“More than the odds are against you,” warns a brochure displayed at the post office. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service was talking about con artists. “Just imagine what you can lose in a foreign lottery scam,” the Postal Service says. After more than 26 years as a debt consolidation lawyer offering Indiana bankruptcy help, what truly breaks my heart is seeing scammers and identity thieves pushing people over the brink, adding theft to their already crushing financial problems.
- Jury duty scams
- Nigerian officials wanting elders to transfer funds
- Early tax refund scams
- Credit repair scams
- Foreclosure consultant scams
- Job search scams
- Real estate property deed scams
As every good bankruptcy attorney in Indiana knows, what all these scams have in common is their two goals:
- Getting elderly victims to share confidential financial information (social security numbers, mother’s maiden name, passwords, bank account numbers, etc.), so that they can steal victims’ identities.
- Using seniors’ bank accounts to “launder” illegal money
“It’s shrewd, not rude,” explains the Postal Service brochure to hang up if you suspect a scam, discard emails, and be wary of offers that sound too good to be true. DO NOT mail or wire any money that supposedly is to pay taxes and fees to claim your lottery winnings.
I was talking the other day to one of my Bloomington bankruptcy lawyer colleagues about this very sort of lottery scam. She made a very interesting observation about even real lottery winners – fantastic windfalls often turn out to be a curse rather than a blessing. Having sudden riches often isolates a person from family and friends rather than solving problems. (Sour grapes thinking? Perhaps.)
The point I want to emphasize to Bankruptcy in Indiana readers, though, is a different one. I’ve met with tens of thousands of people as they faced filing personal bankruptcy in Indiana or small business bankruptcy in Indiana. Without exception, they would have considered that winning the lottery would erase all their problems forever. That very feeling is what allows thieves and scammer to cheat people out of their assets and their identities.
As the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says: “No legitimate lottery should ask you for money to claim your prize!”
Categorised in: Bankruptcy Indiana
This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg