Saturday, December 18, 2010

Curious about Fraud: Have You Experienced It? How Do You Feel about It? What Do You Do to Avoid It?

Definition of Fraud: Deception deliberately practiced with a view to gaining an unlawful or unfair advantage; artifice by which the right or interest of another is injured; injurious stratagem; deceit; trick. An intentional perversion of truth for the purpose of obtaining some valuable thing or promise from another. A trap or snare.

But I'm acutely aware that the possibility of fraud is even more prevalent in today's world because of the Internet and cell phones and the opportunity for instant communication with strangers.” - Armistead Maupin, American novelist

This week’s blog is about fraud. Why? Because this past week I was a victim and I want to warn as many people as possible so they won’t also become victims. It’s not any fun, but I realize that it can be avoided. I admit that I had become rather complacent and, like you, I tend to trust everyone. Oh, yes. I do have updated virus protection and a strong firewall. I am also careful about phishing. I don’t go to sites that ask for passwords and other information in my e-mails.

I have been working on and answering a variety of surveys. Some are interesting and fun, and some don’t warrant any extra attention. But, I did give information to a survey that supposedly would send you your free credit scores. I say “supposedly” because I did not receive them. And then, a couple of days ago, I noticed a strange addition to my bank account activity – a charge for $14.95.

When I stopped at the bank to find out what it was, I was told that it came from Mini Credit I looked it up on Google to discover hundreds of complaints from other victims. They suggested that this fraudulent group continues to recharge and recharge you again and again. I called the bank’s customer service number and cancelled my current debit card and will receive a new one in three or four business days. I hope that this is the end. I learned the importance of checking out everything on Google before becoming involved, and to become more diligent about sharing information.

When I looked up fraud quotations to share with you, I found a large number that address political fraud – including voter fraud – and corporate fraud. So, I will share only a few in this blog, that I think are interesting:
  • Things gained through unjust fraud are never secure.” – Sophocles, Greek poet
  • There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.” - Frederick William Robertson, English clergyman
  • Style is a fraud. I always felt the Greeks were hiding behind their columns.” - Willem de Kooning, American artist
  • Some people think that prayer just means asking for things, and if they fail to receive exactly what they asked for, they think the whole thing is a fraud.” - Gerald Vann, British theologian
  • Whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth.” – Phaedrus, Roman poet
  • Why, I ask, isn't it possible that advertising as a whole is a fantastic fraud, presenting an image of America taken seriously by no one, least of all by the advertising men who create it?” - David Riesman, American sociologist

And a few more:

  • Identity theft involving these cards is a growing form of white collar crime, facilitating illegal immigration, banking and accounting fraud, tax evasion, and other nefarious activities.” - Ron Lewis, American politician
  • Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.” – Sophocles, Greek poet
  • With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I try to be a fraud and a half.” - Otto von Bismarck, German leader
  • Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.” - Jean-Luc Godard, French director
  • For the most part fraud in the end secures for its companions repentance and shame.” - Charles Simmons, British gymnast
  • The greatest threat to the constitutional right to vote is voter fraud.” - Lynn Westmoreland, American politician

Yes, after working on this blog article, I have become more skeptical than ever before. I hate the fact that there are so many scams on the exciting Internet and that we can’t be trusting of the majority of people. How about you? Have you had to deal with fraud? If so, do tell us about it.