.........Help Guide - avoid internet scams and frauds


How to avoid internet scams and frauds
My name is Alistair ( Archie ) Graham and for too long I have been frustrated at innocent people being scammed and cheated over the Internet and out there in the real world.   It annoys me even further when I know most of these can be avoided using simple best practices.
My aim is to do something positive - Educate - Teach people simple street smart knowledge so they are immune against frauds and cheats.  I have been around the block a few times and I am pleased to pass on experience and knowledge so that others can learn.  It is the duty of those who know to pass it onto others who don't.
We all get caught sooner or later no matter how clever we are and that is not good enough for me.
I am launching a movement to educate people of the world and do something positive to eliminate and minimize frauds.   You can become a vital part of this movement by simply reading this page.  It is free and if you like what you read and it is helpful you can play a positive part by passing it onto others.
Link it to your own web site so people can get help easily.     www.archieology.com/how.to.avoid.scams.html
Paste a link on the bottom of you emails or send it out to friends.
How scams work.
Frauds, cheats and scams  have been around since time began.   They seem to be increasing in numbers due to the Internet but actually have just found a new source.  Basically they play on peoples greed and hope for an unbelievable deal or something for nothing.  They can work on volume through emails and web sites, direct and personal contact and even by intercepting our Internet traffic. 
We are not talking about people trying to sell you things.  That can be annoying but they may be genuine businesses.  We are talking about actual frauds.  Promising you something and not delivering, false claims, fake products, get rich quick schemes, credit card fraud, pyramid schemes, Internet brides.  
You name it and someone will have a scheme to get money from you under false pretenses.
Like the Spanish lotto letter I received saying I had won 800,000 Euro.   I have never bought a ticket in any Spanish lotto so how could I win?  They just play on your curiosity and vulnerability to hope to win a fortune.  It is so obvious - just throw it in the bin.
How do we stop it ?
In truth, I doubt if we can.  But we can educate ourselves to drastically reduce the odds in our favour. 
The more people that know these simple techniques to avoid scams the harder it will become for scammers.  The harder it gets for scammers the less there will be.  They want quick fix easy money for nothing and if it gets harder for them their numbers will diminish.  Your best defense is education.
My aim is to expand this site to gradually build up a knowledge base available free to everyone and anyone around the world.  I have taken the first step but to become something great we need your help to get the message out and add to the data base so we can all share and maybe keep one step ahead. 
The Internet is one of the most powerful resources the world has ever seen.  It gives people freedom of research and information, access to the world and provides hope and initiative to those who have very little.  It is a technology that belongs to all the people of planet earth and it is our duty to help keep it clean.
How do I know if something or someone is genuine ?.
If something is too good to be true, it usually is just that.  Too good to be true.   If in doubt avoid it.
The rule is of course is it depends on how much or how important the item you are buying is.
If you are spending 5 Euro on an item you would not logically spend 1 hour researching. We tend to take a small risk and rely on our instincts.  If however you are spending 1,000 Euro it would be well worth spending 10 minutes researching the authenticity or background of that person.   It is just the same as spending money on the street in real life.  You would not buy a Rolex gold watch from some guy in the street or at a bar without knowing a little about them. You would hardly rely on just what they tell you. 
A little research goes a long way.  It may only take  a minute but you can check up on people and businesses.  Like any good business people who are genuine are happy to provide personal details outside of the Internet.  Even huge corporations have pages that provide full information about who they are.
The advice of research is of little use unless you actually do it.
For example. 
Phone number for business or personal can easily be checked through any white or yellow pages - available online. 
A web site address requires a registration and can be checked online -  www.whois.com
If you enter my dot com name you will receive full information who is registered owner of name,
my actual home address, personal phone number,  commencement date, expiry date and so on. 
     Actual information that is verifiable. 
Scams and frauds will try to hide their true identity. Their registration details may be masked or contain info that merely refers you to another registration.
If it is not up front and clear to see who they are it could be a good reason to avoid them. 
Usually scams and frauds do not like to provide personal contact information that can be verified.  They operate in an environment that allows them to move on quickly.  Once discovered they change their operation to another site or another address.  They are often in constant change to avoid detection.
Deal with people who can demonstrate they have been around in the same place for a longer period of time. 
Look at their web site.  Often if it looks like it was setup in 20 minutes they can disappear in 20 minutes.   A website that has taken a great deal of time to prepare and has full information usually indicates they will be around for a longer time.  It is not definitive evidence but it all adds up to proving some authenticity.
Sometimes you can just use Google search to enter a name and find out if there is any bad information about them.
Email addresses  Often scams will have quickly setup or free email addresses.  hotmail.com   yahoo.com.   Addresses that are easily and quickly setup and have no contact or verifiable source.   Not all as many people have genuine Hotmail addresses.  But another area that can lead you to uncover frauds.
Most genuine business emails link within that business website.   E.g..   If I am dealing with some guy at Panasonic cameras he would probably have an email address like george.burns@panasonic.com   Their email address is often at that particular company.
Sometimes with meaningless numbers or letters at the front e.g.   hheeff67hxx44@Hotmail,com   typical scammer or bulk emailer. 
These days you can even receive emails with your very own email address sent to you.   How obvious is that?  Do you send emails to yourself?
I Never click on links within email.  They can lead you to any fraud site.  Your bank will never ask you in an email to verify your account or use your code from an email.
I never click or open any  'exe ' file.   It is an execute file and can lead to any virus program to open and operate within your computer.  Just delete it.
Never write back to anonymous emails to tell them to stop.  They just take that as a verification that they have a real email address and it goes on further lists.
Guarantees,  Warranties,  Money back guarantees.
Guarantees were setup originally by genuine businesses to offer people accountability and return of faulty products that slip through the system.
These days guarantees and warranties have become useless unless the company is well known and reputable business willing to back up all offers.
Scams and Frauds can offer anything they like and promise you all sorts of things as they never have to honour those promises.  Once they have the money how do you get it back from someone dishonest or who has vanished. They can offer you what seems like a full money back guarantee but they will not stay around long enough for you to receive it. 
They can also draft certificates, warranties and documents that look real but are fabricated on graphic design programs like Photoshop.
We can offer hundreds of emails that have thanked and complimented us on excellent work achieved. They are real people and real emails sent to us.   We can't put their actual email address for security reasons.  But unfortunately a scam site can also just make up whatever they want and write it out on a web site.  This takes a little more effort and experience to uncover a frauds work.  But if you look between the lines and view all of the information they provide as a whole you will start to see holes within their story.  These are indicators to scams and frauds. 
Do they give any bank account details - you can check if these are real and not fakes. 
Does their bank account address or location relate to their actual business address.  If it is based in another country or town it may be suspect.
Do they work with any known money transfer people - like Paypal international - these also can be checked out and some offer back ups and assurance against frauds.  They are also banished from their sites if any bad stories come back.  This is a protection you want.
These are a couple of ways to check.  But the scams are usually good and one must be careful.  if you have any doubts about an Internet site my advise would be to just leave it alone.  Better safe than sorry.   Generally trust your instincts.  If they offer something extraordinarilly cheap - ask yourself why.  If it is too good to be true it usually is NOT TRUE.  You cannot get value and workmanship cheap.
Credit card fraud.
Look at their security practices.  Do they just take credit card details over the net or do they have a secure site for payment.  We offer a special code system and will not take uncoded card numbers.  A simple resolution to sending card numbers over the net to a genuine source only is to simply break the code into a few emails.  There are programs available to intercept credit card numbers by the number of digits in one group. usually 16. So just send one email with first 8 numbers.  Then another with the last 8 numbers.  Then another with expiry date.  Better still never send card details over the net.
Not all credit card transactions are bad.  You can actually cancel a card payment if you have reason to believe it is fraudulent and you can get card insurance these days against fraud.  It is getting better slowly.  As always it is better to detect a fraud or scam before you send any money.
Simple check list.
1.   Who are they ?   Do they offer any personal information or address that can be verified from another reliable source?
2.  Do they have a web site that offers full information and is registered to a traceable name?
3.   How long have they been in business?  How long will they be in Business?  Do they have a business registration?  What is their history?
4.  How genuine does the web site look.  The emails look ?  The information and product look?
5.  Does your method of payment have any insurance or back up against fraud?
6.  Research Research Research and check up to reassure yourself.
7.  Detect a fraud or scam before you send any money -  ask relevant questions and If still in doubt  -  avoid them.
This site is free to use. If you find it helpful and want to support the cause to stop scams you can give us a donation. What ever amount. All funds will go toward building a site and database with more helpful information so more people can gain access and help.

This is a secure site and allows you to enter your own amount. Thank you for any support given.


Other link pages that provide more information

........... FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Web Site Help Page

.......... Interpol Financial Fraud Help Page

........Australian scam watch help page.



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