Be Wary When Contacted About Lost Luggage

July 05, 2017


BBB is warning consumers about a scam that reportedly cost one man $930, and there may be many more victims.  A scammer identifying himself as George Feinberg, head of luggage/baggage storage facilities at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA), claimed to be in possession of a trunk that was not properly declared as “MONEY”.  In an email, he requests “your name, and your email address” to verify your claim to this treasure.

The generous Mr. Feinberg offers to “share the money 70% for you and 30% for me since the consignment has not yet been returned to the United States Treasury Department after being abandoned by the diplomat.”  The scammer mentions that he will pay for the United States Non Inspection Fee of $3,700 dollars, and arrange for the box to be delivered to your doorstep.  He also says he would “appreciate if we can keep this deal confidential.”  When the victim responds, he is convinced to wire money to assist with the fee.

Mr. Feinberg is not an employee of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and GFIA is reminding citizens that they would never ask for money to return property to its rightful owner. 

A common ingredient in many scams is greed, where victims believe they are getting something that they have not truly earned or be entitled to. If scammers can get you to go along with an opportunity that isn’t exactly by the book, it increases their chances for success. 

BBB Top Five Scam Prevention Tips: 

  • Always be wary of "too good to be true."  If a deal is significantly better, a price lower, or an offer greater than you can find elsewhere, be cautious. Keep in mind that businesses need to turn a profit. If a company's offer is so amazing that it's not sustainable, it could be a ploy.  

  • Don't underestimate the power of a quick online search. An online search can go a long way in uncovering a con. Chances are that the scam has already fooled other people, and they have posted about it online. Be sure to check out BBB's Scam Tracker for the latest.

  • Pay with a credit card and refuse unusual forms of payment. Protect yourself by paying with a credit card, which gives you additional protections such as the opportunity to dispute charges if the business doesn't come through. Be wary of anyone who requests alternative forms of payment, such as wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, or gift cards. 

  • Watch out for a change in routine. If an organization normally reaches you one way, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving a different type of communication. For example, government agencies generally communicate through mail, but scammers impersonating them often call or send email.  

  • Don't believe what you see. Con artists can spoof phone numbers, email templates, websites, letterhead, and social media accounts. Just because something looks real, doesn't mean it is. Instead of relying on your eyes, look for other warning signs.