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  • Romance Scams Tips


    FBI Warning Tip Sheets

    "Users have to be aware that anyone asking for your bank account information via e-mail, regardless of their stated reason, is trying to steal your hard-earned money"

    Adam O'Donnell

    Money Request and Investment Scams

    These types of scams are the more well know of Nigerian scams. Many people mistakenly confuse these with Romance Scams. There is a difference 419 scams are about gaining money and Romance Scams are about falling in love and helping the person you love.

    A brief over view of this scam From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

    An advance fee fraud is a confidence trick in which the target is persuaded to advance relatively small sums of money in the hope of realizing a much larger gain. Among the variations on this type of scam are the Nigerian Letter (or 419 fraud).

    The most visible form of advance fee fraud today is the Nigerian Letter or 419 fraud, named after the section of the Nigerian criminal code that it violates. These scams have come to be associated with Nigeria due to the massive proliferation of such confidence tricks from that country since the early 1990s. Originally the schemers contacted mainly heads of companies and church officials, often by fax or postal mail. However, the use of e-mail spam and instant messaging for the initial contacts has led to many private citizens also being targeted, as the cost to the scammers to make contact is much lower. A typical letter claims to come from a person needing to transfer large sums of money out of the country or from a lottery company.

    As the Nigerian letter has become well known to potential targets, the gangs operating the scams have developed other variations. The targets are often told that they are the beneficiaries of an inheritance or are invited to impersonate the beneficiary of an unclaimed estate.

    Another common gambit is a fake lottery in which the targets are told that they have 'won' a large prize but must pay an 'administrative fee' before they can receive it. After the 'administrative fee' is paid, the scammer vanishes.

    In one development of the scheme, the perpetrators use a counterfeit cashier's check to buy an expensive item such as a car or boat from people advertising goods in online classifieds. The target is given a fake check for an amount greater than the value of the item, and asked to return the difference.

    Another recent variation involves the use of fake cashier's checks to pay for high-value items in Internet auctions. The scammer sends a check for more than the purchase price asking that part of the money be forwarded to a 'shipper' or 'freight forwarder' after the funds have cleared. This will usually happen quickly as banking practice assumes that banks are liquid at all times and that there is no credit risk. The vendor will only discover that the check was fraudulent and the transaction has been voided a few days later, by which time the intermediary will in most cases have been paid.

    The most recent scheme is to ask individuals to deposit a check into their account then to forward a percentage (80%-90%) to a company that supposedly is owed the amount. Of course the check is counterfeit and by the time the depositor's bank finds that out, the funds have been transferred.


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