Don’t be a sucker! Stay off the S*it List!

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Email Scams
Email Scams

I didn’t intend to write another post on fraud, but something “got my goat.”

I must receive at least six e-mails a day about my winnings in the lottery.

I read them and laugh at the spelling errors, the ridiculous pictures placed across the page, and the message coming from someone by the name, ‘Dr. Kingsley Moghalu.’ I think the best laugh is the ridiculous story about my ATM card or the strongboxes that arrived at a nearby airport requiring my delivery information.

Then, it dawned on me. If someone receives enough of these messages, do these e-mails become believable? Is the sales strategy simply repetition? You have the winning lottery number! You’re receiving a magic ATM card, and all you need to do is send a little money via MoneyGram!

The strategy appears to be: “Send this ten times a day to someone’s inbox enough and you will convince that person that they have won.”

Sounds silly, right? But, think about this for a minute. Is this any different than watching the elated people who win $7,000-a-week-for-life in the Publishers Clearing House?

What is the strategy that allows intelligent people to respond to these types of inquiries? Is it greed? Or, are they being somehow programmed? Send enough e-mails, make enough phone calls, and paint the most elaborate picture and people will react?

Why not? We have state lotteries – and people win. We have Powerball and mega lotteries – and people win. So, why not now? I am willing to bet that there is actually a legitimate type of lottery in places like Nigeria or Jamaica.

The power is in the repetition. If I see it over and over again, well then it must be true!

At one point in my career, I held the position of Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division of the United States Attorney’s Office in Miami. In that role, I prosecuted boiler room scams. It leads us to wonder, ‘how could anyone buy stock over the phone? With strangers?’ I recall, after a bust of one of the scams, I asked that question of the “perp.”  He told me that if he called often enough, the person will believe it.

It’s like the line in the movie, Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.”

So, how is this type of scam preventable? How do I tell elderly clients that they haven’t really won something? They know some people win. They figure that maybe it’s their turn and then they can live in style, pay for the grandchildren to go to college and give back to their favorite charities. Maybe someone will come to their house with flowers and a comical looking check with their name on it nearly a foot-long!

What can I tell these people? I guess I can only say that when something looks that good, then pinch your leg, splash cold water on your face and walk away for awhile.  Nothing that looks this good is free! It will cost you plenty because once a sucker, you’re on a list. We have a name for this list, but I won’t say it here. The hell I won’t, it’s a shit list.

Take my advice for what it is… It’s just AS I SEE IT!

VIALeonard F. Baer
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Leonard F. Baer
Leonard Baer's practice focuses on Elder Law, and Estate Planning. His previous experience was in the area of complex criminal litigation, serving as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division for The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Baer was recognized by the Office of The Attorney General, as one of the top prosecutors in the country during his tenure. He has been included in North Carolina Top Rated Lawyers, a distinction awarded to those lawyers recognized by their colleagues as leaders in their field. He has also been recognized by the Florida Bar, for his efforts in representing seniors and their families, who are victims of scams and fraud. Mr. Baer is an AV rated lawyer listed in Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in their Bar Registrar of Preeminent Lawyers, which for over 90 years, includes only those select law practices that have earned their highest rating. He has been designated by Martindale-Hubbell as preeminent in his field, and in the top 5% of all lawyers practicing in the United States. Mr. Baer has also been ranked by AVVO, an online Legal Directory of over 200,000 lawyers nationally, as Superb, their highest rating. He served as adjunct professor of Sports Law at The University of Miami, and is a frequent lecturer on the topics of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Fraud Protection. He has been a columnist for several newspapers for over 13 years and currently has a nationally syndicated blog, “As I See It” with a readership of over 25,000.

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