The Attorney General and Secret Service are warning Iowans about a new scam originating in Nigeria that preys on those with a penchant for selling things on the Internet.It works like this, the person in Nigeria offers to buy an item they’ve seen advertised on the Internet. They send the seller a cashier’s check that includes the cost of the item and the money needed to ship it to Nigeria. They then ask the seller to wire the money needed for shipping back to Nigeria. Larry Pegg of Des Moines go two such checks for classic cars he was selling. He says he had concerns, but the bank accepted the checks, saying cashier’s checks were good. The trouble is, it took five days before the bank found out the cashier’s check was indeed a very good fake. U.S. Secret Service Agent Paul Johnson says it’s the latest in many Nigerian scams they’ve been trying to run down. He says it is a worldwide scam and he says victims in the U.S. alone have lost 100 million dollars in these and other Nigerian scams. Johnson says the one big red flag is any offer from a West African county. And someone who wants to do business by having you wire them money via Western Union. He says Western Union is not the normal way of banking for people doing business. Johnson says it’s hard to get the money back once it goes overseas because the U.S. has no extradition agreement with Nigeria. Johnson says if you’ve been a victim, it’s important to contact the Secret Service. Johnson says many victims are ashamed to come forward, but he says they need to come forward so the scam can be document. He also suggests that you write you congressman and senators to tell them about the problem.He says there needs to be tougher laws to let them go after the people who’re running these scams.
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