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2014-04-15 | AM I THE VICTIM OF AN ONLINE SCAM?

AM I THE VICTIM OF AN ONLINE SCAM?

In any case, the main indicator of a scam is that you are always asked to give money. (Photo: AIT Images)

In any case, the main indicator of a scam is that you are always asked to give money. (Photo: AIT Images)

There are many forms of online scams that scammers use in an attempt to trick you to send them money. Before you send funds, check to see if you recognize any of the following signs, and realize that you may be a potential victim of a scam:

• Have you been communicating with someone over the internet through email, Facebook or chat-rooms but never actually met him/her in person?

• Has this person started an online friendship/romance or offered you a way to earn money?

• Does this person always claim to have bad luck - he/she is in a car crash, or arrested, or mugged, or beaten, or hospitalized? Are close family members are dead or unable to assist, or claims to have a young child overseas who is ill or hospitalized?

• Does this person claim to have been born and raised in the United States or United Kingdom, but uses poor grammar and spelling, likely indicators of a non-native English speaker?

• Does this person claim to be in the U.S. or Taiwan but he/she asks that the money be sent to an account in another place or country?

• Has this person asked you to send them money for ANY REASON?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have encountered an online scam artist who tried to defraud you of your money.

These fraudulent schemes can include online friendships, romances, lotteries, U.S. Green card offers, inheritance notices, work permits/job offers, bank overpayments, or even make it appear that you are helping a friend in trouble. Sometimes you are asked to pay money to obtain something of value for yourself such as a prize, a romantic relationship, or more money; or you are asked to pay money to help a friend in trouble. In any case, the main indicator of a scam is that you are always asked to give money.

To avoid falling victim to such a scam, always be suspicious of anyone asking for money or bank account information through the Internet.

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam:

1. Do not send money. Unfortunately, any money you have already sent will probably not be recoverable.

2. End all communication with the scammer immediately, rather than attempting a resolution directly. If you feel threatened, contact your local police at once. Do NOT attempt to personally recover the funds lost.

3. If you are in Taiwan, go to the National Police Agency’s website at http://www.165.gov.tw; you can also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership among the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), at www.ic3.gov or see the Department of State’s brochure at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/emergencies/scams.html