This is crazy you would think in the day and age of internet that the old Snail Mail Scams would have long since disappeared. But as they say the “oldies but goodies”, of course there is nothing good about this.
These old school scam artists still rely on the excitement of the win, to cloud even the smartest person’s judgment. They direct most of the scams to identity theft, but still use the lottery scam, bogus work at home deals, and advanced fee check scams.
According to the US Postal Inspection Department “Snail Mail” scams are alive and well, I was shocked to find out in the state that I live we ranked 5th in total snail mail scams.
So I thought we would take a look at what is going on in the world of US Postal Service. See this is why I never open mail anymore, well I guess it’s really cause I’m hiding from bills but whatever.
Nigerian Scam – It Takes Patience
The Old Fake Checks
This is also known as The Nigerian Advanced Fee Scheme and it’s also been referred to as the Advanced Fee Scam and the 419 scam. There is a check and a letter in the envelope the letter usually says something like this: It comes from a Nigerian claiming to be some senior civil servant and he is looking for a reputable foreign (US) company to deposit funds into their business account in the amount ranging from 10 to 70 million dollars this money comes from the Nigerian government they overpaid on a procurement contract.
The whole idea of this is that the scammer is trying to dupe the would be victim into thinking that they have been picked to participate in an extremely lucrative arrangement. They try to reassure the would be victim with fake documents that are on supposed official Nigerian government letterhead with their seals on it.
They also send along fake letters of credit, payment schedules and some bank drafts. They will even go as far as to arrange a meeting between you and the fake government officials in some real or really fake government offices.
As soon as they feel that they are set up for success and the deal will go through. All of a sudden something goes terribly wrong, that’s when they start to pressure or threaten you to send multiple large sums of money to save the deal.
They will tell you that the government official is demanding an up front bribe, or it could be a tax that they didn’t know about that has to be paid to the Nigerian government before the money transfer can go through. Everytime you pay a fee they will tell you that will be the last one. This can last for weeks or even months.
This scam is no joke it can become very dangerous they almost always ask you to travel to Nigeria or a country on the boarder to finish the transaction. They will sometimes tell you that you don’t need a Visa to enter the country. The scammer will bribe the airport officials to make sure that you get through customs and Immigration.
It is a very serious crime in Nigeria to enter their country without a valid visa, now that you entered Nigeria illegally the scammer will use this against you to extort more money from you. The scammer may
even use violence and threats of harm to pressure you even more.
If, you think this doesn’t happen you can go check this out, in 1995 even though it was awhile ago, an American citizen was killed in Nigeria, when he was trying to fulfill the requirements for this scam.
This is a SCAM pure and simple don’t let the thought of a huge payoff cloud your judgment. This is extremely dangerous and no one should ever give money to someone that says it’s for a release of some huge amount of money.
If ever anyone asks you to leave the country to finish a business deal and then says you don’t need any papers to get there please use your head this is BULLS^%@T just don’t do it.
Let’s get to one that’s a little less intense…
Lottery Scams – Yes These Are Still Going Strong
The funny thing is this lottery scam promising you that you won some huge amount of money from a lottery that you never even entered are still going on.
Lottery scams are still one the most popular used scams they are being used on the internet as well as sent through “snail mail”. The online version of the lottery scam usually targets older folks.
If, you ask most people they will say i could never fall for a foreign lottery scam, but don’t be so sure the new off-line version have become so clever you just might want to stick around.
If nothing else you will gain knowledge as to how this works so, at the very least you could warn someone you know and love so they don’t get mixed up with this scam.
These foreign lottery scams have been around for a lot of years, exploding again and they have come up with a few new tricks.
The old version was quite simple you would get a letter stating that you are the winner of a major prize in one of the foreign lotteries. Of course, you never entered this lottery, or you don’t remember entering. Just a side note this is the hope of these scammers your excitement overtakes your sense of reason. You find yourself thinking oh maybe when I was surfing the other week I really did enter.
Here is where the scam comes in, to be able to collect this major prize of course, you have to send in a “contest fee” this is to cover processing and taxes. Now if you send in this money you will never see this huge prize.
Then they of course give you a couple ways to send in the money and some people actually give away
personal banking information.
As, I said they have added a brand new twist to this snail mail scam. On the letter you receive it will tell you that you have won $100K. If, you call, your going to get a check to cover all the taxes and fees. Plus the operator will give you the rest of the instructions on how to collect your winnings.
The very next day you will receive an overnight package with a very real looking check will say it was in the amount of $2800. This package will also include a letter that states that the enclosed check is issued in line with federal law, declaring that all lottery winners have to pay taxes and a processing fee on the winnings.
The letter goes on to say that you can use the enclosed check to make those payments, and soon you will receive your winnings in the mail. This check looks very real and official even most banks won’t question it when you bring it in.
Now once you cash this check your are to send them one of your checks to cover all the fees you owe to collect your big money. I’m sure you have figured out that the check is really a fake. Once it goes into processing the bank will figure out it’s a fake check and your account gets charged back the amount of the check. But, you have
already sent in your check so now your out the amount of the check and all the fees.
The thing is your getting a check from the lottery foundation now this makes the foundation seem very credible. So if they turn around and ask for more fees, or give up more of your info it might be tough to refuse.
I’m sure some of you are asking how can people really fall for this, these scams are effective because like we talked about earlier it’s the thrill of winning and wanting so much for this to be real. The other thing is they do seem to have some credibility a real check (now we know it’s a fake) coming overnight by a reputable company FedEx or UPS.
There are 2 other foreign lottery scams making the rounds, but they are a little less convincing.
One of the versions come via snail mail, this one the scammers are inviting you to purchase lottery tickets for the foreign lottery. They want you to buy the tickets with either your credit card number or your banking information.
The other version the scammer will ask you to send in your check or have you call a toll free phone number when you do they are going to try to sell you their secret system that guarantees you will win the lottery.
Things to remember…
- In reality any cross boarder lottery is in violation of federal law to get involved in any kind of cross boarder lottery, is illegal and officials are actually watching so just don’t do it.
- Real lotteries will never ask you to send them money or a check and won’t want all your personal financial information to be able to collect your prize.
- You CAN NOT win if you don’t ENTER!!! If, you did not purchase a ticket you can not win it’s that simple.
- Don’t fill out prize forms when you do this it could land you on the scammers hot list. Then you will be getting calls from all their scammer buddies.
- Remember there is no secret formula to winning the lottery so don’t buy books or programs. This is just a way not only to get your money for a fake system but, a way to get your personal information.
People do fall for this it’s the excitement of the whole idea, that gets people to jump. Let your friends and family know that the “Snail Mail” Scams are still out there and going strong. So make sure you pass this along so no one you know gets hurt by these awful scammers.
Get Rid Of Confidential Mail And Credit Card Offers, Shred It!!!
This one is as easy as it sounds if you get your mail flip through it and then toss it. Well your not alone but before you toss your next letter in the trash think about it.
These scammers are not above going through your garbage. If you just toss your mail in the trash your asking for trouble this is an easy way for scammers to get your information.
They look for those pre-approved credit card offers they can send in the information package and just change the address and have the bill go to them. Of course by the time you realize you have another credit card out there they could have done quite a bit of damage.
Not to mention all the other information they can come up with going through your garbage. Make sure you safeguard yourself against these terrible scammers.
What should you do?
- Go out and buy yourself a shredder, they are pretty cheep and for the cost it would be definitely cheaper than going through identity theft.
- There are sites out now where you can get your credit score for free and see what is on your credit report. Credit Karma is one of them, I don’t know how accurate the scoring is, at least you can find out if you have an extra credit card bill or two running around out there.
Bottom Line –
These scams are real whether it’s a Snail Mail Scam or an Internet Scam these people are out to just get your hard-earned money.
The thing you can do is to not make it easy on them. Just be careful before you give any information to anyone you don’t know. Don’t send money through the mail to people you don’t know, in any form.
Never leave the country for reasons of closing a deal with someone you have never met. Don’t leave the country without the proper papers to get into another country and get out no matter what anyone promises you.
These sound so easy to follow and so common sense. But when you throw the potential of huge amounts of money coming your way. Sometimes that common sense can go right out the window. Just keep you head and think things through before making a big mistake you can’t fix.
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All the best,