I’m sure that you have received strange emails from people claiming to be relatives of dead kings, generals and other highly placed individuals who claim you can get a large sum of money, usually in the millions for various reasons. All you need to do is contact them and they will help you get the money that is rightfully yours. These are all scammers working your emotions to get your money.
These cons go under several names:
- ATM Card Scam – You are promised an ATM card to an account containing a huge sum of money. When the card is received, it is found to be defective, and another will be offered at a small fee.
- Auction or eBay Scam – These frequently happen on eBay and similar sites. The scammer pays you too much for an item. You send a refund, and the original amount paid bounces and you lose the refunded amount.
- Black Currency Scam – Defective money (covered with oil or dirt of some kind) can be “cleaned” for a small fee.
- Cashier’s Check Scam – The scammer offers to send you a cashiers check to cash for him, and you’ll get a fee. You cash it, send back the amount via wire transfer (subtracting your fee, of course) and the check bounces.
- Chat Room Scam, Facebook Messaging Scam, etc: – Usually happens with a hacked account or the scammer creates a new account for their purpose. You get contacted, and the scammer asks for your help. This is especially insidious when a friends account has been hacked, because the scammer has information that may make you believe they really are your friend.
- Classic Scam –: You are asked to help the scammer acquire a large amount of money in return for a cut.
- Classified Ad Scam – Same as the auction or eBay scam.
- Disaster Scam – You are told someone died, with details, and left a large sum of money. They offer to split it with you, if you help them by sending money for “fees”.
- Employment Scam – You get “employed” to help them with financial transactions for a commission. You advance the transaction amounts to the scammer the transactions are all fraudulent and you lose the money you advanced.
- Extortion Scam – Straight up extortion. :The scammer says they will hurt or kill you, your family your friends or some other dastardly deed.
- Goods and Services Scam – Good and services are ordered from you and the check is bad. The scammer might play you further by offering to make good with additional checks or money orders in an attempt to get even more money from you.
- Inheritance Scam – You are told someone died and there is no one to claim the inheritance. All you have to do is pay the fees…
- Kidnapping Scam – This is an especially frightening scam in which you are told one of your loved ones has been kidnapped (they haven’t been.) You are told to pay a ransom for their release. The scammer will do research on social media to find out about your family, where they hang out and so forth, to make it appear real.
- Lottery Scam – Congratulations! You’ve won the lottery. You only need to send the fees in advance and you’ll get your money.
- Recovery Scam – The scammer tells you they can recover the money you lost in a previous scam, and all you need to do is pay the fee…
- Romance Scam – You are contacted by a scammer, who works into a relationship, online, with you. The scammer is “in love” with you. Once they have you hooked, they’ll tell you they need money to clear up some problems so you can both be together.
These emails are usually soap operas, in that they go into great details of the reasons why the money is where it is, how it got there, and what can be done to get it back to it’s rightful owners – and to you. They push emotional buttons such as grief, sympathy, fear and so on, and work on more negative buttons like greed and desperation. The idea is after reading these emails you’ll feel like you can take advantage of someone, make some fast easy money, and fill your bank account.
These scammers can contact you any number of ways: regular mail, email, phone, text, and social media. They can even pose as prospects on job or matchmaking sites.Sometimes they will post as friends, especially on hacked social media accounts, possible business contacts, renters looking for apartments, or even possible dates or future mates.
They frequently promise large sums of money (or in the case of the romance scam, sex or marriage) and all you have to do is pay some money to “get the wheels going”, “bribe an official”, or “pay some fees”. Sometimes always goes wrong, and yet more money is required to get over the next hurdle.
The Romance Scam
The romance scam is the most insidious of these, in that the scammer plays on their victims emotions. Once they identify a target, they research the person online and, because of that, they seem like they know things, and can use that information to endear themselves to their mark. For example, they could scan Facebook on a female victim, find out she likes red roses and had a recent breakup, then use those two facts to talk about their own breakup (which is completely made up) and how much they love red roses. By doing this with hundreds of bits of information over a period of months, they can make their victim believe they are special, in love, or whatever other emotion they desire. The article “‘Are You Real?’ — Inside an Online Dating Scam” in AARP magazine describes one of these scams in detail.
Scammers can Target Anyone and They are Everywhere
I’ve personally run into these scammers several times. On two occasions, the Facebook accounts of friends had been hacked because of weak passwords. The scammers contacted me through Facebook messaging, and each time claimed they were in a bad situation and needed money to get home. They needed me to wire them a few thousand dollars; one of the top-offs of these scams is they virtually always want to receive money via wire, because that is difficult if not impossible to trace or recover.
I AM DIPLOMATIC ken williams I have been trying to reach you on your telephone about an hour now just to inform you about my successful arrival in Arrival At Fort Wayne International Airport Indiana, with your two box and ATM CARD worth $8.9 million USA dollars which I have been instructed by UNITED NATION DIPLOMATIC COURIER COMPANY to be delivered to you.
The Airport authority demanded for all the legal back up to prove to them that the fund is no way related with drug nor fraud money,I have presented the papers and handed it over to them and they are very much pleased with the papers I presented, but the only thing that is still keeping me here is the airport Customs Clearance Certificate and International Delivery Permit which is not placed on the box, one of the Airport Authority has advise that we get the Customs Clearance Certificate and International Delivery Permit so that I can exit the airport immediately and make my delivery successful.
I try to reason with them and they stated the delivery tag will cost us just $200 Dollars only to get the Customs Clearance Certificate and International Delivery Permit placed on the box as that tag will enable me get to your house successfully without any interference, they scanned the boxes and found out that the fund is 100 % spend able and accepted by any bank in the whole world.
As I can not afford to spend more time here due to other delivery I have to take care of in Austria. Here are the papers backing the funds together with my ID CARD as I can accompany you to your bank were you will deposit the fund successfully with these papers. I have more vital paper with me but I can only present you the hard copy when I reach your house as that it is the diplomatic rules, such as authorization to deliver.
Reconfirm the following informationâ€™s below so that I can deliver your consignment box to you today.
NAME OF YOUR NEAREST AIRPORT: ===============
A COPY OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION: ==============
You can direct the tag fee to our Head Office in Benin Republic UNITED NATION COURIER COMPANY as they will get the Customs Clearance Certificate and International Delivery Permit here for you and they are entitled to receive and make any payment to foreign countries authority. DIPLOMATIC MR. GILL RICHARD Here is my cell phone to contact me. can as you well email with this email address try to call this number xxxxxxxxxx so that you can easliy contact us also ok
If you responded to this email you’d receive a reply furthering the soap opera, and eventually you’d be told the money is waiting for you and all you have to do is send a “small” amount (typically a few thousand dollars) to bribe someone or resolve some other issue in a mildly illegal manner. Once you’ve given this first payment, the scammers know they have you hooked. Now you’ll receive communications with further status, promises, and requirements for more money.
Some people have lost their entire life savings to these kinds of scams.
Another Scamming Example
They can come from anywhere. I experienced one scam personally. A man who called himself “Mike” connected through a ghostwriting service, and wanted to pay thousands of dollars for a website and the associated copywriting. A partner and I communicated for over a month, until Mike finally said he’d send us a check. He said he had a consultant, and asked to send an amount which was large enough to pay us and the consultant as well. We were told we would then pay the consultant. This is a classic Nigerian scam technique – get the victim to accept a check for more than the amount with the intention of getting money back. The original check (or more likely wire) bounces and the victim has lost the money.
How do you prevent yourself from being scammed? Keep in mind that all so-called “get rich” schemes are frauds and scams. If you accept that as truth, you’ll knock out most of the scammers right away. No one is going to give you 70% of a million dollars just to cash their check or use your bank account, and those people who are selling “get rich” schemes are getting rich off of the suckers who buy their products.
You can read more about scammers in my book, Safe Computing is Like Safe Sex. Buy your copy today so your computer and finances are safe from hackers and scammers.