I had to break some bad news to a very nice, normal, professional lady in San Jose, California today. I got possession of a scammer’s email account and read with horror the scam unfolding. The story was the same as usual, some good Christian person with a large fortune wanting it to go to a good home.
Email after email kept the story going, lots of backup photos and other bona fides and suitably business-like verbiage made this seem more and more genuine until she had given them the sum of $24,400 and was looking to refinancing her house to get as much as $70,000 more.
When I saw that was what she was about to do, I contacted her by phone. Luckily she had listed her phone number on ONE of the emails.
Whenever I call someone like this, I am expecting one of about four scenarios:
- The Phone number is not real.
- The person knows it’s a scam and is just ‘playing along’ for fun.
- I get through to the FBI who tell me to do nothing and go away.
- I break the bad news.
In this case, the lady seemed almost releived to be told that it was a scam – she suspected all along but being a good person, she believed what other people told her.
The important thing is that this lady was a responsible adult, she knew about the ‘Lottery’ and ‘Nigerian’ scams, but this one drew her in….. there’s a scam for everyone out there, it just needs to know what strings to pull.