Keep your eyes open for Advance Fee Scams
Criminals continue to find new and different strategies to gain your confidence in order to separate
you from your money. A quick internet search for “scams” will yield millions of results of news
articles, variations of scams and victims’ distressing impact stories. Often, there is an Identity Theft
component in addition to the negative financial impact. The two most prevalent categories of scams are
Advance Fee and Overpayment Scams. In this post, we hope to raise your awareness of Advance Fee Scams so
that you may identify the scam and avoid being a scam victim.
What Is An Advance Fee Scam?
Much as it sounds, Advance Fee Scams are scams that require victims to make a small advance or upfront
payment for goods, services or financial gain that promises a significant reward that never
materializes. There are many Advance Fee Scams that you may have already heard of; Work from Home Scams,
Lottery Scams and Romance Scams. Do you know how to identify the specific characteristics of a scam?
While checking your email, you notice a message with the subject line, Luxury Vacations and open it to
read more. In the email, the message indicates that by purchasing travel vouchers in advance, you can
save thousands on luxury overseas vacations — without travel restrictions. The email provides a link
with further information about the voucher system. The website has picturesque photos of islands, snow
covered mountains and historic locales. The site has numerous customer testimonies touting the value of
the vouchers and detailing the amenities they received while traveling. The site offers discounted rates
for vouchers to first time buyers. It all looks too good to be true.
If it sounds or looks too good to be true, it probably is. In the above example, there are several
items that should cause you to be skeptical.
First, the email itself; did you solicit an email from a travel company? Have you recently searched
travel sites looking to book a vacation? While not too concerning that you received it, it is always
important to consider the validity of the source of the email.
Second, the offer; what legitimate travel agency offers pre-paid vouchers without restrictions? Most
legitimate sites have disclaimer language and most will have travel date restrictions.
Lastly, the testimonies; when was the last time you saw anything online with only positive reviews? The
site is most likely completely fabricated, just like the reviews.
The best scams are ones that appear the most credible; be aware of the warning signs for Advance Fee
- You receive an unsolicited email, phone call, text message, letter or visit from a salesperson
promising an exciting or valuable opportunity for a small advance payment or fee.
- You are asked for an advance payment to cover administration fees, taxes, postage or shipping.
- You are offered a generous reward once a small upfront payment is made.
- You have to pay a small fee to help someone you have been corresponding with online, but have never
met in person.
- You have to pay a small processing fee in advance of obtaining a loan with a low interest rate and
- Your new job requires that you negotiate checks and process payments to unknown individuals located
outside of the area.
In the last example, you can not only expect to lose money, but you could also be held liable for
perpetrating check fraud.
Investment opportunities with amazing rates and promising returns no one else is offering…jobs that
promise simple tasks and abbreviated work schedules with generous compensation…vacation rentals in
stunning locations for discounted prices…they all sound like amazing opportunities — to become the
victim of a scam.
BFSFCU is committed to helping you protect your personal information from scam artists; with your
diligence, we can work together to prevent fraud.