“This letter is about an opportunity to make an incredible amount of money (CASH!!!) in a very short time. The cost is only $6.00! This is the 16th day since I started receiving $ cash and so far I have received $5,845 (in $1 bills)….”
Chain Letter Scam
Have you ever received a letter like this in the mail or; now more commonly; in your email box?
If you have beware it is the dreaded Chain Letter Scam.
A scam that started before the internet, now thrives in cyberspace stealing hard earned money from people everyday!
‘Get Rich Quick’ Scam
This scam promises you that you will receive ‘an incredible amount of money’ If you decided to participate in forwarding this letter to others.
All you have to do to get the ‘money’ is follow the directions of the letter or email.
Participating in any type of chain letter scam rather online or through the mail is a losing proposition. There’s lots of shady characters, lots of dirty deals, it’s the lure of easy money it’s got a very strong appeal & it’s the ultimate enticement: easy money.
Are Chain Letters Real?
This question comes up frequently due to the fact that this scam has moved the majority of it’s operations to the internet.
But yes to answer the question: ‘Are Chain Letters Real?’ YES. They are not only very much real they grab daily victims through promises of easy money.
How Does This Scam Work?
This scam; although mainly done online now; works like this:
Step 1: You Receive The Letter/Email
When you receive this letter it will in the first paragraph promise you ‘money’ if you decided to forward or follow the letters ‘special instructions’.
This lure of easy or free money is one that a lot of people fall for even in 2017. Don’t fall for a scam older then our president.
Step 2: Follow The Directions
Somewhere in these ‘instructions’ is a demand that you send money to someone on a list and cross that name out. The amount is usually $5-10, this amount is used to ‘pay it forward’ for another person. After you have ‘paid’ that person and crossed their name out, you simply add your name.
Step 3: Mail/Email The ‘Letter’ To Someone You Know
The next step is either emailing or mailing it to another person you know. In theory they will read it and follow the directions and you will soon get paid. Sounds easy right, however only the scammer gets to step 4.
Step 4: Wait For The Money To Flow In
This is the step that only the scammer gets to, waiting for the money to flow in.
All the scammer has to do is wait for the victim to send them money in exchange for a promise that will never come.
A good scammer has a network of people on ‘the list’ that help to funnel the money to them.
Know More Steps
If you know more steps to this scam let me know in the comments down below. I would be glad to update this article and credit you as helping to prevent people from being scammed in the future.
Illegal To Participate In
This scam is unique in that if you participate in it you are technically gambling in the U.S. Governments eyes.
They see chain letters as a form of gambling and sending them through the mail (or delivering the letter in person or online, but mailing money to participate) is a violation of U.S.C. 18 Section 1302.
U.S.C. 18 Section 1302
“Whoever knowingly deposits in the mail, or sends or delivers by mail:
Any letter, package, postal card, or circular concerning any lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme offering prizes dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance;
Any lottery ticket or part thereof, or paper, certificate, or instrument purporting to be or to represent a ticket, chance, share, or interest in or dependent upon the event of a lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme offering prizes dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance;
Any check, draft, bill, money, postal note, or money order, for the purchase of any ticket or part thereof, or of any share or chance in any such lottery, gift enterprise, or scheme;
Any newspaper, circular, pamphlet, or publication of any kind containing any advertisement of any lottery, gift enterprise, or scheme of any kind offering prizes dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance, or containing any list of the prizes drawn or awarded by means of any such lottery, gift enterprise, or scheme, whether said list contains any part or all of such prizes;
Any article described in section 1953 of this title—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both; and for any subsequent offense shall be imprisoned not more than five years.”
Chain letters that ask for things of minor value such as picture postcards or recipes are exempt as they are not classified as ‘things of value’, plus no money is sent through the mail.
Besides chain letters being illegal they are also a bad investment. You won’t get rich, in fact you will probably lose money from the costs of either sending out the letters or the money to the person on ‘the list’.
Mathematically Impossible To Win
Chain letters claim that everyone on the list can and will get money, that is not true and here are a two reasons why.
Reason 1: Many Participate, Few Send Money
Many people still participate in this scam, but most see it as a scam and choose just to send it along it’s way with out sending money. So that is technically legal, but if most just send it along how does that get you paid? It doesn’t.
Reason 2: Same Names, Different Addresses
Some scammers use the same names; just spelled differently; with different addresses. This is just a front for the network of people that help this scammer steal your hard earned money.
Chain Letter Hybrid Scam
There is a hybrid to this scam that has become quite popular in the last few years. This hybrid relies on ‘selling’ you information in exchange for money.
Watch Out For The Following
This hybrid scam tries to convince you to send them money in exchange for credit reports, mail order sales, mailing/email lists, and so on.
Don’t fall for this hybrid the main purpose is to ask for your money. Selling a product does not ensure legality, nor does endorsing it.
If there is a claim that the U.S. Postal Service or U.S. Postal Inspection Service endorses it or says ‘it’s legal’ immediately report or send the letter to your local Post Master as the U.S.P.S DOES NOT ENDORSE chain letters. This ‘endorsement’ is printed to mislead you, don’t fall for it.
Ways To Avoid Being Scammed
Here are a few brief tips on how to avoid being scammed by this daily victimization.
Tip 1: Don’t Open Any Mail You Are Not Familiar With
If you receive a letter from someone or some place you have never heard of, don’t be afraid to throw it out. However if you receive any state or federal government letters open them, don’t throw them away.
Tip 2: Report Any Suspicious Chain Letters To Authorities
If you suspect that you have a chain letter report it to the police, local post master or click the link in the ‘Report A Scam’ section below to get help.
Remember participating in it is a crime.
Tip 3: Don’t Open Any Emails Not Familiar To You
Same as the letter opening tip, except apply it to emails. The majority of chain letter scams occur online in 2017. So when in doubt delete it and be glad you didn’t fall for the scam.
Know More Tips
Know any additional tips for avoiding Chain Letter Scams, post them in the comments down below. Any additional tips will be used to update this article and you will be created in the updates.
Report The Scam
Are chain letters real? I hope this article has helped you to understand that not only are chain letter scams real, but you need to report them.
If you believe that you are a victim of a Chain Letter Scam you need to report it to the proper authorities. No reporting it gives the scammer control over your life. You control your life not them.
To report a Chain Letter Scam or any scam that has happened to you or someone you know click HERE.
Make A Full Time Income The Right Way
Chain Letter Scams are not a way to make legit full time income. They are not only illegal they create victims everyday.
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The program that will teach you and help you make a full time income is Wealthy Affiliate.
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Leave A Comment
If you have any questions, or have experiences with chain letter scams let me knwo below. I would be glad to hear from you and direct you to resources to help you.
Earning, Making & Saving Online Member