Adoption Search Alert: Beware Email Phishing Scam

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“Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson

As some readers know, I am searching for my adoptive brother’s family. He was born March 13, 1968 in Manhattan. I have not been able to track them down yet. I have his information posted in many places on the Web. If anyone is ever looking, they will be able to find him.

As a result of these posts, I have received some scam emails, but this one peaked my interest. I pursued it, in order to expose the types of scams those in the adoption search process may experience.

Chris P Dunn/flickr.com

Chris P Dunn/flickr.com

EMAIL #1

Good-day,
 
 I am Jerry Garston and i saw your ads on the internet as regards to whom you are seeking and i would like to inform you that i have relevant information on the person whom you are seeking for information about if you are interested kindly get back to me via my email below:
 
Regards
Jerry Garston

The first clue that this is a scam, is the misspelled name. Notice that it is different in the body of the note, from the actual email address. I replied asking Mr. Garston, which ad he was referring to, and asked that he get back in touch with me, as I am very interested in facilitating a reunion. I did not mention who I was looking for. I did not include any additional details. I always reply to these emails, in case there is a real connection. Since I have no way of knowing the educational level, or country of origin for my brother’s birthfamily, I reply with as little information as possible.

EMAIL #2

Good-day Vicki-lynn,

First of all my name is Jerry Garstone ,one of the sole legal counsels
to late ( Nora Mathewson ) who bears the same name with the
person you are also seeking for . My client died in the year 2012, in
the UK, I was contacted by the Financial Institution where my client
held a monetary resource to contact the family members on my client”s
abandoned investment with them. Throughout my search, I was not able
to ascertain a genuine relative who shall be recipient of client”s
abandoned investment, hence contacting you.

Kindly send me an email so that i could give you more information’s.

Yours truly,

Jerry Garrstone , (PhD)

I replied to this with a simple- thanks, what’s next?

EMAIL #3

Good-day Vicki-lynn,

I am writing you this message in connection
with one of our client (Nora Mathewson ) who has the same Name
with the person you are seeking for. she passed away in 2012 .
she lived most of her years in England, but traveled often.

I am contacting you because after the death of our client, we were
informed by the finance company to search for any member of her
extended family “related, to put up a claim, or who could be so
represented as managers or trustees to her deposited funds with them
which stands at over £13,000,000.00 (Thirteen Million Pounds) as an
initial deposit. Due to the fact that she died with her immediate
family members, there was no will available to dispatch her estate.

After preliminary efforts of search which came to no avail, we were
given an ultimatum some weeks ago, to look for someone to come for the
claims or have the funds liquidated and made un-serviceable in
accordance with the existing laws, because it will be assumed that no
member of her extended family is alive.

However, it might interest you to know that after a thorough
investigation in the finance company, I found out that some members of
the company are currently planning to divert this funds in their
selfish interest and only want to use the excuse that since we are not
able to look for someone to make the claim, the money should be made
un -serviceable and that means reverting the funds to the Government
while the company retains a percentage of it.

After unraveling their plans and professional consideration on my
part, I decided to search for someone credible with similar last name
or someone who is closely related to her in any way to apply for this claim,
and finding that you would be related to my client since you are seeking for
information s about her, so i was urged to contact you.

Looking forward to hear from you soon.

Regards,
jerry Garstone

The email address address showed this as being from Jerry Garfield, so the name changed again.  I have now marked his email address as spam, and I am reporting them to the FBI. However, I am sure the criminal will change the email address and get in touch again.  Today, I was notified by a NY adoptees group, that one of their members was also targeted.

Please be careful when posting on the internet, and when replying to anyone claiming that they have information on your search. It is sad, that we have to be so wary, but the next step in this scam would have been to ask for financial information, and we all know where that would have led.

Blessings for a scam free search!
Vicki-lynn

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3 responses »

  1. i just got one same person i think ? from jerry garfield this is not really nice to use people who are sincerely seeking family or person it has same email and same information just diffrent name on person who has passed away . if this is so unreal and a scam what is this person seeking and why hasnt anyone done anything about it the email is still on my computer and i did report it as a scam i even told the person who sent it what i thought of them or him ..and he tried to tell me that it was real and so on that i am wrong …so how many people know what this is all about and how it is allowed to go on .

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