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Updated 09/09/2016

  The Bad Guys create "themes" for attacks against
  you.  These e-mails may be modified but recycle
  to us after a year or more, much like an ordinary
  con artist.  Understanding the warning signs are
  key. Here are some themes that are used and
  clues that expose the con.

The BIG takeaway for you in all of these examples is simple
Stop, Think and Challenge first.
Making an honest effort to Stop, Think and Challenge first will quickly expose the lack
of credibility of the e-mail.  Do not assume you won't get telephone calls about similar opportunities as global long distances costs continue to decline.  Fortunately e-mail is still cheaper and a little easier to hide behind.  Not all countries are corrupt, dishonest or filled with criminals the all of them have these problems.

A simple note that many forget.  
When asked for Social Security numbers or banking information (Bank Name, Bank Branch or location, Account Number, and/or Names on the Account), in any legitimate business transaction this can be provided later once trust and mutual interest in moving forward is established.  Even for a job application, if there is any resistance to you not providing it, get concerned!

Your eligibility to work in the United States is confirmed during your I-9 submission after you are hired usually on your first day on the job.

  • ATM Card (or Lottery Prize, or Inheritance, or Bank Funds, etc., etc.)
    This one can be a pending deposit to your bank, pending receipt of an ATM Card loaded with a few million dollars, bank drafts, company stock certificates or anything of material value.  Just identify you, your telephone number, country, occupation, sex and age.  You can call a number if you are interested, often a very expensive long distance call.  But it is from a Senator so it must be legitimate.

    1.  The incredible lure of millions in free US Dollars and it's addressed to
         "Recipients".  RIGHT!

    2.  Most will not try the phone number which is good as (a) odds are it was
         disconnected some time 
    back but more importantly a single Google search on
         the phone number shows it as a known scam phone number.

    3.  And to top it off, the e-mail provided is from a server in China.

    4.  Those claiming their great fortune the need to wire (no Bank Draft, Credit Cards,
         etc. as wire transfers rarely can be stopped and the recipient often only need to
         know the name the funds were sent to ... no proof of identification required).
         This covers their expenses to make you a very wealthy person.

    5.  NEVER give an unknown person or company your Banking Information (name
         of bank, location, account number, names on the account, etc.)

    Go shopping, your expenses are reimbursed, you may get to keep the items you buy plus you get paid a few hundred dollars for each visit (some up to $2,000 per month is claimed possible) you're sent to once you complete a survey of your experience.  Some include travel expenses and funding up-front.  No experience need, no schooling ... not even a High School Diploma or GED!
    Money flows to you by the US Mail as a Cashier Check or Money Order!

    While there are legitimate companies perform "secret" or "mystery" shopper surveys, they are in rare need of additional people and rarely have to advertise.
    You can tell the economy is soft when the "Bad Guys" are offering more money but are only interested in your personal information.  Some of the "red flags" on this scheme are:
    1.  Cashier Checks and Money Orders are subject to clearing collections, which can
         be stopped or were never valid to begin with

    2.  You spend your money doing this work, not theirs

    3.  You get a name, title and company but no means to verify any of it

    4.  You are required to submit personal information to them to qualify.
         There is an excellent chance if you submit fake information more than 1 week
         after receipt there will not be any response as they may have abandoned the
         e-mail address to avoid capture and arrest.

    5.  Cell and home phone numbers are often required as these in foreign countries
         can be used to charge non-telephone services against.  Notice how it is often
         listed as Phone_Cell: and not as Cell Phone:

    An encouragement for you to contact them at "free" (often a Google, Yahoo! or Hotmail e-mail account) regarding solicitation for your urgent attention for a business proposal.

    1.  This urgent business proposal offering is sent to "Recipients"

    2.  No details

    3.  A non-corporate or business e-mail account

    4.  No reason to get involved

    Often little information except $250 for work done and ensuring your personal safety as a candidate (apparently not as an employee or agent).

    1.  The same company broadcasts solicitations offering different amounts but with
         varying details.

    2.  The e-mail address is a company that provides e-mail services (like Google,
         Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) raising further questions of the legitimacy of the company.

    Pick an area where military action is going on for the setting of this con.  A civilian, government leader or military person has uncovered a large amount of cash (often US Currency) that they can smuggle out of the country using a corrupt Diplomatic Courier.  They will take 70% of what is often millions of dollars and you get 30% and the plan is always risk free.  Just contact them at a "throw away" free e-mail account within as soon as possible with your name, phone number and other contact information for details as the money will come to you within 48 hours.

    1. First, notice the words used, punctuation, capitalization and style used.  Would
        this type of person not use 
    write a letter so poorly in their native language?

    2. Why is this not going to friends and family 
    versus trusting a total stranger?

    3. They will use a corrupt Diplomatic courier to move the money but that courier
        could take that 
    money anywhere and cut everyone out of the deal ... cash is

    4. This is about getting you to act quickly to provide your personal information
    they can abuse.

    5. Even using $100 bills, how big of a stack would that much money make?   Think
        about it?  $1 Million dollars is 43 inches tall.  $1 Billion is 3,583 feet tall.
        $1.7 Billion is over 6,090 feet tall.