Watch for scam letter saying you have inherited millions from Spain

July 17, 2010 at 2:17 a.m.

By Alan Bligh

A consumer wrote to me last week wondering what my thoughts would be on the letter he received at his rural address. There was no return address, but the postmark was Portugal. The letter read:

"Good morning I am Mrs Emiliana Francisco from Spain married to Mr Jose Francisco we are married for fifteen years bless with four children, I am the manager bills and exchange here in our foreign remittance department here in Banco Banesto bank Valencia Spain. I have a business proposal which I believe will be very good opportunity for both of us so I decided to contact you on this business opportunity here in our bank, based on that you bear the same Surname with our late client the depositor of this said funds. The business is that I discovered an abandoned sum of $28,000,000,00 U.S. dollars (Twenty Eight Million United State of American Dollars)."

Of course she has 28 million dollars that she will share with the victim, if he will only let her send the money to his bank account. If the intended victim gives the schemer his bank account number, the schemer will make a withdraw, not a deposit.

My advice is to throw the letter in the trash. Although this may seem an obvious scam, there are many people who do fall for these schemes.

Often we are asked, "How do you get a landlord to make repairs?" The bottom line is that by state law a landlord must make repairs if the problem affects health, safety or security. But you must follow procedures: Send the landlord a dated letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by registered mail, outlining the needed repairs. Your landlord should make a diligent effort to repair the problem within a reasonable time. The law presumes that to be seven days.

According to the Attorney General, if this does not work you may be entitled to: End the lease; Have the problem repaired and deduct the cost of the repair from the rent; or file suit to force the landlord to make the repairs. But before pursuing these options, it would be wise to consult an attorney. Also, whatever you do, do not withhold your rent. You could be evicted before any repair remedies occur. Note: The landlord may not retaliate for complaining for six months.

You've probably seen one of the TV or print ads for the Heat Surge Roll-N-Glow Electric Fireplaces, commonly called Amish heaters. In the ads, Amish craftsmen radiate calm contentment as they craft wood mantels for the Heat Surge space heaters. The Better Business Bureau has received complaints about a range of issues related to the heaters, including customer service, pricing and service. Still other consumers have taken issue with Heat Surge's ads. Heat Surge claims the heaters will help you "save big on your heating bills." The amount of heat generated by the Amish heaters, which are made in China, can be replicated with a $30 space heater. The company argues that the product is a fireplace, not just a heater. And, the mantels are made in the good ole U.S.A. From online comments, it seems the units are attractive but not a great source of heat.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at



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