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Scamming – 101

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Fri, Dec 7, 2012

submitted by the Financial Intelligence Unit

Scammers today are improving in their level of sophistication. As with today’s money launderers and fraudsters, scammers are also becoming technologically savvy and utilize the Internet to conduct research on their victims. These scammers now do their homework and are aware of their target audiences.{{more}}

A few years ago, the most common scams involved claims from persons residing in Nigeria and other African nations; hence the term “Nigerian scams”, where victims would receive an email with the “good news” that they have won the lottery in that country or that a relative has passed away and left them a fortune. In order to receive their prize/inheritance would they please send their bank account number or wire some money via Western Union or Money Gram to a particular person.

Before succumbing to these claims, ask yourself these questions: Did you enter into a lottery sweepstake? Were you aware of this relative’s existence? Do you even have family in Africa?

Unfortunately, thousands of persons worldwide have fallen for these fraudulent claims and have unwittingly provided their banking information and sent large amounts of money via Western Union and Money Gram and other money remittance services worldwide.

The website www.scammers.net offers real life examples of scams undertaken internationally, with articles posted by persons who have fallen prey to scam artists and their schemes. They range from online dating or romance scams to lottery scams, to ATM scams.

One victim wrote of her experience meeting a gentleman online on an Internet dating site. She later found out he was a scammer targeting single ladies, but not before sending him approximately US$17,000 through Western Union and Money Gram. He called her from different numbers and when she attempted to call him, the numbers were never available.

Another victim received an email with instructions to choose one of three options to receive a $260 million dollar ATM card for his personal use, as he was chosen as a winner in a contest. Either option involved the victim sending over US$210.00 to the scammers for insurance fees and mailing. They asked for biographical data, such as name, address, age and nationality. Once the scammers were certain that the victim would cooperate, he received instructions to send the funds to an individual in Nigeria.

Another victim recalled receiving a telephone call from a well-spoken gentleman who sought to convince him to buy investments and asked him to share his financial details so he could help the victim earn money. The victim was asked to send the gentleman money to open an accounts so that he can be assured of the victim’s keenness to invest. In fact, he was no investor nor company and disappeared with the victim’s money. All information which he provided, such as websites and telephone numbers, were later found to be fake.

These examples are just a few of the various devious and nefarious schemes which exist and which seek to divest you of your hard-earned funds.

As the Christmas season approaches be on the alert for even more scams. Persons on the street in St Vincent are known to walk around with ‘sponsor sheets’ seeking assistance for their sick child or relative who is in urgent need of surgery or other medical attention. Oftentimes these funds are not utilized for the purpose for which they are solicited.

Scammers exist all around us and engage in their activities in the most unexpected and unwitting ways. Do not send funds to anyone whom you do not know, particularly through money remittance services. Do not give out your personal information, including biographical information and bank account information to anyone. Be aware and be careful.

Visit us at www.svgfiu.com for further information.

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