©AMANDA HORO WITZ MEDIA, LLC
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate. David’s daughter Amanda Horowitz is the CEO of Fight Back! and co-founder of FightBack.com. Email David and Amanda at info@ fightback.com.
SCAM, CON and rip-off artists are always on the
lookout for their next target. It takes careful listening and discernment to avoid common rip-offs.
Here are some lines you might recognize that scam
artists use when they are ready to strike:
“Congratulations! You may
receive a certified check for up to $400,000,000
“Work from home and make
thousands of dollars.”
“You have been selected to
win a free trip.”
“Lose weight without diet or exercise.”
“Win a free iPad. Just click on the
link to learn more.”
“This price is only for a limited time.
You need to sign now.”
Sound familiar? If you don’t want to be the victim of a scam, you must be aware, informed and
skeptical. When an unknown individual requests
that you send money via wire transfer; offers you a
free prize but asks you to pay for taxes and fees or
shipping and handling in advance; asks for your
personal information such as a credit card number,
password, date of birth, PIN, social security number, credit report or bank information; or claims to
be a government agency requesting money from
you, it’s a tip-off that you’re about to get ripped off.
Here are some general practices that can help you
avoid getting taken:
■ Understand all business agreements before
you enter into them. If you don’t understand an
agreement, contact a lawyer. You can find a referral
from your state bar association.
■ Thoroughly read the terms and conditions
of any free offer before you agree to it.
© 2013 AMANDA HORO WITZ MEDIA, LLC ALL RIGH TS RESERVED
■ Be wary of businesses that don’t have a street
address or direct phone number or operate out of a
■ Watch for written correspondence that contains spelling and grammatical mistakes or awkward wording.
■ Look at an unknown individual’s email
address. If a “special offer” or “official correspondence” comes from a free email account such as
Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail, it’s probably a scam.
■ Make it a practice not to give out your
personal or banking information unless it’s to a
■ Stay away from pyramid schemes and multi-level sales schemes.
■ Don’t agree to deposit a check that’s been
written for more than the purchase price and wire
money back to the issuer.
■ Only donate money to reputable charities. Be
aware that charity scams often follow disasters.
■ Don’t wire money to someone you don’t
know. Typically, money transfers cannot be traced
and transactions cannot be reversed.
■ One trick that rip-off artists use is to send an
email claiming to be a legitimate business and
direct you to a fake website where they request
personal information. Make it a practice not to
open links from unknown users on social media
sites or from unsolicited emails. Even though a
URL may look real, fraudsters can mask its true
destination. Type the URL into your Web browser
yourself to verify it’s real.
■ Don’t give money to someone whom you
only know from the Web.
■ Always keep in mind that legitimate entities
don’t ask you to provide or verify sensitive information through non-secure means, such as email.
■ Don’t respond to requests for personal or
financial information via email, mail or phone. If
you have reason to believe that a legitimate business
actually does need personal information from you,
call the company using the number in your contacts, not the one provided, as it may be fraudulent.
If a call, email or letter purports to be from a government agency, find the agency’s phone number
from an official website and contact it.
■ Never deposit or transfer funds for someone
you don’t know and trust.
■ Be careful when signing non-disclosure or
non-circumvention agreements. Scam artists use
them to threaten victims with a lawsuit if they
report their experiences to law enforcement. C
Please note that we at Fight Back! are not licensed professionals in any field. If you are seeking advice, you should
consult with your own licensed professional. We do not
assume any liability or responsibility for the interpretation,
application or accuracy of any information provided.
Victim of a scam?
IF YOU BELIEVE you have
been the victim of a scam
or are aware of a scam, report
it! Here are some helpful
IC3. Internet crime is illegal activity involving websites,
email and/or chat rooms, and
may include the following:
advance-fee schemes, lottery
scams, non-delivery of goods
or services, business opportunity schemes, employment
schemes, romance scams and
computer hacking. You can
report Internet crime to the
Internet Crime Complaint
Center ( www.ic3.gov), a partnership between the FBI and
the National White Collar
FTC. Identity theft; tele-marketing scams; credit and
credit-repair scams; sweepstakes scams; pyramid
schemes; fraudulent business
schemes and/or any kind of
deceptive advertising can be
reported to the Federal Trade
Commission at www.ftc.gov.
Scams that have been promoted via email can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
USPIS. Scams or deceptive
ads you receive in the U.S.
mail can be reported to the
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
uspis.gov. If an identity theft
involves the U.S. mail, it can
also be reported.
SEC. Fraud or wrongdoing
involving potential violations
of U.S. securities laws, such
as fraudulent investment
schemes, for example, can be
reported to the Securities and
Exchange Commission at
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