The Business of Scams

January 9th, 2009

The $50 million ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff is just the latest financial scam that has cheated those investors who would look for high returns without asking the right questions. This week on Business Matters, we’re looking at the Business of Scams: how they’re run, why people fall for them, and how to avoid them.

Listen to the Full Episode | Download MP3

Part 1: “Jack Smith,” Scam-Warner | Download MP3

Part 2: Steve Bernas, President & CEO, Chicago BBB | Download MP3

Part 3: “Bob Roberts,” Former Medical Device Salesman | Download MP3

View the full details…


by Mr Tambourine Man on January 9th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

One common scam that Jack Smith didn’t mention is the fake lottery scam. You get an email saying that your email address has won a large prize (usually millions of dollars) in a lottery. It’s just another advance fee fraud though. You will be asked to pay taxes, shipping fees, etc before receiving the “prize”.
There is no prize of course, aand you can’t win a lottery that you haven’t entered.

by Ted Baker on January 10th, 2009 at 7:27 am

I am also in the business of warning victims and I would like to thank Business Matters for highlighting this problem, and to thank Jack for his very good explanation of scams. He is right about the intensity of phoning a victim. I work both via email, which I prefer, and where necessary via the telephone.

The feeling when a victim realises it is a scam, and when you receive an email thanking you for helping them out, makes all the stress of making such a call worthwhile.

It takes a lot of courage to telephone someone, out of the blue, and to broach the subject of them being a victim to a scam. It gets easier as you do more, but then you find a victim who is really in the depths of despair, and it hits you hard.

Once again, a big thank you for highlighting this. The more publicity this problem get, the better.

by Amanda D. on January 10th, 2009 at 7:39 am

The interview with Jack was fascinating and very informative. I hope you will do this type of presentation again, and thank you for sharing it.

by John Delaney on January 11th, 2009 at 1:25 am

Well done Jack, it’s a pity time restraints curtailed a fuller list of scams. I deal with auction and online selling scams. The buyer will never ask about the condition/use/model, but will refer to it as *the item* Then they will send a cheque or money order, including a *shippers* fee, which the seller has to send by Western Union to the *shipper* at the same time sending the MTCN code to the original buyer.

All the buyer needs is the MTCN code to pick up the money anywhere in the world,

Eventually the cheque/money order will bounce, and the seller is left with the article, and in most cases, closure of their bank accounts due to bouncing cheques, a possible fraud charge due to presenting fake cheques/money orders.

Please visit our website for more detailed information

by Ralph on January 11th, 2009 at 7:53 am

Thank you for putting together your show on scams

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the interview with Jack, the more publicity there is regarding scams the better.

I am another who does regular scam warnings both by email and by phone, as mentioned it can be very rewarding but also at times frustrating when you came accross a victim who refuses to believe that the person they are dealing with is a criminal, if only those who do not believe our warnings would take as much time to question the person who is asking them to send money as they spend asking us if we are for real and where did we get their details from.

Normally the auction site scams work in 2 ways;
1, as John mentioned above where the seller recieves a fake cheque for more than the value of the item. Normally the scam buyers have no interest in the item you are selling, the only interest is in the check being deposited and the “courier being paid”

Another where the buyers are targeted in purchasing a too cheap to be true high priced item (usually cars, boats or motorbikes) that never arrive.

Recently, I found details of a scammer who is interested in the items you are selling, in this case he will insist that the payment has been made through paypal and he will ask for the item to be shipped immediately, he will then send you a fake paypal reciept, apparently telling you that the money has been sent to you, he will even direct you to another person who apparently is a paypal employee using an email address such as, of course, this person is the same scammer and no payment has or will ever be paid.

Care should be taken whenever sending money to persons unknown and especially if they are asking you to cash cheques, or use Western Union or Moneygram. There is a very good saying that you should only send money by wire transfer to your children or your mother

Scammers often use fake sites, they know how to make their emails appear to be from whoever they like and they have no regard for the law, their job is trying to steal your money.

Thankfully, there are places you can get free help from experienced volunteers, use them if you are ever in doubt

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