Friday, October 10, 2014

Don't Let Scams (OR Your State Government) Steal Your Income!

I am taking a quick break from the Promotional Calendar series to call your attention to a couple of things that could really hurt your business.

First off, I want to warn you about several scam emails that even the most veteran of computer users have fallen victim to. You may be receiving emails from AOL, Bank of America, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Delta Airlines, CVS Pharmacy, USPS, FedEx, and others. Here are a few examples (I have no control over how long images will be available since they are not mine!) - do NOT click ANY of the links here:
Action is Required
  Payment Declined - Your account needs attention!
Please Update Your Account

update now button

Dear steve,

We're sorry, but we were unable to process your recent payment for your subscription. This may be because the credit card we have on file expired or reached its limit. Please update your billing information as soon as possible in order to avoid any interruption to your services.

You can update your billing information online simply by going to and clicking on "Manage My Wallet and Billing Info." If you need further assistance, you can get help online or contact an AOL customer service representative at 866-485-9217.

In order for your subscription to continue uninterrupted, please update your billing information today.

Thank you for your prompt response.


AOL Member Services
update now button
Update online by visiting or
call customer service 866.485.9217 to avoid service interruption.
This WAS from AOL...trying to charge me for an account I haven't used AOL in about 18 years! Here's another one that COULD have tripped me up if I hadn't been cautious:


Our companys courier could not make the delivery of parcel to you address at 2nd October.

Print your label and show it in the nearest post office to get a parcel.

Print Shipping Label
Copyright 2014 USPS. All Rights Reserved.   

I did NOT click the link, but instead took a look at the header. The mail was sent by you think this is the Post Office's official email address? Nah, I don't either. Feel free to send this address about 1000 long junk emails and maybe his service will be shut off.

Dear Customer,

Your parcel has arrived at September 29. Courier was unable to deliver the parcel to you.
To receive your parcel, print this label and go to the nearest office.
Get Shipment Label
FedEx 1995-2014   

If you were to click the link - which I did NOT do -  it takes you to oBF9dkh7jybwxa +JcMPXP4yF6617EISlQip Ji8yizkI 

I am pretty darn sure this is NOT FedEx's email address either. This link is probably harmless, sending you to a site that wants to sell you some type of window cleaner. But others are not so harmless.

I also got similar emails from PayPal and Bank of America's "Security Department" informing me that an unauthorized attempt was made to access my account, so please click a link and create a new password. Oh, yeah, like I was about to do that! You can bet this was a phishing scam intended to grab my personal info and grab my cash...not that they would have gotten much ;)

Whenever you get an email like this, NEVER click any links until you check the sender's email address. In fact, I wouldn't even do it then. If you are in doubt, contact the business and verify such information. It goes without saying, NEVER, NEVER, EVER click links or download files from sources you do not absolutely trust.

Finally, you want to make sure you keep your taxes - both business AND personal - current. But ESPECIALLY keep your State taxes up to date. Most states have a collection policy that makes the Federal Government look like Girl Scouts. They have huge penalties for unpaid sales taxes and will suck your personal accounts dry, even if you are a Corporation, without any previous notification. The IRS has hardship allowances if you owe taxes. Most states do NOT! They don't care if you won't be able to pay your employees, your health insurance, or your house or car payment. They are blood suckers. Take a look at just how ruthless Kalamazoo, Michigan is.                                         

That's it for this time. Next time we will get back to the Promotional Calendar. And may the tax man never interfere with your quest doing Photography for Income!

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