Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mundy Boback 2 Legislators proposing legilsation for public water protection from Marcellus Shale drilling

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) announced her intent to introduce legislation that will provide additional protections for public drinking water supplies, as the natural gas drilling industry continues to grow in Pennsylvania.

“Natural gas drilling has the potential to be the most promising economic boon for our Commonwealth, but we have to proceed with caution and make sure we are putting the health and safety of our citizens first,” said Boback. “I am introducing this legislation to put additional safeguards in place for the drinking water sources we all share and on which we rely. As we have seen from the catastrophe in the Gulf, once an accident occurs, it is difficult to restore our natural resources. I believe the best approach is to proceed with caution.”
Boback’s legislation would require companies seeking drilling permits in close proximity to public drinking water sources to provide the following information to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP):

Names of all surface landowners with water supplies within a mile of a proposed well – said landowners will also be notified of proposed drilling.
An emergency contingency plan.
An analysis of the travel time of a release to the nearest waterway.
The zone of influence on groundwater.

In addition, it would require DEP to notify all public water drinking operators within the watershed that a well permit has been submitted and to publish a notice in the PA Bulletin if it believes a proposed well site will have the potential to affect a public water supply. Finally, it would include a prohibition on horizontal drilling beneath any public drinking water source and would increase the buffer between any drill site and public drinking water sources.

“If an accident were to occur that would taint public water supplies, it would have a devastating effect on the lives and health of area residents and on the community itself,” said Boback. “My legislation is another precaution to protect those I serve.”
Boback noted that this legislation will be part of a package of bills aimed at increasing the safety of Pennsylvania’s waterways.

Rep. Karen Boback
117th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(570) 477-3752
(717) 787-1117
Contact: Nicole Wamsley
(717) 783-8063
Member Site:
Caucus Site:

My Comments
A Few Comments: On your proposed legislation

1. I like that surface landowners are notified- I am assuming this notification is in writing and it should include a map.

2. The contingency plan should include emergency response for spills etc and it would be advisable to develop a watershed based program – at a minimum signs in the watershed identifying key wellhead protection zones for public water wells and watershed boundaries for surface reservoirs- this program has been available to public water sources and they really have not done much. If possible the surface reservoirs should also be signed with emergency response numbers to facilitate a spill from anyone - brine tank, home heating fuel, gasoline, etc.

How about emergency management for gasoline stations????? Again – these systems may be have doubled walled tanks that contain thousands of gallons of toxic, hazardous, and flammable material that in some cases  area installed directly in a water table for shallow aquifer.

Just so you know 1 gallon of gasoline contaminates about 1 million gallons of water. I know the local target is Natural Gas – but if we are going to put in place regulations lets not forget some of the other more significant hazards we have already.
3. Regarding the time of travel to a waterway there is guidance in the sourcewater protection manuals – typically this is a time of travel of 5 hours to the point of intake. Something different is needed – but this should not be limited to natural gas drilling – this should also apply to gasoline stations, etc.   Also - Please do not convert the Sourcewater Protection Guidance Manual into a regulation.

4. Zone of influence – to be honest – most wellhead protection zones – Zone 1 for public wells is about 100 feet not much more – because the public well owner has to control the surface use either directly or by some conservation easement.   In this area the Zone 1 does not normally extend to 400 feet.

I do not believe that horizontal drilling at 5000+feet below a well is an issue for these sources, but it is a good idea to stay away and this activity should not be in the Wellhead Protection Zone. If we can not have stormwater recharge in a wellhead protection zone - we should not have drilling activities.

The more important concern is not the distance from the source- but the construction of the vertical wellbore for the natural gas well – We need multiple strings of pipe that provide multiple barriers between the various water bearing zones. inspections and certifications on the cement, etc.  In addition, it may not be a bad idea to have monitoring or observations well surrounding a well pad or gasoline station/or other storage type facility - at least one upgradient and two downgradient wells.

5. Also – where is the real-time monitoring in the headwaters????

6. Better and larger isolation distances from streams and waterways for the drilling pad location would be advisable – I think the new stream buffers go a long way, but the current isolation distances in the regulations are not adequate, but some of this could be addressed via engineering controls at the site.

7. How about some private well construction standards ? Lets not forget – that once a private well is contaminated from any activity it will facilitate the contamination of the rest of the system. We are forgetting that we have a lot of poorly constructed private wells that have created places in the regional geology where contaminants can “leak” into the aquifer.

8. How about legislation that requires public water suppliers to own and protect watershed land –rather than selling it off as in the case for all our surface reservoirs.

Just my thoughts.
Hope you Read
Brian Oram, Professional Geologist
Dallas Resident

PS: I am working on the Local Alternative and Renewable Energy Expo in Dallas
June 26 – 27, 2010
Luzerne County Fairgrounds

This sending in advance to posting my comments on my blog

Friday, June 18, 2010

No-till Field Day In Pennsylvania Good Agricultural Practices

Soil plays an extremely important and large role in farming along with water, nutrients, sunlight, and air. Soil quality is the capacity of a soil to function in a manner to provide sustainability of plants and animals, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support humans. Agricultural practices can either positively or negatively affect soil quality depending upon the manner they are implemented. Organic matter plays a very critical role in soil quality in that keeping organic matter levels high, or adding new organic matter every year is perhaps the most important way to improve and maintain soil quality.

Charlie Miller and his family have been farming vegetables and hay for over 50 years. The family began no-tilling grains in the 1960’s, limited no-till vegetables over the last 15 years, and the entire farm is now no-till for one year. This no-till field day will provide insight into the Miller Family Farm’s practices and how they focus their operation on increasing organic matter and soil quality through no-till corn and vegetable planting, crop rotations, cover crops, manure/compost additions, irrigation, and a high tunnel pilot project. Also discussed will be the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

Program and why it is so important for producers to consider for their operation, and how it will affect their future onfarm operations.

Presentations at the informational sessions will include:

No-till Corn Planting
Matt Schaffer, Schaffer Farms, Wayne County

No-till Vegetable Transplanting
Charlie Miller, Lackawanna County Conservation District

Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops
Jennifer Matthews, USDA-NRCS & Charlie Miller, Lackawanna County Conservation District

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Program- Why it is so important for producers

John Esslinger, PSU Cooperative Extension & Kim Carlin, Crop Scout
Location -
Charlie Miller’s Farm
13046 Lower Maple Drive
Clarks Summit, PA 18411
July 9, 2010

Lunch will be provided therefore an RSVP is requested no later than Tuesday, July 2nd to the

Pocono Northeast RC&D Council at (570)282-8732 ext.4

Marcellus Shale drillers, developers given clear roadmap for keeping drinking water and streams safe

Marcellus Shale drillers, developers given clear roadmap for keeping drinking water and streams safe

Posting a copy of a release I got from Penn Future

(Harrisburg, PA - June 17, 2010) -- Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) today praised the members of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) for passage of two key new regulations that will protect drinking water and streams and rivers from pollution from Marcellus Shale drilling and new development projects. The new rules on drilling will require that drillers treat their toxic and salt-laden wastewater to drinking water standards if they want to dispose of it in Pennsylvania?s waterways. The other rules will require some developers to maintain or create a 150 foot natural vegetative buffer beside Pennsylvania?s best rivers and streams.

The bipartisan IRRC vote on both sets of regulations was 4 - 1, with Chair Arthur Coccodrilli (appointed by the Senate Democratic leader), Vice Chair George D. Bedwick (appointed by the Democratic Speaker of the House), John Mizner (appointed by the Republican President Pro Tem of the Senate), and S. David Fineman (appointed by the Democratic Governor) all voting in the majority.
"The IRRC deserves praise for taking two giant steps in protecting safe drinking water and our rivers and streams," said Jan Jarrett, PennFuture’s president and CEO. "These updated rules give both the Marcellus Shale drillers and developers across the state a clear roadmap for water protection. Now it’s time to stop any excuses, and follow the rules.
"Frankly, I'm tired of the 'Yes, buts' from the drillers, and to a lesser extent from the development community," continued Jarrett. "They always claim they want to protect our environment and economy, but then they fight against commonsense regulations requiring them to do so. And the recent drilling accidents make it clear to every Pennsylvanian that we need strong regulations in place to protect the public, workers, and natural resources.
"That's why the Pennsylvania Senate must join the House in passing the freeze on new drilling in our State Forests," continued Jarrett. "We have leased as much of the forests as we can. Leasing any more would permanently damage our public forest land.
"I'm also tired of the refusal of the drillers to pay their fair share," continued Jarrett. "They pay a drilling impact fee in every other state with major natural gas deposits without a complaint – there’s no reason they shouldn’t pay it here. The legislature needs to enact a severance tax on the drillers, with dedicated portions of the revenue to go to Growing Greener, Fish and Boat Commission, Game Commission, other environmental agencies, and local communities 'hosting the drillers. Paying Pennsylvanians back for the enormous profits the drillers will make on our natural gas is not too much to ask, and it's time for the drillers to stop their intransigent behavior and agree."

The State Senate Environment Committee passed a resolution to delay implementation of the drilling regulations by two weeks and the House Committee passed a motion to delay the buffer, which will delay implementation. If the committees don’t disapprove of the regulations within 14 days, both will be reviewed by the Attorney General, then will be published and become law.
At the IRRC Meeting this morning, Reg 2783 and Reg 2806 passed by 4-1:
Independent Regulatory Review Commission
10:00 a.m., 333 Market St., 14th Floor Conference Room, Harrisburg

Public meeting to consider the following Regulations:

• Reg. No. 2673 PA Public Utility Commission #57-260: Abbreviated Procedure for Review of Transfer of Control & Affiliate Filings for Telecommunications Carriers

• Reg. No. 2783 Environmental Quality Board #7-440: Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management

• Reg. No. 2806 Environmental Quality Board #7-446: Wastewater Treatment Requirements

Senate Communications and Technology

10:00 a.m., Room 8E-B, East Wing

Personal Notes
1. I do not like the idea of a standard buffer, because it really depends on site conditions and nature of the system and type of engineering controls.
2. Bring the water to drinking water quality -  this sounds good - but how will this be done _ I would assume to be cost efficient this would require central treatment facilities.  It would not make much sense to go to a stream discharge, it would be a lot easier to establish central treatment facilities that treat and blend water - full recirculation system.
3. What are we going to do with the brine concentrate?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pennsylvania Severence Tax - What, Where, How, and When

The severance tax on natural gas is not a bad idea for Pennsylvania.  I would recommend the following:

1. The Severance Tax should be applied to all natural gas development that is being done by non-PA small  businesses and I do not believe the tax should apply to relatively shallow vertical wells.
2. The Severance Tax should not be used to bailout the PA State Budget, fund school programs, fund the development of any Marcellus Shale Centers or Economic Research, but should be used to invest in the State infrastructure, alternative and renewable energy, invest in cleaning up contamination associated with leaking underground gasoline (abandon sites), capping and cementing abandon wells, stabilizing and remediating mine land, community education and workforce development for non-petrochemical industry, buying development and mineral rights, and specific growing greener initiatives that related to water reuse, stormwater management through community redevelopment using "smart growth" and low-impact development and similar projects.

3. Since the gas is a state resource, a portion of the revenue should be used to reduce state and school tax burden of the homeowners and landowners. 

Here's a taste of their extensive wish list. A severance tax could . . .

1.Plug this year's budget shortfall.  - No

2.Monitor public health impact. - No  - this should be an industry funded study with 3rd party review.

3.Preserve state's natural resources.- YES- but we should own the mineral and gas rights and consider developing

4.Create an escrow fund for community adjustments.- No - This should be accomplished by the Company funding local projects and monies collected by real fines.

5.Fund research on economic, environmental, and health effects. No - this should be an industry funded study with 3rd party review or a federal project.
6.Aid affected municipalities. No - This should be accomplished by the Company funding local projects and monies collected by real fines - higher road bonds
7.Aid affected counties. No - This should be accomplished by the Company funding local projects and monies collected by real fines, permit review fees at local level and possibly stormwater inspections.
8.Help municipalities deal with crime.No - there is a lot more crime associated with drugs.  They can collect fines and other court costs.

9.Cover the costs of environmental cleanup.- Yes for projects that are not related to current natural gas development - but abandoned sites such as landfills, gasoline stations, etc.

10.Fund infrastructure repair. - YES - especially water and sewer and stormwater projects, developing alternative energy systems, and making public buildings energy efficient.

11.Cover emergency services. No- this should be funded by the Company and covered by fines.

12.Mitigate other social costs of drilling. No- What social costs???

 13.Build roads. No- this should be funded by the Company and covered by fines.

14.Build bridges.No- this should be funded by the Company and covered by fines.

15.Train employees for natural gas jobs. No- this should be funded by the Company through grants - we should fund alternative energy and renewable energy training and installation.

16.Extend Gov. Rendell's Growing Greener II program, which already received $625 million of taxpayer dollars.  YES - but projects need to be more focused
17.Make bond payments for Growing Greener. YES

18.Preserve farmland. YES- but mineral, wind, and gas rights should be included.this land should be used for the community benefit -this means that land needs to be managed for the economic and environmental benefit of the community.  This may not mean just farming - but energy projects.
19.Purchase open spaces.YES- but mineral, wind, and gas rights should be included.  If we purchase open space - this land should be used for the community benefit -this means that land needs to be managed for the economic and environmental benefit of the community.

20.Fund state parks. NO - this should be funded by higher fees at the park, leasing gas, and grants from Industry.

21.Help with environment restoration.   Yes - If we are speaking about mine land, abandon landfills, but not old industrial sites.

22.Aid mine reclamation.- Yes

23.Plug old wells. Yes

Using a gas tax a a "dedicated funding stream" has been suggested, for a number of state government funds, including:
1.The Environmental Stewardship Fund.- Yes, but projects have to be focused and sustainable
2.Conservation District Fund - Yes, but the conservation districts should also be able to obtain fees from gas permit reviews and on-site inspection of stormwater facilities.
3.The Pennsylvania Game Commission - Yes - if they can use to purchase land with mineral, wind, and gas rights.
4.The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission - Yes - if they can use to purchase and obtain water rights- but a large junk of funding should come from permit review fees and fines.
5.LIHEAP - NO  - Not paying a gas bill - but only weatherization that improves energy efficiency and the installation of alternative and renewable energy - if this is done on rental properties the landowner most either report the benefit as income or pay a portion of the value of the improvement. 6.Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund - YES
7.Liquid Fuels Tax Fund- but this should target the purchase of equipment that is energy efficient and perhaps uses alternative and renewable fuels and should cover the installation of alternative and renewable energy on public buildings (if this is possible)

A very interesting calculator - I am not confirming that it is accurate.

Check out the Severance Tax Ticker online:
The Ticker can be embedded on other web sites by copying the "Embed Code" from the upper-right-hand corner of the Ticker. View the methodology used to create the Ticker:

These are just my thoughts -article in development

Monday, June 7, 2010

BP Oil Discharge Not a Spill in the Gulf - It is not a Spill But a Failure - Oil Spill Live Feed

This page was created for me to use as a Jump Station

Drink the Bug Juice - BP's Spin

Live Feeds - Not Someone Selling T-Shirts

BP Response - The Details

BP Response - The Videos

Visualize the BP Diaster

Again this was done for my benefit - I got sick of all the ads and spoof sites.


1. This should tell us we should not be drilling in these types of areas without significant improvement and increases in third party inspections, posting significant bonds, and more detailed permitting, etc.

2. We need to have back-up on the back-ups.

3. We need to make a stronger effort to promote alternative energy systems, conservation, and tax incentatives to create jobs and install geothermal, ground source, solar, wind, etc.  Lets try to reduce oil usage as fast as possible.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pocono Northeast RC&D Council Announces the 2010 Energy Environmental Expo - June 2010

The Pocono Northeast Resource, Conservation, and Development Council is announcing the 2010 Northeastern Pennsylvania Energy and Environmental Expo. This 10 county community event that will be held at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds in Dallas, PA. The event will be held rain or sunshine on June 26 - 27, 2010. At part of this event, there will be over 30 businesses promoting alternative and renewable energy, energy conservation, and environmental stewardship. In addition to the local and regional businesses, there will be over 20 hours of training an alternative energy system, conservation, climate change, and other environmental issues. The following is a partial listing of the training programs with a listing for the presenter:

"Home Energy Conservation/Wind Energy" - Sandy Babuka, Trehab Renewable Energy-Wind
"Home Energy Performance" - Frank Malpere, Quality Building and Remodeling
"Fueling Pennsylvania – Current & Future Trends & Pennsylvania’s Contribution to Global Warming" - Joy Tetlak-Adelstein, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), Outreach Coordinator for Northeastern PA
"Geothermal – Ground Source Energy from the Mine Pool" - Stephen C. Daiute, PE, LEED AP, Greenman-Pederson, Inc
"Energy Audits" - National Energy Education Development Project
"Solar Home Energy " - Nora Buckman, Trehab Renewable Energy- Solar
"Native Grasses for Energy" - Scott Singer, US Dept of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS)
"Building Envelope " - Rick Czajkowski, Quad-K Energy Conservation
"Groundwater and Geology for Northeastern PA—Getting the Waters Tested " - Brian Oram, Wilkes University
"Ground Source Heating and Cooling for Your Home – Using the Earth to Save Money" - Scott Moyer, Duane Moyer Well Drilling
"Biomass Heating Opportunities- Pennsylvania Fuels for Schools & Beyond – A Community – Based Solution – Reduce School District Fuel Costs by over $ 30,000/yr." - Ryan Koch, US Dept of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS)
"Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology" - Stephen Kew-Goodale, Weatherly Institute for Robotics and Engineering
"Solar Photovoltaics" - AJ Bittner, Keystone Energy
"Geothermal Energy / Ground Source Heating and Cooling for Your Healthy Home" - Thomas E. Spall, T.E. Spall & Son – “The Comfort Doctors”

In addition, on Saturday - June 26, 2010 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm - the Sustainable Energy Fund is offering an education session titled "NO Cost and Low Cost Energy – Solutions for Citizens and Businesses".
The Expo Committee would like to thank our Event Sponsors and Sponsors. The following are the sponsors for the event:

Event Sponsor - Encana - underwriting the cost for Energy Audit workshops being done by the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) and discount coupon for the event.

The mission of the National Energy Education Development Project is to promote an energy conscious and educated society by creating effective networks of students, educators, business, government and community leaders to design and deliver objective, multi-sided energy education programs.

Platnium Sponsors

Wilkes University is helping to sponsor, promote and provide free continuing education units and a certificate for continuing education for all of the training sessions during the event and conducting an education session related to developing or reviewing baseline water quality data for private well owners

B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc is helping to promote and sponsor this event and conducting an education session.
Gold Sponsors

Duane Moyer Well Drilling and Moyer's Plumbing Supply and Hardware is helping to sponsor, promote, and conducting an education session during the event and exhibiting.
Reilly Associates is helping to sponsor and promote and will be exhibiting at the event.
Web Design Pros is helping to sponsor and promote the event and will be giving away stainless steel sports bottles during the event.

Silver Sponsors

Shoener Environmental is helping to sponsor and promote the event and will be exhibiting at the event.
Green Field Energy Solutions is helping to sponsor and promote the event and will be exhibiting at the event and has volunteered time during the event.

Tomhicken Pure Spring Water is helping to sponsor the event and is donating product for the event.

Rick Grant and Associates is helping to plan, sponsor, and promote the event and working with local and regional media.

In addition to the sponsors, this event would not happen without the help of our planning partners and media partners: B.F. Environmental Consultants, Inc, Endless Mountains RC&D Council, Green Building Association of Central PA Luzerne, Columbia, and Wayne County Conservation Districts, PennFuture, National Energy Education Development Project, National Awakenings Magazine, Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support, Sustainable Energy Fund, Times-Shamrock Communications, Trehab Renewable Energy, Wilkes University and WNEP-TV.
To learn more about the event, please visit
The Council is always looking for good projects, board members, and project partners. If you want to learn more about Council, please visit -

BPI Certication, IREC NABCEP Certification, LEED-AP, and IGSHPA Certification - Alternative Energy and Conservation

"Energy auditors and home performance contractors are going to need BPI certification to access the estimated $6 billion in Home Star rebates for energy efficiency retrofits. All rebates aside, the BPI certification exams cover a lot of vital information that building professionals need to know".

Leading Educators, offers web-based and convential professional traing courses to Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation, a partial listing of courses
Energy Auditor Training + BPI Certification Exams
Includes Manuals, Field Training + Written & Field BPI Exams
IGSHPA Accredited Geothermal Installer Training/Certification

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installation and Solar Thermal -IREC/ NABCEP
Open Loop/ Standing Column
BPI Building Analyst
Solar Thermal Boot Camp-IREC/ NABCEP
Geothermal System Design and Installer Training Courses- IGSHPA
Green Associate
Learn more about these and other courses go to

People who take this course will have the opportunity to become energy auditors, HERS raters, and home performance contractors

Pennsylvania Continuing Education Requirements for Professional Geologists In Effect for 2011-2013 Renewal Period

This is not my work- but a reposting from the Professional Association.


Continuing Education Requirements for Professional Geologists In Effect for 2011-2013 Renewal Period
On May 12, 2010, Governor Rendell signed Act 25 of 2010 into law. Act 25 amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law to clarify mandatory continuing education ("CE") requirements. Section 4.5 of Act 25 requires that a licensee complete 24 professional development hour ("PDH") units during the biennial renewal period as a condition for licensure renewal. One PDH equals 50 minutes of instruction or presentation relevant to professional practice (except for practice building or office management). Up to 12 excess PDH units can be carried forward to the next licensure period.
Section 5 of Act 25 requires that a licensee begin to comply with the continuing education requirements during the current (2009-2011) renewal period and provides that the licensing board may begin denying licensure renewals during the 2011-2013 renewal period to any licensee that fails to accumulate the required 24 PDH units.

In an e-newsletter sent to licensees on May 14, 2010, the State Registration Board for Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists initially indicated it did not intend to deny licensure renewals beginning in the 2011-2013 renewal period. However, in a special notice posted to the Board's website on May 28, 2010, the Board reversed its position, advising that the May 14, 2010 information is out of date and should be disregarded. The Board now advises that 24 PDH units will be required, "no ifs, ands or buts," by the September 30, 2011 renewal cycle.

To ease the implementation of mandatory CE requirements for the 2011-2013 renewal cycle, the Board has decided to grant a moratorium from disciplinary action for anyone who has not completed all 24 PDH units by September 30, 2011, provided any and all PDH unit deficiencies are made up by April 1, 2012. The Board also advises that any licensee failing to make up the PDH unit deficiencies by April 1, 2010, will face disciplinary action. Also, deficiency credits will not be double-counted for purposes of meeting the 2011-2013 renewal period CE requirements.
Any CE credits you have earned since October 1, 2009 go towards your 2009-2010 renewal period requirements. If you haven't yet started accumulating your mandatory CE credits, we urge you to start now. Visit PCPG's website at today and check out PCPG's available course offerings. Also, licensees are responsible for maintaining records sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the CE requirements. Keep your course certificates in a safe place.
PCPG plans to offer an additional 12-15 seminar courses between now and September 30, 2011, with most if not all courses qualifying for CEU/PDH requirements. You will begin to see new courses being added to the PCPG Upcoming Courses and Events page on a weekly basis, and registration will open as details are finalized.

For other Continuing Educational Opportunities - LEED-AP, Green Building, Alternative Energy, and other professional courses offered by Web-Based Training that is accepted by other states go to the following websites. (CEU, PDH) (CEU, PDH)- Multi-State Approved- Engineers, Geologists, Surveyors, AIA, LEED, Green Associate Continuing Education - OSHA, HAZWOPER  Engineers, Scientists, and Professionals (CEU, PDH)

Copy of OSHA, HAZWOPER, and Safety Course Catalog

Friday, June 4, 2010

Recent Internet and Bank Scams - Fraud Phishling

Nigerian Purchase Scam

The Nigerian Purchase Scam is a new form of fraud taking victims in the online space. This is becoming widespread in auction sites and on business’ ecommerce websites. A buyer will bid on or seek to purchase big-ticket goods (e.g., cars, boats, etc.) from the website. They will pay by forged cashier’s check and ask the seller to ship the product overseas. The buyer will “accidentally” overpay the seller, stating “they wanted to make sure there were enough funds for shipping”. The buyer will then ask the seller to deposit the check and refund the amount of the overpayment. The seller will deposit the counterfeit cashier’s check and send the overpayment to the buyer prior to the check clearing through the international banking system. The seller is out the funds equal to the overpayment. In addition, the seller could be down the value of the shipped goods if those are sent at the same time.

To protect yourself, always be careful when transacting with unknown parties. If you question the legitimacy of a buyer, talk with your Branch Manager to determine the best way to validate the check and funds prior to shipping any goods or providing a refund for the overpayment.

Lottery Scams

Lottery scam e-mails are increasing at an alarming rate. They are an extension of the Nigerian 419 advance fee scams that have existed for years. In the lottery scam, an unsuspecting consumer receives an e-mail claiming that they have won an international lottery. In order to claim their winnings, the recipient must contact the claims agent, typically at a free e-mail address. The agent then sends the recipient a claim form by which to verify their identity. The consumer must return the form with their personal details, along with copies of their passport and driver’s license to “verify their true identity.” This is where the scam begins. The fraudsters now have enough information to duplicate the consumer’s identity. In addition, in order to claim the winnings, the victim is required to wire funds to the fraudsters, to cover the transaction, insurance, tax and legal fees associated with receiving their winnings. Victims transfer the money as requested via Western Union. The victim is now out the funds that they have wired to the fraudsters.

Be Aware of New Phone “Vishing” Schemes
Recent attempts to get personal information over the phone from customers of other financial institutions. Phone “Phishing” (using Voice over Internet Protocol technology or VoIP) is known as “Vishing”, a phone calling technique that is used to gain personal information for the purpose of identity theft.
A vishing scheme recently surfaced in December 2009. Customers from several financial institutions located in Georgia, Iowa and Indiana received calls made by an overseas scam artist giving these individuals the impression that their debit, credit and even bank accounts were being cancelled or restricted. In order to lift these restrictions, the individuals were given a “1-888” number to call. Through the use of “caller ID spoofing”, the scam artists were even able to display a legitimate business phone number, providing the unsuspecting individuals with a false sense of security.
Customers who called with their card number and PIN information enabled the perpetrators to access their funds by computer resulting in a loss of account balances and potential credit issues. After learning of the reported fraud, The Federal Trade Commission took over the “1-888” number and placed its own recorded message to alert potential victims.
•Unless you initiated the contact, Banks will NOT request your personal information (such as account or debit card numbers, social security number or mother’s maiden name) through email, U.S. Mail or by phone.

•NEVER give out your personal information in response to an unsolicited email or phone call.

If you believe you may be a target or victim of a Vishing or other scam related to your accounts, please notify your bank immediately.

Phishing is a technique used to gain personal information for the purposes of Identity Theft, using fraudulent email messages, phone messages, and instant messages that appear to come from their financial institution or legitimate businesses. These messages can look and sound authentic. They may also contain authentic logos and taglines designed to fool recipients into providing personal data such as account numbers, credit card numbers, and social security numbers.
Most often the message will state that the recipient’s attention is needed immediately and provides a link to click on to verify their personal information. If these thieves obtain enough personal data, they can make purchases on another person’s credit card or even steal that person’s identity.

Bank will never send you an e-mail requesting personal information, such as your Social Security number, Check Card or ATM Card number or PIN.
If you have received a suspicious e-mail, you can forward it to phishing@???.com

Tips to Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams:
•Never respond to any messages requesting personal financial information

•Never click on Hyperlinks within emails if you believe it may be fraudulent; the hyperlink may contain a virus

•Use SPAM Filter Software

•Use Anti-Virus Software

•Use a Personal Firewall

•Keep Software Updated (operating systems and web browsers)

•Always look for "https://" and padlock on legitimate web sites that require the input of personal information

•Keep your computer clean from Spywar

•Educate yourself of fraudulent activity on the Internet

•Check & monitor your credit report regularly

•Seek advice if you are unsure about phishing. You can ask expert from Fraud Watch International at

•Do not be intimidated by emails that threaten termination of service if you do not follow the instructions contained in the email

•Delete emails before opening them if you receive an email from anyone that you do not recognize

If you believe the email you received is fraudulent, and that you may be a target or victim of a phishing or other scam related to your bank accounts, please notify your bank immediately.

You may also report fraudulent emails to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.

For more information on Phishing and how to protect yourself, visit:

Fraud Watch International

OnGuard Online

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Complied from information I received from a banking source.