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LEGAL MATTERS: Don’t Be Taken In By Advance Fee Frauds

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

 

If it sounds too good to be true, it really is--don't be drawn into advance fee frauds.

Last week I talked about “Advanced Fee Frauds” – scams that have an endless number of variations but always end up with the victim losing a significant amount of money. 

Here are some tips to avoid being taken in by those frauds:

Always know with whom you are dealing. If you have never met the person and your only communication has been by electronic means then you don’t know the person well enough to get involved with them.

Your bank will frequently release funds to your account before final action takes place with respect to a check or other financial transaction. You can be held responsible for a forged or fraudulent check deposited into your account.

If in doubt, speak with a bank manager. Managers are in a position to discuss risk with you and can give extra scrutiny to a financial transaction if you explain your suspicions to them.  On at least one occasion I am aware of a bank manager prevented the customer from being defrauded when the circumstances of the transaction was brought to their attention.

It is a high red flag if any of the following exist:

  • The other party to the transaction is in another jurisdiction
  • You have not personally seen the property that is the subject of the transaction
  • You are asked to wire or transfer money to another jurisdiction
  • The deal is so good that it seems to be a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

But, perhaps the best and easiest tip of all is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Sean P. Feeney is a partner with the Law Firm of Hamel, Waxler, Allen & Collins. He is admitted to practice in Rhode Island, Illinois and Wisconsin. Mr. Feeney is a former special counsel to the City of Providence, military prosecutor with the United States Marine Corps and Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California.

 

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