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Houston Criminal
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Top Texas Scams: This Could Happen to You

Posted on January 17, 2014 by Mintzer Law

Each year, unsuspecting Texans fall prey to fraudulent schemes. State and local prosecutors along with law enforcement agencies throughout the state monitor criminal activities that use the Internet, telephones or other methods to steal money from people. The methods behind each scheme might differ, but the goal is always to take a victim’s money.

Nigerian Fraud

An email arrives in your inbox from a stranger claiming to be the representative of a foreign country in need of a safe place to deposit the contents of his country’s treasury. The first email usually does not ask for anything more than a response acknowledging your interest. The Nigerian Fraud starts innocently, but it eventually leads to requests for a payment of money from you.

The lure of the Nigerian Fraud is the promise of a huge fee in exchange for your help in protecting a poor nation. The only one benefitted is the scammer who will keep whatever money you send and quickly disappear.

The Counterfeit Cashier’s Check

People selling cars or other personal property online or in a classified newspaper advertisement are at risk falling victim to a fraudulent scheme that has been around for a long time. One variation of this scam involves a telephone call in response to an advertisement offering a car for sale. The caller agrees to purchase the car over the phone without haggling over the price asked by the seller.

Once the deal has been made, the buyer claims to be out of town or unable to pick up the vehicle in person. Instead, the buyer offers to have a third party bring a cashier’s check to the seller and pick up the vehicle. The scam begins when the buyer tells the victim that the check will be for more than the price the seller is getting for the car. The buyer asks the seller to refund the overpayment to the person picking up the car in payment of person’s fee for performing the service for the buyer.

The counterfeit cashier’s check scam ends when the seller deposits the check and discovers, a few days later, that the check is a fake. The victim’s car and the money given to the third party are gone long before the bank calls with the bad news.

Phony Government Grants and Foreign Lotteries

An email, letter or telephone call informs the victim of a government grant or foreign lottery winnings waiting to be sent to the target of the scam. The announcement eventually gets to the point of asking for payment of a transaction fee so the money can be sent to the victim. Requests for payment of an upfront fee to receive something in return might be signs of a fraudulent scheme.

If you have been accused of committing fraud, then you could be facing some heavy fines or even prison time. Talk to Rand Mintzer today by calling 713-862-8880.