Scam artists posing as Nigerian princes have been surfing the internet for years, supposedly to give away millions of dollars, but there’s a new twist to this old tale.
Known as the “advanced fee scam”, they promise large sums of money in exchange for a small upfront payment for taxes, bank transfer fees or even to bribe foreign officials. Some require the funds to be delivered via untraceable gift cards or wire transfers, while others offer a direct transfer if you provide your bank account information. Either way, any money they touch will be gone forever.
The latest set of stories involves COVID-19 and a nurse named Catherine Lee.
She claims to be one of the few US-trained registered nurses to work in Syria and says one of her patients arrived with a suitcase full of $100 bills worth an estimated $5.8 million .
The supposed nurse will say she had the suitcase and money ‘clinically tested’ and found it ‘negative for any virus’.
She will say she needs a trusted partner in the United States to share it with. If the call recipient prefers not to be involved, all they have to do is answer and let them know.
However, responding in any way is also perilous, as they simply change names and tactics.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 1,800 complaints in 2021 for “romance scams,” in which scammers formed online relationships with victims and extorted an estimated $133 million.
As tempting as any offer may be, it is best to contact local law enforcement and verify claims before taking any action. You can also report a suspected scam to the Ohio Attorney General’s office by calling 800-282-0515, submitting a complaint form to the Consumer Protection Section, 30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-3400, or by filing the post online at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/about-AG/contact/report-a-scam.