by Joyce Tremel
I’m sure by now everyone has gotten one of the infamous Nigerian e-mails at least once. One of the many versions begins with “Request for urgent business relationship.” It goes on to say that they are government officials with money in the Central Bank of Nigeria. There is 21 million dollars that they can’t acquire and need your help to do it. All you have to do is send them your bank account information and part of the money is yours. Unfortunately, once you do that, there will be delay upon delay-the money is held up, they need another $5000 to bribe an official, etc. Before you know it, you’re bouncing checks all over the place. Your account has been cleaned out.
Another scam involves a man who wants to give his fortune to a church. All the church has to do is send him enough money for him to be able to send his millions to them. Another one is the scam where the victim is told he won a foreign lottery (that he never entered). He has to send a processing fee of a mere few thousand dollars first. One of the newer scams is the e-mail from a hitman. Yes, you read that right. Someone has hired a hitman to take you out. All you have to do is send him money and he’ll forget all about it.
I find it hard to believe that anyone actually falls for this stuff, but they do. We had an elderly couple come in to the police station not too long ago who were out about $10,000. We had someone come in with a hitman letter too. He was smart enough to know it was fraud.
In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the other day, I read about the newest scam: The Nigerian Puppy Scam. In this one, someone sees an ad for a free or inexpensive puppy. They call the number and find out that the puppy is a rare breed that would normally sell for thousands of dollars, but they can have it for a mere pittance. They send the money. The seller says there are problems and they need more money for shipping or insurance. In one instance the seller stated the plane carrying the puppy had crashed and they needed money for the vet bills. Warnings have been sent out by the American Kennel Club and the Better Business Bureau for consumers to be aware of these scams.
How many of you have heard of these scams? Do you know anyone who actually fell for one of them? Are there any scams you want to tell us about?