Avoid scam at Christmas !

Stay clear of scam during your Christmas shopping!

With the end of the year approaching, you are definitely going to make your Christmas shopping, or at least thinking about it seriously. Perhaps you’ve already found all or part of Christmas gifts for your relatives or will you do it at the very last moment?

If you think to buy your gifts online, do not wait anymore because you must not overlook the delivery time that can sometimes extend into this holiday season. But do not rush on the first Website! You should first check a few key elements to avoid scam as a Christmas gift.

Here are the precautions to take before making a purchase from an e-commerce site in order to prevent scam :

Beware of low prices!

On the Internet, competition is fierce between online shop and the prices are optimized, particularly during the Christmas period. Therefore, it is impossible that a website offers a product that is clearly cheaper than the competition. There can be 2 or 3% of difference but a 10% difference is more than suspect. This is perhaps a fraudulent site that displays low price in order to get a maximum of orders without delivering any.

Check terms and conditions of sale

christmas tree
Credit: mattbuck

First, if the website you have found has no legal terms and conditions of sale, flee! If the site has these pages, but written in barely comprehensible English, flee as well.

Check the e-commerce law of your country. Most of the time, mandatory information is to be given on a dedicated page. For instance, the company name, a company registration number, VAT  number, a business mail address and a contact email address.

Do not order on sites whose name contains “cheap” or “discount”

If you are looking for a specific product, do not order on a website whose name is made up of the brand with the words “cheap” or “discount”. For instance, if you want a pair of Nike shoes, do not go on sites that would be called Nikecheap.com or Nikediscount.com

Check previous customer comments

Still have doubts? Another way to check the seriousness of an ecommerce site is to perform a research on a search engine. For example, you have found a site that would be called supersalesdiscountcheap.com (This site does not currently exist) but you have doubts. Type in Google “supersalesdiscountcheap.com”. The first line will be the website itself, but the next lines can be very interesting. If you come across a number of comments suggesting that this is a scam, go away.

If there are a lot of positive comments, it can also be a bad sign. People in charge of the website may have issued false positive ratings to embellish their popularity. In general, people leave opinions to express their disappointment, but not that much when they are satisfied with the service.

Enjoy the Christmas holidays and stay away from scam on the internet!

Stay away from student loan spam and dishonest ads

Many scammers occupy the Internet with spam and fake ads promising renegotiation of any student loan.

No matter if you are a student or not, you cannot avoid them. Student loan spam is reaching every day your mailbox. You probably don’t pay attention to those e-mails expect may be if you are a student struggling with your loans. Or if you are a student close to a student loan default.

Spam leading to phishing

On the image below, you can see an example of what this spam looks like.

student loan spam
credit : 1sc.org

If you click on one of the proposed links, you will be redirected to a website asking for questions about you and your loan status. Then, you are invited to check your credit score on another website, which appears to be a classical credit card phishing attempt.

credit : 1sc.org
credit : 1sc.org

Spam leading to undue fees

One alternative for scammers about student loan spam is to pretend to be able to propose a renegotiated loan to student. By before getting a new loan, the scammer pretend you must pay application fees.

If a student loan renegotiation website seems professional and trusty, run away immediately when they ask you to pay fees ! During any loan process, the borrowers will never be asked to give money in order to receive money.

If you pay those advanced fees, the scammer will disappeared with your money. Or he will find a reason to ask you for more fees. In both cases you will not get a new loan. And you will get in deeper trouble as you will lose money whereas you probably don’t have a lot if you need a loan…

Dishonest ads

Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), sent letters to major internet companies Google, Yahoo and Bing to do something to prevent student loan scams. Especially about dishonest ads targeting students and leading them to scams.

Do not trust the e-mails you receive or the ads you see on the Internet promising to renegotiate your loan. Those are scams !

PCS mastercard. Why do scammers love them ?

Scammers often ask their victims to send money in the form of  PCS mastercard refill coupon.

pcs mastercard
pcs mastercard

Many of you come to 1sc.org after a request concerning the PCS MasterCard in your Internet search engine. Most of the time, you had never heard of PCS mastercard before.

What is behind that name? And why has it become the preferred tool for scammers to make you sending money to them ?

The PCS mastercard is a payment tool, which looks like a credit card. It also has much in common with a classic credit card as your traditional bank can deliver you. With a PCS mastercard, it is both possible to pay any merchant that accepts credit cards and withdraw money in from the whole affiliated Mastercard network, i.e. almost all ATM machines.

Benefits the crooks have clearly understood

The main difference between a credit card from your bank and a PCS mastercard is that the former is not connected to any bank account and then is completely anonymous. You can buy it in any PCS sales point worldwide without having to provide any identity.

This is already a great advantage for those who want to remain discreet under some barely lawful operations. But this is not the only advantage. PCS mastercards are being credited by PCS refill coupons, also easily available worldwide.

In the manner of a gift card or phone recharge, a PCS card refill coupon is credited with a certain amount. The PCS card is recharged by entering the code on the refill coupon. This is convenient for honest users who have a way to get a payment card with expense limited by the amount credited through those refill coupons. No way to make an overdraft.

But it is also a very interesting aspect for scammers. Indeed, in correspondence with their victims, scammers ask their targets to buy refill coupons and send them the code. In this way, scammers credit their PCS card with money from their victims. This is anonymous and irreversible, it is then impossible for victims to get refunded or find the crooks afterwards

A PCS mastercard can be a great payment tool for honest users, but is also a good tool for scammers to receive money during Internet scams. Our best advice is to run away as soon as a person met on the Internet asks you to send money via PCS card refill coupons.