scams, ripoffs, identity theft
Forex robots, gold,
bullionvault, event ticket scams, Tesla home power generator, ticket turbo, etoro,
forex, surveys, free satellite
TV, lotteries, Nigeria email fraud (continues in 2013). Fake, rip off, scam, misleading or genuine 'legit'
business opportunity – how do you tell
them apart? Through research and due diligence!
– ticket resellers
draw daily searches like 'is ticket turbo
legit, a fraud, ticketturbo scam' and review queries
and complaints from people concerned about
being scammed with non-existent, undelivered or fake tickets
their favorite sports game, concert,
musical or theater
performance. Fans pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for tickets,
so they need to have a lot of confidence in their chosen supplier when ordering.
Ticket reselling is a competitive business
and prices are affected by supply and demand so buyers often pay more (sometimes less) than face value
tickets that are officially sold out but being offered for resale. It comes down to how
much a seat at that live game or
show is worth to you.
There are many sources of event tickets including eBay and Craigslist. However, scammers
are among them,
peddling counterfeit or stolen tickets and even those from already past
events. Make sure you have sufficient information about the seller before
sending any money.
Of the popular legitimate ticket resellers,
my American and Canadian friends seem to favor Ticket Liquidator
who, although not perfect, do publish customer feedback with well over a
thousand entries from buyers, as well as the company's responses to an
issue. TL also offer a 125% refund for foul-ups. While they are not a scam,
seems to come under daily scrutiny (Google search) a bit more than others. I
remember the old saying "Where there's smoke, there's fire" and there seems
to be a fair bit of "smoke" visible in that regard.
Surveys are not scams and
some people make a little money
Survey taking is not a scam,
but neither is it a way to 'instant riches' as claimed by many
companies promoting it. For some people it is something of a time-wasting diversion like playing
games or doing crosswords, but probably not as enjoyable or mentally stimulating.
It doesn't have to cost you money. There are online lists of companies
and organisations that pay survey takers in the form of points redeemable as
gifts, coupons and even cash. Finding the best ones to take is not easy and
this is where people are prepared to pay a little money upfront.
scam element arises when people who are looking to be paid for taking
$35 (or more) in a
survey program and being told they will make a lot of money for very
little effort and in a short time. This is highly unlikely even with training and support and knowing in advance the best surveys to
take. These programs have been around a long
time and although many offer a refund,
results and earnings will be disappointing enough to lead to the feeling
of being scammed.
Searches on this topic reveals that many people find they don't pre-qualify
for a particular survey such as not being resident in a certain country.
However, they are not told this until they have almost completed a long
survey. Hours and hours can be spent seeing little in return and this leads
to frustration, but if, like many, you're prepared to give it a go, here's
the most popular
survey taking program sold through Clickbank with
their 60-day refund guarantee.
Gold and Silver
buying and holding by individuals for investment, inflation hedging or
wealth protection has always had its believers as well as detractors (most
financial institutions and 'talking heads'). Every time there's a
significant upward or downward trend in the prices of gold and silver (which
usually follows gold) the 'experts' tell you why and what's going to happen
in the near future. If it doesn't, they will tell you why too; they're never
wrong of course!
The only real evidence of a
trend of rising gold and silver prices is
from historical charts, taken over a significant period of time. Below are spot
prices in US dollars for 5 years to 2013. We are currently
in a period of global economic uncertainty and
there are no guarantees as to what will happen in the future, but many
believe that gold and silver prices will continue upward in the medium to
long term and wait for opportunities to increase their holdings.
If gold or silver holding
interest to you, then buy and sell through reputable dealers.
BullionVault – definitely
not a scam and a company with whom I have invested in both metals for
over five years myself.
R-A Blog to learn more about precious metal investing in this way.
Your Own Mains Power, Tesla, Magniwork, Energy Generator
mains electricity 'generate' a lot of interest and not only
from the conservation lobby. You may receive emails telling you how to not only produce your own mains
power supply, but have enough to sell some back to the power grid. "Cut
your electric bills by 75% or more in just 2 days ... guaranteed!"
These promotions and scam emails are for manuals that explain how to produce
electricity at home using cheap bits and pieces bought at a hardware or
It's a clever scam to relieve you of a few dollars. Producing energy is possible in theory, but
without investing a lot of money and effort, the microscopic
amount you can make is little more than a fun project. The
magniwork method described in many of these manuals can also be found
Nikola Tesla's inventions make fascinating reading – especially the
accompanying stories of government and big business conspiracy – but he must
be rolling in his grave having his respected name linked to home power
scams. There is ample proof starting here that
ebooks related to constructing cheap devices to supplement or eliminate the need for
mains electricity, serve mainly to make money for
There are practical
alternatives for getting 110/220 VAC power to supply mains
appliances, even air conditioners; they include engine-powered AC generators
systems. The battery and paperback-size 800W inverter I use will run my
desktop PC with add-ons for several hours if there's a power outage. 'Deep cycle' batteries
are better as auto batteries are mainly for starting (heavy drain then short
recharge) rather than for continuous current draw and long recharge time.
They will deteriorate quite quickly. Obviously batteries need another power
source for recharge. Much more
sophisticated (and costly) are
mains power systems using solar panels and
wind or water-driven turbines to produce energy which can then be stored in
batteries and converted to AC power as required. In certain places these may be used to
sell any excess back to the utility company 'grid', but any return on investment is
likely to run into years.
& Stock Trading
Forex and Stock market trading is not for
everybody, especially those who don't like risk or who learn to cannot
control their emotions while trading, the two most relevant being greed (to
want more profit) and fear (of losing trades). Not every trader will
achieve success or profit with forex and stocks, even if they use or copy
training courses or trading methods;
some will not suit their style or
personality. There are those who shouldn't trade at all. Many new traders
will lose money or have fund withdrawal problems because they fail to
follow instructions. Losing traders tend to blame anything or
anyone except themselves for their losses and
often condemn a training course or trading platform as a scam because of it.
Note that for funds withdrawal you
usually need to provide your broker or dealer with copies of ID with photo and a utility bill in your name at a
physical address. Fraud and scam protection is a 'two-way
Is Forex trading easy?
The 'mechanics' of it are pretty straightforward and a complete newcomer can open a free demo account with
a popular multilingual broker
like eToro and learn to trade
forex without risk of loss – even on your phone.
Do forex traders make
a lot of money
quickly? Some do, many don't. Success comes with training and experience
or watching others as mentioned above.
Forex Pages to learn more about this
business, and don't risk real money before you learn about and
understand risk management.
satellite, cable, tv, radio USB dongles, software programs and apps for
Android or iPhone
not real scams, although the stations can all be found free online and 'tuned
into' via a web browser or app. There is no real reason to pay for the
convenience of having lists and search facilities to find the thousands of stations available free via internet. Apps are free or a
couple of dollars. A USB radio tv
dongle is simply a memory stick with a
program which is a list of these stations. However, there are websites, apps and software that
give you the same access. Some allow you to listen while recording and 'cutting'
the audio from multiple radio stations and video
channels and storing the files on computer or cell phone.
has given radio a new
lease of life. There are stations for every possible taste and musical
genre broadcasting from all over the world. 60s to 90s music in
particular is very popular, especially amongst the 'baby boomers' who had
possibly the best music ever during their youth and younger
generations like it too.
Many stations can be found by searching, but programs like Audials
for computer and Android or iTunes apps offer extra features such as
filtering and recording. TuneIn Radio
Pro costs just $1 and lets you record on your phone, but the file format cannot be used
elsewhere. For music buffs, even inexpensive
'in-ear-buds' provide surprisingly strong bass from the tiny amp in
is also possible to watch live television broadcasts on a computer
screen instead of a television set. One way is with an internal TV tuner card or
external USB TV tuner
'dongle' seen here. But for this to work you will first need access to
signals from local TV stations via
antenna or cable service.
It's also possible to
record programs to disk. However as mentioned
above there are USB dongles that list free online radio and TV channels, but these are
prerecorded streams rather than live.
To view TV online, networks like BBC, CNN, CBS, CNBC, FOX,
MTV, ABC etc offer free live streaming from their
websites and also downloads. However, if you are outside the 'home country'
you may need to use a server (VPS) or network (VPN) with a local IP
address to view programs by computer or phone. Learn more about
VPS on the R-A blog.
Internet Marketing/Affiliate Sales Scams
A lot of scamming is
blamed on internet marketing itself (more below). In its defence, though, a
lot of what goes on is labelled 'scam' or 'fraud' when this isn't
Often a business or activity is quite legal and legitimate but the heavy marketing
tactics are excessive.
Again, caveat emptor. Those who believe promises of instant wealth or income without
effort are naive, and those whose greed transcends their good
sense probably deserve to lose money.
best things in life
are free." If only that
were true today! Free
information is often useful, but it's rarely the best.
Few businesses give all their 'shocking details and secrets' away when they can sell
them (or something else) to make even more money. You may well get
valuable advice, but it may be part of a pre-sell or softening up strategy.
It's important to do your homework first. Do independent research on
the product or service on offer, visiting forums and member sites. Join them
if necessary to get proper feedback.
Affiliate Marketing is promoting and selling on commission the products
or services of others. An affiliate program manages the logistics of
supply and payment automatically. There are scam affiliate programs,
too, where affiliates don't receive their commissions, so one needs to be
wary. Many of the
products that are sold in this way are books and tools relating to
Internet Marketing itself. Claims of instant success, huge checks or
'overnight wealth' are misleading, and there are certainly scams
among them. Effort, knowledge, understanding, experience, perseverance and
honesty are all necessary for success in any business, and Internet marketing is
exception. Look for products that receive positive feedback from users, but
also beware of scam review sites that are just trying to sell them.
Anyone who starts a new
business (internet or offline) should realise that there is a learning curve,
and that there will be many stops and delays along the road to success. The idea is
to get the best information and that which is suitable for you. There are
many different ways of selling products over the internet, but there is a
basic set of rules that has to be followed. Most books and courses mention
these, with varying emphasis on major points. There are few if any real
'secrets' left in the internet business. Learning the basics well is the
Identity Theft over the
Internet, Password Protection, Backup
This unfortunately is scam and fraud at its
worst and is an ever-increasing problem. There are many ways of obtaining
personal information under false pretences.
Banks, loan, credit and finance companies,
PayPal and eBay and other organisations that already have your details on file
do not request personal updates by sending out emails. They ask you to log
in to your account. If you receive this
sort of email message, be very wary, and much more importantly
DO NOT RESPOND. Visit the website the
same way you usually do. Never follow instructions to click on a link; you may think you are
being taken to the correct site, but it will be a fake.
NEVER FILL IN A
'FORM' asking for address and (especially) bank details. New scam attempts
include employment or job offers as agent or cashier for
legitimate companies not involved in a scam being falsely represented.
WEBSITE/DOMAIN NAME OWNERS:
Renew your domain(s) only through the domain registration
originally signed up with and where you will be asked to log into your
user account. Be
extremely careful about responding to an email request to renew one of
your registered domain names if it comes from a previously unknown third party such as
ISP Renewal Reminder which is a scam. They ask for a payment of
$79.95 and your credit card details. IGNORE AND
MARK AS SPAM.
ADD PRIVACY TO YOUR
DOMAINS. When you register a domain name, unless you opt
for 'Privacy' (usually a few dollars extra per year), your contact
details are made public and available to anyone who does a 'whois'
domain name query. Scammers too can see the owner's name and email
and also the domain expiry date. To add Privacy, log in to
your account and find the domain management options. Then only the
host name or proxy details are published – not your personal information.
It's money well spent. Also check that your domains are Locked (only
you can sell or transfer the name). This is free.
PROTECT YOUR WEBSITE LOGINS
Logins and passwords to sites are
a huge potential security risk. If you are a member of many sites or have
affiliate accounts, you probably use the same password for them
all. It's a known fact that most users cannot remember multiple passwords
and therefore use the same one for everything. This is highly risky as once your
login and password has been found by a
clever hacker, it could even be used to gain access to your bank or
credit card accounts.
AVOID DATA LOSS; BACK UP
REGULARLY TO AN EXTERNAL PORTABLE DEVICE. Whether your
computer has been lost or stolen, or has suffered hardware or
software failure, you run the risk of losing valuable programs, data and sometimes
irreplaceable files. Don't wait until it happens. There are numerous ways to back
up information to other media.
How can you be sure that an email is not from a scammer?
Always bear in mind that most internet scams begin with an
email. It's often difficult to recognise, as the subject seems so
genuine and attractive that you are tempted to open it. STOP RIGHT THERE!
Who sent you the email? Was it from someone you have given your email
address to? If not then ALWAYS BE ON THE ALERT; it may just be spam
promoting a 'dodgy' product which you probably can't avoid altogether,
but should simply delete. The same message is being sent to hundreds of
thousands of addresses simultaneously. You eventually recognise subject
lines and content phrases and can try and filter them out of your system.
Sometimes it's easier just to ignore and delete them and give
yourself a pat on the back!
Much more dangerous is an email that appears to be
intended for someone else, but 'by a stroke of luck' has ended up in
your mailbox. It relates to a payment for previous services, a lottery win
or other money-related transaction. THESE ARE ALWAYS FAKE. NEVER
RESPOND TO THEM. SEE BELOW. If you do you are willingly being led into a trap
because you WANT to believe that the email is genuine. That means you
are a greedy, clever opportunist, willing to take advantage
of a case of 'mistaken identity', putting you on the same ethical or moral level as
the scammer! More below...
Apart from email, never give out personal information over the phone, no matter how genuine
the caller sounds! If you are unsure, then contact the organisation direct. There
is also a practice by
internet thieves called 'phishing' (fishing for information). By accessing
your computer while you are connected to the internet without you being aware of it, they
may try to get details of bank
accounts, credit card numbers, PINs and passwords, social security number and more.
You can protect your computer to some degree by using a firewall, such as is
built into Windows XP, but this is not infallible. Dedicated security software gives
you better protection. Even a free program is better than none at all.
Fake Lotteries, Sweeps and
Lotto Jackpot Scams
Similar to the infamous African
scams described below, advance fee fraud schemes have spread
world-wide. They include large corporations like CocaCola and
Toyota and also National Lotteries. You receive an
email informing you of a win in one of these lotteries, but if you
take the bait and follow it up you will be asked for expenses or taxes before
you can claim 'your prize'.
There is only one authorised UK National Lottery (operated by
Camelot) and they cannot contact ticket holders, but they do allow licensed
agencies. The Coca Cola (and
other 'brand name') Lottery is fake – from UK and West African
scammers. Remember that
you will not win anything unless
you have purchased a lottery ticket through an authorised agency.
Here are some
points to note about international or foreign lotteries:
You cannot win a legitimate lottery if you have not entered it. You must purchase a ticket
(or a share in a syndicate of tickets) to enter a genuine, legal
lottery, either personally or through a recognised agency.
You do not have to pay to collect winnings from legitimate lotteries.
You may be liable for taxes AFTER you you receive your winnings, but
there are no other fees or deductions to be paid before receiving them.
Real lottery tickets are bought anonymously. Therefore, winners
have to come forward and identify themselves when they see their winning
numbers on lists which are published shortly after draws.
However, if you buy tickets through an e-Lottery syndicate, then
you will have provided details including an email address. In this case
you will be advised of a win by the syndicate organisers – but
NOT by the lottery itself, and you will be able to withdraw your
Although it is technically illegal for US residents to play foreign
lotteries from within the United States, many do so online and usually
through syndicates. Some other countries have
similar laws for non-residents. It's as well to check before
entering a foreign lottery if you are concerned.
If a lottery
isn't conducted by a government or government-licensed organisation,
then it is almost certainly a scam.
'best' is left till last: the oldest and one of the worst scams is the infamous
Nigerian 411 and 419 fraud, still arriving every day in 2013.
A hook with stale bait still catches greedy fish. FaceBook and other social
sites are rife with fake
and cleverly disguised identities
Name: Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes
This is Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes, former speaker of the house of
I am in need of a reliable Trustee to help me receive my 1 box of
consignments containing 86 MILLION GBP in London and Under the custody of
the British embassy in Tokyo Japan.
This present Ghana government is an opposition party, they trying to accuse
me of looting government treasury during my time in office and this is the
reason why I need a dependable and reliable partner to receive the funds as
my trustee to avoid any trace.
I am prepared to give you 30% of the total fund if you can help me receive
it without any trace.
All we have to do is to ask my attorney to issue you a Power of Attorney and
Change of Ownership certificate in your name while he will also handle other
processes which he will explain to you.
Send me your passport copy and pictures so that I can know you better.
Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes"
Would you – presumably a sane, reasonably intelligent
person – think the above could be genuine? Imagine being of accused of
looting. With £86 million ($140M) to share, it looks like it was
true! Incredibly, people do get taken in by these letters, which is
why we draw attention to the scam letter or email which
originated in Nigeria nearly 30 years ago.
I remember receiving one in 1987 at my
London work address. In pre-internet days they relied on the postal service (they
still use that as well) and later, fax. The format was basically the same then as it is
now. Tens of millions of dollars in a dormant bank account, needing to be
released with foreign help.
It's somewhat unfair that Nigeria
(especially), Ghana and Africa
are still singled out, as this type of scam has spread far and wide and in
fact more originate in the US . The
actions of a relative few should not tarnish the image of a whole continent
of multiple nations with the majority of their citizens not involved in
illegal activities and going about their daily business like people
everywhere. But it's a fact that
doubt the credibility of Nigerians or anything traceable back to this
and other African countries. Even the now-revered African-American
Oprah Winfrey stated publicly that "all Nigerians – regardless of
their level of education – are corrupt." Now there's misinformation,
prejudice, bigotry, racism and xenophobia all rolled into one succinct
statement – from someone whose roots are African!
Nevertheless, online thieves and scammers tend to be identified by the
country IP address origin and they do their fellow citizens a great
disservice, causing untold damage to the legitimate business sector that
exists in their respective countries on all continents – not only Africa.
The Nigerian 411 or 419 scams and their new
variations are known collectively as advance fee
fraud and they continue around cyberspace because greedy people still fall for them.
One would think after all this time and publicity, everyone would have heard about these
spam email scams. But new users discover email, the internet and social
networks like FaceBook. They are unaware of the dangers of the fraudsters
and scammers lurking in wait. Some will lose considerable amounts of
Emails appear in all sorts of formats now, but the original basic one is still
used: poor or archaic English, hiding under a cloak of Christianity
and quasi-religious claptrap e.g. "I
STRUGGLED AND WORKED HARD AND ALMIGHTY GOD BLESSED ME ABUNDANTLY WITH
RICHES". Note the use of all CAPITAL LETTERS. This is a sure sign of a scam,
but in recent years, scammers have become far more astute and some are
well-educated masterful copywriters. But the basics are that 'out of the
are asked for assistance by a complete stranger. Often it's to help the family of a well-known
deceased business or political
figure, or central bank official to get access to millions of dollars being held with
no known legitimate beneficiary. You will be offered a large percentage of
the funds in return for helping to retrieve this fortune for the 'rightful
heirs' or your co-conspirator.
The standard ones stopped
for a while, but here is one from 2010. Wouldn't you 'smell a rat' if the
Accountant of the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation was also a
Reverend – a 'man of God'? These people are usually Doctors. Amazingly,
the amount is almost always $18 million. Perhaps it's the scammers'
First, THERE ARE NO
The way the scammer gets YOUR money is first by establishing a rapport; a personal
relationship which leads to disclosure of addresses, phone numbers and
eventually bank account details. Here is the scam: at some point you will be told there are some
advance expenses which need to be paid before the money can be released. This may be small to start with, but
further, larger requests will be made until you start to become
suspicious, but you are reluctant to back out, because you will
you've already paid; you keep hoping that the whole thing is genuine and
you continue following through until your bank account is compromised and
emptied. Along the way you might be requested to attend a meeting in another
country, for which you will probably pay the expenses for all those involved.
This is highly dangerous,
maybe life-threatening. Loss of money
($3000 on average according to the FBI) is
almost guaranteed for anyone who responds to these emails
which are scams and
fraud by professional criminals
who are well
connected in their own countries and rarely brought to justice.