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Don't believe everything you read in printor in an e-mail. Con artists have discovered that e-mail is a fast and inexpensive way to trick people out of their money.
Some e-mail scams are easy to spot. Just like other "too good to be true"offers, they promise quick, easy ways to get rich, lose weight, get credit or find romantic partners. Without even opening them, you can delete e-mails sent to you by unfamiliar parties that have subject lines that USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, lots of exclamation points!!!, and dollar $ign$.
Other e-mail scams are harder to spot. Here are some recent examples:
When considering donating to a charity through the Internet, make sure you know with whom you are dealing. Con artists can create e-mail addresses and Web sites that look similar to well-known, established charities. If in doubt, contact the charity to which you wish to donate by telephone. You can also check out charities by calling the Maryland Secretary of State's office at (410) 974-5534.
If you get a message like this, don't reply or provide any information until after you have checked with your Internet service provider at the phone number or e-mail address you have on record for the company. Con artists can create "From" e-mail addresses that look legitimate, so don't automatically hit the "reply" button.
If you know you didn't buy anything online, ignore e-mails like this. They are merely scams designed to trick people into supplying personal information on the phony "order cancellation" form.
Inheritance Tax Refund"
There is no such tax refund. The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers about con artists who deceive people into paying for advice on how to file these false claims. Consumers with questions can call the IRS toll-free help line at 1-800-829-1040.
People lured into the scheme are asked to put up "good faith money" to prove they can be trusted, or to pay money for "transfer fees" or bribes to get the money out of the country. Also, the con artist asks for the victim's bank account number, which he or she can use to raid the account. Of course, no transferred money ever appears, and the victims lose thousands of dollars.
Victims of this fraud scheme can contact the U.S. Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 950 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001; telephone (202) 406-5850; website www.treas.gov/usss.
All chain letters that promise a reward, whether sent by mail or e-mail, are illegal. They are nothing more than "pyramid schemes" that lose money for most participants. If you start a "money-making" chain e-mail or forward one, you are breaking the law and can be prosecuted.
about e-mail scams and hoaxes at these Web sites:
Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372