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I have these scam emails all the time. I don't open them, but place them in my spam folder and then delete them. It's possible to determine them as spam when they offer to lower your interest rates, just have a unknown name or tell you that you've won a lottery. Usually these emails are harmless unless you respond to them.
Back in December, my computer was attacked 3 times by viruses. It happens very suddenly, coming up with a warning, then telling me that I can eradicate the viruses by purchasing a package that will destroy the virus. They ask you for your name and a credit card number. My virus protection eliminated them.
However, I changed my passwords for my banking and credit cards. When I went to renew a credit card as I usually do, I was refused authorization. When I mentioned that I had changed my password to my online account, they understood the problem.
The next day, my husband received a call from a scam company offering protection as well as lower interest rates, free legal help among a host of other life-time benefits that seemed to good to be true. He's retired and very gullible, so, when I was at work, he gave 2 credit card numbers thinking that the caller was from our credit card company. I always check our statements online every day so I was shocked when I saw that we were being charged $690 for "life-time benefits" from Global Success Track. I immediately reported it to my CC company, filed a dispute, then called this scam company located in Florida. It took almost a month, with threats of hiring a lawyer, to cancel this "contract" and get a refund. The point is that once you give them your credit card, you have already authorized their actions. Now, I am being bombarded with companies offering me lower interest rates, warnings about possible fraud and other junk email.
On the other hand, one of my long time customers at work lost large sums of money to a very fradulent company, "Global International Company" that deals with sweepstakes. She is an 80 year old woman who isn't stupid or gullible, who worked hard all her life, but who fell prey to someone who called her, telling her that she had won a million $$$ in an international lottery. This call came from someone in Jamaica who supposedly has an office in Texas. They encouraged her as they said that they were "Christians" who were able to help her. Before she knew it, because of this callers "sweet talk", she was sending them money, always via Western Union, to pay for the "fees" invovled in sending them her money. It was always tied up due to international fees. After a few months, she started wondering where her lottery money was. I don't know how involved her bank was, but it seemed that she ignored their warnings.
She was very distraught and confused, and so was I when she told me about this mess. When I checked them out on BBB, there was an alert about their international fraudulent activities. After receiving about $10,000 in "fees", they would "deposit" a check into her checking account in 5,000 or 10,000 $$$ as payments for her winning lottery. When it bounced because she didn't have that much in her checking, the bank sent it to them from her savings accounts. The bank says that she authorized these withdrawls. She's called them asking for some real money since she can't survive on her SS check. She waited too long to stop payment or to file a complaint against them, so they have access to her checking account and savings. It seems that they can deposit a check for $5,000 tomorrow, but if she doesn't have that much in her checking, the bank will reimbuse them for a bounced check from her savings accounts.
I hate to say it, but her problem was with greed when she was doing very well with her finances, living off her SS check and savings, but thinking that a sweet and swift talking "Christian" talker could make her wealthy.
Now she's facing the prospect of having to deal with this scam which is very stressful for someone her age. She thinks that she's lost about $100,000 but she's very confused which is something that these scam artists do.
Pass this information onto others who think that a lottery can make them wealthy when they're doing all right.