Social Networking Scam is a growing threat – D.C. Regulators Say
Wednesday’s Post 11/02/11 – Even in cyber space, it’s easy to deceive or even swindle internet users, says The Washington D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. To avoid being tricked by others on the world-wide web, people should make sure that they know whom they are transacting with on the internet, especially when it involves buying investments or insurance is done through referrals, friends, followers, or just mere fans on social networking sites. This was emphasized by the regulators on October 19, 2011 because of the many reported complaints from those whom were cheated just this year on financial investments and insurance. The Insurance Department Commissioner gave a warning; “just because someone added you as his friend does not mean he/she is reputable you or you should trust that person to invest your money or sell you insurance”. In addition, the person behind the profile may be deliberately mimicking your “likes” and “interests” for your trust to be gained and eventually luring you into a deception The scheme of “affinity fraud” has been used by these high-tech con artists for some years now. Most of the targets are those subscribed through traditional offline social networks like that of community service groups, professional associations on the web or even the faith-based organizations. To get your attention, these scammers creep into groups of individuals connected through mutual interests, hobbies, lifestyles, professions or faith to establish strong bonds through cyber contact which may include face-to-face and even sharing of personal interest to gain trust before delving deeper in presenting their dark motives. Cases like these have become rampant among social networking sites of today. Because of the rising popularity and established reputation of famous social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, con artists have made it easier to connect with their prospect victims as they try to establish trust and credibility. Crooks selling scams are increasing in number as they log on to these sites to find investors and their money, says the commissioner.
Anyone who has read my Blog Post’s over the last few years knows this is not a subject to be taken lightly. I have discussed the Auto Insurance Web Sites which are not licensed to sell you auto insurance but deceive you into thinking they can. These so call insurance sites merely collect your private personal information to sell to a third-party. The biggest indicator that an auto insurance website may not be licensed is as simple as having a phone number. Why would any legitimate insurance website not have a telephone number for you to call. Answer; they really may not want to speak with you so you can’t ask questions they don’t have the answer for.
Michael E. Dortch
President & Managing Agent
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446
(800) 807-0762 ext. 602