THE SCAM: Helping orphans
HOW IT WORKS: Getting a job offer, and one that helps poor orphans to boot, sounds like a wonderful opportunity. But the e-mail that arrives in your inbox with that scenario is a scam. The e-mail comes from "Andy Mac," who says he runs a home for orphans in the United Kingdom. The e-mail offers the recipient a job as a domestic "donations handler," who deposits donations into an account, minus a 10 percent fee, and wires the rest to the orphanage. Agreeing to the job results in the arrival of a bogus $5,000 check from "Mac," who instructs the recipient to deposit it, take a $500 fee and wire him back the rest. Of course, the scammer wants the victim to deposit a phony check and wire $4,500 from his or her account overseas.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money and account information
HOW TO BEAT IT: Because it uses appeals to emotion and the thought of an easy financial windfall, this scam is particularly clever. Still, it has all the warning signs: overseas wire transfers, mysterious transactions, "checks" you have to deposit and send back. Those are flashing warning signs. If you're going to help orphans, do it through an established organization.
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Contact Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2331.
For past Scam Alerts, go to www.modbee.com/business/scam.