If you wander about the interwebs at all you will regularly see ads that are clearly scams. The most common ones are scams trying to sell muscle building drugs, weight loss drugs, investment advice and 'work at home making gazillions of dollars no skills required'. I know how the first two scams work as I dug into it a bit in a previous post (basically they try to start you off with free offers and hope you don't cancel the subscription) and investment advice is universally a scam, even when it comes from a 'reputable' source. Today on boingboing I found out just how deep a scam the 'work at home' ads are and it took my breath away. I had assumed, with my pessimism and nihilism set at Moderate that when you answered one of these ads the company in question just tried to get your banking or credit card information and then stole what they could from you. Turns out it is worse.
Instead of just stealing from you the companies involved in these scams use you as a front for organized crime. They get you to accept and reship packages or do other busywork that involves having your address on databases instead of theirs and after a month of work you suddenly find yourself cut off completely and *surprise* no cheques are actually going to arrive. Then, potentially, you find yourself visited by the police who want to know why exactly dozens of electronic items bought with stolen credit cards were delivered to your house and where the merchandise is now. In the meanwhile you have been shipping this junk overseas to places where the police have no jurisdiction or real power to investigate and the crime goes unpunished.
I wasn't surprised that otherwise reputable sites would be running ads trying to scam me out of cash with various despicable schemes but I sure didn't think that clicking through would set me up as a patsy for the mob. Did someone say something about 'If it looks to good to be true...'?