Scam of the day – September 9, 2013 – Missing children scam

Desperate people often are among the most sought after victims by scammers because they believe, and often they are right, that when people are desperate, they will not be as careful.  It is for this reason that when people are in desperate financial straits, they are most likely to become a victim of a scam.  However, desperation comes from sources other than financial.  Florida mother Christina Potwin posted a message and photo of her daughter on Ms. Potwin’s Facebook page when her daughter Christina was missing.  Shortly after posting the message and photograph, Ms. Potwin was contacted on her Facebook page, by someone who asked for her phone number and said he had information about Christina.  Ms. Potwin provided her telephone number and when she spoke with the caller, he said that he had information, but that she had to pay him for the information and demanded that she wire $300 to him in Nigeria before he would give her information to locate her daughter.  Fortunately, Ms. Potwin’s daughter, Jasmine turned up safe and sound before Ms. Potwin sent the money, which she said she was ready to do.

TIPS

Scammers and identity thieves scour social media for information they can turn into money for themselves and when they see desperate people like Ms. Potwin, they will immediately leap to take advantage of that desperation.  It certainly should have been a tip off that the person who called Ms. Potwin was from Nigeria, the home of so many scams, but even if he was from somewhere nearby, you should always be skeptical as to the legitimacy of someone who contacts you when you are in need.