Friday, April 9, 2010

Beware of relatives seeking cash . . .

As the saying goes, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts," that in reference, of course, to the Trojan Horse. All is not as it appears. Today that might read, "Beware of relatives seeking cash."

Last week's issue of GenWeekly focused to some extent on genealogy fraud. This week, an article from the Colony Courier-Leader, "AG warns of grandparent scam,"reports a caution from the Texas Attorney General about scams targeting seniors, grandparents, in particular. The problem is not limited to Texas.

The scam "plays upon a grandparent's natural desire to protect a grandchild. Although variations of this scam have been around for a long time, it has become more sophisticated with the proliferation of information on the Internet. Con artists are more often using personal information gleaned from family blogs, genealogy Web sites, social networking sites, and online newspapers to add credibility to their calls. Reports from law enforcement agencies around the country suggest that the scam works too often." [italics my own]

We have noted on this blog and in various GenWeekly articles the dangers of putting too much personal information online, including family trees, social networks, and blogs. So this is just another word of caution.

"Law enforcement agencies encourage [residents] to always exercise some skepticism when they receive telephone calls urgently requesting money."

The article goes on to suggest ways to detect and avert a scam -- it's definitely worth taking the time to read.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

April Fooled: Three Hoaxes That Make Jokes Out of Genealogical Research

As Lincoln said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." Unfortunately, "some" do become victims of frauds and hoaxes. In every field, it seems, there is someone (or several) who profit or take pleasure in duping others. Genealogy is no exception.  In her article, "April Fooled: Three Hoaxes That Make Jokes Out of Genealogical Research," Rita Marshall explores some of the more infamous genealogy frauds in history, some that being perpetuated to this day. And new ones abound. The moral of the story is be aware and do your own due diligence so you can recognize a fake when you see it.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Genealogy and Internet Security

We cannot be reminded too often about securing our personal data online. Based on his own personal experience with hackers and security violations, Alan Smith, in his most recent article, "Genealogy and Internet Security," offers a few specifics for ensuring your personal information when working online. One point was addressed specifically to those who publish, which the average researcher might not have considered previously: "If you publish a book or a newsletter on family history, include a copyrighted message and warning that information in your publication is not to be posted on the Internet." Of course, that does not guarantee it won't be done, but it's a start. 

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Be aware of genealogy scam tactics

Always a good reminder, Kimberly's Genealogy Blog on, zeros in on "How to Identify Genealogy Scams." For researchers, its worth taking the time to become familiar with the tactics, quite often charging you for information that is readily available OR charging to lead to sources that you could find easily on your own or through legitimate, free resources.

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