Since July 2006, we've been featuring "Scam Alert" each weekday on WITN News at Sunrise. There are a lot of scams out there, and there is a lot of interest in the segment. I receive dozens of emails a week of people asking about scams. A lot of them end up being featured on "Scam Alert," provided there is proof that something is a scam.
So this blog is another way to ask me about scams and to check out what other people are asking about. You can also feel free to vent about the scams you've received, since many people would like to give scam artists a piece of their mind.
To kick things off, I'll post a list of company names that law enforcement officals have said are scams: Allocated Disbursement Authority, American Entry Exchange, Awardable Entitlement Pooling System, Awards Compliancy Commission, Bureau of Cash Acquisition, Cash Advisory Agency, Commission of Sweepstakes Compliancy, Continental Prize Commission, Department of Cash Reporting, Department of Investigative Research, Division of Currency Claims, Division of Monetary Resources, Elective Prize Resource Pool, Entry Entitlement Services, Financial Acquisition Agency, Monetary Entitlement Resources, Prize Research Intelligence Agency, Public Administrators Office, and Unclaimed Sweeps Advisory.
Here are a few good rules of thumb about scams for you to keep in mind. According to Noelle Talley with the NC Department of Justice, it is illegal for anyone to require you to pay any kind of fee in order to claim a prize. Scam artists love to say the payment will cover taxes or fees. Don't believe them.
Also, any time someone sends you a check, asks you to deposit it, then wire money back to them or to someone else, consider it a scam. This happens to a lot of people who do business online. This is also pretty common when a scam artist says they want to hire you as a "secret shopper." Remember, when you wire someone money, lawmen say, the transfers can't be tracked on the receiving end. When you wire money, it's as good as gone.
Please post scams you want to know about here. I'll be checking the blog posts and responding. You can also email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.