When I started this blog, I knew that identity theft was a hot topic. I just didn't know how hot.
Since I wrote this post about a check scam underway at the Craig's List sites, readers shared their experiences with avoiding check scammers. Several I've Been Mugged readers have submitted comments with tips about the habits of a specific check scammer who goes by the (obviously fake) name of Mr. Brahm. Tele-me wrote:
"i just received a check in the mail for way too much money on a car i was selling to mr. brahm. thank you for letting me know it was a scam. i looked in to it. his real name is michael harr lives in san diego ca..."
Laura included the text of one of Mr. Brahm's letters and added:
"I post the following only to show that Mr. Brahm, AKA Michael Harr - as per further research on other scam sites, is still in full operation. Furthermore, he has become more sophisticated in his language (no more misspellings!) and manner of address, making much more reasonable statements than before. In fact, the only matter of concern on my part was his claim that he was not able to see the item in person... he will eventually use another name/email address, etc. and it seems important for people to be able to recognize the style of his particular scam."
I suggest you read more comments about the check scam to better recognize this phishing e-mail. A variation of this scam tries to trick consumers into a phony job to wire money to an overseas address.
These attempts by scammers to trick consumers out of their money (or reveal their sensitive personal data and bank account information) is a reminder for consumers to verify the identity of a buyer; especially if they offer to pay more for an item than the asking price, and aren't interested in viewing the merchandise first. One way to check the identity is to do a Google (or Bing or Yahoo) search on the letter sender's name and e-mail address. Or check the scam/fraud section of the Web site you are using, including job search sites.
Last, I'd like to thank I've Been Mugged readers for sharing their experiences and comments. This helps all of us be informed shoppers and consumers. A wise person once told me that, "All of us together are smarter than any one of us." That is advice I firmly believe.