Bogus Order Requests From Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud Rings using Counterfeit Cashier's Cheques / Relay Phone Scams
Nigerian advance fee fraudsters and scammers from other countries will often claim to be a business seeking to buy your company's product. They will usually start off with a sample order which may be paid for with a valid or bogus credit card or bank draft.
These fake importers may lure you to send Free Samples on the pretext of soon placing a big order. Once you send them the sample you will receive an email that your sample has been approved for sale by them but that you are required to send about US$ 650 to get you registered to trade in that country.
It is generally a good idea not to accept credit cards or bank drafts from Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, Benin, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
You should only consider shipping goods after receiving money in your account that you can withdraw, keeping in mind the fact that it can take up to three weeks to clear an international deposit. Even this should be confirmed by your bank in writing or with a 100% Irrevocable Letter of Credit.
Nigerian Bogus Order Scam Uses Stolen Credit Cards for Shipping Fees
12/06 - "Tis the season for giving and sharing" and taking away, it would appear.
While most people are in the midst of the holiday season "trimming trees, planning festivities and readying for travel" con artists continue with their attempts to scam people.
Recently, employees at Canmore's Candek Hearth and Leisure outlet were the subject of a pair of scams, one electronically, the other through regular mail.
The e-mail scam, said Candek's Sharla Seymour, apparently originated from England. Staff received an e-mail asking for quotes and specifications on a number of hot tubs, including shipping. Staff responded by asking for details as to where it would be installed (in Canmore), what power was available, if a deck could support a unit, etc.
"We do that kind of thing all the time," said Seymour. "We've had people from England or Ireland get hold of us to say they want a hot tub in their place just before they show up for Christmas."
Candek put together a quote and responded, then became suspicious when further enquiries showed faxes originating from two different names. Finally, said Seymour, staff realized it was a scam when they were asked to ship the hot tub to a building project in Accra, Ghana.
Candek staff called the RCMP to report the scam and were directed to PhoneBusters, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, sponsored by the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police and the Competition Bureau of Canada.
"They said what they do is pay for the tub with a stolen credit card and try to get you to pay them for the shipping through Western Union or something. Then they tell you the project burned down and you don't get your shipping money back."
Candek was subjected to a second scam when the company received an official-looking, but phoney, document from Central Registration Services Corporation. Apparently sent from the Czech Republic, a letter inside said unless the company sent $966 to a bank in New York within 21 days, the company's website domain name would be cancelled.
In the letter, companies are told they can save five per cent if they send cash. On the back of the form, the company's jurisdiction is listed as being Belize City, Central America.
"It"s pretty ballsy," said Seymour. "When you look at it, they had all our information, mailing address, web domain, and they give you a New York bank and account number where you should pay.
"We've had lots of e-mail scams come here, but never an official-looking one like this; in the mail. As soon as we called PhoneBusters, he said, "did they want you to pay $966?" So they were familiar with it.
"Anybody who gets stuff like this should definitely call PhoneBusters."
For more information on scams that are making the rounds, visit PhoneBusters at www.phonebusters.com or call them at 1-888-495-8501.
PhoneBusters lists some of the top scams puppy purchases, 1-900 prize giveaways, false charities, etc. The website gives tips on how to recognize, report and avoid fraud.
(Rocky Mountain Outlook)
Just Toyin' With Me
From: toyin oladokun
Subject: request for cat/price
Date: 14 Jan 2002
Dear Les Henderson,
I,M a member of ASIS NIGERIA CHAPTER. Pls can you arrange to send me your cat/price list as i specialised in marketing anti-fraud books to BANKS. My full address is given below:
THE MANAGING DIRECTOR
O.DOKUN NIGERIA ENTERPRISES
97,ALLEN AVENUE IKEJA
ATTNTION: TOYIN B. OLADOKUN
I am general manager in a company which is dealing Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements. Specially ginseng and velvet antler capsules liked to much.
We have 25.000 customers in a month. We want to buy 15.000 bottles of velvet antler and ginseng capsules. Please send your print catalogs, wholesale pricelist and a few samples for our customers review. We hope to do good business with you.
General Manager/Show Company
Fax : +902122769639
Our mailing Address:
ACARLAR, ATLANTIS KONUTLARI
E-35 BLOK, DAIRE:12
Sent in by Gavin in NZ 03/25/02
One Nigerian company which sent a $7,500 payment towards their trial order of Table clocks also confirmed the order of two 40 ft. containers of footwear and more clocks but the payment terms were 100% LC.
WADY EASY TRADING STORES
43,Ojogiwa Street, Lagos, Nigeria.
Tel.: 234-1-2669744 Fax: 234-1-2641166/67
Mr. Omo Oshun, Managing Director/ Mr. Waheed Adedokun.
The bank draft showed issuing bank as the Royal Bank of Canada and payable by the Manhattan Bank, USA. It was soon returned "Refer to Maker ( issuing bank )" as stolen or fraudulent.
Mr. Inkyoug Lee, supposedly the President of a South Korean Company named Globe Computers orders 25 laptop computers then requests that 14 of them be sent to their office in Contonou Benin.
Globe Computers SARL
Room 3816 Biafra Market
01 BP 3816 Jericho
Tel: 229-322-034 Fax: 229-322-032 Attn: Mr. George Obozuwa
He indicates that his "foreign branch" will send an open bank draft for the entire order.
You may be notified in the interim that there was a mistake and
instead of a payment of 45K, the draft was actually written for
64K and they want you to wire the overpayment to:
M/S Ezeugwunne Godwinchukwuma
Korean Exchange Bank Chungmuro Branch
Account number 024-JSD-100606 Swift Code: KOEXKRSE
But soon a draft arrives via FedEx from a
232 Naselly St.
The draft is from the Siam Commercial Bank, Public Company Limited, Inc. by Royal Charter, Bangkok Thailand, Bangkok Branch, Check number 269865254 for just over $45,000 USD.
Upon its delivery you are asked repeatedly to expedite the order due to a holiday break or some other pretext. Should you fall for the pressure you will soon find that the draft is returned as bogus while your goods are on their way.
One company received a forged check from George Williams, Rash General Traders, Kampala, Uganda.
When they received the check they saw that it was from a third party business based in the U.S. yet he wanted the merchandise sent to him in Africa. They called the maker of the check and they confirmed that it was carefully forged.
The check had been stolen and the name of original company that it was made out to was replaced with the potential victim's company name and the amount was changed from $1,600 to $12,500.
Bank wire transfers are the best and only way that we will do business.
BEST DIRECTION VENTURES IMPORT,
EXPORT AND GENERAL GOODS
P.O. BOX NM 88 NIMA ACCRA
Tel # 233-21-677721
Paradigit International Group inc.
605 Crescent Executive Court, Suite 300
Lake Mary, Fl 32746
Phone : 00 1 407 650 2513
International phone : 00 58 168960242
Fax : 1 240 332 3043 / 1 407 650 2513
Timothy Carlson, Alberto Ramirez, Lewis Swinkels
BANK ACCOUNT : FIRST UNION NATIONAL BANK
20 N. ORANGE AVE, ORLANDO, FL 32812
ACCOUNT HOLDER : SWINKELS A.J.W.
ACCOUNT NUMBER : 1010019753609
ROUTING NUMBER 063107513
Talking Watches and Bouncing Cheques
I own a small computing firm in the U.K. which has a website, and about 7 weeks ago we had an enquiry from a Company in Kampala. Straight away, alarm bells rang. They wanted prices on a huge number of goods, mainly computer memory, motherboards and so on, saying that they normally made watches (the Company in Kampala was called 'Talking Watches') but had been increasingly asked about computer spares.
We replied to them asking for credentials etc., (as we do export we are used to this sort of thing), and also said that we would need an official Purchase Order along with Company Cheque, and that nothing would be purchased or shipped out unless we had Cleared Funds. We also advised that they would need to contact us again to finalise the cost of the goods including shipping and delivery details.
5 or 6 weeks elapsed and we heard nothing, until a week ago, we had a FedEx delivery of a letter, from Kampala. Inside was a Cheque for the goods (how they came to the amount I have no idea as we have had no further contact with them despite us saying we would need to confirm shipping costs) and a covering letter, not an Official Purchase Order, stating what they wished to purchase, and that the goods would only be despatched on Cleared Funds (bearing in mind it was written in poor English).
The letter was not on proper letter headed paper and was also smudged, and I was not very keen on the look of the cheque, both had been signed by a Timothy J O Barnes... a name I thought odd considering where it had come from. I did my homework on the bank and it was ok, it was a very big exclusive merchant bank in London UK.
I contacted 'Melissa' in Kampala, asking that the cheque amount be broken down so that I knew what it covered (to date I have had no response). In the meantime, I deposited the Cheque expecting it not to go through anyway. Not surprisingly, the following day I received a call from my Bank asking about the Cheque, as it was stolen.
Apparently, they have had a number of such incidents and are urging the public to report such happenings to the local Fraud Squad but I am not sure what to do at the moment.
I don't understand why they would go to such lengths when we explained that nothing would leave this Country until we had cleared funds.. surely they know they are going to be found out!!
PO Box 2850
Lynn M Evans 08/15/02
Good day Sir,
My name is Mr. Andrew Crawford and I am the Vice president of INFO Computers (U.K.) Ltd.
I am very interested in your products and want to ask you if you can accept to ship internationally. I have a computer company and shopstores established in United Kingdom.
I prefer to work with Federal Express and UPS worldwide couriers so I would like to use them, of course paying for all shipping. If you agree with this please email me back as soon as possible.
Looking forward to having business relationships with your company.
INFO Computers (U.K.) Ltd.
Tel. No.: +44 (0)87 0131 8979
Tech. No.: +44 (0)87 0132 4355
And using the same phone number we have:
Good day Sir,
My name is Mr. Tim Fimmers and I am the vice president of StanTek Ltd. I am very interested in your products and want to ask you if you can accept to ship worldwide. I have a computer company and shopstores established in Manchester, England.
I prefer to work with UPS and DHL couriers so I would like to use them, of course paying for all shipping. If you are in agreement with this please email me back as soon as possible.
17 Maple Road
P: 44 (0)87 0132 4355
Sent in by Mark Shifrin 10/16/02
Bogus Internet Auction Orders From Nigerian Scammers
I got the following email in response to my offer to sell a Dell laptop on Yahoo Auctions which goes to show all sellers should ONLY accept US bids!
The email used for the auction was rosedavisrd\\usa.com her username is RoseDavisXX though the email for the fraud letter was justice2\\email.com. Another interesting thing is that in order to sign up for Yahoo auctions you must submit a valid credit card but on my request for the person to pay they said Yahoo would not validate their card.
DEAR Vince Cavallo,
i will like to purchase your product. I will make payment with my credit card information to charge it because i cant use paypal, billpoint, bidpay, yahoodirect with c2it. They don't work in nigeria.
Rose Davis 08/28/02
A black market whodunit: LifeWay battles Bible scam
Nov 6, 2003
By Sara Horn - bpnews.net
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The man on the phone told Cindy Stewart
he wanted to order some Bibles for his seminary's library. Stewart,
the assistant manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Baltimore,
Md., didn't think anything sounded unusual -- at first.
"He told me he wanted genuine leather Bibles but didn't know what kind of Bibles he wanted," Stewart said of the phone call last August. "He said he just needed two of each kind and that it was very important they were genuine leather." She tried to help the man be more specific with his order.
"It was kind of frustrating because we have 700 different kinds of Bibles," Stewart said. "But he insisted he didn't care what kind they were and told me just to pick out anything."
Stewart became suspicious when the caller, talking with a thick foreign accent, demanded the Bibles be charged that same day to the credit card number he had given her.
"He told me to just send him whatever, make sure it was two genuine leather Bibles each and it had to be under $500," she said. "At that point I was pretty sure it was a scam. Anything over $500 that's stolen is considered a felony."
It sounds like a whodunit right from the pages of Nancy Drew, but unfortunately for Christian booksellers, the story is real -- and potentially costly.
Melissa Mitchell, director of loss prevention at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said the call Stewart received is an adaptation of a con known as the Nigerian scam because the thieves who have been caught all have been Nigerian nationals.
"Someone calls or e-mails a store and requests a large number of the same item, in this case Bibles, to be sent to an address somewhere in Nigeria," Mitchell explained. "They pay with a credit card, but the catch is the credit card they use is physically in the possession of the cardholder -- it's the number that's been stolen."
By the time the merchant realizes the credit card purchase is fraudulent, the merchandise already has been shipped to an address that's impossible to track. Eventually the merchandise is sold through the Nigerian black market.
Mitchell began noticing early last spring a pattern of "charge-backs" -- credit card purchases that are sent back to the store when a customer denies ordering the items. The common thread was a delivery address in Nigeria.
She immediately shut down all overseas shipments through the bookstores and customers were asked to go through the online catalog store so Mitchell and the catalog store team could recognize anything suspicious.
After a few months of seeing no activity, the call to the Baltimore store alarmed Mitchell because the delivery address was U.S.-based.
"We notified CBA [the Christian Booksellers Association] immediately because we knew if they were getting us, they were also getting independent booksellers," Mitchell said. She quickly learned her hunch had been right and independents and other Christian retail chains also had been hit.
The biggest victims are the Christian booksellers in Nigeria, Mitchell noted.
"The Bibles that are supplied on the black market are the reason for the sharp price undercutting you find in Nigeria," Justice Okoronkwo, administrative secretary for the CBA in Nigeria, reported in an e-mail to Mitchell. "Genuine importers often cannot sell as they cannot afford to undersell. Sometimes they eventually have to sell below the cost price because they have deadlines to meet from international suppliers. This is a real problem for the CBA Nigeria."
"You have to think of it as anything that can be sold has a value to it, even Bibles," Mitchell said. "Their value to us is spiritual value, but to others, the value is monetary gain."
Since August, LifeWay has prevented more than $150,000 in fraudulent orders. Mitchell credits the diligence of the store managers and the catalog store team.
"The store managers have been outstanding in their attentiveness into looking for potential fraud while staying polite and doing their job serving our customers," Mitchell said. "Also, one of our direct marketing employees, Andy Young, canceled $30,000 worth of fraudulent orders and put together a spreadsheet and was able to track all of the fraudulent credit card numbers to one specific bank. We're now working with their bank security to locate where the breach is."
The latest technique to steal Bibles has been through the use of a relay operator, a system used typically by the hearing-impaired that allows a person to communicate through a telephone operator.
"The scam plays on the fact that our store employees are compassionate and want to help people," Mitchell said. "The sad part is that they're tying up relay operators for people who really need them." A block has now been placed on the stores receiving online relay calls. Customers can still use state-operated relay services.
Mitchell currently is working with the CBA Nigeria as well as the Secret Service to explore new ways to prevent these types of scams.
"To shut this down would probably be next to impossible, but we're going to keep reporting what we find," she said.
Return to Sender, If You Even Want It Back
11/03 AUBURN, Calif. -- In California, the Placer County Sheriff's Department High-Tech Crimes Unit is investigating a possible Internet scam that ended up with a man receiving merchandise he didn't order.Everitt Adam, of Auburn, told television station KCRA that he meets lots of people online, which is not unusual. But he said his latest cyber-friendship is unusual.
"I just saw her in a chat room and said 'hi,'" Adam said.
The "woman" posted a picture and called herself Alicia. She said lives in South Africa and owns a business, and she told Adam that U.S. businesses wouldn't sell to her business. So last week, she asked if she could buy goods and send them to him so he could ship them to her for a small fee.
"Next thing I know, I got all this stuff showing up," Adam said. "Digital cameras, I got 14 of these. Seventy-five thousand dollars in shoes, memory cards, even a projector."
At first, Adam thought the deal was legitimate, but the mailing and billing name changed his thinking: it was Alicia Everitt.
"The name on the credit card is my first name and her first name, so that's not a legitimate name on a credit card," Adam said.
Adam thinks she might be using a stolen credit card, but he called the companies, and so far no one has reported a theft. He said the companies haven't been much help.
"To be an honest person, to try to help a scam be stopped, that was my whole purpose," Adam said.
The sheriff's department said it could be a scam and could be far reaching. Adam said he traced Alicia's customer ordering number to addresses all over the United States.
Adam said he is still getting her goods and talking with her online, waiting for the sheriff's department's word on what to do next.
Nigerian fraudsters 'shop early for Xmas'
By John Leyden - theregister.co.uk 24/11/2003
African fraudsters are attempting to fleece UK computer resellers
in the run up to Christmas with scams involving counterfeit cheques
and bogus credit card payments.
The Register has learned that one reseller specialising in audio-visual products has received bogus payments totalling £100,000 this month. This is not an isolated case: the fraud is being repeated across the industry and is growing in prevalence as the Christmas sales season approaches.
The financial controller of one scam target, who asked to remain anonymous, told El Reg: "The frauds involve the purchase of large plasma/LCD screens or LCD projectors and payment is by credit cards - up to three per order with almost consecutive numbers - forged bankers drafts and forged cheques.
The company received a number of cheques and was offered more from Uganda and Nigeria, he said. The cheques were assigned to the accounts of UK companies. "When I contacted one of the companies they confirmed that the cheque was [its] but had been written for a different amount to a different payee back in September 2003," he said.
The fraudsters attempt to explain why a UK organisation is paying for goods to be dispatched to Africa by claiming that the merchandise is destined for charitable organisations and that the cheques come from sponsors in the UK. They hope that suppliers will not stop to ask too many questions in the hectic run up to Christmas.
"It looks like fraudsters are shopping early for Christmas," our source commented, adding that resellers need to their common sense to avoid falling foul of the scam.
"If you get a cheque that doesn't match company or country to which goods are to be sent then start ask questions. Look closely and go back to company named on a cheque. If you have any doubts don't send anything out," he advised.
Online fraud prevention scheme Early Warning, which has recorded many such scams, warns that retailers problems don't stop even if cheques are initially accepted and processed by banks.
If a company whose cheques have been forged notices a fraudulent withdrawal, banks are able to reclaim funds from a cheque's beneficiary [e.g. a scammed retailer]. By this time the goods may have already shipped, perhaps leaving resellers out of pocket.
"A cheque can clear but banks have a right to come back for the money," said Andrew Goodwill, managing director at Early Warning.
The amounts involved in the latest run of frauds might be enough to scupper smaller resellers.
This month Computer Reseller News reported that Reading-based reseller Addictivity was forced into liquidation after being stung by £70,000 in fraudulent credit card transactions.
SCAM INTERCEPTED: Pembroke businesswoman's suspicion aroused
By STEVE ADAMS
The Patriot Ledger
12/04/03 - PEMBROKE - It was easily the biggest order Lisa Marie Williams had received since she set up a web site for her home-based gift shop: $3,200 worth of wine glass charms.
A series of E-mail exchanges with the customer piqued the 31-year-old jewelry designer's suspicions, however, and she found out that the offer was indeed too good to be true. A quick online search confirmed she was being targeted in the latest variation of an E-mail scam from Nigeria.
''I caught onto it when he kept being persistent," Williams said, recounting a series of back-and-forth E-mail exchanges over a period of two weeks. ''He got angry and said, 'You're not being fair."'
Perpetrators of the new strain of fraud have sent hundreds of counterfeit cashier's checks in recent weeks to online merchants, hoping to convince the recipients to wire a portion of the money to a third party for shipping arrangements. More than 100 counterfeit cashier's checks from a St. Petersburg, Fla., bank have been sent out by the con artists in the past six weeks, bank officials said yesterday.
Other phony checks have been issued in the name of other banks since late summer, FDIC spokesman David Barr said. The scam targets people selling items on web sites, including eBay and small businesses.
Nigerian scam artists for years have tried to convince victims they'd receive millions if they wired thousands of dollars to Nigeria. The advance fee scheme, also known as the ‘419' scam after the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code that outlaws the practice, picked up momentum in the late 1990s through the proliferation of E-mail.
In recent months, however, the scammers appear to have developed a more sophisticated scheme targeting online sales. State Attorney General Thomas Reilly's office issued a consumer alert Oct. 29 after receiving several complaints from potential victims.
Typically, a person E-mails the seller with a large order and sends a cashier's check by FedEx for a larger sum than the product's cost.
The E-mails claim that the additional cost is to cover a payment to an agent in the U.S. who will be handling the shipping arrangements.
Williams owns Jewelry by Lisa Marie, a Center Street jewelry and accessory shop that recently launched an E-commerce site. ‘‘George Thomas" E-mailed her Nov. 13 to inquire about buying a large quantity of gift items. He eventually settled on 200 sets of wine glass charms costing $3,200. He indicated he would send a cashier's check for $6,200 and told her to cash it and forward $3,000 to an agent in Houston who would handle the shipping expenses to Africa.
Becoming leery, Williams told the buyer that she would not wire any money and that he should pay the shipper directly.
When the cashier's check arrived on Tuesday, Williams took it to Abington Savings Bank's Pembroke branch and asked bank employees to contact the apparent issuer, Republic Bank of St. Petersburg, which confirmed that the check was phony. Williams had not wired any money to the third party.
A Republic Bank executive said more than 100 counterfeit cashier's checks, apparently made by laser printer, have been sent to people selling items on the Web in the last six weeks.
''We are getting (counterfeit) checks every day," said Gilbert Grass, executive vice president of corporate services. ''They're targeting primarily individuals selling anything from cars to motorcycles to puppies to services."
Bank officials said they have not lost any money on the scheme because all of the checks were rejected as counterfeit when processed, thanks to safeguards that compare the checks' dollar amounts and serial numbers with bank records.
Grass said it's unclear how many of the checks have been cashed by other banks, which would depend on other banks' policies. But the customer would be responsible for repaying the bank if he or she had been able to cash one.
Most of the potential victims became suspicious because of the unusual nature of the transactions, Grass said. Bank officials notified the FDIC, which issued a bulletin to member banks notifying them of the scheme.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo last month called for an overhaul of the laws that prosecute Internet swindlers. The Nigerian government has arrested more than 200 people since May on computer fraud charges, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.
But because of the difficulties of pursuing overseas financial fraud, U.S. authorities are focusing their efforts on raising consumer awareness.
''Consumers need to be aware that cashier's checks are not the same as cash, and that any E-mail originating from overseas and offering to purchase a car or boat with a cashier's check should be ignored and deleted," Attorney General Reilly said.
Reilly suggested that people who sell big-ticket items on the Internet consider using online payment systems and escrow companies to avoid the risks of accepting a fake certified check for payment.
International credit card scam spreads from Nigeria to Keyser
By DEL MALKIE Tribune Staff Writer 01/29/04
An Internet credit card scam stretching from Alabama to Nigeria
has centered around a couple in Keyser, apparent victims of a chat
At least $2,000 in fraudulent purchases of sophisticated electronic equipment and other items over a period of several months is involved, all charged to two victims who had no idea their credit cards had been electronically "stolen."
Keyser Police Chief Karen Shoemaker was called last Tuesday from a woman in Mobile, Alabama, who reported that a laptop computer and other equipment worth some $1,500 had been charged to her credit card without her knowledge. She checked Visa and found the items had been shipped to a home on Lincoln Street in Keyser.
Chief Shoemaker reports a couple at that address had for some months been chatting with a man named James Taylor in Nigeria and built up a cyberspace friendship.
Taylor told the couple he was going to start up a business and asked if he could have items purchased in the United States delivered to their Keyser home. He said he would pay shipping costs if they would then forward the items to him in Africa.
Since last August the couple has shipped laptop computers, DVD
players and other electronic items plus clothes and shoes to Taylor
in Nigeria, apparently with no knowledge that the items were being
fraudulently charged to stolen credit cards. The electronic items
were purchased from a firm called KCM Switches.
"We forwarded the whole package to the FBI," said the chief, "since we have no means to investigate international Internet fraud, and are working with the Bureau on the case, as is the local couple."
On Monday, Chief Shoemaker got a second call, from a different victim, also in Alabama, reporting more than $900 worth of electronic equipment, from KCM Switches, had been charged to a credit card without the victim's knowledge.
This time the items were mailed in the name of David Moore to Lincoln Street, believed to be the same Nigerian.
"Since it has worked twice, we must expect there could be more reports to come in this scheme," said the chief, "and must emphasize the need for citizens to be cautious both in Internet friendships and protection of their credit cards. For instance, one of the Alabama victims said she had never made a credit card purchase over the Internet and has no idea how Taylor got her Visa identity.
"We urge residents to contact us at once if they are approached in a similar fashion - and certainly think twice before entering into any such arrangement, no matter how well they feel they know their Internet acquaintances."
African scam tees off
By KRISTEN ENEVOLD, CALGARY SUN
01/31/04 - By shipping some of his company's T-shirts to Ghana, Gordon Thompson thought he'd be helping poverty-stricken kids, but instead, he's fuming at the mystery man who ripped him off. "He sounded legitimate, he sounded professional but now I'm just PO'd," said Thompson, a partner in a local company that distributes uniforms to sports teams.
Back in July, a man from Ghana called Thompson at Aero Apparel Ltd., to place an order for 580 T-shirts.
"He said he wanted them to give to poor kids," said Thompson, who is now stuck with a $3,600 shipping bill he wasn't supposed to pay. "This has really hurt our business," he said.
The foreign scam is relatively new, but has already hit at least three city businesses, said Brock Ketcham of the Better Business Bureau.
"The caller phones from Ghana or Nigeria and is using stolen credit card numbers," he said.
The criminal then dials a business through a relay service intended for the deaf and communicates with the victim through an operator.
"It's a hard lesson to learn if you're a small struggling business," Ketcham said. "Make sure the payment is secured first, and don't rely on just a credit card," he said.
Sprint Relay Bogus Order Scam
There is currently a new scam going around in which the scammers use Sprint Relay Service Nextel Sprint Relay to place orders with stolen credit cards to businesses.
Basically the relay service is for people who are deaf or hard of hearing but the scammers take advantage and use the internet relay because all calls are free, including long distance. The scammer will call up a business and say something like, "Hello, I would like to place an order."
The order turns out to be for 100 bottles of Centrum, 2000 white t-shirts, 10 DVD players, 5 flat screen LCD monitors, etc. They will then give a billing address and the credit card information, which ultimately turns out to be unmatching and/or fraudulent.
But most businesses don't seem to even charge the cards until much later, when the order has shipped out, usually to Nigeria or Ghana.
One way to spot this scam is, obviously, the ridiculous amount of products they order, saying it's for "personal use." Another giveaway is if the company doesn't have a particular item, the scammer will ask "Then what do you sell?" and proceed to buy an extraordinary amount of whatever the person on the phone mentions.
They will also disconnect if asked to fax over a copy of the credit card and ID. Sometimes, they also ask the business to bill separate credit cards with different names on them, and if asked to send a cashiers check or to wired secured funds, they make an excuse saying they cannot do such a thing or they need the "goods" immediately.
And its not just the small businesses that get scammed; Dell and Compaq have been scammed also, as well as many other big well-known businesses. And how do I know this? I'm a relay operator and I have to deal with this everyday.
So next time your business gets a call and the operator says "Hello a person is calling you through sprint relay. Have you received a relay call before?" Just let them know it's a scam and hang up.
If you own a business and get an Internet Relay call it's more than likely a scam. Especially if there are long delays in the conversation (as it seems the overseas connections are slower).
Unfortunately, "US relay operators" are only doing our job and not liking it anymore than those that we are required by law to call. We are guided by FCC and ADA laws and guidelines to dial any call that is requested UNLESS you have a Relay block on your line.
As a Relay operator who handles tons of these calls each day, my best advice to anyone is to have a block put on their telephone line, you can do so by calling customer service, to which the operator can provide to you at the end of the call.
You can request an Internet Relay block which will prevent the scam calls BUT will not prevent those who legitimately need the service from calling you. Each and every state in the US has a state relay center that can place calls for anyone who needs the service.
Unfortunately there is no way (at the present) to prevent these SCAM ARTISTS from using the Internet Relay and giving a bad name to a service that was intended for those that legitimately need the service.
Another TIP. If you think you are being scammed thru Relay ask the caller for a telephone number and address, as well as a name. INSIST on this information for verification purposes to call them back to confirm any order (don't let them con you into doing business via email either).
99 percent of the time these idiots will hang up on you. If they don't, confirm the address and telephone. Usually they give an address in one state and a telephone number in another.
- Another operator who fears losing their job.
Scams Litter the Internet - Breeder Having Kittens
I am a cat breeder, I had a lady email me and want to buy two kittens from me. She lives in Japan.
I normally do not ship but she was having someone meet me and fly the kittens to Japan in cabin. I asked her questions and she gave me good answers so I agreed.
She then said someone owes her money and was just going to send me the entire amount plus extra. She then wanted me to send the difference western union to her shipper. Then the person picking them up would contact me and come and get the kittens.
The price was $1200.00. She sent me a check for $5150.00 and asked that I send the remainder western union minus the fees for it. I told her OK. However the info is OJO Tunde 24 Palmgrove estate, V/Island, Lagos 23401 Nigeria. I had remembered seeing something about scams in Nigeria so decided to investigate further.
Another reason, I had emailed her back and her email tone seemed to changed and she was demanding I send it out ASAP. I told her I had to have it clear before I could do that because I do not have those kind of funds.
I have a feeling now that I found this site, it is a scam. her name in the email is Teresa Clement and she said she lives in Tokyo, Japan but is away on an education expedition in Nigeria and wants me to keep the kitties until next month but send the money NOW.
Is there anyone I should contact about this? I certainly will not be sending out the money now. Thanks for an informative site. I want to warn other breeders on other lists about this.
Below is the email I received from her along with her email address. Totally
different than when we first started talking a week or two ago. Also
one other thing that bothered me. She wrote perfect English
in her emails when we first started to correspond now it is very
broken English to me certainly different than before.
----- Original Message -----
From: Teresa Clement
Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: Beautiful Maine Coon kittens
I hope all is well as i have not heard from you a long time, i really do hope you've gotten the cashiers check....please let me know, i try to find that out from my client. I will be going to West Africa/East Africa for my last field trip as i work for an organisation that is into cultural ethics.
We have a programme billed for that part of the world and with my shipper not coming to pcik up the kittens until about two weeks time as he has another job to do, i will want you to send the extra funds to me.....whereever i am i will get the information to you with the information of the consultant so that he can help with handling the sum until i find another shipper or perharps you'll help me hold the kitten till i live this place as i want to receive the kittens myself,if this will cost you anextra amount ....please let me know.
I will be expecting you mail soon and i will forward
the address of the consultant to the programme i am attending immediately
i get his information so that the sum can be picked up.
Expecting your mail ASAP.
The information is as below:
24 Palmgrove estate,
He can be trusted.
Please when you have it sent, send the MTCN, TEST QUESTION AND
ANSWER to me ASAP so that i can have him get the funds....i don't
think the kittens will be with you till March....I will make sure
they are picked up two weeks from now, I am expecting the transfer
information for the transfer (mtcn, test question and answer )
from you ASAP.
Take care and take good care of the kittens.....
Going to the Dogs
I AM MR. MIKE ODILI A POLICE CONSULTANT FOR DOGS, I HAVE BEEN MANDATED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE TO SOURCE FOR AN INTERESTED DOG BREEDERS OVERSEAS TO SUPPLY THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE WITH 1000 PUPPIES THESE PUPPIES ARE TO BE TRAINED BY OUR PROFESSIONAL TRAINERS TO HELP COMBAT AND DETECT CRIMES ACCORDINGLY. THE PUPS MUST BE BETWEEN 4-5 MONTHS OLD.
THE FERDRAL GOVT OF NIGERIA IS READY TO GIVE UP FRONT PAYMENT TO ANY INTERESTED SUPPLIER BEFORE SUPPLY IS MADE., THIS CONTRACT WILL LAST FOR A PERIOD OF 5 YEARS.
SIR, IF YOU ARE INTERESTED BREEDERS PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR MORE DETAILS EXPECTING TO HEAR FROM YOU URGENTLY,
MR, MIKE ODILI, (POLICE CONSULTANT) 04/04
Cambria jeweler loses $34,000 in international credit card fraud caseLaurie Phillips - The Tribune - sanluisobispo.com
05/31/04 - Hauser Brothers Goldsmiths of Cambria lost almost $34,000 last week in a case of international credit card fraud.
Joel Hauser, the owner of the Main Street business, said he has taken international orders before and never been cheated during his 29 years in business. No one has paid him with a fraudulent credit card, he said, and most international orders have come through direct referrals.
Two weeks ago, Hauser said, he opened his e-mail box and saw a letter, written in broken English, that read "we think your cross is so beautiful, we would like to order." The person, who said he was from Nigeria, inquired about the prices of the gold jewelry Hauser makes and agreed to place a large order in a subsequent e-mail. In that letter, the sender included a credit card number, Hauser said.
Shortly thereafter -- while Hauser and his nephew, his sole part-time employee, assembled the order -- Hauser received e-mails containing different credit card numbers from other Nigerians who said they were related to the person who placed the first order. He put together four orders, worth $2,900, $4,300, $6,580 and $20,000, according to the Sheriff's Department.
At first, Hauser said, he didn't suspect the credit card numbers were fraudulent because the numbers "ran through clean" and no flags were raised by Bank of America that the numbers could be stolen. Because the bank processed a $12,000 charge, he said, "I thought, 'Man, who are these dudes? They've got money.' "
When he received an e-mail asking for "all the chain you've got," Hauser began to suspect he might be getting ripped off and called the bank on May 20.
"I asked them directly, is this a stolen card? Is this a fraudulent card?" Hauser said. "They said yes."
Hauser does not know why the bank did not previously indicate that the numbers were fraudulent. Attempts to reach Bank of America's security unit this week were unsuccessful.
Hauser knows that he should have verified a three-digit code that's part of the credit card before shipping the items. Because he didn't, he knows he is ultimately responsible for what happened.
"I didn't call on every single number, and that was my mistake," he said, adding, "In my case, I was just hopeful, which made me naïve."
The Hauser Brothers case is noteworthy because Nigerian fraud schemes usually are directed at specific people, not businesses, according to law enforcement, and typically offer counterfeit checks as payment for items, not credit cards.
Senior sheriff's deputy Patrick Zuchelli said the department has seen "a lot of fraud" out of the African country, but it's been advance-fee fraud, a different kind. In that example, individuals receive unsolicited e-mail from someone claiming to have millions of dollars and needing help securing it -- in the recipient's bank account.
To obtain the money, people are asked to disclose account information and pay thousands of dollars up front to cover the supposed cost of the transaction. Those who fall for the scam find their accounts drained.
Zuchelli advised business owners to be cautious when filling international orders and verify all credit card numbers before shipping them.
From: babatunde gboyega [mailto:semmiecops\\yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 9:19 AM
Subject: urgent order
I will like to place an order from your store. But before I proceed I
will like to know if you ship down to NIGERIA. And also to know if you
accept credit cards as payment. I hope to hear from you soon Thanks.
From: Morgan Fred Michael [mailto:fredpurchasingstores\\rediffmail.com]
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 10:38 PM
Subject: ORDE R ENQUIRY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I AM MR MICHAEL FRED, IT IS A PLEASURE TO MAIL YOU, I Here By to
order for some goods from your company ,To My DANNY SPORTS WEAR STORE.
Which I will like to know the shipping charge via ups 3-4 days or usps
3-5 days to Lagos Nigeria or to know your shipping method you would
prefer, Also I will Like to know if you Accept major credit card,
Expecting to hear back from you.
DANNY SPORTS WEAR STORE
MR. MICHAEL HAMMED.
51 PALM AVENUE.
From: Morgan Fred Michael [mailto:fredpurchasingstores\\rediffmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2004 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Your mail to jewelry\\
Thanks For Your Mail, Here is the Items I wish to Order
Items are Follows:
10 Per each Items
This elegant Heart BangleHeart Bangle
5mm Hook bracelet w/14kt Gold Wire Wrap
So I want You To Confirm The Items Listed Aboved, and Give Me The Total
Amount with shipping charges.
Hope to hear back from you.
From: Morgan Fred Michael [mailto:fredpurchasingstores\\rediffmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 5:30 AM
To: Thomas Eimer
Subject: Re: RE: Re: Your mail to jewelry\\
Thanks For Your Mail, Here Is The Addres to Be shipped To. So I Want You
To Kindly Charge The Below Credit Card.
Also This Items Needs as a Present gift For My Customer's.
TYPE OF CARD: VISA CARD
CARD NUMBER: 43055003340541xx
EXPIRY DATE: 05/05
DANNY FASHION STORES
MR ADEKUNLE MICHAEL.
51 PALM AVENUE.
From: Morgan Fred Michael [mailto:fredpurchasingstores\\rediffmail.com]
Sent: Monday, June 07, 2004 2:44 PM
To: Thomas Eimer
Subject: Re: RE: RE: Re: Your mail to jewelry\\
I am Mr Michael James. And I Get Your Contact Through One Of My
Cleints in USA. Here is My Number: 234-01-8055454227. You Can Call me
Tonight. Also Let Me Know The Procces of the Order. And We Talk On Phone
when You Call Me. Call Me Today.
Hope To Hear Back From You.