Re: Nigerian Check Cashing Scam
Having investigated probably two dozen or so similar cases, I question how many people have actually “fallen” for these scams. When I interview suspects who have tried to cash these checks, I try to ask a few specific questions:
Quoting Mr. Knowitall
1. “Didn’t you have suspicions that this was a bad check – didn’t it seem a bit fishy?” Of those suspects who have agreed to answer questions, I am still at 100% who admit that they at least suspected that something was off.
2. “Since you were already suspicious, what have you done to try to verify that the check was legitimate?” So far, only one person has given me an answer other than some variation of “I decided to try to cash it and see what happened” – meaning they decided to attempt a forgery/fraud crime in spite of their admitted suspicions. Only one person stated their suspicions up front at the check cashing place and asked if the check could be verified legitimate BEFORE trying to cash it – and that person didn’t get arrested or suffer any other negative consequence (go figure).
3. “After the communication you have had with (person who sent them the check), would you send THEM a check for this amount and just trust them to not simply keep ALL your money?” Again, 100% “No” response.
With that track record, it doesn’t seem to me that many people are actually being duped. Rather, they at least suspect that they are participating in a crime but, out of greed, decide to do it anyway. It would be easy to state up front when cashing the check, “Hey, these are the circumstances under which I got this check and I’m suspicious. Can you check it out for me and see if it is legit before I try to cash it?” Reasonable people of even below average intelligence develop reasonable suspicions when getting lured into these scams – but, the prospect of easy cash tempts them into doing it anyway. To my way of thinking, that is quite different than “falling for” or being a “victim” of the scam. So far, it seems that both prosecutors and juries agree with me.
Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.