Parrot ScamThis scam targets people who like parrots. Fake ads are usually placed on sites for pet owners, or parrot related classified ad sites and forums.
The scammers usually word the message claiming that they need to find a new home for their parrot, and will either sell it very cheaply, or it is an adoption request. The bird chosen is usually a popular/rare bird such as a Macaw.
The price for the bird is usually a fraction of its value or is being given away for free, as long as the new owner pays for the delivery fee. The message will contain photographs of the bird that is being sold/given away. The photographs will be stolen from another website without the owner's knowledge.
However, the promised cheap or free parrot does not exist. If you answer one of these fake ads, the scammers will respond with more information about the bird they claim to own. Typically, the scammers invent some sad tale to explain why they must sell or give away their much-loved parrot. However, the owner will insist that any payments must be made before the bird is delivered.
If you send money to buy the bird or pay transport costs, requests for more money will likely follow. If you send what you believe to be the full payment, the scammers may then reply with an "urgent" request for more money to cover "unexpected" expenses such as vet bills or permit fees.
If you then send still more money the scammers will probably ask for extra payments for higher than expected delivery charges, or some other fake expenses.
This will continue until you realize you have been scammed and are never going to receive your parrot.
When people just want a good home for their bird and will only charge you shipping, BE CAUTIOUS. Ask for photos with date stamps, ask for phone calls with the people you’re in contact with, and talk to the vet who checks the bird before shipping them.
If you are purchasing the bird from overseas, you will have to complete paperwork so don’t believe the sender has it “all taken care of” because they can’t!
Both parties are required to complete paperwork such as import/export permits and go through designated ports of entry. Vets have to check the animals at take off and landing destinations. In some cases, the scammers will also demand a lot of personal information from you during the course of the scam. They claim that they require such information to verify your identity and reputation, so that they can be confident that their much loved parrot will be in safe hands. In reality, the personal information submitted may subsequently be used to steal your identity.
Advance fee scammers also use the promise of other free or cheap pets as the bait in similar scams.
Visa Phishing ScamYou may receive an email that appears to originate from Visa, and claims that due to multiple attempts from different computers trying to access your account, you must confirm your account information within 48 hours or the account will be suspended indefinitely.
The email however is not from Visa but is instead a phishing scam designed to steal your private information. If you follow the link in the scam email you will be taken to a fake webpage that asks you to provide credit card details, date of birth, social security number, contact details and residential address on a fake online form.
All information entered into the fake form will be harvested by scammers and used for credit card fraud and identity theft.
To make the scam email seem more legitimate, the scammers have formatted it so that it appears to be a genuine Visa message, complete with graphics, Visa website colour scheme and disguised sender address.
Visa will not send Visa card holders unsolicited emails asking them to provide personal and financial details. In fact, Internet users should be very cautious of any email that asks them to follow a link or open an attachment in order to provide private information.
A copy of the wording is included below:
We have recently determined that different computers connected to your account Verified by Visa, Password and multiple failures were present before the connection. We now need you to confirm your account information Verified by Visa.
If not completed within 48 hours we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely, as it can be used for fraudulent purposes. Thank you for your understanding in this way.
To confirm your online account:
The procedure is very simple: 1. Click on the link below to open a browser window secure. 2. Confirm that you are the owner of the account and follow the instructions.
Access Your Account
Advance Fee Scam on FacebookA lot of users of the social networking site Facebook are receiving an email that claims that they have won a large sum of money in the Face Book 2010 promotion.
The message claims that the owner of the Facebook account has won $50,000 in the "Face Book 2010 promotion". You are instructed to contact the "Payment Department" immediately by an email address [that is included in the email] in order to claim the prize money.
If you respond you will be asked to send a fee to cover the cost of the transfer of the prize money. Like all the advance fee scams, the person offered the sum of money [whether it is a prize, inheritance, assistance to get money out of a country etc] is required to pay some money first before they supposedly receive their money.
If money is sent to 'claim the prize money', there will be further requests for money to cover other unforeseen problems or processes. The requests will continue until the victim runs out of money, or realizes it is a scam.
Some Facebook users have also been asked for some personal information as proof that they are who they say they are. This is designed to allow the scammers to steal the victim's identity.
The advance fee scams are designed to appeal to greed or the people who want something for nothing.
Over the years people have become wary of the advance fee scam, made famous by the Nigerians, and are now cautious of receiving emails requesting help to get millions of dollars out of an African country in return for a share of the money.
As a result, the scammers have invented new ways of serving up the advance fee scam, and are now using social networking sites as an effective way of reaching lots of people.
Remember to be very wary of messages that claim that you have won money or prizes in a promotion or lottery that you have never entered.
Stranded Email ScamThe IC3 has received a lot of reports recently of individuals' e-mail or social networking accounts being compromised and used in a social engineering scam to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars.
Pretending to be the victim, the hacker uses the victim's account to send a notice to their contacts. The notice claims the victim is in immediate need of money due to being robbed of their credit cards, passport, money, and cell phone; leaving them stranded in London or some other location.
Some claim they only have a few days to pay their hotel bill and promise to reimburse upon their return home. A sense of urgency to help their friend/contact may cause the recipient to fail to validate the claim, increasing the likelihood of them falling for this scam.
If you receive a similar notice and are not sure it is a scam, you should always verify the information before sending any money.
If you have been a victim of this type of scam or any other Cyber crime, you can report it to the IC3 website at: www.IC3.gov. The IC3 complaint database links complaints for potential referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identity emerging trends and patterns. Remember - always watch for scams!