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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

If it's too good to be true, it probably is

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Please keep the following information confidential. Through an amazing stroke of luck, I received notice this week from a Nigerian government official that I was to receive a portion of a $20 million secret fund from a long-

abandoned gold mine in that African nation. I'm not certain how my name was selected but talk about luck!

Anyway, all I have to do is to forward my bank account number to this Nigerian official and before you know it, I'll have millions. Please keep this confidential because I don't want to jinx the deal.

If you own a computer, the reality is that this Nigerian scam is perhaps the most ridiculous fraud on the Internet these days. No kidding, I receive dozens of these garbled, English-challenged notices each and every week. They promise great fortune and all you have to do is to forward some bank account information so they can forward the money to your account.

Anyone in their right mind knows this phony scam for what it is. The Nigerian government calls it a 419 scam for the Nigerian statute that outlaws frauds. But amazingly, the fraud is so successful that the Nigerian government seized $700 million in the last two years alone from crooks who work the Internet scheme.

I mention this only because a renowned psychiatrist from California this week filed suit after he lost $1.3 million to these international thieves. Despite an amazing education and a world of respect, this noted doctor fell prey to the Nigerian scheme. It makes you wonder.

Scam artists prey on our compassion, our greed or our ignorance. Sometimes all three combine. Experts say to use common sense - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Yet literally hundreds of complaints are filed each year from victims who hope to recover their money. They rarely do however.

There's a phone scam apparently making the rounds in our area where the caller needs bank information for one reason or another. If you're asked over the phone to provide that information, then chances are you are a potential victim.

I can't help but wonder how this learned man from California could not have recognized the obvious nature of this Nigerian fraud. He even went so far as to travel to Africa to meet with the mysterious "general" who promised this gold mine wealth. And yet he still didn't see the obvious.

I've responded often to this scams with some colorful language to express my disdain for their tactics. I doubt it even got a notice. The Internet scammers send millions of these e-mails daily and if just one responds, they've made some money.

As usual, here's the bottom line: Ignore the scams that promise enormous wealth. Only a moron would imagine that even a part of their phony message is true. But apparently there are enough morons who have big hearts, greedy souls or pea-brains to keep this scam working.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen