Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wire Transfer Scams Abound

We've all received those emails from high ranking government officials in foreign countries, usually African nations, that promise us a large sum of money for helping to "transfer" funds out of their country. This email scam often claims the sender is a member of displaced royalty or a former government administration.

But the scammers don't really know the person they are sending the email to, thousands of them go out per day. One scammer sent an email to someone on the staff of the Florida Attorney General. Big mistake.

The AG's office followed up with the scammer, who promised more information that would convince the recipient of his honesty, but were unable to secure any such information.

It's a good time to simply reiterate the ways to avoid email and wire transfer scams:

* don't send money to anyone you don't personally know
* don't accept checks or wire transfers
* don't wire back to the sender any "overpayment" - the check is usually fraudulent - it will bounce and you will never recover the money that you wired back
* if you are selling an item, accept only cash - if you take a check, be sure it has cleared before shipping the item
* confirm the identity of anyone with whom you do business
* never send money at the request of a stranger
* don't let the prospect of easy money hinder your critical thinking, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.