Over the years, I have talked with several people who were apparent victims of a criminal scheme to get money through deceptive means. I have heard stories of online romance that turned out to be completely false and a ploy to bilk a lonely person with access to money and/or assets. Some individuals cashed out all of their savings and/or retirement accounts and maxed out credit cards all in the name of love (or so they thought).
How the Scams Work
The con artist persuades the victim to purchase items, send money or transfer money. Most of these schemes stem from West Africa and are dubbed Nigerian Scams. CNBC’s Jennifer Schlesinger and Andrea Day published an article this week about these very crimes.
It is heartbreaking and hard enough to succumb to financial problems, but then to endure embarrassment of being scammed makes it even harder to discuss these issues with someone else. Often times, people drain their life savings and even incur debt to help these scam artists. The article above points out that the criminals have gotten savvier and moved on from love schemes to scamming businesses like family-owned textbook companies and even American Express. These criminals most recently targeted manufactures and would pretend to be a small company wanting to do business with the manufacturer. According to the article, the West African con artists are less known for being tech savvy and most notable for using mind games.
Are You a Victim?
If you have been the victim of one of these scams, you first need to report it to authorities. Second, if the scam has left you in a financial bind, you need to speak to a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through what steps to take next to get back on your feet financially. The attorneys at all Bond and Botes locations offer compassion and expertise.
Heather Ellis Banks is an Associate Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil.C. Humphreys School of Law. She has been helping consumers to navigate through the bankruptcy process since 2005. Read her full bio here.