There is no “off-season” for scammers. It seems these criminals have some new scheme every week to trick people out of their hard-earned money. When we learn about these schemes, we try to make sure you hear about it so you can be prepared if the scam comes your way.
Most recently, a participant in our Senior Outreach Program contacted us and asked for some guidance regarding a questionable text message she received. The message, from a number she did not recognize, was from someone claiming that his “client” had died in a car accident shortly after depositing $22,000,000 in an offshore account. The supposed client had no next of kin, but shared a last name with our senior (it is also noteworthy that the message never says a last name, only generically states that they share one). All our senior had to do was send an email to this representative and declare that they would accept the inheritance.
Fortunately, the senior was not easily fooled; she reported it and deleted the message without responding. This is the appropriate action. Please do not engage with the scammer. In this case, the senior understood that this was not normal and something just didn’t add up, so she made sure she did not give the scammer a reason to believe they had a possible target.
Trust your instincts, and know that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Common sense would tell you that a stranger is not going to leave you $22M just because you share a surname. How many Smiths, Roberts, Johnsons, etc. would be multi-millionaires if that were true?
It may be laughable to most of us at just ridiculous these scams sound, but understand that some people may be easier to convince than others. Sometimes, the scammers find a target that is going through something and they see the scam as a way out or even a Godsend. Other times, the target participates inadvertently, by clicking a link or providing personal information to a source that seemed genuine. Keep an eye on those people in your life that may need it and help them to avoid becoming victims as well.
Stay on your guard, be strong, and never quit!