Top 10 Scams from

Criminal Scammer

Scammer/Criminal Behind Bars is a website designed to help you, the public, identify all types of scams and schemes on and off the internet. We also try to help people distinguish between scams and actual deals by providing them with information on all the different types of scams and schemes that we here at hear about.

Here are the Top 10 Most Common Scams:

1. Fake Lottery Scam

Scam: Scammers will try to convince a victim that they’ve just won a lottery, however, in order to clear the award money the supposed winner has to pay several fees and taxes.

How to protect yourself: It is very important to remember that you can never win a contest or lottery that you never entered.

2. Phishing/Vishing Scams

Scam: A scammer will send e-mails to victims that appear to look like an authentic correspondence from a bank, a legitimate online service, or even a government agency. These fake sites will try to lure victims into disclosing personal information. This information can then be used for identity theft. Certain fake e-mails will also ask victims to call a fake 800 number where they are then asked to enter personal information via phone.

How to protect yourself: Never ever respond to e-mails that ask you for any personal information unless verifying the source of the contact. If you need to confirm whether there is an issue with you bank, credit card, online service, or government agency, then we suggest that you contact them directly using the number listed on their official website, or through their official security e-mail.  Always be wary of supposed official e-mails.

3. Phony Job Scam

Scam: Scammers will post a fake job listing and hire victims as employees and/or couriers. Scammers will then send large checks to their victims.  The victims are instructed to deposit that money into their personal bank accounts. After the money is deposited they are then instructed to wire the money overseas.  However, the victim will soon learn that the check was fraudulent and the money they just wired overseas is actually their own money.

How to protect yourself: Beware of any job offer that sounds too good to be true. We advise that you always do background checks on the companies trying to hire you.  One idea is to run an internet search with the word ’scam’ included.  You should also be wary of any job offers that do not require an interview.

4. Negative Option Scams

Scam: This next scam is one of the worst that we’ve come across because it is done by legitimate businesses. Consumers are offered a free gift either through pop-up ads, junk mail, or spam phone calls. However in order to accept these gifts, consumers are required to enroll in a type of club sometimes known as a discount or travel club. What the victim doesn’t know is that they are then charged membership fees unless they cancel. In most cases these membership fees are not made clear beforehand.  Rather they are put in very small type, and hidden from view.

How to protect yourself: Don’t let these companies walk away with your hard earned money.  Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch. Tell these companies to immediately stop offering you these gifts.  And most importantly, read everything, including the small type.  You may just end up saving your hard earned money.

5. Advanced-fee Fraud aka Nigerian 419 Scams

Scam: Scammers will pose as a rich individual (typically from Nigeria, or the Ivory Coast) who desperately needs someone in the United States to help them transfer some money or help them claim a large inheritance. The catch is you need to first send them some cash in order to help pay for any fees that are tying up their funds.

How to protect yourself: Remember that unless you are Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, or Oprah no one should be contacting you for this type of help.  And even then, you should be wary.  If you can avoid it, never, ever wire money to someone you do not know.

6. Pump & Dump Scams

Scam: Junk e-mails with unsolicited stock advice are sent to millions of potential investors touting the bright future of certain “hot” stocks. The scammers already hold millions of shares (these are usually penny stocks), and when enough victims buy the stock, the scammers dump their shares.

How to protect yourself: Whenever you buy stock, always do your research.  Look up the company, and if possible, speak to a genuine and trusty stockbroker.  Penny stocks can end up devouring your savings in a heartbeat.  Never trust unsolicited stock advice, unless it is from Warren Buffet.

7. Bogus Fuel Saving Devices

Scam: Infomercials will make spurious claims about fuel-saving devices. These devices promise to add miles per gallon to your car, saving you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month.

How to protect yourself: These infomercials are just that for a reason.  Do not think for a second that there is a secret gas saving device out there.  If there were, the company that had this technology would immediately sell it.  The amount of money they could make, would far outweigh the profits of big oil companies.  And more importantly, drive safe.

8. The Accident Scam

Scam: Scammers will call people pretending to be their family or friends.  They will claim that there has been an accident or emergency and that they need help.  They will direct you to call a valid number for more information.  They will pressure you into wiring thousands of dollars to save someones life.

How to protect yourself: Let people know where you are.  While not completely effective it works quite well.  Also, make sure to keep in contact, and have a way for people to reach you in case of emergency.  And also call you family every so often.

9. Oprah Ticket Scam

Scam: Scammers pretend to give away or sell tickets to the Oprah show. The victims, however, are made to reveal personal information in the process, and end up giving scammers more than enough information to allow them to steal the victim’s identity.

How to protect yourself: If you want tickets to Oprah then visit the official website and purchase tickets through there.

10. Scams on Bulletin Boards and Classifieds Sites

Scam: There are many variations of scams on that appear on bulletin boards or classified websites. They range from everything mentioned in 1-9, and will also include acting scams (such as the Breaking Dawn Scam), and other similar scams.

How to protect yourself: It’s important that you not give away any personal information or money to anyone on a bulletin board or classified site – ever.  If you ever need to verify information, check our website, or do a simple internet search for what is being offered to you.

Perhaps the best way to protect yourself is to use your head.  Common sense, and being smart is the best way to protect yourself.

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