Scam of the day – October 6, 2013 – Government shutdown scams

Always looking to take advantage of events in the news, scammers have been recently taking advantage of the federal government shutdown as a focal point for scams on the public.  The scams are taking various forms.  One form is an email that you receive from a new strongly partisan entity that either blames the Republicans or the Democrats for the shutdown and asks for your donations to fund political action against whichever party they are blaming for the country’s financial woes.  Another form of the scam that has been turning up involves emails informing you of closeout sales on 2013 cars and trucks with the warning that this is a limited offer.  In some of these emails the statement “Don’t delay – this event will end immediately after a budget deal is reached.”  Some subject lines in these scam emails also read “Half-off our autos for each day the US Govt is shut down” and “Get half off MSRP on new autos for each day of govt. shut down.”

TIPS

If you do blame a particular political party for the federal government shutdown and wish to contribute to the other party, you should not do so through an email from an organization that you have no way of knowing is legitimate or not.  If you are inclined to give to a particular party go directly to their website.  For the Republican party, go to www.gop.com and for the Democratic party, go to www.democrats.org.   As for buying a car or truck unseen in response to an offer you receive online, you should ask yourself what this possibly has to do with the government shutdown?  You also should avoid clicking on any link in the email because unknown to you, it may download keystroke logging malware on your computer that can steal all of your information and end up making you a victim of identity theft.  If you are still interested in the car or truck, you should check out the company with the Better Business Bureau and the local Chamber of Commerce.  A telephone call to the dealership also makes sense because a scammer might be using the name of a legitimate dealer in its scam.