CLAREMORE, Okla. — A Claremore woman is sharing her story after spotting an old scam with a seemingly new twist.
“This is an opening, it’s an interesting one, but it’s an opening to get a hold of what I do have," says Karen Rowden.
Rowden took a break from the jewelry she carefully crafts by hand to read a letter she just received, supposedly from an administrative manager of an overseas financial institution.
“She was contacting me because of a financial opportunity, and that made me want to look at the rest of it," Rowden says.
The letter said she was about to become a millionaire, many times over, but there was no return address and had a Portuguese stamp.
“It was about an amount that was in a safe deposit box in a bank, and the bank evidently is not in the United States.”
As she read further, Rowden found out a gentleman, with her last name, had passed away, and left $26 million in that safe deposit box, and the bank was trying to find next of kin, to inherit the money.
“That sent a red flag up,” she says. “And I was not supposed to speak about this to anybody for any reason.”
Rowden was to receive 40% of the money, the institution would keep 50%, and the other 10% would go to charity.
“It was so far out, I thought someone might actually get excited, and believe it.”
Karen says the letter sparked concern, for others, especially other seniors.
“If I got one, then a bunch of other people get them.”
Most of them, Rowden says, most likely tore it up and threw it away, but it’s the one, or two, or three people, that may fall for it, that she wonders about, worries about, those few that scammers target, and thrive off of.
“They’re just things that are set up to bilk people out of what they have, and that irritates me, that makes me angry.”
Scam letters like these, cyber security experts say, usually don’t mention any fees you’ll have to pay to receive the money. That comes when a target contacts the scammer, and the fee may only be $20, $40 or $50.
It’s your financial and personal information scammers get, so they can raid all of your accounts. Experts say if you receive a suspicious letter or email, first talk to someone you trust — a family member, friend, your pastor or your accountant if you have one.
Do not respond in any way, not by phone or email, even if you know it's a scam and just want to play along — replying give scammers more information. They gain access to your computer and IP address, which allows them to steal your private data, such as credit card or bank info, especially if you shop online.
See this full story WEDNESDAY on 2 News Oklahoma Today at 6:30 a.m.
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