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Seniors Beware of Scams! Nigerian Princes.

By this time, almost anyone who has email has received a solicitation that a foreign potentate or a family member of such, needs to remove money from their country (usually Nigerian, but many others as well) and wishes for your to assist them in exchange for a significant share in the wealth.   There are a variety of stories, but they essentially boil down to a request for your banking information in order to “deposit” money into your account.

It is amazing to me that anyone actually fell for this scam, but evidently enough people did for this to go on for at least a decade. What people seem to forget is that what can go in to your account can also go out. In other words, if someone has your banking information they can withdraw money as well as deposit it.

What motivated people to fall for this? .  Anyone thinking about this seriously for a moment or two would realize that no one is going to deposit huge amounts of money in your account (a relative stranger) and trust you to give most of it back.  And, huge deposits of this sort would certainly alert banking and government authorities to investigate in case of crime, terrorism or drugs.  But greed can make people stupid, as we shall see in future blogs.  And, sometimes the “story” is that the “person” writing to you is being victimized in some dreadful way and that they are a Christian in a non-Christian community begging for help.  Deeply religious people may feel that it is their duty to help, and the possible payoff is only a further inducement.

The response to any such request is to ignore it. No stranger is the world is going to deposit substantial amounts of money in your account, no matter how pretty the words are in the accompanying letter.

These days, most people have heard of this gambit and are unlikely to fall for it and anyway, most of these letters will find themselves in your “spam” file. But it is worth noting as this was the first widespread internet scam.  I received one just a week before writing this.  My hope is that as we explore this world of swindles you will learn to catch on to new ones, even without the warnings.

In the following blogs in this series we will look at a number of common scams.

Whether a scam artist approaches you by email, text (rare), telephone or snail mail (also rare) the best thing to do is ignore, delete and Don’t Worry about it!”

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