The "Nigerian" Email Scam
Con artists claim to be officials, businesspeople, or the surviving spouses of former government honchos in Nigeria or another country whose money is somehow tied up for a limited time. They offer to transfer lots of money into your bank account if you will pay a fee or "taxes" to help them access their money.
Email or pop-up messages that claim to be from a business or organization you may deal with – say, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message may ask you to "update," "validate," or "confirm" your account information or face dire consequences. Pawtucket Credit Union will never send you an email asking for this information unless you have initiated the request.
Check Overpayment Scams (Fake Check Scams)
A response to your ad or online auction posting, offering to pay with a cashier's, personal, or corporate check. At the last minute, the so-called buyer (or the buyer's "agent") comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price, and asks you to wire back the difference after you deposit the check. It's a phony story but might take awhile to discover. Once discovered, your bank wants the money back. The bank is required by law to give you access to the deposited funds within a few days, but they can't be sure the check is valid by then. The responsibility rests on you for the checks or money orders that you deposit.
Pay-In-Advance Credit Offers
News that you've been "pre-qualified" to get a low-interest loan or credit card, or repair your bad credit even though banks have turned you down. But to take advantage of the offer, you have to ante up a processing fee of several hundred dollars.
Emails touting a way you can consolidate your bills into one monthly payment without borrowing; stop credit harassment, foreclosures, repossessions, tax levies and garnishments; or wipe out your debts.
Emails touting "investments" that promise high rates of return with little or no risk. One version seeks investors to help form an offshore bank. Others are vague about the nature of the investment, but stress the rates of return. Promoters hype their high-level financial connections; the fact that they're privy to inside information; that they'll guarantee the investment; or that they'll buy it back. To close the deal, they often serve up phony statistics, misrepresent the significance of a current event, or stress the unique quality of their offering. And they'll almost always try to rush you into a decision.
Visit FakeChecks.org for more information on eMail Scams.