Osama Bin Laden Scams

May 7, 2011 at 12:07 a.m.

By Alan Bligh

Thinking of taking a hike, maybe along the beach, on a nature trail? Use caution, thieves are aware of what you are thinking. They will be waiting to pounce once you have left your car. They know it will be sometime before you return. Putting your purse or wallet in the trunk won't keep you safe. Thieves will break the front car window and pop the trunk. Now they have what they need to steal your identity. How can you avoid identity theft?

Leave certain information at home when you are hiking.

Carry your medical insurance card with you on your walk. Don't have it in your purse or wallet that you leave in the car.

Leave your checkbook and credit cards at home.

Remove subscription magazines from your vehicle. Bar codes can tell volumes about you.

Hide your garage door opener. If thieves get your garage door opener and your address from documents left in the car, they may head to your house.

Patients often find a physician by asking a friend, family member, etc. However, a growing number of people are turning to the Internet to find doctors. MDs are graded on dozens of free rating sites, often with bad testimonials.

Some doctors now require patients to sign a contract promising they won't post comments without prior approval from the physician.

Even though the concept of a "gag" agreement is not popular, doctors say the troubling trend is that the reviews allow anonymous and often disgruntled patients to vent publicly. Doctors can't even respond to specific complaints because of patient privacy laws.

Just hours after the death of Osama bin Laden, cybercriminals rolled out a host of scams designed to target Internet users. These include a Facebook page featuring ads for bin Laden-related freebies or death photos, which actually point users to pages that can hijack personal information.

Security experts recommend not clicking on unfamiliar links to purported bin Laden-related sites that you receive via email and social networking sites.

When someone tells you that you've won millions in a lottery, it can seem like an answer to prayer.

Better Business Bureau warns that a new scam is fraudulently using the BBB's name in order to steal tens of thousands of dollars from victims who are led to believe they have won a lottery. BBB has been notified that individuals have been contacted over the phone by someone claiming they were with the Council of Better Business Bureaus. That is the name of our national organization.

The caller indicated the individual had won a BBB lottery, but to receive the winnings, taxes and fees must be paid in advance. While the callers offer their phone numbers, they are not BBB numbers. As you may know the BBB does not run lotteries.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by email at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.



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