Last evening, one of our members called me to ask if he could use our fax machine. I said "sure" and then he immediately came to our temple and asked me to send his letter to the number he showed me.
As soon as I saw the number, I thought this was very strange since I knew the phone number was for one of the foreign countries. Over 90 years old man need to send a fax to foreign country?
Of course, I didn't read his letter, but by the time, I tried to send a fax, I noticed his bank account number and other information were hand-written on the paper. I guessed he might have received a kind of scam/fraud mail, most likely lottery scam.
So I asked him if I could read his letter but he said, "No, this is a deal that I cannot talk about it to other people."
So I asked him straight, "Did you receive a notice of winner of the lottery? There are tons of scam mails nowadays. Bad smart guys are trying to take your money."
Then he said, "This is different. I just need to let them know my bank account so that they can send me money. The scam mails are asking pay money first, but this mail says after my receiving money at the bank account, then I need to pay 5% . Without receiving money, I don't need to pay. In addition, there is almost no money at the bank account, I don't have any risk."
He didn't realize they sometimes want "personal information" which could produce another money.
So I told him, "I am sure this is fraud. I know You won so many millions dollar, right? This is not only you but also I have received this kind of emails sooooooooo many many times."
Then, finally, he showed me the original notice of the winner of the lottery.
Surprisingly, he corrected the amount of money "so many millinos dollar" without seeing the letter and said the exact number like, "One million fifty six thousands two hundred twenty eight and 63 cents."
The notice letter was actually very typical of fraud mail.
They don't address to the name of the person but just "Dear winner."
They use "yahoo-mail" one of the free email accounts for the contact. This free mail account is easy to set and easy to close. In addition, it's very hard to trace who you are.
They urge to respond it quickly. They don't like to give him to think.
Very typical, but I thought it was well enough to deceive old people. This letter said, "Do not expose this letter to others in order to avoid double claim."
I showed him many examples of scam/fraud mails found on internet. It was obvious he received a fraud mail and he knew there were many scam mails around the world but he still insisted that he should try to contact them.
I spent nearly two hours to make him give up the claiming the winner. Fortunately , the letter did not go through the fax, but unfortunately, he still insisted to call them.
The best advice I did was to ask him to show the letter to someone he can trust, like our temple president. I insisted asking 2nd and 3rd opinions are always very helpful to make decision.
Old people born in Kauai are very honest. But I'm very concerned.....because they are honest, they might be target of the fraud/scam mails.
Unfortunately, I know the story of another man on Kauai who had believed he won the lottery a few millions dollars. He was not our member but he was so happy that he came to tell me he would donate $10,000 to our temple when he received money. That was about 5, 6 years ago. Later I knew he paid service charge in advance but money never came to him.
At this time, I just want you, your family and friends to be careful about the scam mails.....what looks like a good deal might end up costing you more in the long run.