Spotting scams by content (and lack thereof)
July 10, 2012 2 Comments
The email scams continue. Previously, Valerie Yasushi and Elena Kinoshita needed assistance with a collaborative law agreement in a divorce action. Lauranne Chinatsu and Theo Trescher needed help with debt collection.
I guess those scams have become known so it is time to move on to a new name and story. This morning I received the following from email@example.com:
This is a request for your services in respect of a dispute between our client and a shipper in your state.
We provide surety bond services for freight shipping from pick up through safe delivery and would be very glad to retain your services in resolving our claim.
We appreciate your services to review our request as we await your prompt response.
America Surety Bonds
5523 River Road
Louisville, NY 34337
As stated in a previous post, all of these scams have a common theme. Someone owes the potential client a sum of money for some reason (divorce and business debt have been the most popular). The potential client wants you to contact the debtor and secure payment. If you are dumb enough to contact the alleged debtor, he will quickly agree to pay the amount due via check, money order or some other worthless paper. Your client will instruct you to deposit the check and quickly forward his share less your contingency fee. You think everything is going smooth until your bank calls to let you know that the check or money order is a fake. At this point, getting your money back is about as likely as winning the powerball lottery.
Another couple of things should alert your fraud radar.
- Being contacted via email for legal representation by a person you have never met. That just doesn’t happen much unless there is some sort of referral mentioned in the email (“Bob said you did a good job on his case and I wonder if you could help me with……”).
- Business people using free email addresses rather than company email address. If you tell me you represent some company called Dynacorp, but your email comes from the gmail.com domain, it raises flags.
- Numerous grammatical errors. Yes, I know we all make mistakes. I will probably have at least one in this blog post because I try to do these as fast as possible.
- English appears to be the second or third language of the writer. How many times do you get email that looks like it was sent through translation software? (“We appreciate your services to review our request as we await your prompt response”—-what the heck does that mean?). It is even more unbelievable when the author of the email has an all-American name and lives in South Dakota.
- Failure to have a phone number. I don’t plan on calling any of these folks (or maybe I would just to waste some of their time), but not many people are going to embark on a business transaction with nothing more than email communication.
- Quick money. There have been days that I made a decent amount of money in a short period of time. Those days help balance out the days when no revenue comes in. These scams typically involve a promised amount of money in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour when calculated on an hourly basis. That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen (or if it does, it doesn’t happen to me!).
Be smart. Don’t get scammed.