Sacramento, CA - An advance-fee scam is a type of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, which the fraudster requires a small up-front payment to obtain. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.
There are many variations on this type of scam, including 419 scam, Fifo's fraud, Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam and the Detroit-Buffalo scam. The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.
Online versions of the scam originate primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria, with Ivory Coast, Togo, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Spain also having high incidences of such fraud. The scam messages often claim to originate in Nigeria, but usually this is not true. The number "419" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders. Generally a victim will receive an email from someone in a foreign country who claims to have a stash of cash and needs your help to get the money out of the country into your bank account. In exchange for your help, you are to keep part of the money, which never arrives.
Now the advance-fee scam has a Workers' Compensation variant. A Chico woman has been arrested on suspicion of grand theft and elder abuse after accepting nearly $29,000 from an Illinois woman in a workers' compensation scam. The woman, Sandra Freeman, 53, was arrested after Chico police detectives served a search warrant at her residence in the 2500 block of The Esplanade, according to a press release published in the Chicoer.
Detectives were said to have found evidence that Freeman had been accepting money orders, Western Union transactions and cash deliveries for more than year, according to the release. She would then allegedly wire the money to multiple locations in Nigeria.
The arrest stemmed from a report Chico police received Jan. 5 from the Danville Police Department in Illinois. The report outlined how a 72-year-old Danville woman had been the victim of an Internet scam. The woman, whose name was not given, received a private Facebook message from a person who was disguised as one of the woman's friends. The message relayed that the woman was eligible to receive a $150,000 workers' compensation settlement.
The woman was given a phone number spoke with an "attorney" who explained that to receive the settlement she would need to make payments to cover things like an "application, delivery fee, taxes, insurance and attorney's fees," according to the release.
The woman, who felt comfortable talking to the unknown "attorney" because the information was provided by a person she thought was her Facebook friend, then sent five cash transactions to an address in Chico over the course of a month. The transactions totaled $28,700. The woman was told by the unknown person over the phone to mail the money to a Sandra Freeman. Chico police detectives then confirmed with the U.S. Postal Service that five envelopes were delivered to Freeman's address on The Esplanade.
Following a search of Freeman's home, she was booked at the Chico Police Department and taken to Butte County Jail. Read More...