I like to keep my articles positive, but every year or so, I feel the need to write about scams in hopes of saving someone the hassle of dealing with the fallout.
Many of the same old scams are still circulating, where you receive a phone call “your computer has been compromised and we’re here to help you”, or you get an immovable popup on your screen asking you to “call this number” … and, of course, phishing emails (e.g. Nigerian Prince). I hope most of you are savvy enough to recognize these old scams.
But there are always new scams, and some can be quite convincing. I have fallen for “too good to be true” scams twice in the past few months.
The first was a website site advertising products with ridiculously cheap prices, specs that were “hard to believe”, and sometimes both. At a weak moment, I was stunned that I could get a 2TB flash drive for $10! (They cost upwards of $1800.) At the time, I was too lazy to research the company or the product, so I fell for it. An hour later, I came to my senses and canceled my order. (I was impressed with the fact that, after a few days, I got a full refund.)
The second scam was for a brand-name, smart thermostat that was advertised on Facebook for $100. I know these are $329 in the store, so I jumped at the chance to get one at this great price! The ad and site looked legit, so I ordered one. I got suspicious when I didn’t receive a confirmation/receipt, and leaped into action once I saw a charge for over $150 on my credit card.
Because I didn’t get a confirmation of my purchase, I had to dig through my browser history just to find the site address (note to self: write it down next time). I wrote to the company, but they said they couldn’t help me without the order number (stalling tactic?). Then I wrote to my credit card company with the details, and they wrote back to me suggesting that this is a known scammer and that I should I send the details to the RCMP via firstname.lastname@example.org. When I did that, I got an auto-reply from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre stating that they received my request, but that they were 30 days behind in answering requests. I guess it’s the busy season for scammers.
Again, I hope this information helps someone avoid getting caught by the same sort of trap.