Our messages on scams are helping readers. Here are some scams we have recently helped bust, plus an urgent warning one of our readers has shared.
The first scam sent to one of our readers shows that the Nigerian scam has now hit the internet. Here is what one of our readers received and passed onto us.
“Union Bank Plc, Marina, Lagos.
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of it’s nature as being utterly CONFIDENTIAL. I am MR DANLADI YUSSUF a member of Board of Directors with the UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC, LAGOS(UBN)
I came to know of you in my private search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidential transaction, which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a Foreign Bank Account requiring maximum confidence.
The Foreign Late Engineer MARK JOHNSON, an oil merchant/contractor with the Federal Government of Nigeria, until his death three years ago in a ghostly air crash, banked with us here at the UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC, Lagos, and had a closing balance of USD 28,900,000.00 ( Twenty-Eight Million Nine Hundred Thousand Dollars) which the bank now unquestionably expect it to be claimed by MARK JOHNSON’S next of kin or alternatively be donated to a discredited Trust Fund for arms and ammunition at a military war college here in Nigeria. Fervent valuable efforts are being made by the UNION BANK PLC, to get in touch with any of the JOHNSON’ S Family but to no avail. It is because of the perceived possibility of not being able to locate ENGR MARK JOHNSON ‘S next of kin that the management under the influence of our Chairman Board of Directors Major General kalu Ike Kalu who has agreed that since the incident occurred in 1997 and has left the fund dormant and devalued , we should transfer the fund overseas and utilize it either on stock exchange market or personal business interest.
Your role is very important as the fund when concluded on transfer we be justifiably presented as having been remitted into the next of kins which is assumed to be you. Your interest will be protected as unnecessary documentation will be avoided and adequate percentage(%) scheduled for mutual benefit.
1. Account holder — 30% (foreign partner) 2. Nigeria Partner — 60% (Nigeria partner) 3. 10% incidental expenses that might be incurred in the course of this transaction
Note that all modalities necessary for this transfer of this fund have been perfected and the transaction is 100% risk free . Your contact telephone and fax is needed for easier communication. response weather accepted or not.
The aim of the this scam is to get a person’s bank account number (allegedly to transfer money), some letterhead and a signature. The scam artists then use these to forge a letter that cleans the sucker’s bank account. This comes out in a variation of themes (see below) but the aim here is to make the victim think that they have lucked out because they have the name Johnson. You can also bet that many of these messages have gone to Smiths, Jones, etc. as well.
The second scam is a variation of this theme from another African site. Here is what another reader received.
” FROM : MRS ELISABETH SANKOH ABIDJAN – COTE D'IVOIRE
WITH DUE RESPECT AND HUMILITY I WRITE YOU THIS PROPOSAL WHICH I BELIEVE WOULD BE OF GREAT INTREST TO YOU.
I AM MRS ELISABETH SANKOH A SIERRA LEONE NATIONALITY AND THE WIFE OF THE LATE DR FREDERICK SANKOH OF THE BLESSED MEMORY PRIOR TO MY HUSBAND ASSASSINATION BY THE REBEL FORCE LOYAL TO MAJOR JOHN PAUL KOROMAH. HE WAS THE DIRECTOR GENERAL NATIONAL GOLD AND DIAMOND MINING CORPORATION OF SIERRA LEONE.
TWO DAYS BEFORE MY HUSBAND WAS ASSASSINATED, HE INSTRUCTED ME AND MY CHILDREN MICKAEL AND LINUS SANKOH TO MOVE OUT OF SIERRA LEONE IMMEDIATELY. THE POWERFUL ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES ( ECOMOG) FORCES INTEVENED WHICH EVENTUALLY RESULED INTO BRUTAL CIVIL WAR, I AND MY CHILDREN MANAGE TO ESCAPE TO ABIDJAN THE REPUBLIC OF COTE D'IVOIRE THROUGH THE HELP OF MY HUSBANDS FRIEND WHO IS A TRAWLER. WE CAME INTO ABIDJAN WITH SOME VALUABLE INCLUDING A CASH SUM OF 46.3 MILLION (FORTY SIX MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSANDS DOLLARS). IN TWO TRUNK BOXES.
I DEPOSITED THIS BOXES WITH A PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY HERE IN ABIDJAN COTE D'IVOIRE WITH MY FIRST SONS NAME ( MICKAEL SANKOH ) AS THE DEPOSITOR AND NOT THE BENEFICIARY DUE TO OUR POLITICAL STATUS AND THE NATURE OF DEPOSITE WE CAN NOT SERVE AS THE BENEFICIARY.
THE BENEFICIARY MUST BEAR THE NAME OF A FORIGNER. THE DOCUMENTRY POWER TO APPOINT A BENEFICIARY IS WITH MICKAEL MY FIRST SON. FOR YOUR INFORMATION WE DID NOT DISCLOSE THE REAL CONTENT OF THE BOXES TO THE SECURITY COMPANY AND WE DO NOT WISH THEM TO KNOW THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE RATHER, WE DEPOSITED THE BOXES AS FAMILY VALUABLE.
WE HAVE IT IN MIND TO REWARD HANDSOMELY FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE, WE ARE PREPARE TO GIVE YOU 25% OF THE TOTAL SUM AND 7% WILL BE SET , TO OFFSET TO ANY EXPENSES THAT OCCUR DURING THE TRANSACTION BOTH LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL, WHILE THE REMAINING BALANCE WILL BE ESTABLISH ON YOUR DIRECTIONS.
PLEASE ENSURE THAT NO ONE ELSE KNOW ABOUT THIS MONEY AS IT IS ONLY MYSELF, SONS, YOURSELF AND THE EVANGELIST OF THE CHURCH WHERE WE WORSHIP WHO KNOWS ABOUT THIS MONEY AND THIS BUSINESS IS 100% RISK FREE.
LOOKING FORWARD FOR YOUR SOONEST REPLY.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU ASSIST US.
MRS ELISABETH SANKOH
PLEASE ANY A-MAIL THAT YOU WILL SEND TO ME PUT YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBER.
Once again the con people are looking for an account number and signature. This is a variation of the lost treasure scam This is a good con, full of romance, intrigue and religion (I cannot tell you how many cons I have seen run through churches). This builds excitement and creates confidence (hence the name con men). Obviously no such trunk of money exists.
If you receive a fax like this or in some variation either delete and forget it or turn it over to the appropriate law enforcement agency in your area.
Beware of original touches! Such persons above (the engineer or the mine director) may have existed and may have been killed in the way described at the time described. This is all the part of the scam. (I write about this in my novel the 65th Octave).
We are pleased that we can in any way help our readers be more aware of such scams. This awareness can save you fortunes in time and money!
Below is a case where we were too late, but read the warning our reader has shared.
The reader wrote:
“Mr. Gary Scott
I have been contacted by a company “Crown Capital” to acquire shares that I own in World Health Network “WHN”. Crown Capital address is in the Bahamas, telephone number in Canada and Fax number in the UK.
To complete the deal they requested a performance bond to be sent to an account in the US. Now they are requesting a non-resident TAX again to be sent to the same account. The TAX is for the Bahamian government. They say that all proceeds is in Belize. The account.
I questioned both Crown Capital and Lexington Capital Holdings about their credentials. Crown Capital referred me to Dun & Bradstreet in Canada which has not given me any information yet. When I received your article regarding scams, I thought to try my luck hoping to find any information that might help.
Appreciate your time and sorry for a lengthy message.
P.S. As part of the agreement, I should not disclose any information about Crown Capital or Lexington Capital. However, due to the circumstances, I sent you all the information.”
I forwarded this phoney sounding deal to eclub advisor and attorney Leslie Share who sent the reply to our reader below.
” More detailed information is needed to give a complete answer, but this sounds like a scam at first glance. A proper escrow arrangement would make more sense in a real business deal than a “performance bond”, which makes it look like the infamous “Nigerian letter” scam. The “non-resident tax” arrangement (for a country not known for imposing many taxes) also sounds suspicious, at best.
I suggest that you contact a Bahamian attorney regarding the transaction (which is the first thing you should have done, if not already done). They should be able to look into whether Crown Capital and Lexington Capital Holding Ltd. are legitimate, whether the “non-resident tax” really exists, along with reviewing the particulars of the business deal. You could also check the New York consumer protection agency to see if they have heard of these companies. The deal could be totally proper or a scam–it's too hard to tell at this point. If you want our further assistance, please let me know.
Here is what the reader later replied.
“Thank you very much for your suggestions. I contacted the US SEC and The Ontario Securities Commission about both Crown Capital Management Corporation and Lexington Capital Holding. Both companies are not Registered in either the US or Canada. I have not heard from either companies after I suggested to complete the deal through a broker.
The bottom line is that I lost US $12,000. I have been very careful for more than five years now and yet I did this mistake. The catch here is these companies are using legitimate and well known company names.
I am passing this message to you if you want to pass to your clients so they will not do the same mistake.”
So readers beware. There are so many people out there trying to cheat you out of a buck or many. The stories are good phoney tales often attached to real names. They can be fun but like firecrackers don’t play with them because they are dangerous! Don’t let yourself get sucked in. If a deal sounds too good to be true, suspect that it probably is.
Until next message,
Good global business and investing!