RECOGNIZE NIGERIAN 419 FRAUD AND SCAMS, COUNTERFEIT CHECK FRAUD, BUSINESS OFFER FRAUD, AND SCAM LETTERS
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Nigerian con artist rings are nothing if not creative. With all the attention that has been brought to bear on the standard Nigerian Scam Letter Fraud, the fraud rings have been under pressure to develop new concepts - and they are very, very good at it.
Sometime in 2002 the Counterfeit Check Fraud game was developed. It has been highly successful and in short order has proliferated around the globe via the Internet, the Nigerian fraudsters favorite weapon. This fraud has now reached epidemic proportions.
The year 2003 saw at least 2 new Nigerian scams hit the Internet. One of the new ones, the Check Processing Business Fraud, is outlined below.
The most important factor of these new scams is that they rely entirely on the honesty of the victim.
This is a new twist inasmuch as involvement in a Nigerian Letter Scam means the victim has to agree to break any number of international laws, especially bank laws. In other words, it targets the victim's need or greed for large sums of money.
The new rash of scams is just the opposite. They arrive in the guise of a normal, day-to-day business transactions. They rely on the ignorance of good business practices on the part of the victim. They are 100% based on the fact that most people will conduct business with a total stranger thousands of miles away in the same manner as they would their neighbor in a small town.
These new scams also rely on an expectation that has been ingrained into our learning curve for generations: your bank will take care of you. The huge misconception of the bank's role in safeguarding the community is the cornerstone of this new rash of frauds.
Extortion: Fake US Federal Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, US Treasury, and Jury Notice Letters Used to Threaten and Bully US Citizens into Sending Money
Beware of any emails you receive allegedly from the US Treasury Department, IRS, FBI, Secret Service, US Customs, INS, or any other US Government organization.
These letters have only three purposes: (1) To extort money from you, (2) to lure you into a money laundering scheme; and (3) to steal your identity. Frequently, the Identity Theft part of the scam is more lucrative for the scammer than any other motive.
Below you will find links to US Government warnings, and a sample scam letter sent from Burkina Faso that mixes so many different US Government entities into one letterhead that it's truly silly.
Sample letter: FEDERAL BUREAU INVESTIGATION ANTI FRAUD DEPARTMENT
Internal Revenue Service: Treasury, IRS Warn of Identity Theft Scheme Involving Bogus E-mail, Web site
The Nigerian Counterfeit Check Fraud:
Ruining lives by the thousands through the Classifieds
Every day we deal with victims of this fraud who have had to file bankruptcy, been rendered homeless, or have been mistakenly picked up by local law enforcement and jailed as check forgers.
Mystery Shopper / Check Processing / Package Processing
This one has all the earmarks of a legitimate business,
but it can land you in JAIL for Wire Fraud, Money Laundering,
More and more jurisdictions and banking companies are aware of the prevalence of counterfeit check schemes emanating from Nigerian fraud rings and competing criminal elements.
Very, very few banks press criminal charges. However, check cashing stores do and there still remain those local enforcement officers who do not conduct a thorough investigation and prosecutors who appear not to care and insist on criminal proceedings.
DO NOT WAIVE YOUR MIRANDA RIGHTS!
REQUESTING AN ATTORNEY IS NOT AN ADMISSION OF GUILT!
The Scam: The offers are posted on bulletin boards and arrive as a business opportunity in your email box, come at you in the form of Instant Messages and Private Messages.
The offer is simple: a person in a foreign country, sometimes alleged to be in one of the old Soviet Bloc countries, states that he or she has a business selling product over the Internet or has a charitable organization that needs to accept donations. Due to [invented] legal exigencies in the stated country, this person cannot process the checks that arrive for payment of the product. Would you mind processing the checks on their behalf? Your "commission" is usually 10% -20% of the checks processed.
The upshot is that once you have cashed the checks and forwarded the 80% back to your so-called boss, you are notified that the checks were forged, stolen, or counterfeit. And you are left holding the bag, meaning that you owe the bank for whatever you sent back to the swindler and personally spent. Law suits and and criminal charges are possible but not prevalent.
BEWARE OF TSUNAMI SCAMS / KATRINA SCAMS / DISASTER SCAMS / WAR REFUGEE SCAMS!
Go HERE to see a partial list the scams came out after the tsunami disaster.
Disasters are the con artist's Food of the Gods.
You can be assured that cockroaches from all over the world will be coming to take advantage of the feast.
They prey on the disaster victims, their relatives, and their friends.
They take advantage of any and all feelings of generosity or pity.
They promise untold wealth to those who become involved in rebuilding the infrastructure and economy of the stricken areas.
PLEASE ASK US FIRST BEFORE INVOLVING YOURSELF IN ANY OFFER, ANY EMAIL REQUEST, ANY CHAT ROOM REQUEST (ESPECIALLY IF IT COMES FROM A SO-CALLED MINISTER OR ASKS YOU TO CASH CHECKS), THAT REFERS IN ANY WAY TO A DISASTER OR WAR REFUGEES!
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