Slick hoaxes and scams designed to lighten the load in your pocketbook

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

At one time or another you have probably received an enticing phone call or email designed to separate you from your hard earned income.

Basically they are designed to lure a senior citizen to open up their pocket book or to provide information that will lead an individual to your savings, checking or credit card accounts, or all three.

It is not by accident that seniors are the “big target” for schemers.

For one, they are more likely to have a “nest egg,” own their home and have excellent credit. All this makes you attractive to a scam artist.

Folks who were raised in the 1940s-50s were generally raised to be polite and trusting, a trait that some dubious con artist can exploit – and older Americans are less likely to report actually being a victim or getting scammed because they are too ashamed, don’t know how or don’t even know they have been scammed.

Following, in part, is an email scam that at first glance might fool almost anyone, regardless of age.

It says it comes from 3 Rivers Communication(s). A so-called Advance Technology Technical Support Team is advising you of a DGTFX virus threat detected in your folders and that your email has to be upgraded to their secured DGTFX anti-virus version to prevent damages to your webmail log and your important files.

It tells you that failure to do this will render your account useless and be shut down within 24 hours.

What they ask for is your email ID, password, phone number, date of birth and state of residence.

Send them that information and in short order, your financial life will be in the toilet.

If you have received one of these, and you read it a second time, you will find 10 errors that should tip you off, this is a scam.

Don Soreto of 3 Rivers Communications said, with emphasis, “We never ask for things like this. And then, there are all the typos that just make this illegitimate.”

He also noted that scam reports are posted on the 3 Rivers website and also on Facebook.

There is another scam going around, also for 3 Rivers Communications, saying the Account Support Team is carrying out scheduled maintenance and are upgrading their email service. All they ask for is your current password.

Failure to reply within 48 hours will render your account deactivated. This is really slick, because all they ask for is your password. And once they have it, it opens the doors to all kinds of personal information you don’t want these scammers to have.

Then there is one that is working its way down from Alberta, Canada that Carl Suta from the sheriff’s department tells the I-O about. It hasn’t hit our area yet, but it most likely will and it is really shiny.

Make a note, the callers do not ask for your card number, they already have it.

It works like this: A person, giving a name, calls and says they are from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. They give you a badge number and tell you your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern.

They proceed to tell you your VISA card, issued by (name of bank), has an anti-telemarketing device purchase of $497.99 from a company in Arizona? When you say “No”, they go on to tell you they will be issuing a credit to your account and inform you that this company, they have been watching charges from $297 to $497 on cards just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards.

He then says a credit will be sent to you (gives you your address) and asks if this is correct. If you are on the hook, you say, “Yes.”

You are then informed a fraud investigation is being started and if you have questions to call the 1-800 number on your card (1-800-VISA) and you are given a six digit control number to refer to.

Now, here is the important part of how this scam works. The caller says, “I need to verify you are in possession of your card,” and will ask you to turn it over and look for seven numbers on the back. The first four numbers are part of your card, the last three are security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card.

The caller will ask you to read the last three numbers and when you do, he says, “That’s correct, I just need to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen.”

What the scamer just got is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of your VISA card and with that they can access your account and start to rack up charges.

VISA and MasterCard and others will never ask for any information on your card, they already have it at their fingertips.

Conrad Police Chief Gary Dent informs the I-O that they have had five local residents in the last five weeks bring in fraudulent checks or notifications that they had won money and need only to send some fee money to tax money to finalize the transaction. Remember, if you win or are awarded money, you will not have to pay anything. If something is owed, such as tax money from winning a lottery prize, it will be deducted from the amount owed you from your winnings.

Then there is the “grandparent” scam that usually originates out of Canada and has a tremendous number of variations that range from being in jail, to an accident, car trouble or being mugged.

You receive a call from a grandchild, often crying or sounding different because of an injury asking for money.

In many cases an individual posing as a law officer comes on line saying they need the funds wired right away.

A caring grandparent does not want their grandchild in jail or whatever trouble the caller says they are in and funds are wired. Once that happens, it is good-bye money.

It is next to impossible to stop these frauds and scams that come over the phone and Internet, and again the imagination and variety these con artists use is endless.

Another scam is one coming over the Net that tells you “Your tax payment ID; 010334094 has been rejected. It comes from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you need to go to an information site to Code R21 to get details about your payment. The I-O gets a lot of these.

Presently another popular scam comes out of Nigeria, Africa with variations originating from Hong Kong, France and the United Kingdom.

The writer, in very broken English, tells you they work for a bank and it has anywhere from $3.5 to $30 million U.S. dollars deposited in an account of a deceased individual with no apparent heirs and they want to transfer these fund(s) to your account. Once the funds are in your account, it will be shared with the sender, 50-50, 40-60 or some other percentage number.

You are “assured the transfer is risk-free on both sides” and they wish you to keep this secret and confidential.

If you want to see how fast your hard earned money can vanish, send your bank account number to Africa.

These are but a few of the many ways folks want to separate you from your money. It is next to impossible to keep from getting called or receiving a scam offer on the Internet.

You can report them to local law enforcement, your Internet provider but that is about all. Read them or not, just be overly cautious in replying.