Understanding the Law
December 14, 2012

Beware of scammers

Although it was good to hear that the latest scam in SVG was highlighted, I was disappointed that there was a victim, because I am so disgusted with those persons who want to get people’s hard earned dollars by trickery. I suspect that it has happened in SVG before, but persons who are fleeced of thousand of dollars are too ashamed to disclose. It should never have happened to someone in such an important position as the Commissioner of Police.{{more}}

The Internet has helped the bad guys to refine their tools. It has now become commonplace for attractive offers to be made. “You have won the lottery for $100,000,” and the bad guys ask you for your contribution in order to get this money. We have to learn to resist the attractive offers and the sympathetic appeals. There are persons out there who are thriving on your gullibility, fully aware that the law will not help you because you cannot track these fraudsters when they have your money in their pockets. According to the law, anyone with possession of cash has good title to it.

The scammers often use the name of seemingly legitimate institutions, such as banks. Recently, I have been receiving offers of a loan from Gulf International Bank and the e-mails have been coming frequently. Why would this bank want to offer me a loan when loans are so difficult to come by? The scammers ask for advanced payment of fees before you receive the loan. They require you to make a wire transfer to an account. I urge you not succumb to the lies and deceit.

It is tragic that these scammers would not use their intelligence for honest endeavours. Some time ago I received an e-mail from a named colleague that he had left home in a hurry to attend to a cousin who had fallen ill in Spain and that his credit card was not accepted. He needed money urgently and would inform me as to how to send the money. He would repay me on returning home. I called someone who worked near to his office to find out if she had seen him lately and she confirmed that she had seen him that very morning. I thereafter called him and learnt that his e-mail had been hacked. There are often red flags in the message that you should be able to detect. If perhaps it had said USA, instead of Spain, I might have had some reasons to believe. You have to delete immediately. I have just deleted five e-mails from my spam box. I normally delete when I see the strange names, but I opened one just to let you know. And it was from a woman in Kenya who wanted to make me a trustee to her inheritance. It was a very long letter, but she did not convince me.

There are no freebies out there. No one is so generous as to offer you what he or she would like to have. It is sad that the offers always come from persons with African names. Just remember that no one will give you a million dollars for nothing. Sometimes, too, the scammers tell you about a windfall that they want to share with you, but you need to pay some money in advance in order to receive your portion. Does this sound familiar? They are becoming smarter every day and they are twisting the truth to get your hard earned dollars.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com