First, I am in no way putting down message boards if properly used, they are a huge resource of information and friendship. With that said, I wanted to give some well needed information to those out there who visit message boards.
We have all, at one point or another, posted or read information on a message board and Im sure a few of us have developed friendships on these same boards. Now granted, this does not happen all the time, but I would like to share a few experiences that have happened to raise awareness on the newest type of scam artist out there.
A young lady had been posting on a parenting board I was a member of and she was a nice, funny, and lively young lady. I felt like we all had gotten to know her the 9 months she had been a member. She had a rough home life, 2 kids, and an abusive boyfriend. She did not have the money to leave her situation, but even with the drama in her life, she always tried to be cheerful and give warm advice to those in need. Well right before Christmas she posted a long saga that was happening in her life, ending with her kids would not have gifts for Christmas.
Everyone felt their heart go out to this girl and her children and a few members set up a fund to donate to this girl, so that her kids might have a Christmas after all. It all sounded sweet and innocent and I think all together 550 dollars was raised for this girl. Of course, she was grateful and appreciative. I did not donate to the fund myself because I don’t believe in giving the gift of money to someone I have yet to meet, but the day after she received her money she disappeared in to the unknown, never to be heard from again. A lot of members said, ‘I’ll bet she left that boyfriend of hers’ and it was never really talked about again.
Well a couple of months later I was on another message board, reading through archived posts and what do you know? Around Christmas, the same girl gave a different story and got about 300 dollars from this message board too. Well, by then my mind was working overdrive and I knew what had happened. So, the people thinking they were doing a kind act, helping their ‘Friend’, actually got scammed.
This happens all the time and its actually easier to scam money from a message board than anything else. My theory is this, make friends and enjoy your message boards because I really love reading on mine, but be very wary in donating to a persons cause. Think of it this way. You don’t personally know this person and how do you really know what they are typing is true?
Another common message board fraud is when the administrators rally for money and hold a position of trust in the online community, so even the most skeptical person feels a soft place in their heart for the trusted board Admin. Here is the thing, this person could have 20 message boards out there asking for the same thing or they could get the money, shut the board down, and then open another a month down the line. This is a common happening in our world of virtual technology that a lot of people are not aware of.
Another fraud that I have ran into is asking for credit card info in order to join a message board. The disclaimer stated that they don’t charge your card, its for verification procedure only, to protect against fraudulent action on the message boards. Please, steer clear of these types of boards. It is a total scam in its self because if you scroll down and read the fine print, you are usually charged 1-5 dollars a month for 2 years, even if you decide not to participate in the board anymore. By simply entering your credit card info, you have entered into an agreement to donate to this board. Usually, the amounts are so small, it takes a busy person a while to notice any things going on and because the charges don’t start for 90 days. Usually, the person had forgotten about giving out the info. If you do want to participate in this type of message board, keep a record of all the companies and message boards that you have given your credit card information to, that way if something does happen you have a record of it.
This was not written to discourage the use of message boards. It was written to bring about an awareness of the fraudulent acts that affect a lot of people on a daily basis.