Scam of the day – September 25, 2017 – Genealogy scams

October is Family History Month, which seems like a good time to warn you about genealogy scams which have proliferated in recent years.  The scams associated with genealogy and family histories take many forms. In one version of theses scams you are contacted by a letter or email from someone with your surname offering to provide you with a book with your complete family history.  Once you have paid your money, you are sent a book with nothing more than generic and often incorrect information that has often been compared to an old style phone directory.

Similarly you may see advertisements offering to sell you a copy of your family’s coat of arms.  Beyond the fact that if there are coats of arms associated with your name, you would be able to find them on your own at no cost, coats of arms were not actually created for surnames, but rather individual people so the entire concept is bogus.

You also may be lured into hiring a particular genealogist, but while there are many legitimate genealogists, there also are numerous scammers who merely are looking to steal your money.

TIPS

The family history book is a scam.  If you are interested in looking into your family history, you can do it yourself at numerous websites.  Here is a link to reviews of some of the best of these websites.

http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/home/best-genealogy-websites/

As  for offers to provide you with your family’s coat of arms, since real coat of arms related to individuals and not families, you are better off just ignoring such offers.

Finally, if you are interested in hiring a genealogist, it is important to note that genealogists are not licensed by any state, however there are a number of legitimate certifying organizations for genealogists including the Association of Professional Genealogists that you can contact to confirm whether someone you are considering hiring is legitimate.  Here is a link to their website.  https://www.apgen.org/