Seniors Increasingly Targeted in Fraud Scams - If It Sounds Too Good...

Posted by: Kathy Harmon on 7/10/2010
Dear Kathleen,  (From my Mom)

I have been receiving telephone calls from people who claim they wish to give me millions of dollars because my phone number was drawn in a Vegas lottery.  I haven't been to Vegas in years.  I hung up on the first guy.  But a few hours later another fellow called and was more insistent.  He said he wanted to come over and bring me the money.  I asked if we could make the appointment for tomorrow so that we could give the police plenty of time to fit it in their schedule.  This guy hung up.
Mom

Good Job Mom,
I asked some friends to ask around about this kind of solicitation.  I was appalled to hear how ,many not only have been approached, but that two of their relatives were embarrassed to report they had fallen for it and lost at least several hundred dollars.

Just today, six offers to give me millions landed in my junk mailbox.  I deleted them. But more arrive every day.   A couple of years ago my beloved husband wasted most of a Saturday morning composing responses to one he'd received, a variation on the Nigerian Scam.

This particular letter was from a "highly placed" government ministry official in Gambia, claiming that he and a few of his fellow employees have managed to accrue some $18,500,000 from foreign investments.  He needed to find a "trusted silent partner" to get the money out of Gambia.  He couldn't do it himself because his country had some silly law about such things.  After an extensive search the group had picked my husband out of the billions of candidates as his guy.  Laurry was promised a 10% commission and parts of all the future deals the boys were planning to make with their stash.

Here is my hubby's reply:

Dear Nelson, 
What exciting news!  I am thrilled that you would think of me in this intriguing, exciting, remunerative--and, ultimately, criminal--assignment.  Needless to say, I am fascinated by the opportunity and totally committed to working cooperatively with you to bring about a successful outcome.  

I'm sure you are aware that I'm an attorney admitted to practice in the states of California, Oregon and Minnesota, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.  Consequently, I realize that you intend to violate various federal and state wire fraud statutes, as well as the so-called "RICO" act. 

So, before we move forward, I have a couple of questions.  How are you planning to (a) camouflage your activities without getting indicted within the first, say, 15 minutes of your operation and (b) raise the necessary bail money and (c) hire the squadron of attorneys that will be required under the circumstances? 

I must tell you Nelson, that I have grave doubts that the eighteen five will even cover expenses.  On the plus side, the U. S. has some positively spa-like prisons where you are almost  guaranteed a sentence of 15 to 20 years hard time.  

I eagerly await your response, as do the Minnesota and United States Attorneys General to whom I have taken the liberty of sending your offer.  I know you asked that I be "discreet," but surely we can trust other attorneys. 

My best to you and the rest of the team,
Laurence"

We would all like to win the lottery or experience some windfall but those opportunities rarely come along.   Research shows that scams are mushrooming in this economy.  They are easy targets for both foreign and domestic scams (some from within their own families). 

Please e-mail friends and relatives or mention to neighbors over your backyard fence that none of these claims are legitimate.  Caution them to never give out a social security number, bank  or credit card numbers to anyone over the phone or on the web unless they are absolutely sure they are talking to a trusted source or are on a secure site.

Please write me at kathy@greatplacesinc.com.  I'd like to hear whether this is as wide spread as it appears and the stories of anyone who has been hurt by responding. 
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