometimes past the
point where it would have helped.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before buying into any of
these nostrums. It'll save you a lot of headaches and heartache

Folks, consider this: If you wouldn't trust a spammer to handle
your money, why would you take medical advice from them???

9. Internet Investigator

"Be the first kid on your block to know all the
dirty secrets your neighbors are hiding! Find out
what your prospective mate has hidden in his past!
Find the lost city of Atlantis! Find your lost

This one is more an annoyance than a real problem. It serves as
a great example of the pure hype that you should watch out for
in online advertising.

Filled with promises of secret knowledge that's not available
to anyone else, it delivers nothing more than a list of places
you can pay to search for information. It's the perfect example
of a pitch that's not quite a scam -- but clearly misleads in
its promise.

Ask yourself this: If this stuff was as easy as the ads make it
out to be, wouldn't you see these "secret techniques" in
magazines and on TV?

8. Pump and Dump

You've probably gotten these. The subject line or first part of
the email says that this is "Highly confidential information."

This scam is based on touting "advance information" on specific
stocks in an attempt to drive up the price past its true worth,
so the promoters can sell at the higher price.

They pump it up, and then dump it. Hence the name.

This is generally illegal. And certainly a bad way to get
investment advice...

Ask yourself: If it's so confidential, why are they spamming it
to millions of people?

7. Credit Scams

There are all sorts of these that prey on the desires of people
to repair or establish credit.

The worst are the alleged credit repair services. They promise
to help you to remove accurate but negative information from
your credit record, or to show you how to get a federal
Employer ID Number, usually in very questionable fashion.

Not only do these techniques not work, they can get you in deep
trouble for committing fraud.

You're not going to fix your credit while you're in jail.

As far as easy credit, guaranteed approval credit cards, and
home equity loans that don't require equity in your home...
forget it.

This one should be obvious: Cheap money? From a BANK???

6. Auction Antics

You can get a lot of terrific deals through online auctions,
but you need to be careful. Before buying anything that seems
too cheap, or that shouldn't be on an auction site at all, ask

Look at the seller's feedback rating and comments. You'll get a
lot of clues from that. Check the retail price of the
merchandise. If it's new merchandise, you can probably expect
to pay 1/2 to 2/3 of retail, even at auction.

Remember the old story of the fellow who raffled off a brand
new Lincoln at a small town carnival? Tickets were $1 each, and
everyone figured they had a good chance.

He sold a lot of tickets, and, as promised, he delivered a
brand new Lincoln... penny.

For more on auction fraud, you can check out the issue of
Internet ScamBusters called "Online Auctions: Deals or Steals"

5. Chain Letters

"Add your name to position X, move the name in
position Y to position Z, send 200 copies of this
letter to your closest personal friends, and very
soon you'll have no personal friends left!"

Don't believe the claims about legitimacy, folks. These things
are illegal, immoral, and probably fattening.

4. Viruses

Get a good anti-virus program, keep it updated, and keep it

Huh? What are viruses doing in the ranks of scams?

They're actually among the more clever of scams, if you think
about it. Deceptive subject lines, hidden code that causes you
to spread them to your friends, and almost always appealing to
the most common desires.

3. Nigerian Fee Scam

This is an oldie, and a real baddie.

The basic line goes like this:

"I represent some high mucky muck who wants to get
a lot of suspicious money out of my country, and
we need help from you to do it. We'll pay you
stupid amounts of cash to be a front person."

The system escalates until you've got money sunk into the scam,
and they want you to visit the country in question in person.
There have been people who played along with this and never
made it home alive.

Originally this was focused through Nigeria, but with recent
events, you may hear about Taliban leaders wanting help, or
people from other war-torn countries.

Don't respond to these people in any way. People die falling
for this one.

For more on this scam, check out:

2. Identity Theft

This is a VERY serious problem. We covered this in our last issue
of Internet ScamBusters. If you haven't read it, do so now at:

1. WTC Scams

The spams relating to the World Trade Center began within an
hour of the attacks. They range from appeals for aid to the
victims, usually sent through the spammers' web sites, to fake
news items concerning reported attacks.

There's nothing funny to be said about these.

Don't pass them along, and don't contribute through any site
that doesn't belong to a recognizable charity, such as the Red
Cross or the United Way.

You can read more about these scams at:

When you consider doing any sort of business online, look over
this list and see if the appeal sounds like one or more of
these scams. If so, check it out carefully before sending

Most online businesses are run by honest folks and are quite
safe. Just use a little common sense and cautionFree Reprint Articles, and you
should be fine.

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