We have all seen “Advance Fee Scams” sent to us via email and text.  These attempts to solicit money in exchange for future lottery winning, business opportunities, loans and inheritances have been around, in many forms, since the early 1800’s.

Messages from Nigerian petroleum executives, foreign royalty, international bank presidents, etc., promise significant sums of money…but require the victim to make an initial payment to secure these "soon to arrive" funds.

The initial contact can be via email, text message, letter, instant messaging or social media.  It generally contains false contact information and discusses a large sum of unclaimed money, lottery winnings, readily available personal/business loans, inheritances, etc.

Examples of such fraudulent claims include, but are certainly not limited to, a bank employee who is working with a wealthy, terminally-ill client who has no relatives to leave his/her wealth to…a deposed foreign leader who has amassed a fortune in stolen funds…a wealthy individual who secured a large insurance policy prior to a fatal plane crash without having designated a beneficiary…there are no limits to the imagination of criminals.

Never pay up-front, by way of wire transfer, gift cards or cash, for any promised financial payoff…especially to foreign countries.

Research the person or persons that you are dealing with.  Contact an attorney prior to sending money.

Guaranteed loans don’t exist.  Loans need to be applied for and applicants must be carefully scrutinized prior to receiving a loan.  Promises of guaranteed loans are fraudulent.

Never pay a “finder’s fee” in exchange for being directed to a potential financial payoff.

Report Advance Fee scams to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-438-4338 (9:00 AM - 8:00 PM, ET).

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