Editorial: Don’t fall for flimflams: Your money could end up in PeruWe have been waiting you to contact us regarding your bank draft worth the sum of $800,000.00 USD. Hence it was deposited in our office by Mr. Frank. Contact Mr Steven Rudolph via email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
We have been waiting you to contact us regarding your bank draft worth the sum of $800,000.00 USD. Hence it was deposited in our office by Mr. Frank. Contact Mr Steven Rudolph via email email@example.com for more details.
You get this in your email and your choices are: 1) To respond to “Mr Steven Rudolph” at the above email address or 2) Press delete.
This simple question would rank at about a first-grade scamming level. If you chose Response No. 1, you’ll be sent back to all-day kindergarten scamming class.
Some dead giveaways to many scams, especially email ones, are bad spellings, punctuation and grammar along with convoluted sob-stories that reference foreign countries.
Here’s a more sophisticated scam email:
Dear Account Holder,
This message concerns your online banking user password has been expired.
Create a new user password by following these steps:
1. Log into your online banking by our secure link for Expired Password and entering the temporary password below.
Your temporary password is: nb42xStg756bnk
2. You will then be prompted to change your password.
This temporary password will expire in 24 hours.
This type of message is often described as “phishing” for your personal information. Don’t click on the links of such emails and don’t reply. If there’s a phone number, don’t call it.
You can manually type in the email address of your banking institution to see if there are really important messages in your account. Or, better yet, call the number for your bank/credit union and talk to someone to see if there’s a problem.
River Falls Police Chief Roger Leque offers these generalized comments about protecting yourself from fraud:
--Scams can be found everywhere, including through e-mail, phone solicitations, mail, person-to-person, phone bills, etc.
--Please scrutinize carefully any requests for personal information, including Social Security and bank account numbers.
--Watch for unauthorized fees and charges on phone bills, credit cards and bank statements.
--There’s no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money, such as a bank check, to ask you to wire money back.
--If it sounds too good to be true, it is almost guaranteed to be a scam.
--Do your research before buying items to try to make sure the company or person selling is legitimate.
--Have a discussion with family members, including grandparents and children, about potential scams with the goal of not becoming fooled. Prevention is the best defense against scams!
The latter remark by Leque is noteworthy. Scammers prey on the elderly. They’re viewed as more gullible.
Last week the Journal carried three scam stories. One was about a 75-year-old River Falls woman who thought she was talking on the phone to her “granddaughter.”
The female impersonator claimed she’d been busted for marijuana in Canada, stuck in jail and needed bail money. Oh, yes, one more thing: The caller asked, Don’t tell my parents.
The woman wired the “granddaughter” $2,500. She was given this address on where to send the money: Peru.
Editor’s Note: Three more local fraud/scam cases were reported in the last week. Read about them in Police Beat on page A13.
The Journal’s online poll question this week asked: What do you think of the River Falls YMCA’s decision to close? The early responses:
--Not surprised, Y memberships aren’t cheap and there are other health options like Snap Fitness and Curves, 46.7%
--Disappointed, even with the free Nash Finch rent, the Y didn’t try hard to promote and sustain itself in the community, 33.3%
--Don’t care, not really that much into the fitness craze, 20%
To add your vote, go to www.riverfallsjournal.com.