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Reghan Winkler: Remember to ward off scammers: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Easy money.

We all dream of an unexpected storm coming to us. Besides winning the lottery, leaving yourself millions of dollars for a long-lost relative is probably the best way to make your dreams come true.

Now imagine how lucky you are to receive a letter or email from a legitimate law firm informing you that you are the legal beneficiary of real estate from someone with the same last name as you. The funds are deposited in a well-known US bank, pending the start of the billing process. Often, many legal documents, such as the power of attorney, that you need to sign are attached or attached. We also inform you that government, tax and banking regulations can make the process difficult.

Due to its complexity, you have to pay an administration fee to navigate the process. You will also be asked to provide your bank account information so that the law firm can deposit money directly into your account.

Seems reasonable.

This sort of thing happens every day in the United States. However, if you make a payment or provide your bank or other personal information, you will not receive the promised inheritance, you will not be able to get your money back, and you may be exposed to identity theft.

Unfortunately, this is a new twist on the notorious ‘Prince of Nigeria’ scam, with letters and emails from government officials or anyone claiming to be a member of the Royal Family asking for help in sending mail. millions of dollars. You will receive it. I promise to leave Nigeria and pay someone for their help.

The ‘Prince of Nigeria’ scam has been around forever and is still effective to some extent, but most people realize that no one in Nigeria knows about it, notice the ridiculousness of the story, and ignore the letters and tales. emails. ..

This new version of the “Prince of Nigeria” scam is a bit more sophisticated. The story is not that ridiculous. If you just follow their instructions, crooks will spend a very long time convincing you that luck is waiting for you. Along with the use of officially visible headers and logos, the inclusion of clearly legitimate law firms, banks, and documents helps reinforce the possibility that this is true.

If you receive one of these letters and still stick to your desire to claim your property, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself before sending money or providing any personal information.

• Do not send money to strangers or unreliable people, and do not provide copies of your credit card information, account details, or personal documents.

• Ignore the contact details in the letter. Instead, search the internet for the real and legitimate contact details of the law firm, bank, or any other institution cited. Then call them directly to confirm the authenticity of the letter.

• Prepaid requests in the form of money orders, bank transfers, pre-loaded cards or electronic currencies such as Bitcoin are a big danger signal. Don’t Do It Money sent in this way is seldom recovered.

• Seek advice from independent professionals such as lawyers, bankers and local BBBs before responding to such letters.

• Scammers love to use their personal touches to recreate their emotions and get what they want. If you think it’s a scam, don’t respond.

Remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The opportunities for gambling fraud rarely work. Protect yourself.

Reghan Winkler is the secretary general of the Better Business Bureau, which serves Midwestern Ohio. BBB can be found on the internet bbb.org/us/oh/lima ..

Reghan Winkler: Remember to ward off scammers: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

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