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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Scam Prays On Religious Mission

   District Attorney General Mike Bottoms issued a Fraud Alert throughout the 22nd Judicial District on Tuesday.

   “Brought to light by Lawrence County citizen Eric Widmer, a target of this fraud,” Bottoms pointed out, “The scam known as ‘The 419 Scam’ has reached our community.”

   The scam, Bottoms says, is similar to the scam that was publicized in the Mary Winkler trial in Selmer, Tennessee, wherein citizens receive a letter or email stating that someone in Nigeria, Africa, has willed them a large sum of money. The “beneficiary” is instructed to send money to a “lawyer: in Africa to pay for “legal fees,” in order to obtain the money. (There are currently several versions of the scam circulating, therefore residents may receive a variation of the scam.)

   Bottoms pointed out that the perpetrators go so far as to use the name of legitimate bank, even inserting a link to the bank’s website in order to give the illusion of legitimacy. The often put the intended victim in touch with a barrister to handle the case.

   “So not fall for this, because you will lose your money,” Bottoms warns. “These people have been known to bilk billions of dollars over the years…This scam has no geographical boundaries. It has reached a small Christian mission in Lawrence County, and the perpetrators of this type of fraud will go to any length to obtain your money. Do not, under any circumstances, provide any personal information or even respond to this type of request.”

   To research this scam, the link to the court system in Nigeria is:, then enter “419 Scam.”