It isn't really much help to say that you should report someone you know is trying to scam you, because unless you have actually fallen victim to the scam and are out of pocket, ie either the goods or your funds have been effectively stolen, there really is nothing the police can do. They may possibly start investigating the person if they've had other complaints or if the action is serious enough, but mostly, there really is no course of action they can take. After all, if you have no actually been defrauded, then you'll have a really hard time proving intent to defraud. We had a company try to get our credit card number out of us by calling and claiming we'd won a cruise and just had to pay "taxes and processing fees" on the tickets. We knew it was complete nonsense - first, if you win something, in most contests, you really do win and there are no fees. Second, they'd gotten our phone number because my husband had filled out a ballot at our favorite restaurant to win the trip. The owners were Chinese, spoke very little English, & didn't realize that the supposed charity running the contest was actually a scam. The big tip off was that the slimy-sounding guy who was trying to get our credit card info couldn't figure out the name of the restaurant where we'd entered the contest. You had to fill in that part yourself, and the guy couldn't read my husband's handwriting, and called it the China Ching, not the China China. I figured that any legitimate contest would at least have some clue as to which restaurants they were working with! I hung up on the guy, and called both the restaurant (where the owner immediately took away the "contest" so that his patrons wouldn't be victimized) and the cops. The cops told me that since I hadn't been dumb enough to hand over my info, they couldn't prove the guy would have ripped us off. It was even suggested that if I wanted the guy stopped, I should have given him my info, watched the credit card transactions, & waited for him to misuse my card! I understand, but I sure wasn't going to do that! I asked if they would do anything at all to investigate as to whether anyone else had been ripped off - there was a box full of contest entries, after all, and the restaurant owner would have happily handed them over. The answer was no. Maybe they did - they certainly would not tell me, so I don't know why I even asked, except that it just popped out, as I was startled. But I was disconcerted. I know you have to commit a crime to be caught, but even attempting theft is illegal, and I thought they could have checked to see what this guy was up to ...
Get Smart: How To Avoid the Top 3 Online Shopping Scams
|2/2/12 11:18 PM|