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Avoid "bait and switch" scams

Updated December 23, 2009

Cerritos detectives are reporting an increase in "bait and switch" scams that target Asian victims of various descents. The most common involves offering a large sum of money to a victim in exchange for a good faith deposit, or asking a victim to transfer funds to a strangerís account before receiving anything in return. This is known as an advance fee fraud scam.

In this type of fraud you are contacted by telephone or mail and told you have won the grand prize; a large amount of money from a gaming event. The scammer informs you that you must pay the taxes/fees up front in order to claim your prize. The money you send is usually to a location out of the state or country. After a short period you are contacted again and told there were problems with the winnings and that you must send additional money to collect your prize. The prize never arrives, and you have now been scammed.

In some incidents the scammers will send a counterfeit check first, advising you that you have won it as a prize, and demand the tax money immediately. After you deposit the scammerís check, you will discover that it is counterfeit.

Other scams can involve unrealistic exchange rates for foreign currency or attempting to sell victims money and "cleaning solution" that they must use to reveal the currency underneath a black dye camouflage. Remember, NEVER give anyone money unless you know them or are sure they are engaged in a legitimate business. Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, you are about to become a victim.

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