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Scam watch: Amazon emails, foreign travel, commodities fraud

May 13, 2012|By Stuart Pfeifer

Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Amazon.com email – Online shoppers should be careful if they receive emails that appear to be from amazon.com, but actually are attempts to steal victims' financial information, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent alert. The scam emails include the subject line, "Your Cancellation," the BBB said. Anyone who receives a suspicious email that appears to be from Amazon should visit the Amazon website directly by typing www.amazon.com into their browser, then sign into "your account" to see whether the email was valid, the BBB said.

Foreign hotel Internet – U.S. residents have reported that their laptops were infected with malicious software when they attempted to connect to the Internet in overseas hotels, the FBI said in a recent news release. Victims said their computers were infected after they clicked on links that popped up on their screens while they attempted to connect to the Internet, according to the FBI. The pop-up windows said the travelers needed to update software. As a precaution, people traveling abroad should update all software before they travel, the FBI said. In addition, the FBI recommends that travelers check the digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds with the software vendor.

Commodities fund – A Torrance man has been charged with commodities fraud for misleading investors about how he would manage their investments, causing them to lose more than $1.6 million. Michael J. Leighton, 53, was accused of putting a greater portion of his investors’ money at risk than he promised and issuing false reports to make it appear his investments were profitable when they weren’t. Investors, many of them friends and colleagues, lost between $1.6 million and $2.5 million, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office said. Leighton ran the scheme from 2008 to 2011 and used some investor money to pay his personal expenses, according to a criminal complaint. Leighton has agreed to plead guilty, repay his victims and face a possible prison sentence, according to a plea agreement.

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