I call this the Nigerian report scam but other countries have joined the party. Montreal Canada is a world center for scam generation. If you get an e-mail, a letter, read a classified ad, or get a telephone call from some strange character in some overseas place offering you a take of millions, RUN LIKE HELL!
When we lived in Arizona a neighbor use to call me and say something like, “John! I’ve just won $100,000.00 from Readers Digest!” I would say, “Now, Pearl, don’t do anything! I’ll be right over!” (Although she has passed away, I’m not using her real name.)
She would tell me she got a call from Montreal and that all she had to do was send $2500.00 to get her big prize. I would call Readers Digest and the Canadian Government’s scam hunters and then tell her not to send any money because it was a scam.(which he can get on his own once he has your bank account number)!
The Nigerian Scam goes like this. Abdul Mahogany sends you an e-mail and tells you that his great uncle was a government official who died in jail. His uncle held large amounts of cash in a Swiss bank. To get the money from the Swiss account, Abdul would have to travel to Switzerland and have the money transferred to an account in the United States. Abdul will give you half of the zillion dollars if he can transfer the money to your account. All he needs is YOUR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER AND THE TRANSFER NUMBER TO YOUR BANK
Abdul does not go to Switzerland (except for skiing on his winter vacation). Abdul does not have money transferred INTO your account. Abdul does transfer money out of your account into his. ABDUL EMPTIES YOUR ACCOUNT. You are furious and humiliated. You call your bank, the Chamber of Commerce, the police, and even the FBI. And what are they able to do? NOTHING! You have been had.
One thing about mail scams is that the United States Postal Service takes action against such scams. For example, see http://www.usps.com/judicial/1982deci/12-118d.htm where the Service took action against Group One Communications of Jensen Beach, Florida. The Service took almost every line of their mail promotion and declared it false advertising. Here is the final judgment: “Therefore, I conclude that Respondent is engaged in conducting a scheme for obtaining money through the mail by false.
Representations in violation of 39 U.S.C. § 3005 and that a False Representation Order, substantially in the form attached, should be issued against Respondent.” I got a letter one time with an offer and I asked the local postmaster if the offer was legal. He said that legal or not the offer would not bring income to anyone. They do not pursue every complaint. They go after the big guys.
I questioned an MLM program once on its legality and I was told that because the monthly fee was so small ($7.00) that the program would be too small potatoes for the federal government to investigate in the near future. They are working on the big stuff.Thus if they owed you $300.00 they could give you a fishing pole and a cheap pair of binoculars worth a total of $13.95. How in the heck they got away with that I’ll never know.
Some MLMs are scams in themselves. I was in one once where the federal government shut it down as a simple pyramid. The operators were required to pay back the money collected. However, the operators were allowed to pay the money back in merchandise. This was good for them because they could buy a fishing pole from China for $3.95 and get $150.00 credit for providing the merchandise.