How to avoid Advance Fee Fraud

By Heartland News

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - You could be the next victim of Advance Fee Fraud. By using some common sense you can keep thieves from tricking you into giving them your hard earned cash.

Advance Fee Fraud is simply another name for "Nigerian Scams" or "419 Scams." It's called Advanced Fee Fraud because the general idea is to get you to send cash or other items of value up front and getting a promise of large sums of money in return for your cooperation.

Sikeston Police Department put together a list of some common Advance Fee Fraud schemes:

  • Fake Lottery Win- You receive an e-mail from an unknown subject who tells you you've won a large sum of money, but to receive it you must first pay various fees. You send the money via wire transfer, but never receive your "winnings."
  • Fraudulent Cashier's Checks- Another common scheme is where the criminal sends you fake or fraudulent cashier's checks to cash. They tell you to cash the check for them and keep a small portion of the money for your trouble. The rest is sent back to the criminal via wire transfer. A few days go by and the bank will notify you that you cashed a fraudulent check. YOU can now be held civilly or criminally responsible for passing the bad check. The criminal is overseas with the stolen money and is rarely prosecuted.
  • U.S. Soldier Recovers Iraqi Money- In a more recent scam someone claiming to be a United States Soldier e-mails you and says they found over $11.5 million U.S. Dollars in a mansion of a militant Iraqi ruler. This "soldier" offers you 15 percent if you allow him to ship the money to your home until he returns to the U.S. but he asks you to send the shipping fees via wire transfer. This particular scam even lists a web address of a BBC news story from 2003 in which some soldiers were questioned for some missing money found in Iraq. This BBC news article is added to help convince you the money is real and to get you to send the shipping fee. You said the money for the shipping and you never get the money.

Here are several easy steps you can take to protect yourself from this type of fraud:

  • Don't be greedy.
  • Use common sense.
  • Never give anyone your personal information.
  • Don't send money through wire transfers to people you don't know.
  • Don't believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.
  • Be skeptical of anyone overseas asking you to send money.
  • Verify the validity of any check before you cash it.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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