Glossary Terms

Posted on 08/24/2009 by Daniela Baumgarthuber

190 Fax-back and Telephone Numbers:
These scams usually offer customers weight loss programs, employment opportunities or competitions, and they use 190 premium rate numbers to charge calling customers high costs per minute.
Advanced-Fee Schemes:
Schemes where a thief promises an individual that they can obtain a loan for them from a legitimate financial institution, and requests a fee to do so. However, the thief ends up taking the fee and disappearing.
Affinity Fraud:
Affinity scammers will prey on members of religious, social or cultural groups or any other group that has a strong bond and trust. They then use the trust within groups to help steal money.
Astrology and Psychic Scams:
These scams involve psychics informing individuals that they could come into a fortune if they send funds to mail boxes in return for talismans, golden eggs or fortune telling guides.
Betting Schemes:
Schemes that involve the selling of software that guides individuals betting on horse races. Independent investment advisors should first be consulted before buying such programs.
Chain Letters:
Consists of a message that tries to induce recipients to make copies of the letter, and then pass them on to as many recipients as possible. Many chain letters require that recipients send money to any addresses included in the letters with the promise that they will also receive money. In reality, the scammers take all the money.
Charities Fraud:
Fraud that involves fraudulent charity organizations requesting money from individuals, especially during the holiday season or after a major world disaster.
Check Overpayment:
Occurs when a phony bidder offers to purchase a product online, and then sends a large check that surpasses the actual amount due. The bidder then requests that the seller writes a check for the rest of the balance. Once the money is received, the bidder cancels the check, and the seller must pay for all fees incurred.
Counterfeit Money Orders:
Occurs when scammers posing as students, tourists or military personnel request that individuals cash in money orders for them, keep a portion as a gift, and wire the rest back. Because the money orders are fraudulent, victims must repay their banks for any bad money orders cashed.
Counterfeit Cashier's Checks:
Where scammers purchase items, and send in fraudulent checks with too large of amounts. They then request that the sellers send them the change. The checks end up bouncing, and the sellers lose all of their money.
Cross-Border Scams:
Scams that occur between countries, or that a thief in one country will target individuals in another country. Common Cross-border scams include phony prize promotions, foreign lottery schemes, advance-fee loans, travel offer scams, foreign lotteries, Nigerian foreign money offers, check overpayment schemes and unnecessary credit card loss "protection" services.
Debt Elimination Scams:
Scams where fraudulent websites advertise legitimate ways of eliminating credit card debt and loans for a fee of between $1,000 and $2,000. The scammers also request personal information along with the fee.
Directory Listings/Registry Schemes:
This is where scammers pose as magazine or internet site publishers and offer services for inflated prices. Scammers may alternatively demand payment without any authorized invoice for an advertisement.
Discount Software Offers:
This involves scammers selling customers cheap versions of commercial software, such as Photoshop or Microsoft Office. Customers who fall for this trap either do not receive the software, or receive illegally downloaded and virus filled program software.
Door to Door Scams:
Any scam that involves promoting real or false goods or services, such a roof repair or maintenance. Once an individual pays for these services and/or goods, the scammer flees with the money.
Ebay Scams:
Where scammers, posing as Ebay, send individuals emails with Ebay's logo along with a request for the individuals' personal financial information, including account numbers and passwords.
Emails Scams:
Includes any online schemes that utilize email, such as internet lottery scams, phishing, pyramid schemes and Nigerian scams.
Escrow Services Fraud:
Escrow fraud scammers persuade victims to use a third-party to facilitate the exchange of money and items using a fraudulent escrow website. Once the victim signs up with the fraudulent escrow site, the scammers take their money.
Foreign Lottery Fraud:
Occurs when scammers send out fraudulent notices to individuals that they are the winners of a foreign lottery. Once individuals are receptive, the scammers request their personal information as well as a fee to process and mail the lottery money.
Gift Card Scams:
Occurs when thieves copy gift card numbers in stores. Once the cards have been purchased, the thieves will call an 800 number to check the balance, and then make purchases online with the gift card numbers.
Hacking:
Hacking involves the prohibited access by unauthorized individuals to a computer system with the intent of destroying and/or disrupting system, or to use it for other illegal purposes.
Health and Diet Scams:
These scams attempt to lure customers by promising quick weight loss fixes, discounted pricing, discreet packaging, fast delivery and amazing results. In actuality, the products do not work, and customers are not able to get their money back.
Identity Theft:
Occurs when a thief steals another individual's identity, and uses it for personal financial gain. This includes opening up fraudulent bank accounts, writing counterfeit checks, and taking out unauthorized loans.
International Auction Fraud:
Internet crimes, usually from Eastern Europe, that involves the selling of nonexistent items. Once an individual purchases one of the items, the scammers request that a wire-transfer of money be sent. Once the money is sent, the scammers keep it, and they also then have access to the individual's personal bank account information.
Internet Scams:
Any type of fraud or scheme that uses the internet to target individuals, conduct illegal transactions or to transmit profits from online scams. Chat rooms, emails, websites and downloads are all used to carry out illicit activities.
Investment Fraud:
Any offers for investment opportunities that appear to be legitimate, but are actually fraudulent. Most of these offers promise high returns on investments for oil, new technologies, or gold, but victims who fall for them end up losing all of their money.
Job Scams:
Scams that offer individuals high paying stay-at-home employment, such as envelop stuffing. However, individuals must pay up-front fees that they often never see again. In the end, they lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, and also recruit others into the scheme unknowingly.
Jury Duty Scam:
Occurs when scammers pose as local court officials and inform individuals that they have failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The scammers will then request their private information, such as social security numbers, birthdays, and credit card numbers in order to "clear" the situation up.
Lottery Scams:
Involve scammers emailing individuals informing them that they have won a lottery or sweepstake, and then requesting that they send in their personal information and/or payment for processing fees. The scammers keep any money and/or steal individuals' identities.
Nigerian "4-1-9" Scams:
Nigerian scams that combine impersonation and advanced-fee fraud in the form of letters, emails and faxes. Nigerian thieves will typically pose as government officials or individuals in need of assistance, and common scams include requesting help in putting large amounts of money in overseas bank accounts as well as requesting assistance in the payment of taxes, all with the promise that any expenses will be reimbursed along with a reward.
"Old-Fashioned" Fraud Schemes:
These schemes, which have existed for a long time, include chain letters, work-at-home schemes, diet scams, investment opportunities, cable descrambler kits, and "guaranteed" loans or credit.
PayPal Scams:
Scammers attempt to harvest PayPal account numbers, passwords and credit card data by sending PayPal customers fraudulent emails stating that they need to reenter their credit card and personal information.
Phishing/Spoofing:
High-tech scams that uses emails, fraudulent websites and pop-ups to trick individuals into revealing their financial information, including bank account and credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers or other information.
Poetry Scams:
In this scam, amateur poets are asked to submit their work to a fraudulent contest. Once the poets have won the contest, the scammers issue a book with their poems and ask that they pay a high amount for it. The scammers also encourage the poets to pay for poetry conventions, online courses, and publishing fees.
Pre-paid Legal Scam:
Scams that offer individuals subscriptions to discounted legal services, including access to legal advice over the phone and discounted lawyer rates. Some of Pre-paid Legal's members will switch to selling their plans through multi-level marketing, which is based on pyramid schemes.
Pro Forma Invoicing:
A scam where phony sales people from a publishing company contact a business and claim falsely that the business signed a contract to advertise in a publication. This scam primarily targets small businesses because they are most likely to pay for the false invoice.
Ponzi Schemes:
Schemes where operators promise high financial returns that are only available through nontraditional investments. The operators pay dividends to investors using the principle amounts invested by subsequent investors. However, the operator ends up taking all of the proceeds.
Pyramid Schemes:
Similar to ponzi schemes, where individuals are offered distributorship to market a product, and they must recruit other people to assist them. Those individuals then recruit others and so on. Only the operator and a few individuals at the top of the pyramid end up making money.
Romance Schemes:
Schemes that occur through dating websites, where a thief will lure and take advantage of an individual by pretending to be in love with them. Once a thief has gained their trust, they will request access to the victim's money, bank accounts, credit cards, emails, passports and driver's licenses.
Russian Bride Scams:
Occur when Russian female or male con artists meet U.S. or European victims through online dating websites, and once a visit is arranged, they ask the victims to pay for visas and plane tickets as well as supply them with credit cards. Once the con artists have drained victims of all their money, they disappear.
Second Mortgage Scam:
Scams where fraudulent second mortgages are offered online, and require that individuals fill out an application, including questions about their financial information. Once this information is gathered, it is sold to third parties.
Social Engineering:
The act of convincing business representatives or other institutions to divulge another individual's confidential information for the purpose of committing identity theft.
Spam:
A term used to define the sending of unsolicited bulk email, which means that the emails are sent without the recipients' permission. Spam is a common way to implement credit card and institution fraud as well as identity theft.
Spyware:
Software that is downloaded onto computers in order to obtain users' personal information without their consent, which is then sold to a third-party. it can cause damage to computers by slowing them down.
Sweepstakes/Prizes Scam:
When scammers send out false sweepstakes promotions via telephone, email or mail, and request that individuals pay an entry fee. Legitimate sweepstakes never require an entry fee to win.
Telephone Share Scams:
Scams that involve phony representative from a nonexistent company calling individuals to inform them of an exciting technological breakthrough. They then ask individuals to invest in this breakthrough with a promise that their shares will give them high returns. Those individuals who fall for this scam never receive their shares, and end up losing all of their money.
Trojan Horse Emails:
These emails offer individuals the promise of something they might be interested in, like a discounted item, a card, or a photograph. However, when individuals open the emails, viruses are installed, which give hackers access to their computers.
Vanity Press/Publication Scams:
A generic term used to define any scheme that provides false opportunities for amateur authors to be published, but with a fee. Popular publication scams include poetry and literary competitions.

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