The number of scams on the internet has become unrealistic. I am considering abandoning everything internet related. I can’t believe any of the news, I have to be careful about clicking on buttons for fear of inviting a scammer into my life. About a year ago I discovered Facebook Market Place and began selling my junk online on this app. Three times now I have uncovered a buyer who was in such a hurry to close a transaction that I became suspicious.

SCAM #1–I receive a message or email from a friend or relative. Since I am intimately connected to this person I opened and read the message. He tells me about a scheme where he has just received $250,000 dollars for doing nothing and he wants me to get in on the action. (The sender was acting as my older brother.) My brother was asking me if I had been in touch with this website and added a hot link to get there. Brother then told me to go there and sign up.

Knowing my brother as well as I do, I became suspicious. He has a large family and if this deal was really authentic he would have pushed the opportunity on them first. I replied to my brother that I had not even heard of the organization he was directing me to. He responded immediately with information. I told him I would check it out. I then began searching using the key words generated by the website and the information. None of what I learned made any sense. By this time, I decided this wasn’t my brother speaking to me. I replied by admonishing the sender for using his talents to steal from innocent people and to use his talent on a real job.

Since this event, I have come across several more attempts to steal money using this very same ploy.

SCAM#2–A buyer of one of my items on Market Place negotiated a final price for the item. He then says he will send the money via Pay Pal. I ask him for his e-mail or cell phone # so I can generate an invoice using payPal. He tells me that he has made arrangements with PayPal and they will send notification soon. Please send the item. I check with PayPal and they have nothing in their records about someone sending me money. I send another message asking for a phone number or e-mail so I can have PayPal send him a proper invoice. I never got any money nor another message from the buyer.

SCAM#3–I listed my trusty recumbent bicycle on Marketplace and after six weeks it was going nowhere. Yesterday, I deleted the listing. Within an hour I received a message asking if the bike was till available. Yes, I responded. There was no question about the price or the specifics of the bike. I became suspect. (Nobody buys anything at full asking price on Marketplace.) The next message came in and asked for where I was located. I answered Frankfort, IL. Almost immediately a message came through telling me they would use Zelle to pay. I never heard of Zelle, so I looked it up. It is a legitimate service but I saw an article about scams on Zelle. I messaged back saying that I would only take PayPal because I didn’t trust Zelle. They came back with how about Venmo? I replied PayPal, and the conversation ended.

There are many scams on the internet as there are users. Everyday I receive e-mails that I immediately file under SCAMS. Some are so obvious that they actually stink if you open them. I can’t believe people are so naive as to fall for these schemes. I am one of those naive people and have come dangerously close to losing my shirt a number of times. I think it is just coincidence but every so often a message comes from a friend and the plea fits the situation of the moment, and I tend to bite first and ask questions later. The problem is that my weakness winds up costing money.

For example, recently, one of my fellow Lions told me she was driving to visit her cousin in the south. The very next day I received a message from her stating that she was driving and she forgot to buy something for her cousin. Would I buy two $50 Apple I-tunes gift cards and send her the serial numbers, she would repay me when she got back. It all sounded legit. I did as she asked and emailed the numbers back in a reply message. As I did so, I noticed in a glance that one character of her address was different. I called her and she answered immediately. I asked where are you? “In my kitchen ironing clothes. I’ll call you back.

I went to I-tunes website and used the gift cards to buy tunes. I didn’t want or need those tunes but I would not give them to a thief. I was lucky and the thief had not cashed the cards in yet.

Now, why didn’t I call first to ask questions instead of waiting to learn I was scammed.