|SCAMS CONTINUE, NEW VICTIMS|
By Bob Weaver
Three people who allegedly scammed WV senior citizens of more than $60,000 have been indicted on federal wire fraud and conspiracy charges, according to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
The indictment states the trio preyed on 18 elderly individuals ranging in age from 70 to 95, posing as family members and members of the clergy.
After establishing a relationship with their victims, the indictment alleges they would claim to be facing a financial emergency and asked the victims to wire them money to get out of jail, hire attorneys and make restitution.
The indictment alleges the elderly individuals were pressured into making multiple wire transfers despite having limited funds at their disposal.
In this case, the defendants picked up the funds from the wire transfers in Maryland and New York, it said.
SCAMS KEEP ON COMING
Several Calhoun and regional residents contacted the Herald regarding increased efforts by money scammers, using phone, Internet and mailers.
The tougher the economy, the bigger the attack to squeeze money from people's pocketbooks and bank accounts.
The most recent scam from an unidentified caller who was selling virus and scam protection for their home computer, advising the party their computer was "infected."
They offered three virus protection packages, two-year protection for $199, a five-year-plan for $299, or a life-time protection plan for $349.
Unfortunately, the woman bought a plan and gave her credit card number.
DISH customers have reported being contacted by people
who claim to be DISH representatives collecting money for special
promotions or upgrades. Some of these callers have
offered DISH customers 50% off the normal price of service if they
receive an upfront payment. They may
also ask for DISH account information or personal information. A scam.
A scam still floating for years, e-mails from a person with which the recipient is acquainted, advising them they have lost their wallet and are stranded in a far-a-way city or foreign country, and need cash.
At the Herald we got a bill by mail for a AFNI Collections saying I can take care of my overdue AT&T Mobility account of $113.74 for only $56.87. We have never done business with AT&T mobility.
In the Spring, in-person scams offering drive-way paving or home improvements recur. This is a "skip and run" scam after under performing the service.
There should be a red flag on any request for credit or bank account numbers.
OLD SCAMS IN A NEW DRESS
Residents have received an official looking check in their name for about $4,000, asking them to cash the check and send them a processing fee.
Others have received letters from fake loan companies that guarantee the holder a loan, no matter how bad their credit might be. The catch is to pay them a processing fee.
A number of scams use various fake check methods, asking the victim to "keep the change," and send some back to them.
During the financial collapse, many people are getting letters that guarantee their bad credit will disappear or can be reduced. Send them some money for their services.
There are dozens of methods being used to steal ID's, bank account numbers, PayPal accounts, and credit card information - then the scammer can access the account and deplete it.
Some fake requests look official, even invoking the name of the IRS.
Preying on the lonely, calling over several days to build a relationship, is not uncommon.
Some scams request money for charitable causes, "worthwhile" organizations and needy victims.
A recent scam in West Virginia was for wounded veterans.
The scam artist will promise free gifts, prizes, or vacations — or the "investment of a lifetime."
Another is getting money from victims to work-at-home and make a lot of money, often assembling some product.
Never give your financial information to an unknown.
Consumers are urged to be vigilant.
If it even sounds like something for nothing, it's a scam.