PacNet Services Scamming Elders

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According to CNNMoney, which exclusively broke news of an unprecedented crackdown on global mail fraud, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced involvement of PacNet Services, Ltd, a Canadian payment processor. PacNet’s name has surfaced in government fraud filings as authorities have attempted to shut down schemes using the company to process payments. The frauds rake in millions from the sick and elderly, leaving them with nothing. Note: not everyone using a payment processor is a scammer; there are legitimate reasons a company could turn to a payment processor, such as easier access to the banking system, lower fees and global reach. However, a months-long investigation by CNNMoney found scam after scam that used PacNet to process payments and their victims typically have no idea that PacNet is involved. PacNet has relationships with banks around the world and can set up accounts for clients in the countries in which they do business. This gives fraudsters the key ability to access victims and bank accounts in countries far from their home base.

An example of how the scamming starts is: A person, perhaps suffering from Alzheimer’s, gets a letter telling her she’s won $1 million and all she needs to do is send in $20 to claim this life-changing prize. The letter looks official, so she gets out her checkbook and mails that $20. Who knows what prompted the sending of that first check? Maybe it was the thought of winning money to leave her children, or just old age. One case found that in a little more than a year, a 91-year-old widow had written 749 checks with the vast amount of money, $29,000, being sent in response to phony prize notices and personalized letters from psychics promising financial fortune. After the first check, con artists perpetrate the fraud and PacNet deposits the checks. An alarming number of unethical and flat-out criminal schemes that have used PacNet to process payments from their victims have been found. If you have information to contribute to an investigation, email to cnnmoneyinvestigates@cnn.com

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