|[ The Real McCoy Online Home
March 11, 2011
People advised to beware of
advanced-fee scheme offerings
|If Fort McCoy community members receive a telephone
call, letter or e-mail asking for money up front in return for a dream
vacation, a big prize or a big payout, they should be wary and treat the
request with proper suspicion, said the Fort McCoy Directorate of
Emergency Services Police Department.
It may be a sign of an advanced-fee scheme, whereby a 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, said Capt. Rick Jackson of the Fort McCoy Police
Department. These contacts may occur at any time, but can be more
prevalent at this time of the year as people file their income tax
returns and receive refunds.
The variety of advanced-fee schemes is limited only by the imagination
of the con artists who offer them, according to information from the FBI
website. They may involve the sale of products or services, the offering
of investments, lottery winnings, “found money,” or many other
Clever con artists will offer to find financing arrangements for their
clients who pay a “finder’s fee” in advance. They require their clients
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”
according to the contract. 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.
If the offer of an “opportunity” appears too good to be true, it
probably is. Follow common business practices. For example, legitimate
business rarely is conducted in cash on a street corner.
• 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.
Depending on the amount of money that you plan on spending, you may want
to visit the business location, check with the Better Business Bureau,
or consult with your bank, an attorney, or the police.
• Make sure you fully understand any business agreement that you enter
into. If the terms are complex, have them reviewed by a competent
• Be wary of businesses that operate out of post office boxes or mail
drops and do not have a street address. Also be suspicious when dealing
with people who do not have a direct telephone line and who are never in
when you call, but always return your call later.
• Be wary of business deals that require you to sign nondisclosure or
non-circumvention agreements that are designed to prevent you from
independently verifying the authentication of the people with whom you
intend to do business. Con artists often use non-circumvention
agreements to threaten their victims with civil suit, if they report
their losses to law enforcement.
Bryan Clarkin, Fort McCoy Army Community Service Financial Program
manager, said consumers need to be proactive in these cases because
there isn’t a lot authorities usually can do to prosecute individual
Consumers can help authorities by reporting suspicious contacts and
helping them discern patterns. If the number of people involved in a
scam becomes large enough, authorities may decide to prosecute.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud — especially anyone
who divulged personal information or identification — and may become a
target of identity theft is encouraged to contact the credit bureaus to
place an identity theft hold or freeze on their accounts, Clarkin said.
This will help prevent these people from opening up credit card accounts
or other financial instruments that could harm individuals both from a
monetary and credit standpoint.
Clarkin said he can help authorized members of the Fort McCoy community
place identity theft holds or freezes on their credit accounts. He also
can provide financial management classes/information about a variety of
financial topics. For more information, call him at 608-388-6812/3505.
For more information about advanced-fee crimes, call the Fort McCoy
Police Department at 608-388-3921.
For more information about how to file advanced-fee complaints visit the
http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. If the advanced-fee scheme is from
a foreign address, visit the websites
Information about advanced- fee crimes and other financial crimes also
can be found at the website