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 Post subject: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:08 pm 
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Last year, I was scammed. I sent money through Western Union for a bogus job.

Just last week, I applied for a debt collector job on Monster.com. I was contacted by the "employer", who described the job as collecting debt checks from US companies, depositing them into my account, wait for clearance, and send money (minus my commission) via Western Union to Europe (Latvia). I've never heard of anything like this before and had a feeling it was a scam when the guy mentioned Western Union... so to verify my hunch, I went onto the internet and found out about the cashier's check scam and then found myself on SVU.com. This debt collector scam is definitely a variation of this car/cashier check scam.

From reading the posts here and things on the net, it's absolutely astounding to consider the worldwide scale of this problem.

I don't know if this idea has been mentioned, but here goes... and it goes along with another post:

Quote:
We ARE aware of just how bad it is out there. There are a few people who "access" these accounts and attach some sort of auto-reply message that will refer potential victims here and/or warn them that they are being scammed. We know that we do not hear all the stories because the shame factor is EXTREMELY high, but we already know that these scammers are costing people billions of dollars worldwide...

The urgency it creates frustrates me because I do not know how to do what you do...can I be your "grasshopper"??

I too have often wished that I had the computer know how to warn victims and potential victims in this manner. Too bad there is not a class that we could sign up for to learn these skills.


Here are 3 ways (that I can think of right now) to greatly help and warn would-be victims:

1) Western Union participation

The common thread among these scams is using money transfer services, mainly Western Union - the point of no return; once the money leaves, it's GONE. What if Western Union were to have some kind of barrier.... a quick, easy-to-read checklist, a "Sender Beware", to educate money senders. Western Union can have all branches be trained into informing EVERY money sender of "signs of scams". For instance, this checklist would contain "signs of possible scam":

- money destination is Nigeria, Latvia, etc.
- the details of common scams like "cashier's check scam."
- too good to be true.
- etc... .. .....

This checklist would have to be read by the would-be money sender. It would be obnoxiously and prominently displayed right at the counter. This list would be updated on a regular basis.

Also, Western Union could set it up in a way so that anything that is suspicious be flagged (i.e. destination is Nigeria) and would require the sender to reconsider... a strategy to force the sender to think twice before authorizing the transaction.

2) Scam-prone Website Participation

Websites that attract scammers (recycle.com, auto sites, etc) should have a link (like a blinking red link on it's home page) to inform users of scams that are happening. It could mention that if Western Union is involved, then question it. For an example, look at the red link on this page:

http://www.craigslist.org/hhh/

Also, any email that is sent from these websites to its members should have a 'Signs of scams to look out for".... such as the notification emails.


3) Create a stir and run the PR machine so that something like this is more publicized. Imagine a link on the front page of Yahoo in the Top Stories section.


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 Post subject: I agree!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:19 pm 
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The items that you listed in your post are the same things that make up our "mission" here at ScamVictimsUnited.com

Maybe it is time, now that our numbers have grown, to start a letter writing campaign to some of these companies.

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Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
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 Post subject: Re: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:29 pm
Posts: 52
colinstwin wrote:
Blah, blah, blah >>SNIP<<

Here are 3 ways (that I can think of right now) to greatly help and warn would-be victims:

1) Western Union participation

The common thread among these scams is using money transfer services, mainly Western Union - the point of no return; once the money leaves, it's GONE. What if Western Union were to have some kind of barrier.... a quick, easy-to-read checklist, a "Sender Beware", to educate money senders. Western Union can have all branches be trained into informing EVERY money sender of "signs of scams". For instance, this checklist would contain "signs of possible scam":

- money destination is Nigeria, Latvia, etc.
- the details of common scams like "cashier's check scam."
- too good to be true.
- etc... .. .....

This checklist would have to be read by the would-be money sender. It would be obnoxiously and prominently displayed right at the counter. This list would be updated on a regular basis.

Also, Western Union could set it up in a way so that anything that is suspicious be flagged (i.e. destination is Nigeria) and would require the sender to reconsider... a strategy to force the sender to think twice before authorizing the transaction.

2) Scam-prone Website Participation

Websites that attract scammers (recycle.com, auto sites, etc) should have a link (like a blinking red link on it's home page) to inform users of scams that are happening. It could mention that if Western Union is involved, then question it. For an example, look at the red link on this page:

http://www.craigslist.org/hhh/

Also, any email that is sent from these websites to its members should have a 'Signs of scams to look out for".... such as the notification emails.


3) Create a stir and run the PR machine so that something like this is more publicized. Imagine a link on the front page of Yahoo in the Top Stories section.


1. There is a warning on their page, if I'm not mistaken. (In fact, I'm right: http://www.westernunion.com/info/faqSecurity.asp)

2. Websites which provide a place for buyers and sellers to convene typically do have some kind of warning posted on their site. However, nowhere is it required for them to post it in big, red flashing letters which scream, "CAREFUL!! THIS MIGHT BE A SCAM!!" to draw your attention to it.

I'm currently going to school, and one of my teachers has a saying that could (if altered slightly) apply here: "You must participate in your own education." In this case, it could apply as something like: "You must participate in your own scam prevention."

Honestly, you can't expect Western Union, Recycle.com and all these other businesses to cater to your every whim, just because you weren't cautious enough to dig through the fine print. Like I've said before, it's not that I don't have sympathy for the scammed... But, statements like that make me think of a guy who fell off the top step of a ladder, after reading the warning labels, and then promptly sued the ladder company...

Sorry if this comes across as cynical, but there's only so much anyone can expect a company to do to prevent unfortunate events.

Spawn

As always... Got a question? Feel free to PM

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 Post subject: Re: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 10:09 pm
Posts: 2921
Spawn wrote:
Websites which provide a place for buyers and sellers to convene typically do have some kind of warning posted on their site. However, nowhere is it required for them to post it in big, red flashing letters which scream, "CAREFUL!! THIS MIGHT BE A SCAM!!" to draw your attention to it.

Honestly, you can't expect Western Union, Recycle.com and all these other businesses to cater to your every whim, just because you weren't cautious enough to dig through the fine print. Like I've said before, it's not that I don't have sympathy for the scammed... But, statements like that make me think of a guy who fell off the top step of a ladder, after reading the warning labels, and then promptly sued the ladder company...


I understand your point Spawn. I don't expect all of the business that the scammers use to operate their scams to put up a big flashing light screaming "this may be a scam", but it would be nice if once they learn of this scam they took some sort of action to try and prevent it from happening to their other customers. Think about the airlines . . . do you think that they like to have to ask every person a question that seems pretty obvious to most? "Have you had your luggage with you at all times? Has anyone you do not know asked you to carry something onto the plane for them?" But that is the way things are in the world we live in today. I guess I don't think it is too much to ask that Western Union ask a similar statement to anyone sending over $3000 to Nigeria, such as "Is this money being sent in relation to an item you have for sale on the internet which was paid for by cashier's check?"

Spawn wrote:
I'm currently going to school, and one of my teachers has a saying that could (if altered slightly) apply here: "You must participate in your own education." In this case, it could apply as something like: "You must participate in your own scam prevention."


I agree with this too. We must all participate in scam prevention . . . buyers, sellers, banks, and other businesses. If everyong did just a little bit, it could create a big impact!

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Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
Sign our petition http://www.change.org/actions/view/crea ... s_programs
Follow our blog http://scamvictimsunited.wordpress.com/
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
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 Post subject: Re: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:10 pm
Posts: 79
admin wrote:
I guess I don't think it is too much to ask that Western Union ask a similar statement to anyone sending over $3000 to Nigeria, such as "Is this money being sent in relation to an item you have for sale on the internet which was paid for by cashier's check?"


That obviously seems to be a small but logical step to you.
However, you have to bear in mind that scams do not only involve amounts over $3000, Western Union and Nigeria.
Scams are related to any amount of money, any method of transferring it and most countries of the world.

I once poured a beetle from a bottle of wine whilst dining in a restaurant.
I have no desire to sue the restaurant or to see the wine bottler put a warning on his wine bottles. I would however suggest that people look at the content of their wine bottle before drinking it.

You will no more stop people trying to scam than you will prevent foreign bodies appearing in bottles of wine.

What you can do is to try to educate people to look before they leap (or drink)
Who do you blame when somebody has an accident whilst driving a vehicle and speeding ? The highway authority because they made a big wide road ?
Educate the masses; teach them what to watch out for to prevent being scammed. Tell them the dangers of speeding. Tell them that food and drink may include foreign bodies.
Don't try to minimise the problems by blaming one company that is used for the transfer of funds. Don't suggest that is only amounts over [$3000] . Don't suggest that only one country [Nigeria] is involved.
It wasn't Western Union who made the counterfeit cheque. It wasn't WU or a Nigerian who took the bait and tried to gain easy money by cashing it.
The instigator of these crimes is hard to pin down.
The potential victims are much easier to find. They are you and me and every other John Doe (or Joe Soap). We are the ones who need to be educated. We are the ones who should be taking precautions.
Western Union aren't going to stop people becoming victims of fraud.
I flatly refused to send someone (who I knew to be a scammer) money by WU and they quickly offered me an alternative of paying the money directly into a bank account. I know that if I had sent money to that account it would have been withdrawn and the account holder would have disappeared as quickly as one can swap and change email accounts.

I firmly believe that your thinking is all wrong. You are too often focused on minor issues and bit-part players. You should widen your horizons and concentrate on the broader issues.
Think ! How can we stop people falling victim to a scam ?
I don't think that you will ever achieve a 100% success rate but you could lower the percentage by spreading the message and educating people like you are doing on this site.
I have noticed that you have one contributor here who wastes no time in getting her own tale of woe into every thread possible. That adds nothing to the prevention of scam or the protection of possible victims.
If I have a message it is simple. Education is the cure for the loss of money through scam operations, whatever their nature.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:51 pm 
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Amen Shawn, Western Union is taking quite a beating for not warning people , they actually could turn this around in their favor by simply posting a sign that says: western union cares, due to a rash of scams where perpetrators use payment services to rob innocent victims, please make sure that you dont become a victim. For More information please ask one of our agents, or call 1-800-xxx-xxxx.

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Silence is a thief's best friend, Word-of-mouth is his worst enemy. Pass the word! brought to you by Fraudaid.com where victims always get FREE help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:10 pm
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KarynSolo wrote:
Amen Shawn, Western Union is taking quite a beating for not warning people , they actually could turn this around in their favor by simply posting a sign that says: western union cares, due to a rash of scams where perpetrators use payment services to rob innocent victims, please make sure that you dont become a victim. For More information please ask one of our agents, or call 1-800-xxx-xxxx.


But what then ?
What do you expect them to do ?
Explain every possible type of scam to every person (most of whom are NOT involved in a scam transaction) who wants to send money somewhere ?
C'mon folks. Get real.
Next thing you'll expect the bus driver to ask you if you are sure that you want to go to . . . . (wherever), and explain in detail the crime statistics in your proposed destination.

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 Post subject: Re: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:29 pm
Posts: 52
goldie wrote:
admin wrote:
I guess I don't think it is too much to ask that Western Union ask a similar statement to anyone sending over $3000 to Nigeria, such as "Is this money being sent in relation to an item you have for sale on the internet which was paid for by cashier's check?"


That obviously seems to be a small but logical step to you.
However, you have to bear in mind that scams do not only involve amounts over $3000, Western Union and Nigeria.>>SNIP SNIPPITY SNIP SNIP<< That adds nothing to the prevention of scam or the protection of possible victims.
If I have a message it is simple. Education is the cure for the loss of money through scam operations, whatever their nature.


In addition to this, I've seen signs on busses lately, where there's a picture of this huge two colored pill, with white writing on it that says "KNOWLEDGE". The ad is in reference to HIV and AIDS. However, knowledge and education can be used to fight just about ANYTHING. I'm not saying that trying to get these businesses to make policy changes isn't a noble cause, in regards to scams, but it's like trying to get blood from a turnip. Not going to happen.

Western Union DOES have a "Consumer Fraud" link on their page. Take a look, there's information there. Should they have it in huge, flashing, neon letters unmistakable by anyone? I think not. If you're not interested in protecting yourself, if you're blinded by your greed (in the case of some of the scams) and unwilling to learn certain things... Well, crap. It's your money. Would you just hand your wallet or purse off to some stranger, just because he asked for change to get a cup of coffee? I think not.

Hell, spread the word to do a Google search on the names of any people or companies who mail you. There's a start. Google "Abacha" and one of the results that come up is:

Quote:
Scam o Rama 119
Scam o Rama 119. Mrs. Abacha gets a PhD ( ?% of $50M )[ Dr (Mrs.) Maryam Abacha
]. ... DR (MRS.) MARYAM ABACHA ABACHA COURT GIDADO ROAD KANO - NIGERIA. ...
http://www.scamorama.com/scam119.shtml - 18k - Cached - Similar pages


Google just about ANY scammers name, and you'll probably come up with something. You might have to dig, but you'll come up with something.

All I'm saying is that you should educate yourself... That's the best prevention in the world. I've been trying to advocate educating people this entire time. Have my words been in vain? Has what I have said gone in one ear and out the other? If so, by all means, let me know. I'll happily stop coming here, and stop giving advice to deaf ears.

Spawn

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:52 pm 
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Its pretty much each to his / her own here. Some do great with baiting and wasting these scammers time, others have the drive to want to go into our communities, others willing to take on legislators, to cut each other down for their own attempts to make a difference only defeats the purposes of working together for a common goal.

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 Post subject: Re: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 10:09 pm
Posts: 2921
Spawn wrote:
All I'm saying is that you should educate yourself... That's the best prevention in the world. I've been trying to advocate educating people this entire time. Have my words been in vain? Has what I have said gone in one ear and out the other? If so, by all means, let me know. I'll happily stop coming here, and stop giving advice to deaf ears.


When it comes down to it, we agree on the main point . . . EDUCATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT THIS SCAM! I was only saying that it would be nice if some of the businesses that the scammers use on a regular basis would assist us. Do I really think it will happen, not really, but then again a year ago I didn't think I would be running a scam website in my "free time" :lol:

_________________
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
Sign our petition http://www.change.org/actions/view/crea ... s_programs
Follow our blog http://scamvictimsunited.wordpress.com/
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
_______________________________________________
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Buy us a coffee to say thanks ~ http://www.scamvictimsunited.com/donations.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:29 pm
Posts: 52
Actually, education/knowledge is the only way to really prevent (or at the very least, slow down) ANY of the scams listed on this site. And while I agree that companies should HELP raise awareness of the scams, I don't think (as some people here seem to) that they should be 101% responsible for raising awareness.

:twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Participation from Western Union and Scam-prone websites
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:52 am 
admin wrote:
When it comes down to it, we agree on the main point . . . EDUCATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT THIS SCAM! I was only saying that it would be nice if some of the businesses that the scammers use on a regular basis would assist us. Do I really think it will happen, not really, but then again a year ago I didn't think I would be running a scam website in my "free time" :lol:


Now this I agree with. What you people are doing to put pressure on the banks is good, and it's one area where you genuinely can make a difference.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:02 pm 
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The way I see it is this, we can go out in the community and educate, we can educate on sites like this, BUT we also need a little help from companies like Western Union in backing us up and at least posting something. For them it takes a few minutes and a computer and printer to make a sign, we are the ones going out and reaching out to the public that they serve.

If my company did money transfers, I would much rather help prevent scams and keep a clean name than what western union is doing and say nothing and gain a bad rap.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 11:33 pm 
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KarynSolo wrote:
The way I see it is this, we can go out in the community and educate, we can educate on sites like this, BUT we also need a little help from companies like Western Union in backing us up and at least posting something. For them it takes a few minutes and a computer and printer to make a sign, we are the ones going out and reaching out to the public that they serve.

If my company did money transfers, I would much rather help prevent scams and keep a clean name than what western union is doing and say nothing and gain a bad rap.


*finishes laughing, takes a few breaths, and starts typing*

Ok, do you people not read a single damned word I say? Western Union HAS information on their website. I've told you where to look, and I've even given you the damned link! Here it is again:

http://www.westernunion.com/info/faqSecurity.asp

Click on that! Read it! To be specific, read numbers 2 and 8! I'll even do you the favor of posting them here, to make it easy for you!

The Western Union site you obviously don't care to look at because it would prove you wrong! wrote:
2. Are there common consumer fraud scenarios to be aware of?

Be wary if you are required to pay a fee before receiving a loan.
Beware of sweepstakes, prize or lottery company representatives who tell you to transfer money to them in order to claim a prize you've won. There are many companies running fraudulent contests that ask you to transfer them money but give you nothing in return.
Beware of unsolicited letters or emails from a Nigerian or other foreign government official requesting assistance in the transfer of excess funds from a foreign country into your bank account.

Beware of telephone calls from the police claiming someone you know has been in an accident or arrested and is requesting money.
Beware of unsolicited letters or emails offering an unrealistic price for expensive or difficult to find merchandise.
Make sure you know to whom you are sending money. If you are purchasing goods or services and paying through the Western Union network, it is your responsibility to verify the reputation and legitimacy of the seller. Western Union is not responsible for the non-receipt or quality of any goods or services.

8. What can I do if I suspect fraud or am a victim of fraud?

Contact your State Attorney General's Office of Consumer Affairs if you are uncertain or suspicious of a telephone, mail or email solicitation.
If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, you can access the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) at http://www.ifccfbi.gov/ or contact the Federal Trade Commission through their web site at http://www.ftc.gov/.


What more do you want them to do?? Create a series of popups that require you to read them, and type up a little essay before they let you into the website to send money? They've GOT information on their site.

And look! Go to http://www.autotrader.com and scroll to the bottom of the page. (Which, by the way, isn't a long scroll down) You'll find this!

www.autotrader.com wrote:
Fraud Awareness Tips
Common-sense advice for Buyers and Sellers.

Common-Sense Advice for Sellers

Selling a car online is a lot like advertising through a classified ad in the newspaper. When you sell your car using AutoTrader.com, use the same good judgment as you would if you were selling through the newspaper classifieds. Whether you’re communicating with potential buyers over the phone or via the Internet, the following tips can help you protect yourself against fraud so you can sell with confidence.

Confirm contact information. Before you transfer the title and turn over the keys, be sure you know how to contact the buyer if you need to. Verify the buyer’s address and phone number—an email address is not enough. And be particularly careful if the buyer is located overseas.

Secure payment first. Don’t transfer the title until you have the equivalent of cash at the agreed upon purchase price. If the buyer pays by check, wait until the check clears before transferring the title. Even if the buyer pays with a certified check, call the issuing bank to confirm the check has cleared.Use caution if the buyer proposes a complicated payment arrangement, such as a payment process that involves multiple steps, receiving payment through a friend or agent of the actual buyer or receiving a check for more than the purchase price and writing the buyer a check for the difference.

Consider escrow services. For additional comfort, you may prefer using a reliable escrow service. You can hold your car until an escrow service verifies it has received payment from the buyer. Shop carefully and choose an escrow service that is fully licensed and accredited. Additionally, make sure you understand all terms of the escrow arrangement.

As in all consumer transactions, there is no substitute for a healthy skepticism and your own good judgment. Remember, if a deal seems "too good to be true," it probably is.


Those were just two websites that I've seen people bitch about wanting fraud information posted on. Granted, Western Unions fraud information is posted via a small link at the bottom of their page, but it's there! Auto Trader's fraud information is obvious.

Yack, yack, yack... Bitch and moan. Get out and educate people. Don't sit around on your a$$ (Emotional ICU or not) and point fingers saying, "Well, if only this company would have done something, I wouldn't be out all that money..."

Pissed-off Spawn

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:38 am 
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Spawn, I have to agree with what you are saying although you have a rather beligerant way with your words.
This site is entitled 'ScamVictimsUnited'.
It is run for, and by, victims of scammers.
The participants have generally been hurt and lost their money.
They don't need beating with the facts even though they need to learn the truth so that they can avoid being caught a second time.
By all means quote the obvious, point out the shortcomings and lay out the facts, but do it gently. You'll still get your message through to most people.
There will however be those that don't want to, or can't, learn, and generally they are beyond help however loudly you shout.

Stay cool.

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