Do Not Become a Victim
am guessing since the beginning of time there have
been scam artists. I think the Internet
has made this problem even greater since people can
pretend to be anyone. The scamming of
people via the Internet is at a new high and it
becomes real when it happens to your friends and
family. People quickly forget the rule
of the Internet – people can pretend to be anyone
over the Internet.
Who is the most likely to get victimized by these
scammers? People who are very old and very young.
The most trusting among us are the ones that become
the victims of these scams.
Unfortunately, these victims could be your parents,
grandparents, elderly neighbors and friends, or
teenagers. Many of these victims are looking
to find things/people on the Internet to fill gaps
in their life. The scam artists look for these
people who may be lonely or just unhappy in their
situation. Scam artists also use the
needy and the greedy with “get rich quick” promises
that only leave you with less money than you started
What do these scam look like? I want
to describe some of these scams but by no means am I
including them all. I recommend always
asking a close friend or family member before
responding to a stranger who finds you on the
Internet or via email. You must assume
these people are out to take your money unless you
can prove otherwise.
Many of the scams come via email,
Facebook, Skype, etc. Any communication
medium can provide an anonymous contact that can be
used to perpetrate a fraud. One such
scam comes in the form of pretending you are someone
that is in great need. You may receive a
contact via the Internet that describes the person
as in the military or other public service type job.
Who does not want to help our soldiers and service
members? These people even use pictures of
service men or women to lure the person by putting a
face to the contact. The men and women
in our military are not going to reach out and find
you via the Internet and ask for money.
Some ask for help with their children or even a sick
relative. They lure people into a romantic
type relationship – promising to come see the person
when they get home from service. These
scam artists are usually someone from a foreign
country and any money sent to them disappears –
never to be seen again. Law enforcement is
powerless to go after them in another country.
These scammers pray on our sense of kindness and
Other victims are deceived into “get rich quick”
scams. If you give me a fee, I can send
you $5,000. I can tell you for certain
that no one will give you $5,000 for a $100 fee.
This deception also can come in the form of a
sweepstakes. If you give me a fee and your
bank account information, I can transfer money to
your account. Again, if it is too good to be true,
odds are it is a fraud.
How can you prevent the ones you love from fraud?
Monitor their Internet/email communications as much
as possible. Talk to your loved ones
about fraud and encourage them to discuss any
financial transactions or investments with you.
Stay in touch and ask questions about new “people”
in their life. The scam artists have the
advantage over you every time so make sure you keep
the lines of communication open at all times.
Please also report all fraud and scams to your local
law enforcement agency.
If you have questions about this article, you can
email me at
Dr. Lisa Lee Bryan
Instructor - Southeastern