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Basics of Invoice, Job and Temporary Suspension of Your Account Online Scams

There are many types of scams people use to entice you to give them personal information and passwords. Let’s review three of them:

  • Invoice scams

  • Job scams

  • Suspension of your account scams

Basics of invoice scams

This scam involves phony invoices made to look like the real thing. This may be the new trend to garner personal information from you. You may also receive some bogus invoices via U.S. mail. One of the telltale signs of a bogus invoice is the lack of a phone number for an alternative contact method.

To comply with U.S. Postal Service regulations, solicitations are required to have the following wording. The following disclaimer is easy to spot in the postal mail, but you don’t always see the disclaimer in e-mail messages.

THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.

The wording is required to be near the top of the invoice in capital letters, in bold type, and at least as large as the letters on the solicitation. Often the disclaimer is overlooked or misunderstood. The idea is to get you to pay for something you didn’t order. Sometimes the scam is used to solicit credit card information.

Don’t respond to invoices that don’t have phone numbers on them. If you didn’t order what’s stated in the invoice, simply ignore it.

Basics of job scams

Several times per week, you probably receive e-mail invitations to work at home or as a shipping clerk or to transfer funds for various companies. These are usually scams.

If you fall for them, you could lose money and put your personal information — such as your address, SSN, bank account number, and so on — into the wrong hands. Don’t apply for unsolicited job offers even if the e-mail states that your information was garnered from a job website.

Most of these bogus job scams suck you in with the promise of thousands of dollars for working a few hours a day from your home. Some of the job scams can land you in trouble with the law because the activities you’re asked to perform involve money laundering and repackaging of merchandise bought with stolen credit cards.

You can find out whether an e-mail job offer is a scam by going to Scambusters.org. That website describes numerous scams, and you can search by the type of scam.

Basics of temporary suspension of your account scams

The scam touting a temporary suspension of your account is set up either in an e-mail or a telephone call. The thieves use the scare tactic that your bank account (or online payment or online auction account) has been suspended. The e-mail sender or phone caller claims that the bank is reviewing all of its accounts to eliminate waste and fraud.

You’re then requested to visit the “company’s” website to provide the information necessary to do a review of your account and to make sure that the information on file is correct. The information they ask for is the usual: full name, account number, ATM or debit card number, and PIN.

The e-mail sender or phone caller goes on to say that if you don’t provide the information, your account will be permanently canceled.

You know what happens next! You become the victim of identity theft. Don’t provide the information. Contact your bank instead.

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