Anatomy of an Internet scam

Perhaps you have been scammed in a business enterprise? I have become a victim of one. What happened to me is typical, I guess, of online scams.

1. The Scammers Seem Legitimate

Online scams typically involve services or products that help you to save money, time, effort, or increase your business profile somehow. You might be linked to the scammers through LinkedIn, through your business organization, or as an existing customer.

The Perth, Australia-based girl who tricked me was a repeat customer of my company since 2009.

In August 2013, I reacted to her anonymous callout on SourceBottle.com.au, a free Australian online service that connects journalists with resources, for pros to contribute a chapter to a book she had been compiling.

When she replied, I was thrilled to be working with her. She said she would charge me $1,199 to include my chapter and that she would provide 100 books to sell to my clients, to which I consented.

2. They Live Far Away

It’s tough to do anything about scammers when they are located in another state or abroad. State laws differ, time zones apply, and you can not easily see their physical address.

She is in Perth and I am in Melbourne. The distance is about the same as Miami is from Los Angeles. I didn’t have to go to Perth. All I needed to do was cover and submit my chapter online.

3. They Utilize Impressive Claims to Support their Scams

In her proposal, she added a site link to her 23 present”experts,” showcasing these famous worldwide titles as Dr. John Gray (of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus fame), Dr. Gabrielle Morrissey, and Dr. Ava Cadell, amongst others.

Since little online retailers gain enormously from being involved in a project with high profile figures, it did not take me long to agree to participate. A number of the stardust could rub off on me, I thought.

4. They Give You a Brief Deadline

A feeling of urgency and a fear of missing out are common in the majority of online marketing to promote purchase. Scammers also use this to prevent you from having the opportunity to do your appropriate homework.

I had less than 14 days to pay the fee, compose, edit, and submit my chapter. I had no time to squander this”golden opportunity.”

5. They Use Unusual Payment Vehicles

Scammers can use payment forms (or timeframes) that prevent chargebacks.

She sent me a PayPal invoice to be paid to her private (free) email address. I noticed I could not pay through credit card (which would allow chargebacks) and she did not have a company PayPal account (as most companies do).

PayPal allows chargebacks around 45 days after purchase. Since the book was not due to be published until January (I paid the money in August), this went well over PayPal’s deadline.

6. They Send Small Information after Receiving Payment

After scammers get your money, you typically do not much hear from them again. My telephone calls to her voice mail. She did not respond to my mails — to all three of her addresses that she has been using since 2009 — for three months.

In December she finally emailed,”Random house[sic] have approved our chapters so congratulations for putting forward such awesome work! … in Jan[sic] the publication is going to be finalized, edited and proofread for your last reviews.”

When I responded that my husband was worried the book deal was a scam, she did not respond.

Last month I sent her a statement requesting a complete refund from the aborted book deal and heard nothing. A legitimate business would have reacted very quickly about this.

7. They May Be Undone by Simple Homework

In late January, I called Random House, which affirmed the book was not being published by any of the publishing houses. When I had asked her to offer publishing details at the beginning and then checked this myself, I may have avoided this issue.

Additionally, I should have contacted the recorded co-authors to affirm they were taking part in the publication. I’ve done so this week. Of the 23 recorded, 11 people (like Dr. John Gray) have confirmed they aren’t and farther, they are shocked at being misrepresented.

8. Scammers Abuse your Trust Consistently

In her email last week (her first for 2014), she explained how she would like to meet me and go through everything that has been happening.

I said I was not interested, I wanted my money back and that Random House wasn’t publishing the book in any respect, so the book was a fraud.

She reacted it had been Xlibris, an imprint of Random House. Due to the wonders of instant online search, Wikipedia revealed Random House sold its share at Xlibris in 2009 and it was now a self-publisher, which means that you can print anything as long as you pay for it.

She did not respond to that.

9. Chalk It Up to Experience

Scammers usually charge low-enough amounts the authorities, departments of trade, business organizations, and debt collectors are not interested. And, additionally, you would lose more money taking them to court.

I’ve experienced small relaxation in creating awareness about it on social media. But the scales have dropped from my eyes.

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