Scam artists are making increasing use of the internet. It causes great frustration to the persons who receive emails and other scams to get them to part with their money. They either feel they are missing a “big win” or after they have parted with their money they discover that they have given it away foolishly and needlessly.
Some ways to assist you in identifying factors which will protect you from being involved in scams and assist you in recognizing situations which put you at danger for identity theft follow:
A person receives an email indicating that they have either inherited money, won a lottery, or in some other manner are entitled to payment of a very large sum of money. Typically these emails come from out of the United States - - often from Nigeria or other African country. The nature of this scam involves a representation that the person is entitled to a large sum of money, but must “pay” taxes, fees or some other sum in order to collect their prize or inheritance.
The email may be from a so-called “lawyer,” “barrister,” “executor” or other person with an official sounding title. They may claim that the money has been collected or is in trust or escrow for the benefit of the recipient but can only be released upon payment of a certain sum of money. Usually, payment is requested to be made by wire transfer, cashier’s check or Western Union money-gram. Usually the funds are transferred in such a manner that once collected by the scam artist they cannot be easily recovered.
You may receive regular mail enclosing a check for a large amount of money with a letter instructing you to deposit the check in your acount and then to transfer back a certain portion, usually 10-20% of the sum back to the person providing the check. Two or three weeks later, it is discovered that the original check or money order was a fraud and the bank then turns on the depositor seeking to reclaim the funds and claiming the depositor has committed a crime.
Typically, when the person being scammed starts to ask questions, the scam artist will attempt to make the person feel guilty. Claims such as “the debt has been incurred and somebody is suffering if you do not pay the money” or, “you are going to lose this inheritance from a family member and I am going to have to give it to someone else.” Such circumstances rarely, if ever, arise in real life and are almost always a fraud.
Some tell-tale signs of a scam artist:
1. Usually involves an opportunity to acquire a sum of money which was unexpected or unearned.
2. Almost always involves a payment of funds by the person scammed to someone else. Often the person requesting payment claims to have some official title.
3. Funds are often unavailable until the person who is being scammed has delivered their money to the scam artist.
4. Often involves a claim that there is a law which requires the IRS to be paid before funds can be distributed, or someone has incurred a debt or obligation to allow distribution of the money.
Any time you are contacted and told that you are going to receive a large sum of money in exchange for a payment, and this contact does not relate to a known relative or circumstance, an immediate “red flag” should go up and you should contact Davis Miles, PLLC, your Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. provider at (800) 435-5081.