Using Information Technology To Expose Scammers; Traffic Light Camera Scam.

I’d encountered two different articles that described of two different scams, and both were very interesting.  The first one is “Anatomy of a Scam Investigation,” and the second one is “Traffic light camera scam steals your identity.”  The first article described how one could go about exposing a scam; what to do about a scam right after you had exposed it.  The second article described how one could become a victim of a new scam which is known as traffic light camera scam, but few people realized that they had been scammed by this very scam.

One doesn’t have to be a genius to know if something is fishy, because one just have to put a little extra effort in confirming what is and what isn’t.  The article “Anatomy of a Scam Investigation” shows us that by using the power of Google and various reputable governmental web services and public records, one can go about exposing a scam.  This article also explains that scammers live on the margin, relying on few fish getting hooked to have just enough juice so they can come up with other but somewhat similar scams.  This is why the Internet and modern communication channels can be effective in making the scammers’ margin a lot smaller and narrower in short amount of time, forcing the scammers to abandon their well exposed scams early.  To yield additional information on scammers, this article explains that one can use PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) to probe for more information on the scammers in question — this works if scammers had filed for bankruptcy or involved in court cases.

A very simple scam and yet so effective in scaring people to give up their credit card numbers and other confidential information, and even fewer people think that they had been scammed by traffic light camera scam as they thought that the callers who identified as police officers were legitimate authorities.  The article “Traffic light camera scam steals your identity” explains that legitimate bodies of government usually do not probe for credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other confidential information of citizens over the phone, because they usually do it in writing to create a paper trail so there will be a record of some sort to back the inquiry in question.  The simple solution to this scam is not to give up any confidential information over the phone even one is being threaten by a possibility of going to jail.

In conclusion, technology can help us, but it can also hurt us.  It’s depending on how we use it.  In the first article, technology helps us a great deal by allowing people to expose the scammers and to inform the government bodies so there will be appropriate punishments to be carried out against the scammers.  The second article gives us an insight that the legitimate traffic light cameras had unintentionally aided the scammers to trick people into giving up hard-earning dollars for nothing in return.  How?  Scammers rely on the fact that people know they are being watched by the traffic lights even though the traffic lights are never actually going to be the tool for scammers.  Through the Internet medium (i.e., a technology), we can read and write more to inform people about these scams, and by doing so many more of us can be informed and stay alert to avoid being scammed.

Sources:  http://www.popehat.com/2011/09/10/anatomy-of-a-scam-investigation-chapter-one/http://autos.yahoo.com/news/traffic-light-camera-scam-steals-your-identity.html

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