It Sounded Too Good to Be True…and It Was

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Hi Angela,

I just read Julie’s article in this week’s WritersWeekly. Since the woman she had a contract with is a known fraud AND she requested a W-9, Julie may want to put a fraud alert on her credit report, if she’s a sole proprietor and her Tax ID is also her Social Security number. It may be nothing, but on the other hand, the “editor” went to all that trouble of asking for a W-9…so it may be worth the peace of mind.

Thanks for all you do!

Pam

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Hi Angela,

I am responding to “It Sounded Too Good to Be True” in the March 11th edition of your newsletter. One of the reasons the author thought the phony publisher was on the up and up is because the author received an official looking contract. I present a work of caution. Many identity thieves are now posing as legitimate businesses to get people’s life histories, bank accounts and social security numbers. These con artists have no problem getting this information because they have their victims fill out official looking forms.

Such a scam hit the Las Vegas area last year. This con artist was posing as a mortgage broker. He would contact people out of the blue and offer them a “too good to be true” refinance deal. He would then show up at their home with a bogus story on how he selected them for this great offer. He also had his victims fill out official looking forms. These forms had spaces for the victims to list all their bank account information, work histories, social security numbers, etc. The con artists would then tell his victims he would be contacting them in a week or two with their refinance loan. Only problem, he never re-contacted his victims.

After three weeks without contact, one family called me because of my prior law enforcement background. I advised the family to contact their bank. The loan manager at the bank could not locate any record on the mortgage broker. But, she did find some unusual activity on their bank account. Because of the loan manager’s swift action, the family was able to recover their money.

The moral of the story is be very careful whom you give out your personal information to. Be especially leery if they contact you out of the blue.

S. Patrick Culshaw