Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tis the Season for Scammers

Scammers are growing in numbers and getting very smart. It takes alertness to avoid being taken for a ride.

I almost dug myself into a deep deep hole. While searching Craig's List during October looking for a second source of income, I found an interesting venture. It was a market research group looking for business professionals in certain industries. I fit the profile and sent my info to the group, hoping to earn the $150 for 2 days and 2 hours per day of research development sessions. Well, I didn't get in, as I'd responded too late to make the cut, but the idea of doing market research for pay piqued my interest.

Some days later I received a notice from a group (I thought it was the same research group) telling me that they were responding from Craig's List regarding my request to keep me on there records for further opportunities, and that there was to be another study. Yippie!!! I didn't hesitate one second to respond, putting my name in the que for a quick response.

Over the next week I received several emails, one of which stated that I'd be working with their client, Moneygram. I would receive $300 for the study and $100 for gas and expenses to get to the location. Something about it didn't feel good or sound right, but I wanted to see it play out, as I'd hoped the earnings would be legit.

Another email gave me the logistics. November 6th was the day that I was to visit Moneygram and adhere to a list of requirements. I was to receive a check in which $400 of it I could keep and the balance sent to them through Moneygram. By now I was sure that this was a scam. So I ignored the message and washed my hands of it.

On November 6th I received, in the mail, a check for $3,753. I stared at it for 5 minutes, imagining that some agency was refunding money due to me for some strange reason. But I just couldn't fabricate a scenario where this could be true. Oh shucks!

Mr. David Bircham, the scamming party, expected me to deposit the check into my bank, leaving $400 there and taking out $3,353 in cash to be sent to him through Moneygram. When, if I'd been so ditsy as to deposit the check, my bank would have found that the check was no good, there would be no way to retrieve the funds from Mr. David Bircham, and I would be the great looser.

This scam is a twist on something similar that I've heard many lost money. Be careful. Money is earned. If an offer looks weird, it probably is. That applies to anyone buying a mansion he can't afford as well.

No comments: