As a user of the internet, no doubt you have seen scams in your e-mail where someone is asking you to help move funds to the USA. Normally, they tell you that there is a huge lump sum of money that they inherited from a dead family member and they need your help moving the funds to the USA due to political issues in their country. They tell you that if you assist, you will receive a large percentage of the funds.
If you were ever curious or became a victim of this scam, you know that the person that contacted you asks for a little money up front to cover transfer fees, insurance, etc. The scammer will normally ask you to send the money to him/her via Western Union MoneyGram and provide the transaction number once the money is sent. Do you think you will ever see any of that money they promised? Nope, of course not! Once the money is sent to the scammer, he takes it an runs. Obviously, there was no lump sum of money to begin with.
In recent years, Western Union has gotten together with law enforcement to educate people about this danger. Since more people are becoming aware of this scam, scammers are finding new ways to move money.
When I heard about this new scam, I did some research to find out exactly how the scammers are using this new method and came across a story involving a 70 year old lady from California who had fallen victim to a sweepstakes scam in which the scammer conned the lady into using a pre-paid Visa card.
This woman had received a telephone call telling her that she had one a $3.5 million sweepstakes and a brand new Mercedes. In the past, the scammer on the other end would ask the victim to send money with MoneyGram for a “Processing Fee”. In this case, the scammer instructed the lady to purchase $13,000 worth of pre-paid payment cards and provide the account numbers. This way, the scammer could obtain the money without having the cards in hand. The scammer had also asked the lady to provide her SSN, birth date and other sensitive information and she had complied with his request. Upon hearing about the situation, a relative of hers intervened but it was too late. By that time, the scammer had withdrawn the money and it was GONE!
Be aware of this situation and NEVER give sensitive information to a stranger. Always make sure to play on the side of caution.