Archive 18



Modeling Scam

Several complaints have focussed on modeling scams. Complainants reported receiving unsolicited e-mails offering them a modeling position, while others reportedly responded to advertisements offering modeling jobs from what appeared to be reputable modeling agencies.

Those who received the unsolicited e-mails reported that the e-mail contained a link to what appeared to be a website for a legitimate modeling agency. The recipient was instructed to click the link to log on and create an account.

Afterwards, the recipient reportedly realized the link was to a fraudulent website and that their computer was possibly infected with a keylogger as a result. Other complainants reported they were told they would make $7,000 for a photo shoot. However, they were asked to first pay "fees" up front which covered registration, licensing, clothes, photos, etc.

Victims were instructed to wire their fees. Once the fees were wired, complainants were requested to pay additional fees, but were promised they would be paid half of their salary up front before the photo shoot


Double Dipping Auto Scam

Most of us are familiar with fraud involving automobiles being sold over the Internet. A fraudster will post a nonexistent vehicle for sale on the Internet, typically a luxury or sports car.

The details of the vehicle, including photos and description, are typically lifted from legitimate websites.

An interested buyer, hopeful for a bargain, responds and is told that the vehicle is located overseas. The fraudster then instructs the victim to send a deposit via wire transfer to initiate the shipping process. In a new twist to this scam, the fraudster advises there is an issue with the initial wire transfer and sends the victim a cashier's check.

The victim is instructed to cash the check and resend a second wire to a different account. Unaware that the check is counterfeit, victims followed through as instructed by the fraudster.

This resulted in the victims getting scammed two times and the fraudster accomplishing his "double-dipping" strategy. You should be vigilant when an Internet transaction involves wire transfers and cashier's checks. Most individuals believe that cashier's checks are as good as cash and they clear the day after they are deposited.

However, banks are required to make the funds "available" in the individual's account within 48 hours, which can be days before the cashier's check clears or bounces. Once the bank makes the funds available, the counterfeit check circulates to incorrect Federal Reserve locations. Generally, the average cashier’s check takes up to two weeks to clear, not two days.

The bottom line: fraudsters understand the U.S. banking system process and capitalize on victims' misconceptions of the term "available funds."


Texting Scam

Consumers need to be aware of text-message traps, called “smishing,” that seek to capture financial information and drain credit card and bank accounts.

If you don’t wish to be smished, ignore text messages that look like they’re coming from your bank or credit card. Flip over your credit or ATM card and call the number on the back. If there’s a problem with your account, that’s the best way to find out.

Consumers started complaining early last week about calls to their cell phones from people posing as Wells Fargo employees. An automated voice suggests that the customer’s account has been breached and you to “press one” for assistance. The consumer was then connected to a person who asks for sensitive account information.

Many of the calls went to consumers who don’t have Wells Fargo accounts. As the week progressed, the scam morphed to text messages from people posing as representing Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Capital One.

Smishing differs from “phishing” scams, which trick consumers into turning over sensitive information by phone and email.

The text scam is a new variation. Never respond to any message requesting account or personal information. Instead, contact the financial institution using a phone number from a statement or from your bank or credit card company’s official website.

Consumers contacted by such scammers should file a complaint with the the Federal Trade Commission at

Consumers concerned they may have revealed sensitive information in a phishing or smishing scam should contact their bank or credit card company and monitor their bank statements, credit card bills, and credit reports to watch for suspicious activity.  


Red Light Camera Telephone Scam

A new scam to hit the streets is the red light camera telephone scam - when drivers are coerced into giving up credit card or personal information over the phone for an alleged red light camera ticket.

It's one of the newest types of identity theft scams and it comes as a phone call from a government official impersonator, demanding payment for an alleged red light camera ticket said to have never been paid.

The red light scammer may ask for the driver's personal information such as their name, driver's license number, address, social security number or credit card number.

They may threaten to suspend the person's license unless they pay the caller immediately for the alleged ticket fines over the telephone or by providing a credit card number through email.

Drivers should be clearly aware of the differences of the ways scammers use fake red light camera tickets to trick people, and how the court system really works.

California law sets specific rules and guidelines for the cities to follow when issuing red light camera tickets. Real red light camera tickets must be issued by a qualified police officer and mailed to the address on the vehicle's registration.

It would have the driver's information, courthouse information, a due date, and a fine amount due. It would also have a signature by the officer who issued the ticket, and a certificate of mailing.

Neither the courts nor the police department contact drivers using phone or email about a traffic ticket or court case. They must correspond by mail to have a paper trail and follow the state guidelines.

If you get a phone call or email from an alleged police officer or other government official about a red light camera ticket, immediately dismiss its authenticity.

Do not give any personal information to the caller such as your name, address, driver's license number, or credit card number.

If you are concerned about a possible red light camera ticket you may have never received, contact the courthouse directly, or check the status of your driving record with the DMV.

If you think you may have fallen for the scam, contact the police, your credit card company, and the credit reporting bureaus.  


Fraudulent Charity Requests

With the recent event of Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes that have devastated lives and property, there has been an increase of scammers to take advantage of people's generosity to help others in their time of need.

In the wake of these events that have caused emotional distress and great monetary loss to numerous victims, individuals across the nation often feel a desire to help these victims, frequently through monetary donations. These disasters prompt individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions supposedly for a charitable organization or a good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, you should stick to certain guidelines, to include the following:

• Do not respond to unsolicited (SPAM) e-mail

• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations

• Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail

• Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders

• To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf

• Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site

• Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization

• Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft

If you believe you have been a victim of a charity related scheme, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by telephone at (866) 720-5721, or by fax at (225) 334-4707, or by e-mail at

You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at  



Return to Scam Alerts