Recovery scams - a little-known class of scams that can be a real disaster: Internet ScamBusters #96
Today's issue is short and covers a class of scams you probably haven't heard of: they're called recovery scams.
Time to get going...
When people lose money through scams, especially if they lose a great deal of money, there is often local publicity about the scam and its victims. This publicity has resulted in a whole new wave of scams called 'recovery' scams -- further fraud that is perpetrated by folks who contact the victims and claim that they can help with the 'recovery' of their losses.
This can quickly become a disaster.
It turns out that professional scammers have what are known as 'sucker lists' -- lists that contain as much detail as possible about known victims of previous scams. These lists are then bought and sold by unscrupulous scammers who believe that if you've been deceived once, you can be deceived again.
These recovery scams are particularly insidious because they tend to target seniors.
How low can scamming get...?
These scammers have figured out that the victims are wise enough NOT to respond any more to the typical scam -- so when they make contact with the victims, it is to 'sympathize' with them, and to offer their 'services' to recover the money they've lost.
For a fee, of course. A large fee. Sometimes in the thousands of dollars.
Sometimes the scammers claim that they have already recovered substantial amounts of money on behalf of other victims, and invite the victims to 'join' them for the recovery. They may claim that they can file complaint paperwork or lawsuits on your behalf to recover the money.
Sometimes they claim to be government officials, or that they are an agency 'working with' the government to get your money back. They may even say that they are already holding money for you, for 'victim reimbursement.'
These recovery scams are simply defrauding the victims one more time -- and, of course, no 'recovery' will ever take place.
Although there are some government agencies and consumer organizations which provide assistance to fraud victims, they NEVER charge a fee, and they never 'guarantee' that they'll get back any part of your money.
And, they never contact YOU (either by phone or email).
Action: If you have been a scam victim and you are contacted about recovering your money, call the police. It's a recovery scam.
That's it for now. See you next week.