***image1***An internet-based scam called the “Nigerian Advance Fee Scheme” is targeting military members throughout the KMC.
Rings of scam artists, all originating from Nigeria, are using e-mail accounts to send unsolicited e-mails to thousands of people, needing just one person to respond in order to make their efforts worthwhile. They specifically look for government e-mail addresses, in particular those that belong to younger Airmen.
The target receives a random, unsolicited e-mail telling them they are to inherit vast riches from a long-lost relative or they’ve just won an obscure lottery. The sender of the e-mail then asks the target to hire him as an “agent,” in order to facilitate the process of receiving the money.
The sender requests an up-front fee, as well as additional funds to pay local taxes and various other charges, all with the promise that this is the last payment required before receiving the big payout.
Once the target supplies all those fees, the sender then vanishes. Other times, the e-mail requests no up-front fees, just the target’s personal banking and financial information in order to directly deposit the money they’ve “won.”
“If people receive a random e-mail (saying) that you’ve just come into millions of dollars, the best thing to do is not to respond,” said Capt. Christopher Olson, 435th Air Base Wing assistant staff judge advocate. “The safest course of action is to completely disregard the e-mail and delete it immediately. Sooner or later, they will move on to others who do answer.
“If you contacted these scam artists and gave them any personal information at all about you, immediately contact the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) to review your accounts for any unauthorized access or fraud,” said Captain Olson.
If people find fraudulent activity on their credit reports, or if they suffer a financial loss, they should contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Database by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT.
Most scams originate from Nigeria, but people may see contact information on these e-mails from countries in Europe. These scams are ever-evolving, so members are advised to be vigilant.
To report a scam affecting the KMC, call 489-8341. (Courtesy 435th Air Base Wing legal assistance office)