A couple of different scams are in play in the Alberni Valley and two residents are warning others to be vigilant.
Alberni resident Fred Dobson was surfing the Internet last Friday morning when an unusual e-mail addressed to him arrived in his inbox.
Dobson opened the attachment and discovered a letter to him written on what appeared to be official FBI letterhead from its Los Angeles field office.
According to the letterhead the initiative is in concert with the economic and financial crimes commission in Nigeria.
The letter asks Dobson to provide his personal information including his address, phone number and cellphone number to an FBI e-mail address – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The letter further asked Dobson to pay a $350 fee for a “clearance certificate”, which the letter says FBI regulations and U.S. law require.
At first glance the document looks official, but Dobson examined it in detail and realized it was a fake.
“I knew damn well it wasn’t official because there are lots of typos and sentence and grammar mistakes,” he said.
“They need to go back to school to learn how to spell.”
Dobson says he wants Alberni Valley residents to be aware because they may be duped by how official looking the letter is.
“There are people who might fall for it and I’d hate to see that,” he said.
Someone tried to scam Valley resident Lynn Schulz over the computer last week.
She received a phone call at home from someone with a South Asian accent.
“He told me to that I had a computer virus and that he would instruct me how to get rid of it over the phone,” Schulz said.
“The crazy thing is we don’t even own a computer,” she said.
Someone tried to dupe Schulz’s aunt in Saskatchewan with the same scam earlier this summer, forcing her to change her banking information afterward. So Schulz was aware.
“I knew what he was up to and I swore at him and called him every name in the book,” Schulz said.
She reported the scam to both police and the Canadian anti-fraud centre Phonebusters.
Schulz doesn’t want to see anyone get taken by this scam either.
“These guys, it seems like even if you get rid of one there’s another to take his place.”
Police aren’t aren’t aware of the specific scams, RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Murray said.
Nevertheless, vigilance and common sense are the best defense against scammers.
“Know who you are dealing with, don’t participate if you don’t, and if it’s too good to be true then it is,” Murray said.
“There are companies and individuals constantly trying to dupe people out of their money.”