Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Deep Run man avoids scam

DEEP RUN — A local man is asking citizens to watch out for online scams, after coming close to becoming a victim himself.

Barry Coombs Sr, 61, has not yet alerted law enforcement agencies, but he contacted The Free Press on Monday after a suspected Nigerian scammer tried to cheat him out of more than $400 earlier this month.

The disabled veteran, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the late 1960s and early ’70s, said things started when he received an e-mail at his Yahoo! account about a man named Bob Boone who wanted to be his friend on Facebook.

This past Friday, Coombs received a message from someone identifying himself or herself as “Agent Jean Jose,” with the e-mail address of agentjeanhelp@yahoo.com.

He said it was obvious that it was a scam letter, written by someone whose first language was not English, because of the misspellings and a “choppy” writing style.

The agent wrote that Coombs was eligible to claim a $50,000 payment from “The Federal Government under the leadership of president Obama and the Nigerian government,” after government officials had found his name and the names of others on the computer of a scammer who had stolen $200 million.

“As soon as I saw it, I knew it was a scam,” he said. “The English was all broken up; I played along with it to get all the information I could.”

He said he knew a woman who had been a victim of a telephone scam, and was the victim of a scam himself about three years ago when he received a mailing telling him he could extend the warranty on his Ford truck’s transmission by sending $280 to a company.

Coombs said he sent in the payment, and then followed up with local Ford dealers, who said they knew nothing about it. He enlisted the help of Rep. Van Braxton, D-Lenoir, and the N.C. Consumer Protection Division, and was able to get his money back.

As for the e-mail scam, Coombs said he provided his information, and the scammer sent a reply back with an address to send a $420 shipping payment to, 1809 Willow Road in Greensboro, “so that the UPS can bring your money to your doorstep.”

Coombs did not send any money, but sent an e-mail on Saturday stating that he had sent the money.

On Sunday, he received another e-mail from the address of info@ups.com from a Rev. Fred Tabo identifying himself as a dispatch officer for UPS Courier Service’s Gariki Branch in Nigeria.

Tabo wrote that Coombs would have to pay another $53 “Security Keeping Fee.”

“Upon confirmation of you payment your package will be set for delivery which you will receive within 48hours,” Tabo wrote.

On Monday, Coombs contacted The Free Press and urged local residents to be on the lookout for possible similar scams.

“That’s how they make a living,” he said of the criminals. “They’re scamming people all the time.”

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December 24, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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