Sheriff Says Email Scam Preys On Patriotic Spirit - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

05/09/07-Palestine

Sheriff Says Email Scam Preys On Patriotic Spirit

A soldier writes saying they've found millions of dollars at one of Saddam's palaces in Iraq, or in a box on the side of the road.  They may have family needs and have to get some of the money home, with your help. 

Of course, there is no soldier, and there is no money, except yours.  And the scammer wants it.

One of these ploys fell into the email box of Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor who hopes you don't fall for the trick.  The email comes in with everything else, and the subject line looks normal.

"It's from an alleged soldier that's in Iraq that supposedly has some money that he found in one of Saddam's 'hidden treasure' places,'" Sheriff Taylor says.

"The people who run these they know how to appeal to someone's sympathies. They know every ploy in the book to make it believable."

One email says "We managed to move funds belonging to Saddam Hussein's family. The total amount is $7.2 million in cash, mostly $100 bills.  We want to move this money to you so that you may invest it for us ... No strings attached."

Another says "My name is Sgt. Richard Murphy. I am in the military engineering unit here [in]Baghdad, Iraq. We have about $15 million US dollars that we want to move out of the country. My colleagues and I need a good partner, someone we can trust. This is a risk free and legal business (oil money)."

All the mailer needs is your bank account number.

Sheriff Taylor: "It's usually the elderly who fall for it.  They seem to have the softest hearts."

Others have been duped, too.  Many of these type of scams originate overseas, and there are clues, like grammatical errors.

For an example, an email says, "We have discovered the cash for over 3 months now."

"To use that interest in the war and the sympathy that we have for the soldiers over there is pretty much an all-time low," Taylor says.

It's another scam of many, but one that strikes at our patriotism.   It is illegal for soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else to take money or anything for personal gain.  So let's say you're convinced a soldier is writing you.  If you help, you're helping them commit a crime.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting morganpalmer@kltv.com

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