DISCLAIMER On this page are a number of discussions about frauds and scams originating in some particular countries. For reasons of explanation, the "geographic" locations of these scams are noted - but there is not implied connection to any overall opinion of the general population in those countries - every country has good and bad people depending on many circumstances.
- the "sport" of "Scam Baiting"
- internet scams
- scams on your phone, eg. 90 #

last updated 2017 Feb 21

see also http://www.witiger.com/ecommerce/domainnamesphishing.htm
. This page used in the following courses taught by Prof. Richardson
MGD 415
TCS 301
MRK 410, MRK 610, MRK 619
BCS 555
MGM 723
MGD 416
After completing reading this unit, and listening to the lecture in class, students will have information about:

    o The range of scams and the may places they come from
    o Some examples of what a real scam looks like
    o List of Scams Most Likely To Arrive Via Bulk Email
    o Tips on how to avoid scams
    o Resources to access if someone has been caught up in a scam
    o How to deal with Scams that threaten you if you do not take action

Jennifer B. in MRK 610 March 2003 found a great site which can serve as an introduction to this unit on scams and hoaxes. 

Before we begin -let us remember that although scams are bad, the most challenging thing is knowing if something is current. "It's not easy to determine whether information on the Internet is legitimate or correct. There is a lot of inaccurate and deceitful information on web sites, in e-mails, and even in news and newsgroups. False information can occur from mistakes or oversights, but the biggest problem is information that is out of date."  about-the-web.com/shtml/scams.shtml (link still works 2017 Feb)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia5LN0rBgrI YES THIS PAGE IS USEFUL

Nov 2011 - former UTSC student (MGTD06 in 2008) Hasan Shahzad stopped by to talk about his work in Mutual Funds at Royal Bank and mentioned that frequently he references material from this page in order to educate clients as to some risk and threat situations they should be careful about regarding identity theft and hacking.

Thanks Hasan for mentioning this.

Do Not Call Registries In Canada, Sept 30th, 2008, legislation went in to effect allowing citizens to register with a national Do Not Call Registry

If you get a call from someone claiming to represent one of the new Do-not-call registries (a list of people who do not want to be bothered by telemarketers), do not give them any personal  information. There is no legitimate reason for anyone from one of these lists to call you. The scam is to get your personal information and then commit identity fraud.

The real website for the national federal government DO NOT CALL Registry is
 www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/index-eng link  working in Feb 2017
During the 3rd week of September 2008 Richardson was interviewed, live on air, by host Jim Richards on CFRB newstalk 1010 for a short segment on the upcoming "Do Not Call List". Richardson answered questions live on air. 
link not working in 2016

. m
DISCLAIMER In discussing some of the following scams from Nigeria and central Africa, we are not making any value judgment on Nigerian people, rather we are referring to the geographic place where a popular scam format has originated for many years, and is now becoming very popular using internet communication means. 

It is not our position to say whether, or not, such people are guilty, rather we are simply providing information about a situation in which there has been overwhelming exposure of the fradulent nature of many variations of scams coming from this country.


. m
click to read larger version For 17 years now, there have been many scams come out of West Africa (in particular Nigeria)

other countries include
Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

In the screen capture to the left, you can see an example of an email that was sent to the author of this page, attempting to solicit contact. 

Typically, these scams from Nigeria / West Africa come under the heading of advance-fee fraud - that means, the victim is enticed to may money up front in order to secure a prize, or some sort of large money.


419 Scams
The scams associated with Nigeria are sometimes referred to as "419".

419 refers to that section in the Nigerian Criminal Code (part of Chapter 38: "Obtaining Property by false pretences"

The reason that the scams became so "infamous" is due to the high degree of "believability" and credibility. 

A number of news agencies and federal police agencies have reported that this believability was facilitated by the use of official Nigerian government letterhead (in the days before faxes and emails), and the co-opted use of government domain names, telephone numberss and email addresses. 

The investigations of several North American and European law enforcement organizations have uncovered complicity and co-operations between the criminals and high ranking executives and administrators in various Nigerian government departments in the 1990's and early years of Y2K.

In some cases, where a victim is particularly gullible, the criminals will make travel arrangements for the victim to come to Nigeria - whereupon that person may end up in a kidnap situation in addition to the financial scam. While it may seem impossible to believe such gullible people exist, every month the security staff at various western Embassies in Nigeria hear from people who came to Nigeria because they believed the scam, and end up in serious trouble.

The best thing to do, if you receive such contact, according to the RCMP, is "..pass the  Nigerian/West-African letters to wafl@phonebusters.com. The Phonebusters National Call Center ('PNCC') is a joint partnership involving the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police."

You should understand that these people contact thousands and thousands of potential targets and you are nothing "special".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gU7EUe5zOs UTM students in MGD415 
in April 2009
Kiel D., Ting Pong H. and Gongyi G. made a simple video showing one variation of the Nigerian Scam

1:26 min

http://www.rcmp.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm From the official web site of the RCMP
National Government's involved in internet scams

West Africa



Most letters are variations of the following, says the RCMP on their website: 
  • "You receive an "urgent" business proposal "in strictest confidence" from a  civil servant /businessman.
  • The sender, often a member of the "contract review panel",  obtained your name and profile through the Chamber of Commerce or the International Trade Commission.
  • The sender recently intercepted or has been named  beneficiary of the proceeds from real estate, oil products, over-invoiced contracts, cargo shipments, or other commodities, and needs a foreign partner to assist with  laundering the money. 
  • Since their government/business position prohibits them from opening foreign bank accounts, senders ask you to deposit  the sum, usually somewhere between $25-50 million, into your personal account.
  • For your assistance, you will receive between 15-30% of the total, which sits in the Central Bank of some country awaiting   transfer.
  • To complete the transaction, they ask you to provide your bank name and address, your telephone and fax numbers, the name of your beneficiary, and, of course, your bank account numbers.
  • The sender promises to forward your share within ten to fourteen working days! "
It is not true - it is a scam - DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM. Do not reply, make no contact.

Contact was made in May and June  2005 with Michelle Corrigan, and Constable P. Flood,  of the Public Affairs branch and Constable Cyndy Henry and Marty Chesser of the Intellectual Property office of the RCMP HQ in Ottawa regarding permission to link, and use this screen capture. Copies of emails kept on file in the permissions binder.

We led this section with an introduction to scams from Nigeria - because that country has become infamous for many many scams coming from there. According to  www.cnet.com  "Scams have become so successful in Nigeria that antisleaze campaigners say swindling is one of the country's main foreign exchange earners after oil, natural gas and cocoa."

Nigeria is not the only African country doing this, there are internet scams coming from other West African countries such as Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ghana. So people who discuss these scams in 2005 and beyond no longer refer to them as "Nigerian scams" but instead refer to "scams from West Africa".

Are they successful after so many years of publicity about these scams? Aren't there a lot of people who know this is a scam?

Well, these criminals are still targeting victims - but co-operation among international police agencies is beginning to result in arrests and convictions.

Amaka Anajemba of Nigeria, one of three suspects in a $242 million fraud involving a Brazilian bank, was sentenced, by a Nigerian court, to two years in jail in July 2005. Including the time she served in pre-trial, she'll be out in a year.

Question - 2 years for $200 million?
So if I stole just $2 million does that mean I'd only serve, like, 2 weeks?
watchdog Transparency International  www.transparency.org
the corruption perceptions index for 2016
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419 Scams




Beginning in 2004 and 2005 co-operation among several national and international police agencies led to some high profile arrests and a lot of "bad press" about the complicity of Nigerian government officials in the 419 scams.

In response to growing international pressure, the government of Nigeria established The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. EFCC is a Nigerian law enforcement agency that investigates financial crimes such as advance fee fraud (419 fraud) and money laundering. 


Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

http://www.witiger.com/ecommerce/scam~ivorycoast.htm click on the screen capture to read the text of the email that was sent to me. It is quite amusing in how they use a very old style of English from the colonial days and also have many many silly spelling mistakes
 - DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM. Do not reply, make no contact.
Scam from South Africa



Other African countries like South Africa are also becoming a source of scams. International Police agencies say it is Nigerians operating in South Africa but we have no confirmation of this - regardless, the essential point is that no matter how incredible and exciting the email may sound, it is a scam. 
click on the screen capture to read the text of the email that was sent to me. 

(this screen capture shown larger size at the end of this unit)

Scam from Democratic Republic of
 Congo (DRC)



Here is a scam from a woman who claims to be one of the wives of former Congo dictator Kabila - a man some journalists called the Hitler of Africa. Many scams coming from Africa have some sentance describing how the participant is related by marraige to some leader. 
click on the screen capture to read the text of the email that was sent to me. 
"I am Mrs. Deborah Kabila, one of the wives of Late President Laurent D. Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).Consequent upon the assassination of my husband, I am in possession of USD 58,000,000 (Fifty Eight Million US Dollars Only) being funds earlier earmarked for special projects... I solicited for your assistance to enable me take this money out of Togo.... "
Some of these story lines are shown here for comedy value as well as "e-commerce security" value. The stories are so incredibly contrived that it is hard to believe anyone would believe this, but, every year, the American embassies in central African countries receive inquiries from people saying "I went to Togo, and met these people, and gave them money, now I'm stuck cause I think they lied...". 
. - DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM. Do not reply, make no contact.
on the
money laundering

- using



Here is another scam - this one from people in Ghana. By citing examples from Africa we are not inferring that these scams only happen in Africa - they come from many other countries too; its just that the most frequent and the most persistent ones seem to come from Nigeria and a few other places on the African west coast. The author of this web page has received unsolicited emails and letters of this type seven times in the past - six times they were from Nigeria (3 by post, 3 by email), and one time from Ghana. 
$16 million



Disclaimer: In discussing this scam below, we are not making any value judgment on  people in Brunei, rather we are referring to the geographic place where a popular scam format has begun to develop, and is now becoming very popular using the internet. 
This scam promises that if you can help this rich princess escape from the wicked prince, she'll give you 10% or her $16 million she has managed to steal away over the years. It was sent to me c/o of my U of T email - I did not respond ...

her story
"I was thus forced into marriage and when I objected I was beaten and raped by this Prince.....Over the years I am been able to acquire  some money $16,000,000.00 ( Sixteen million dollars), which I diverted  into a private finance house in Darussalam without his knowledge.... I need your assistance,.... I will compensate you by giving you 10% of the total fund. Note also that you must keep this transaction secret as my life is at stake if my husband or any of his relatives hear of this transaction they will stone me to death or hang me. "

witiger replied saying "sorry, I cannot keep it a secret, I'm going to use it in my class to show what a silly person you are and let my students laugh at you
Microsoft, AOL BETA test scam
One of the oldest scams still circulating is the one where a friend says Microsoft is doing a test and if you forward this email on you'll get paid xxx amount of dollars. First of all, companies in IT don't market this way, secondly it is so unbelievable that I am surprised it has survived these past few years - but people still keep this scam going - I received a version of it in June 2003. Variations of the scam include origins from Netscape, IBM or any other well known company.


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http://www.witiger.com/ecommerce/scam~MSOFTexample.htm This is quite a long letter going to great length to convince you it is not a scam with people saying,
"I'm an attorney, and I know the law. This thing is for real"
- right - ya, I'm going to trust an American lawyer I have never met before - uh huh- sure
Although you make think it is too stupid to have credibility, thousands of people are getting sucked in to such emails and they dutifully forward it on to all their friends. 


List of Scams Most Likely To Arrive Via Bulk Email

Carrie O. in MRK 610 March 2003 found a good list of scams which we have replicated below - some of these are common sense, some of them are not so obvious - all are using the internet as a tool for spreading disinformation.

12 Scams Most Likely To Arrive Via Bulk Email
is written by By Audri and Jim Lanford, NETrageous Inc.
Carrie O. in MRK 610 March 2003 found a good list of scams which we have replicated below - some of these are common sense, some of them are not so obvious - all are using the internet as a tool for spreading disinformation.
"1. Business opportunities scams: These offers make it sound like it is very easy to start a business that will earn piles of money without much work, selling or cash. Many of these "opportunities" are actually illegal pyramid schemes that are masquerading as legitimate opportunities to earn money.

2. Make money by sending bulk email. These solicitations offer to sell you bulk email lists (consisting of millions of email addresses), spam software (usually very poor in quality), or services to send spam on your behalf. Don't do this.

3. Chain letters. No list of scams would be complete without this old "favorite" - email style. Here you're asked to send a small amount of money (or some item) to each of four or five names at the top of the list, and then forward the message including your name at the bottom, via bulk email. Many of these letters claim they are legal - they are not. Further, nearly everyone who participates in these chain letters loses money. Even if there is a "product" such as a report on how to make money, it does not make these schemes legal.

4. Work-at-home-schemes. The most common work-at-home scam promises that you'll earn money for stuffing envelopes. For example, you're promised you'll earn $2.00 for every envelope you stuff. In fact, there never is any real envelope stuffing employment available. Instead, you pay to register and then you're instructed to send the same envelope-stuffing ad via bulk email to others. The only money you can earn would come from others who fall for the scam and pay to register. Finally, if you did actually do work for one of these outfits (for example, some promise to pay you for craft work), they'd refuse to pay you and say your work didn't measure up to their "quality standards."

5. Health and diet scams. These are similar to the miracle cures offered off-line: ways to lose weight without eating less or exercising, "scientific breakthroughs," "secret formulas" which provide cures for hair loss, and herbal formulas that liquefy fat cells so that they are absorbed by your body. These scams often include testimonials from "famous" medical experts you haven't heard of. Of course, these gimmicks don't work.

6. Effortless income. The newest version offers get-rich-quick schemes to make unlimited profits exchanging money on the world currency markets. There are lots of variants, but they all promise vast riches with no work. Beware of these scams.

7. Free goods. These offers promise expensive items such as computers... for free. They ask you to pay a fee to join, and then you have to bring in a certain number of other members. Many of these scams are just disguised pyramid schemes.

8. Investment opportunities. These scams promise outrageously high returns... and of course, there is "no risk." Many of these scams are illegal Ponzi schemes, in which early investors are paid with the money from later investors. This gives the early investors the illusion that the system works and they are then encouraged to invest more money (which they eventually lose). The sales pitches for these offers include claims of high-level financial connections, that the promoters are privy to inside information, or promises that they'll guarantee the investment. The promoters are long gone if you try to take advantage of their "guarantees."

9. Cable descrambler kits. These scams offer kits or information on how to receive cable transmissions without paying any subscription fees. There are two problems with these offers: 1) the kits and information don't work; and 2) even if they did work, it is illegal to steal service from cable television companies. Further, many cable companies have aggressively been prosecuting cable service theft.

10. Guaranteed loans or credit, or easy terms scams. There are lots of variants of this scam: home equity loans that don't require any equity in your home, loans regardless of your credit history, offshore bank loans, credit cards regardless of your credit history, etc. Sometimes these offers are combined with pyramid schemes that offer to pay you for attracting other participants to the scheme. However, they are scams - the loans don't come through, you are turned down unless you meet stringent requirements, or the credit cards simply don't arrive.

11. Credit repair scams. These scams promise to erase accurate negative information from your credit file so that you can now qualify for loans, mortgages, or credit cards. The promoters of these scams cannot deliver. Further, if you follow their advice and lie on a loan or credit application, misrepresent your Social Security number, or get an Employer Identification number from the Internal Revenue Service under false pretenses, you will be committing fraud and violating federal laws. Don't fall for this scam.

12. Vacation prize promotions. Last, but not least, is a scam in which you receive electronic verification congratulating you because you've "won" a fabulous vacation, or you've been "specially selected" for this opportunity. The "deluxe cruise ship" may well be more like a tugboat, upgrades can be very expensive, and hotel accommodations are likely to be very shabby."
Corey F. in MRK 410, March 2003, found a good list of scams from the about.com site
On the about.com site there is a list of the Top 10 Scams, which originally comes from  the Federal Trade Commission:
1. Internet Auctions
" After sending money, consumers say they’ve received an item that is less valuable than promised, or nothing at all."

2. Internet Access Providers
"Consumers say they’ve been "trapped" into long-term contracts for Internet access or another web service, with big penalties for cancellation or early termination. If a check arrives at your home or business, read both sides carefully and look inside the envelope to find the conditions you’re agreeing to if you cash the check."

3. Web Cramming
" You are offered a free custom-designed website for a 30-day trial period, with no obligation to continue. Consumers say they’ve been charged on their telephone bills or received a separate invoice, even if they never accepted the offer or agreed to continue the service after the trial period."

4. Travel and Vacation
" You are offered a luxurious trip with lots of "extras" at a bargain-basement price. Consumers say some companies deliver lower-quality accommodations and services than they’ve advertised or no trip at all."

5. Investments
"You are told you can make an initial investment in a day trading system or service and you’ll quickly realize huge returns."

6. International Modem Dialing
" Get free access to adult material and pornography by downloading a "viewer" or "dialer" computer program. Consumers complained about exorbitant long-distance charges on their phone bill. Through the program, their modem is disconnected, then reconnected to the Internet through an international long-distance number."

7. Credit Cards
" You are told you can surf the Internet and view adult images online for free, just for sharing your credit card number to prove you’re over 18. Consumers say that fraudulent promoters have used their credit card numbers to run up charges on their cards."

8. Multilevel Marketing and Pyramid Schemes
" You are told you can make money through the products and services you sell as well as those sold by the people you recruit into the program."

9. Business Opportunities
" Be your own boss and earn big bucks. Taken in by promises about potential earnings, many consumers have invested in a "biz op" that turned out to be a "biz flop." There was no evidence to back up the earnings claims."

10. Health Care Products & Services
" The claim is that items not sold through traditional suppliers are "proven" to cure serious and even fatal health problems. Claims for "miracle" products and treatments convince consumers that their health problems can be cured."
The unseen dangers of 


The unseen dangers of 

The Amazing Ross D. 
and Talented Debora A. of MRK410 March 2004 found this crazy information
Read this carefully .... if you go to porn sites - you may end up paying for long distance charges even if you click away to another site

Ross says "Speaking of scams it turns out that not even the cute and cuddly porn industry is safe. Yes, its true! Now unsuspecting adults must "watch their asses" (pardon the pun), because the criminal elements out there have found a new manner to rip off poor unsuspecting individuals while searching for "free" porn (so look out R. Kelly and Pete Townsend). Here's a little story that we (Ross D. & Debora A.) found that'll shake your tail feathers!!!! (OOHHH OOHHH OHHH!!)"
http://www.businessknowhow.com/newlong.htm This is called the SEXYGIRL scam, we found this article at www.businessknowhow.com
Long Distance Phone Scam Hits Internet Surfers

The FTC has won a court order to shut down a new telephone scam that was targeted at Internet surfers.

The scam involves a high-tech billing software program that subjects consumers to huge phone charges without their knowledge.

"According to the FTC, the program did not disconnect from the international number until consumers turned off their computers. Thus, consumers who visited the defendants' web sites, but then left them to visit other web sites or to turn to other computer activities such as word-processing, continued to rack up international calling charges of more than $2 per minute. Thousands of consumers have incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in international long distance charges as a result of the scam, the FTC said."

"please pass this email on to raise money for --- hoax"

"please pass this email on to raise money for --- hoax"


One of the common hoaxes perpetuated on the net these days is the "email harvesting" hoaxes used by the author to "harvest" email addresses from all the people that read some pathetic message, and pass it on. There are messages about passing on a sad note from a blind girl in rural Mexico (one wonders how she accessed the Internet), there are notes about a handicapped boy in Bosnia hurt by U.S. bombs, there are emails about a young Chinese aids patient - one of the most prolific is a story out of New York about a doctor sending our emails on behalf of a patient. 


click to view larger here is the beginning of the hoax email - as you can see - it comes from an unsuspecting professor at Centennial College and it is possible to read in the message the emails of dozens of other people that have also been copied.
"please pass this email on to raise money for --- hoax"


The premise of this hoax is a poem which is supposed to have been written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital. The hoax is that the girl's medical doctor sends you an email asking you to read the poem and pass it on - it is a sad poem, but the girl does not exist. The doctor identified in the poem is a real doctor but they had nothing to do with this - their name was "hijacked" for this purpose and it has caused so much frustration for the hospital that they have posted a plea on their website to not pass the message on and to warn it is a hoax.

This particular hoax is one of the better known ones and has been reported by  www.breakthechain.org . They have a piece on their site discussing this particular hoax, how it originated and what to do about it - see  http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/slowdance.html - this particular hoax is well documented and is alleged to have begun as far back as 1997.

The poem in the hoax is a real poem - it was written by David L. Weatherford and published in 1991 by the Russ Berrie Company. Wetherford is uncertain how the poem came to be associated with the dying child hoax. It is likely someone simply read it and plagarized it to use in the email hoax to add to the sadness and "hopp" people into replying.

Scams that threaten you if you do not take action One of the students in my Centennial College GNED 136 class received an email threatening that if she did not pass on a certain email, "your account  will be messed around with and much, much more". This is the stick approach as compared to the carrot approach. 

The carrot approach is "please pass on this email to many people because something good will happen"

The stick approach is "please pass on this email to many people because if you do not, we will hit you (something bad will happen)"

Both methods result in the same thing, the target gets tricked and passes on the email to many people, and the originator ends up "harvesting" more addresses which they can sell to spammers. 

Scams that threaten you if you do not take action


Scams that threaten you if you do not take action


The threat continues 

"If this letter is not sent out exactly 45 minutes after you have opened it your name will not be able  to be removed from our hacking list..... your account  will be messed around with and much, much more ... All  you have to do is send this out to 10 people and ....."

What happened? - nothing, wisely, the student did not forward it on, and did not reply to the sender. The best thing to do in this case is do nothing - these emails are sent to hundreds and thousands of people looking for a "reaction", if you do not reply, they will not even have the satisfaction of knowing if your email address is real - remember, they buy these address lists and send out the spam without really know if  all the addresses work - especially the hotmail ones.

90 #


This scam involves a vulnerability in using the " * " features on phones in urban areas. Most people know about * 69 and other common features, but there are some less well known, which can get you in trouble. It is NOT TRUE that pressing 90# will do anything.

Also, the email suggests that there is some urgency in sending this alert around and that is a fake too - the Peel Regional Police DI NOT sanction this. Even though the telephone number listed is the real number for Peel Region Crime Analyst, there is no one there named Meredith Williams - that is two years out of date. The info in this email has been circulating in the Toronto area for 2 years and Peel Region Police would prefer if people DI NOT pass it on because they are wasting time answering the phone to deal with this.

The purpose of this email seems to be nothing other than a hoax joke.


Area Code 809
"Phone Or Pager Scam - You receive a message on your answering machine or your pager which asks you to call a number beginning with area code 809. The reason you're asked to call varies: it can be to receive information about a family member who has been ill, to tell you someone has been arrested, died, to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc. In each case, you're told to call the 809 number right away. Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls. If you call from the US, you will apparently be charged  $25 per-minute! Sometimes the person who answers the phone will speak broken English and pretend not to understand you. Other times, you'll just get a long recorded message. The point is, they will try to keep you on the phone as long as possible to increase the charges. Unfortunately, when you get your phone bill, you'll often be charged more than $100.00"
TIPS to Avoid Scams


Additional list of tips to avoid scam found by
Mike A. in March 2004 from MRK 410
This site gives you, suggestions to help protect yourself on the net.

(10 most important things you can do to avoid getting scammed).

TIPS to Avoid Scams 10 Things to prevent getting Scammed from SCAM BUSTERS

1. Never purchase from a bulk unsolicited email. (Spam you receive)
2. Be CAREFUL don't be paranoid.
3.  Read up on internet scams on web sites.
4. Protect your personal information.
5. Be careful on online auctions.
6. Never respond to email that say, "Send this to all your friends"
7. Be skeptical.
8. Take safety precautions.
9. Always pay by credit card rather than check/money order.
10. Use Common sense.

How to avoid being scammed

List of things to know


Tammy T. & Yuji W. of MRK 410 in March 2004 found an article on how to avoid scams. 

This is a great page to look up, to avoid scams when you work at home, when you are thinking about purchasing a business or to avoid to become a victim of a scam. It teaches you many steps and lists out examples of ways that you can possibliy be scammed. Therefore, by viewing this page you are able to learn detailed information regarding scams and to avoid them yourself. 
Tammy Tsang & Yuji Wakabayashi 

. Tammy Tsang & Yuji Wakabayashi
Avoid The Scams!

"You know you're just about to get scammed by a work-at-home ad when...

  • The very first line states you can make hundreds of dollars a week working from home. 
  • There is no experience needed. 
  • You can work just a few hours a week and still make a bundle of money. 
  • There are lots of CAPITALIZATION’S AND !!!!!! used. 
  • You read an extremely vague ad. You haven’t a clue what the business is about, but boy, could you be making the bucks. 
  • You're asked to call a 900# for more information. 
  • For a fee, a company will send you a list of businesses that are looking for homeworkers. 
  • You are forced to make a decision immediately and are made to feel stupid if you say no to their offer. 
  • A friend, relative, acquaintance tells you to come to a meeting at their house. They can’t tell you what it's about until you get there.
  • How to Check A Company Out
    Whether you have those funny feelings about the claims of a company or not, do some background research on them.
  • Hire a lawyer. This may seem like a waste of money, but in the long run it could really save you some financial heartache. 
  • Call the Better Business Bureau (in the state the company resides in) to see if there have been any complaints against the company. 
  • Ask the company if you can talk to any of their happy customers. Please be aware that companies can and will give you false customers to talk to. If these people sound way too happy, I would be a little leery. 
  • Visit the Bizy Moms Message Center Scams Message Board to ask for advice about companies and the experiences other Bizy Moms have had with them. 
Protect yourself while on vacation; top 
10 travel tips!


1.Shop Smart: Purchase your travel services through an Ontario registered travel agency. When you purchase your travel services through an Ontario registered travel agency, you are protected by an industry financed Travel Compensation Fund and the consumer protection provisions found under the Travel Industry Act. For more information on the Travel Compensation Fund go to www.tico.on.ca
2.Be Prepared: Always verify the travel and identity documents you will need for your destination with a travel professional. Take only necessary financial and identity documents. 
3.Protect Your Identity: Make two photocopies of all travel and identity documents. This will facilitate replacement if they should be lost or stolen. Take one set of copies with you and leave one in a secure location at home. Safely destroy the copies when you return home. 
4.Get it in Writing: Obtain printed copies of all reservation confirmations including lodging and transportation.  Make certain they include all the details you anticipate, itemized on the confirmations. 
5.Take Precautions: Always consider purchasing both travel cancellation and out-of-province health insurance.  Ask your registered travel agent for details. 
6.Avoid Rip-Offs: If travelling by car, have your car tuned up before you go and make sure you get a written estimate for any repairs before you authorize the work to be done. 
7.Read the Fine Print: Check the details of car rental agreements before you sign a contract. 
8.Timeshare Beware: Look out for timeshare offers-if the deal is "good today only" walk away. 
9.Emergency Know-How: Find and keep on hand the telephone numbers for police, medical attention and embassies or consulates in your travel location. 
10.Vacationing at Home: Check out Ontario Tourism for great ideas on stay-at-home vacations. 
Lottery Scams


Sureha S. of BCS 555 in October 2005 found a site discussing scams about fake lottery wins

Sureha explains in her words
"This site gives examples of how people are tricked into believing they won the lotto. Some websites may appear to be a lotto organization's website but in reality lotto corporations do not send out emails saying that you have won the lottery.  This relates to what we covered in class about website seeming to look like that of a real company but in fact are not.  They send these email to people who have not even purchased an actual ticket from that lottery corporation.  In order for someone to really win the lotto they must have actually purchased a ticket. "

see www.joewein.de/sw/419-luckyday-email.htm

Additional Resources
http://about-the-web.com/shtml/scams.shtml Click on the screen capture to the left, and, if the site is still up (still active Oct 2008), it will take you to four sections on current scams, protecting yourself from scams, hoaxes and viruses
If You Become The Victim Of A Scam


What To Do If You Become The Victim Of A Scam
  • First you need to write the company that you feel has ripped you off telling them you would like your money back. If they don’t agree with you then you need to let them know you plan to notify officials. The following people should be notified. 
  • If you read about this work-at-home scheme in a magazine. Let the editor know you’ve been ripped off by these people and you’re not happy about it. 
  • The Attorney General's Office in your state or in the state where the company is located. 
  • National Fraud Information Center Call them if you feel you are a victim of a "get-rich-quick" or "easy money" schemes. Check out their web site for daily alerts or new scams. 1-800-876-7060 
  • Your local Consumer Protection Offices. 
  • Your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the BBB in the state of the scammer. 
  • Postmaster. If you received the information through the mail. 
  • The Federal Trade Commission. While the FTC cannot resolve individual disputes, the agency can take action if there is evidence of a pattern of deceptive or unfair practices. To register a complaint, write to: Correspondence Branch, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580." 

Scam Baiting
Scam Baiting is the "sport" of making contact with the Nigerian West African scammers and pretending that you are "hooked", and then entice the scammer to do silly things to prove cerrtain points.

For example , you say
"I am not sure you are real, if you send me a picture of you with a pickle in your ear, then I will know you are real and it is a real email"
and they receive such a pic, which they then share among friends to show how they have "tricked the tricksters"
Seneca student Jennier L. in MRK618 in March 2009 sent an email in which she outlines the basics of Scam Baiting
Jennifer explains
"It's about those "Nigerian Scams" ... to counter attack these schemes, some people have taken to responding to the emails, feigning interest and pretending to actually believe the scams, while knowing full well that it is indeed a scam. What they have done is asked the scammers to send a photo of themselves to prove they are real. Often they will ask the scammers to put themselves in a ridiculous position or hold up a sign with something embarrassing written on it. 

The most well known website for this is http://www.419eater.com. You can take a look at their "Trophy Room" and their "Hall of Shame" to get a good laugh.  This one is my favourite: http://pictureisunrelated.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/wtf_pics-pickle-boys.jpg"

WTGR says if you Google ["pickle boys" scams] there are dozens of pics like this on the web


.  Prof. W. Tim G. Richardson © www.witiger.com