It must be one of the oldest tricks in the book for internet scans.
Patrick Butler did not fall for it but wanted us to mention how crafty some people are from distancing you from your money.
Pat received communication from a company that issued him a check for $1,780 drawn on the Navy Federal Credit Union and if I have my story straight the scam goes like this. You've won a prize and the firm issuing the prize states they made an error and gave you too much. You can cash the check (which is bogus) but you need to send back your own check to make up the difference. You send off your check and voila, your prize check is fraudulent and the crooks wipe out your account.
Whenever somebody nearly gets ripped off - or actually does - they will often contact the paper to have us do a story to warn others. I resist such stories because scams operate in other parts of the country or world and do not focus on one particular area. Mr. Butler was just one of the random victims so it is likely no one else in Ceres will be the target of the same scam operation.
But just beware. As in the words of the Better Business Bureau, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Another rule of thumb is if you have truly won something, you won't be asked to pay the organization ANYTHING!
There is a not-so-new scam being conducted periodically that involves people hacking into Facebook and email accounts so that the scammer can make an appeal to a victim's friends. I learned about the scam when Bryan and Becki Nicholes of Ceres were targeted since I am one of their Facebook friends. The scammer sent emails to all their friends with the story that they were on vacation in Europe and that someone stole them blind. They needed cash wired to them immediately to get back home and they'd pay back what was loaned. It's was a total scam because the Nicholes were home, not in Europe.
Apparently, however, scammers from other countries are not so brilliant. A similar scam played out recently when someone thought Richland Ministries was the name a person, not a Christian organization. The email I received was worded as such: "Hello It takes me great pain to write this mail to you and i feel so devastated...Both My family and I are stuck in Manila, Philippines at the moment. We are on a short trip to Philippines and unfortunately we got robbed last night, it was terrible and so scary... Cash, credit cards and cell phone were stolen but luckily for us no one was hurt and we still have our passports.
"I am really having some difficulties clearing our hotel bills and also need to pick up a voucher ticket at the counter for us to catch a flight back home as soon as possible. All we need right now is $1,850 USD but anything you can spare pending when we get things straightened out will be appreciated and I promise to refund you as soon as we arrive home safely. Western union is the best way to get money across to me.
"Kindly email me back to let you know the remittance info.
"I look forward to read from you. Richland"
Friends of Mr. Ministries weren't fooled. Besides there being no person with the name of Richland Ministries, the email is worded oddly, like a foreigner would. Who writes "$1,850 USD"? "I promise to refund you" sounds odd. So does "I look forward to read from you."
A similar scam went out yesterday if you were on Maggie Mejia's email list for the Latino Conmunity Roundtable.
Anyone in today's world needs to be savvy. So when the Nigerian government contacts you to inform you that they need to park $19 million in a U.S. bank account and offers you a mere $2 million to use yours, yeah, question that one. The same thing goes for elderly folks who receive a phone call from someone calling you grandma or grandpa to report he is jail and needs bail money and he'll just send a friend over to get it.
P.T. Barnum said there's one born every minute so don't be a sucker.
How do you feel? Let Jeff know at email@example.com