There is a lot of fraud going on right now with people trying to scam you out of your money. One common fraud scheme is called advance-fee scam.
An advance-fee scam occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.
They may involve the sale of products or services, the offering of investments, lottery winnings, “found money, to name a few. Con artists will offer to find financing arrangements for their clients who pay a “finder’s fee” in advance. Clients are required to sign contracts in which they agree to pay the fee when they are introduced to the financing source. Victims often learn that they are ineligible for financing only after they have paid the “finder’s fee.” Such agreements may be legal unless it can be shown that the “finder” never had the intention or the ability to provide financing for the victims.
Tips for avoiding advance-fee scams:
- If the offer of an “opportunity” appears too good to be true, it probably is.
- Know who you are dealing with. If you have not heard of a person or company that you intend to do business with, learn more about them.
- Make sure you fully understand any business agreement that you enter into.
- Be wary of businesses that operate out of post office boxes or mail drops and do not have a street address. Also, when dealing with someone who does not have a direct telephone line and who is never in when you call, but always returns your call later.
- Be wary of business deals that require you to sign non-disclosure or non-circumvention agreements that are designed to prevent you from independently verifying the bona fides of the people with whom you intend to do business. Con artists often use non-circumvention agreements to threaten their victims with civil lawsuits if they report their losses to law
Learn more about protecting yourself from scams by visiting the FBI’s Scams and Safety website.
If you’re concerned or have any questions about a questionable activity or solicitation, please contact us at 888.723.7328.