Please see this website for a great list of all the latest scam types, and how scammers are still managing to fool business owners. Don't become a victim - be informed before you are even solicited!
http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/cp/consume ... st_bus.jsp
Newest scams in 2009
One of the more frequent scams being sent to Pet Sitters right now is a request for someone to run "Errands".
If you accept this type of scam, you may be asked to forward mail, and to "shop for gifts".
The mail you are forwarding includes fake checks being sent to people who are also getting scammed. Having them pass through you gives them a US postmark, making them look more legit. And the gifts you are shopping for are purchased with your own money. You are given fake checks as reimbursement, but a month later the checks bounce and the bank comes after you to repay the money and possible face fraud charges.
This scam has been emailed directly to pet sitters. It has also been posted all over the internet on craigs list, drupal, and other services.
Here is a sample of this type of scam:
March XX, 2009
I am looking for someone who can handle my personal and business errands at his/her spare time. Someone who can offer me these services:
Shop for Gifts
Receive my mails/package
You will work from your home at your convenience. Let me know if you will be able to offer me any of these services.
(Hundreds of different aliases used, so it's not worthwhile to even list them).
Scams popular in 2008:
A number of organizations have put out warnings lately about scams targeting specific businesses in certain areas.
The scams generally ask for donations for a cause. These scams are very similar to the "Firefighters association" scams that have been around for a while. However, when it comes to the pet industry, the scammers will tailor the scheme to be pet related. For example, they may claim to be collecting funds in support of a local police dog association.
Other scammers may try to sell you products. Some sell customized marketing items, such as pens.
Finally, a few scammers have popped up that try to sell business ads in a regular newsletter, paper, school flyer, or fundraising coupon - type book. I actually just got one of these for the coupon book scam a month ago, and didn't think anything of it (said mail me the details, and never received anything).
If you get any solicitations of any type over the phone, be wary even if it sounds legit. Ask for a website address, and a catelog to be mailed to you. Ask for a phone number and name of a contact person. Do a web search for the company name. Call other resources to check the source (for example, for a school newsletter, call the school. For a police related solicitation, call the police department).
And always consider paying via a method that has some dispute processes - such as credit cards, or PayPal for goods that fall under protection limits.