The Interwebs: Home of Green Eggs and SCAM!

I’ve made some good money on the Interwebs. From being a ChaCha guide to running an eBay store, there’s several ways I’ve earned a buck from being on my laptop. Several other people do it too, but some in a much more terrible way than I do (not that I do terrible things to earn money on the Internet). The terrible way I’m talking about is scams. Just the word sounds bad. Scams. Like a mix between SPAM and scabs. Yuck.

Here I’ll cover two particular scams I have experience with:
**NOTE: I didn’t fall for them.**

FreeCreditReport.com’s Fine Print
FreeCreditReport.com is the website advertised in those popular and unabashedly lame commercials with the band singing songs about bad credit.

Here’s what ConsumerFraudReporting.org has to say about their methods:

“When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 30-day trial period, you will be billed $12.95 for each month that you continue your membership. If you are not satisfied, you can cancel at any time to discontinue the membership and stop the monthly billing; however, you will not be eligible for a pro-rated refund of your current month’s paid membership fee.

FreeCreditReport.com has also been investigated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and forced to pay fines.”

But they haven’t been shut down! Also, they are run by one of the three major credit bureaus, Experian. Not cool. I know. (Just as an FYI the only way you can get a free credit report for sure is AnnualCreditReport.com)

PayPal Scams
Here’s just one of the ways PayPal is exploited.

Foreign scammers have picked up craigslist as one of their tools. They respond to posters who are selling popular electronics like iPhones, XBox360s, and the like and offer twice the amount they’re asking to send it to a foreign country. The country usually reported in the mailing address is in Nigeria. After sending you funds through PayPal, they expect to receive your package. Upon receipt they contact PayPal saying that the transaction went sour on your side and have them rescind the payment, removing it from your account. All this AFTER you’ve sent them the product.

This is the prime example of how PayPal protects buyers and neglects to have any security measures for sellers.

Accountability
I’d like to believe that all of us see scamming as a low, unethical way of stealing money, so my question is more about accountability. How can justice be brought to scammers? FreeCreditReport.com seems like it should be shut down by the FCC, but PayPal likely has little to no interest in holding authority to international scammers.

With the Internet becoming such a big part of our everyday lives and holding practically all of our personal information, how can we make sure we’re completely immune to scams, identity theft and things of that ilk?

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