Internet ScamBusters Q&A
Question: My question is simple — how do I stop getting all of these annoying credit card offers in the mail? I don’t want another credit card and I’m tired of having to shred all this stuff!
Answer: Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that the credit reporting agencies maintain a list of consumers who do not want to receive pre-approved or pre-screened credit card offers or insurance offers. This list is managed by the four largest reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion.
It is reasonably easy to add yourself to this list. You simply visit OptOutPrescreen.com .
(This should redirect you to a secure webpage that begins with https.)
You’ll be asked to provide your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. You don’t have to include your Social Security number and date of birth, but your request may not be properly processed without this information.
(You might want to try without your Social Security number and see if it works. If not, then you can always submit your request again with the additional information.)
You can either ask to have yourself removed for five years or permanently. If you request a permanent removal, you’ll have to print and mail back the permanent election form.
If you move, you’ll need to register your new address.
This certainly won’t stop all snail mail solicitations, but it should significantly reduce the number of credit card offers you receive.
Question: I am a physician in Dallas, Texas, and have been in correspondence with an alleged physician in Cameroon, Africa who wants to send me two patients for surgery.
The patients will be paying cash for the surgery.
They need a letter from me stating that I accept them for care (which I am used to and have done before) in order to obtain a visa, but they also want bank transfer information so they can wire the money to us ahead of time.
I told him that the wire transfer can occur after the patients have arrived here in Dallas (once I see they are real) but before surgery.
He insists that the US Embassy in Cameroon requires payment before they grant them a temporary visa. Do you think this is a scam (which is epidemic in that part of Africa)?
I do not want to deny treatment to people who really need it.
Is it possible for someone like this to commit fraud with my bank wiring information and a letter that has my signature?
My bank did not inspire my confidence that something bad could not happen.
Answer: Your bank is correct. This is a scam and can be very dangerous.
It is a clever variant of the African scams we’ve written about dozens of times, but now it is targeted at physicians. The scammers want to steal money, commit identity theft, or both.
The people sending you the emails are not really physicians; they are scammers.
These types of scams are becoming much more targeted. Ministers and priests have received many of these scams; as you saw, they are now being targeted at doctors.
Recommendation: Do NOT give them your banking details. Delete the emails.
First, though, we recommend you check out the most popular articles from our other sites during the past week:
Is a Zero Percent Balance Transfer Really a Good Idea?