(02/20/2009)
By Bob Weaver

Several Calhoun residents have contacted the Herald regarding increased efforts by money scammers, by phone, Internet and mailers.

The tougher the economy, the bigger the attack to squeeze money from people's pocketbooks and bank accounts.

One resident received an official looking check in their name for about $4,000, asking them to cash the check and send them a processing fee.

Another report involved individuals receiving an e-mail from a person they knew, the e-mail said the person was stuck at some distant location and needed money.

Others have received letters from fake loan companies that guarantee the holder a loan, no matter how bad their credit might be. The catch is to pay them a processing fee.

The Herald has also received "Lets-make-a-deal" notices that a collection company, in this case using a well-known phone corporation, has agreed to settle a past due cell phone account if the money is remitted immediately. The problem - we've never had a cell phone account with the outfit.

A number of scams use various fake check methods, asking the victim to "keep the change," and send some back to them.

During the financial collapse, many people are getting letters that guarantee their bad credit will disappear or be reduced. Send them some money for the service. Guess what, nothing happens.

There are dozens of methods being used to steal ID's, bank account numbers, PayPal accounts, and credit card information - then the scammer can access the account and deplete it. Some fake requests look official, even invoking the name of the IRS.

Many people are receiving "approved loans" without even asking. Beware.

Another is getting money from victims to work-at-home and make a lot of money, often assembling some product.

While all the scams are variations of old methods, many have been refined to look and sound better.

Consumers are urged to be vigilant. If it even sounds like something for nothing, it's likely a scam.

Never give your financial information to an unknown.

Anything that asks for upfront fees, beware beware, beware.


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