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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Land Patent Scam Returns

An oldie but a goodie from the late 1980s is the so-called "land patent" fraud. This is where scam artists concoct a theory that the land under the house was never covered by the mortgage, and thus it can somehow be protected by purchasing (from the scam artists, of course) a totally bogus "land patent" that claims that the house is owned by some sovereign, such as an indian tribe or something.

The land patent scam went around in the late 1980s where farmers were desperate to try any theory to save the family farm. Scam artists took the opportunity to lighten the farmer's wallet of their final bucks before foreclosure.

New scams are actually rare: Most scams have been around at least once before, if not many times over the last half-dozen or so generations. The land patent scam is one of these, perpetually re-cycling itself with each real estate bust.

Read more about the latest version in this

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Rent Scam Where Check Covers Rent In Full

Question: I have recently posted a home for rent on Craigslist and have received several requests from emails claiming to be out of the country and they are ready to rent sight unseen. When I insist they fill out an application they do not respond. Initially they were offering to mail me a check to cover rent in full. How does this scam work. I cannot figure out how they can be scamming when they are only asking for my name and address to mail me a check? Have you heard of this?


This is a variation of the Nigerian 4-1-9 scam. Here is what will happen: The renters will send you a cashier's check for the full amount, and may even overpay. Then, they will want you to wire-transfer some of the money back or remit their overpayment. You will wire them money, and only 30 days later find out that the cashier's check is bogus. You will then go to your bank to try to get the wire-transfer reversed, only to find out (1) the bank cannot do it and you, and not the bank, are responsible for your loss; and (2) authorities outside the U.S. don't care that you've been scammed.

This is a very common scam, often run with the sale of automobiles. Same thing: Scammers send a cashier's check that overpays for your clunker, you wire the difference back, and then find out that the cashier's check is bogus.

Anytime somebody outside the country offers you a payment for something, be very suspicious because it is more likely a scam than anything real.

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Reader Question About Dating Scam


Have you ever heard of a scam involving a dating site. Guy looking for lady. Story when contact is made that he in Africa prospecting diamonds. After a couple of week's diamonds found, guy coming home but has problem paying royalties on diamonds. Can lady send him money as he doesn't have enough with him?

I am experiencing something like this now. Could be legit and I certainly am not sending anyone any money but if it's a scam I sure would like to know and that others are warned.



This is a common scam, known variously as a "dating scam" or a "Nigerian dating scam". It is a version of the Nigerian 4-1-9 scheme, which is technically known as "advance fee fraud".

You've been corresponding with a scam artist, which might not even be a guy, but is very likely to be sitting in a warehouse in Nigeria spamming and scamming for people to fall for this scam. There are no diamonds, and no royalties to be paid on the diamonds -- they've just made this up to get your money.

Unfortunately, there will be a number of suckers every DAY who fall for this scam, which is why running scams is the third largest business in Nigeria. Stay safe, and just refuse to deal with anybody in Africa, or anybody who wants your money.

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