Scammers becoming more creative so we must stay alert | Opinion | #daitngscams | #lovescams


One story on Wednesday’s front page of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph brought up some memories when I read it.

A Texas man had pleaded guilty to creating women across the nation, including one from West Virginia, for $1.6 million.

He pretended to be a general stationed overseas, and he stole the money by befriending women online, gaining their trust, hinting at romantic interest and finally asking them for money.

Scammers are getting more inventive all the time. As soon as the public catches on to one ploy, the scammers dream up a new one. I

’ve been approached multiple times by officials of one nation or another – the infamous Nigerian scam – who say they need my help to transfer millions of dollars to America. I’m promised a share if I help facilitate the transfer.

I was struck by this request’s absurdity the first time I got one in my personal email.

These foreign officials are going to trust a complete stranger in another country with millions of dollars? I’m tempted reply and say I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn they might to interested in buying or that the White House is up for sale.

I’d want a million dollars, which is a bargain for an historic house with its own doomsday shelter.

Sometimes these messages don’t come from African or South American nations.

One time I received a message from a lady who said she owned an art gallery in London. Could I help her cash American travelers checks?

That request was as absurd as the one from the fake government officials.

London is a major city with banks all over the place. She couldn’t find one to handle travelers checks? She was ready to reach out to a stranger in another country for help? That shouted scam.

I’ve also been approached with what’s called a fishing scheme. I got an email from a bank stating that I needed to confirm my check numbers and the numbers on my savings account.

The whole message said scam.

First, I knew that my bank would never ask me for that information.

Second, the message wasn’t from my bank.

The scammers probably sent out thousands of those messages to see who would bite, thus the term fishing.

The craziest request of came from a guy I know. He said that he was marooned in Scotland, so could I send him some money? I had spoken to him on the phone recently, and his plans didn’t include any travel and certainly no trips to Scotland.

Sometimes I hear that finding the right victim is the best way to make a scam work.

This guy in Texas targeted women in their 70s or 80s, and they were often widowed or divorced.

I suspect that these ladies were lonely and hoping for love and adventure.

I’m just glad my mom is as suspicious as I am and wouldn’t fall for such a scheme.

One time she got rid of a plumber because he tried to tell her that the downstairs bathroom needed work that plainly wasn’t necessary.

She resented the fact that this guy thought she’d be an easy victim because she’s a senior citizen.

Unfortunately, not all people are suspicious when they’re approached by a scammer. That’s why it’s important to seek second options if an offer sounds suspicious and call banks, credit card companies or a government agency like the IRS if a message supposedly from them seems strange.

Encouraging aging parents and other relatives to call you if they get an offer in their email or over the phone is another good idea.

It’s a shame we have to be alert all the time for scams, but that’s the world we live in today.

The internet and other technology has made the dark art of offering deals that are too good to be true all the easier.

We need to stay on guard, and we should stay ready to help friends and family who might be a little too trusting.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com





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