O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

The Truth About Avoiding Scams

Book Description

"You should read this book and take Steve Weisman's advice. And from the money and assets he helps you protect, take a few dollars and buy a copy for a good friend."

--Alan Colmes, Syndicated radio talk show host and co-host of Hannity and Colmes on Fox News Channel


Scams are everywhere...now discover exactly how to protect yourself!

·        The truth about recognizing today’s newest scams--online and off

·        The truth about safeguarding your money, health, and reputation

·        The truth about phishing, vishing, pharming, slamming, and more

Scams have always been with us, and they always will be - except now, technology makes scammers' jobs even easier, enabling them to reach out from anywhere around the world, and take advantage of more people than ever before. No matter how smart you think you are, you can easily become a victim: in fact, scammers have discovered that educated, sophisticated individuals are among their best targets. The Truth About Avoiding Scams arms you with everything you need to protect yourself: real, up-to-the-minute knowledge, and the "internal sensors" you need to sniff out even the subtlest, most well-crafted scams. Consumer finance expert and nationally syndicated radio host Steve Weisman offers quick, bite-size, just-the-facts information about every type of fraud, from identity scams to computer-based fraud, travel and health scams to phony educational loans and scholarships. Weisman exposes the new epidemic of "affinity fraud," where "people just like you" target you based on your ethnicity, racial group, church, club, or fraternal organization. You'll find up-to-the-minute guidance on avoiding illegitimate online dating services; "cramming" and other phone frauds; tax and Social Security scams; employment, home repair, and investment scams; and a whole lot more.

Unlike some books on scams, this one's simple to read, simple to use, up to date, and complete: the only guide you need to keep yourself safe!

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Introduction
  3. I. The Truth About Identity Theft
    1. 1. Identity theft—your money or your life
    2. 2. Go phish
    3. 3. Vishing down on the pharm
    4. 4. Do Not Call Registry, Patriot Act scams
    5. 5. Protect yourself from identity theft
      1. Credit freeze
  4. II. The Truth About Computer Scams
    1. 6. Trojan horse
    2. 7. PayPal, eBay
    3. 8. Second chances—eBay
    4. 9. Free adult entertainment
    5. 10. Two more for the road
      1. If you can’t trust Oprah
      2. From Russia, but not with love—the hit man scam
  5. III. The Truth About Classic Scams
    1. 11. Ponzi scheme
    2. 12. Chain letters
    3. 13. A couple of the basics
      1. Pyramid schemes
      2. Bait and switch
    4. 14. Nigerian scam
    5. 15. Who knew? A flurry of old champs
      1. Travel fraud
      2. Charity scams
      3. Staged auto accidents
    6. 16. More reasons to be wary
      1. Lost pets
      2. The old gray mare—the gray market
      3. Hotel scam
      4. Adoption scam
    7. 17. And you thought you’d heard it all
      1. Affinity fraud
      2. Psychics
      3. Voter registration fraud
    8. 18. Money lost, borrowed, or gambled
      1. Unclaimed property
      2. Loan scam
      3. Gambling scam
    9. 19. Lottery and contest scams
  6. IV. The Truth About Getting Personal
    1. 20. Exercise scams
    2. 21. Weight loss scams
    3. 22. The CIA medical scam
    4. 23. Education scams
      1. Scholarship scams
      2. Diploma mills
    5. 24. Romance scams
      1. Online dating scams
      2. A picture is worth a thousand words
      3. Russian dating scam
      4. Secret admirer scam
    6. 25. Rental car insurance
    7. 26. Personal information privacy
  7. V. The Truth About Telephone Scams
    1. 27. Cramming
    2. 28. 900 numbers
    3. 29. Phony caller ID
    4. 30. Area code 809
  8. VI. The Truth About Tax Scams
    1. 31. Fear and loathing of the IRS
      1. Phony tax forms
    2. 32. More tax scams
      1. Electronic filing tax scam
      2. IRS is illegal scam
    3. 33. It just doesn’t stop
      1. Phony trusts
      2. Offshore accounts
      3. IRS collections
  9. VII. The Truth About Government Assistance
    1. 34. Social Security
      1. Direct deposit verification scam
      2. The windfall scam
      3. Colas
    2. 35. Medicare
      1. Medicare prescription drug scam
    3. 36. Veteran scams
      1. Veteran’s insurance scam
      2. Veteran’s Administration pharmacy
      3. Medicare free medical equipment scam
  10. VIII. The Truth About Credit Card Scams
    1. 37. Credit cards
      1. Credit card fees
      2. Universal default
      3. Late fees scam
    2. 38. More credit card offers
      1. Credit card balance transfers
      2. The check is in the mail—convenience checks
      3. Credit card theft insurance
      4. Credit card disability insurance
    3. 39. Skimmers and ATM scams
      1. Skimmers
      2. Fraud scams
      3. The Lebanese Loop
    4. 40. Free credit report
      1. Free credit reports and identity theft
    5. 41. Credit repair services
    6. 42. Credit counseling agencies
      1. How to pick a credit counseling agency
    7. 43. Credit card rate reduction scam
    8. 44. Advance fee credit cards
    9. 45. Radio frequency cards
  11. IX. The Truth About Employment Scams
    1. 46. Work-at-home schemes
      1. Work at home—medical billing
    2. 47. Easy money
    3. 48. More wrong turns
      1. Check cashing scam
      2. Disgruntled postal workers
    4. 49. Cruise ship employment scam
    5. 50. Get a job online scams
  12. X. The Truth About Home Scams
    1. 51. Home sweet scam
      1. I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down
    2. 52. Variations on a theme
      1. Foreclosure fraud
      2. It’s never over till it’s over
      3. Reverse mortgages
  13. XI. The Truth About Investment Scams
    1. 53. Stock scams
      1. Pump and dump
      2. Churning
    2. 54. More investment scams
      1. Promissory notes
      2. Prime bank schemes
    3. 55. Unusual investment opportunities
      1. Viatical companies
      2. Currency trading
    4. 56. Fees in legitimate investments
      1. Variable annuities
      2. Mutual fund fees
    5. 57. Free financial seminars
  14. XII. The Truth About Solutions
    1. 58. Some solutions
    2. 59. Keeping your computer secure
      1. Zombies
    3. 60. Wi-Fi
    4. 61. Due diligence
      1. Some final words
  15. Acknowledgments
  16. About the Author