Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Internet Scams

People contact Sherlock Investigations every week who have been robbed by someone they met online. To make matters worse, the recipients die off before their generous benefactors even realize that they've been had.

We've all heard of the Nigerian scams (Still, it's amazing how many people still fall for them.). They contact you by email claiming to be the wife, husband, son, or daughter of someone who had control of a lot of money. They want you to help them retrieve the money. If you help them, they'll give you, say, a 20% commission.

The other day we had a guy who fell for this. He contacted us because he wanted to know if a certain person was the head of The Bank of Africa. He was already in over his head when he emailed us. He had called a number in Africa and spoke to a "lawyer." The lawyer assured him that he could help him negotiate the red tape to retrieve his money. His only fee would be $850, in advance.

The idiot sent $850 to Africa by Western Union. A week later, the lawyer said that he needed another $5500. That's when the idiot contacted us.

I told him that he'd be had, and not to go to Ghana to try to find the guy and get his money back. People have been murdered while trying to do this.

There are many, many scams on the Internet. Some people list themselves on dating sites or other social places. After weeks or months sending back and forth engaging email or instant messages, they win your heart. Then they ask you if you'd help them out. One potential client sent a guy $6000 for knee surgery.

When our would-be client started to get suspicious, he got an email from someone saying that the guy who had knee surgery died of a blood clot. Without a doubt, it was the same guy who received the money. Time to move on, he thought.

This week alone we received pleas for help concerning three different people who "died" during the course of an Internet relationship. One woman was told, "It was all your fault."

Young men often fall victim to scams because they engage in online chat with young females who are charming and beautiful. Of course, the photos they send are not usually themselves. One person was sending out photos of an Italian porn star. We tracked him down and found a fat kid living with his mother. We even got a surveillance photo of him.

In one case, which was unusual, a guy had been having a relationship with a girl from the Phillipines. He hired Sherlock to check her out. She actually turned out to be who said she was, and he went to the Phillipines and proposed.

A lot of people are greedy, and think that they can get something for nothing. It ain't gonna happen folks. The bottom line: Don't give money to someone you don't really know. Maybe you shouldn't even give money to someone who you do know. You can be the judge of that.

1 comment:

wunaked said...

My Top Tip for revenge on dating scammers

I operate a dating site, and I have established that scammers tend to use yahoo as their mail service of choice. I have also noticed that the scammer often uses the same password for their email account as they do to set up tan account on your site. So for fun, I log into their yahoo mail account and change their password, that sets them back a little. Enjoy...