Getting Hooked by
a Scam Artist Can Be Costly!
They come by mail, phone and email. Sometimes
you hear about them from a friend or relative. They're hot
overseas investment clubs, currency trading
schemes, prizes you've won in contests
or overseas lottos that you never knew you entered,
or ways to avoid paying taxes. They're pleas for
help from a 'banker' or 'government official' in Nigeria,
or offers to broker a 'business' deal. One thing they all have in common - these scams require
you to pay out cash now in order to receive the promised
return (which does not exist).
How to Report These Scams:
The Secret Service investigates crimes
associated with financial institutions. Today, this
jurisdiction includes bank fraud, access device fraud
involving credit and debit cards, telecommunications and
computer crimes, fraudulent identification, fraudulent
government and commercial securities, and electronic funds
Federal Trade Commission
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Currency Trading Fraud Site
You should contact the Internet Fraud Complaint
Center online to file a complaint for anything you
believe to be cyber-crime or scams perpetrated via email. This center is a computer-related
fraud complaint site for the FBI and National White Collar
Foreign currency trading scams
are the fastest growing financial scam today. Over the past
5 years, more than 25,000 investors have been burned by
currency trading frauds. Scam artists solicit over the phone
or woo them at hotel presentations, set up booths at
investor fairs or use brochures. One popular scheme promises
investors fat profits if they move quickly in on a
time-sensitive currency trading opportunity. The money then
disappears or is taken up in unprofitable trades. A common
scam is for con artists to rent a telemarketing boiler room
with phones and offices and start cold calling numbers from
a list of leads they purchase. They promise large guaranteed
returns, promote their 'track record' and ask that a minimum
investment be wired to a particular bank. If the investor
bites, the calls continue, saying more money is needed to
take advantage of an urgent trading opportunity. When the
investor ask for the money back the response is the the
market has shifted, then a month or two later the company
closes. The next day they're up and running under a new
name. Florida is a particular hotspot for these schemes.
people who solicit investors to trade currencies are
regulated, making them difficult to detect and monitor. In
recent years, foreign exchange fraud cases have jumped to
28% of the currency litigation by the Commodity Futures
Trading Commission, the government body responsible for
regulating a portion of currency trading.
If you're considering investing in
currencies, some resources to protect yourself:
currency fraud site:
Contact the National Futures Association at
800-676-4NFA to ask if a company is a member of the
NFA or registered with the CFTC, and to check the
disciplinary record of the company or a salesman.
To check a firm's record:
Check if a company has attracted the
attention of other authorities like your state's securities
or Attonrey General's consumer protection buruea (www.naag.org).
'Activation Fees' or
often fall victim to greed when they get emails or letters
or calls notifying them that $20 million to $100 million or
more is going to come to them if they help transfer the
money for somebody.
following letter is a sample one you might receive when
responding to an email telling you that you have $20 million
to $100 million or more waiting for you in an account in the
Netherlands or England, transferred from Africa:
"We write to you in respect of your mail
sent to us. Madam note your sum was wired to our office in
bonded form and with high insurance policy. the purpose of
this policy is to safeguard the transfer of your money to
your nominated bank account, it is impossible to deduct the
activation fee from your sum (principal amount), it must be
transferred in full remittance to your nominated
Note: Once you pay the activation fees, it will be
added to your sum, it is still your money, the balance will
now be, USD$100,000,005M +(Added) to 12,500E. This
activation fee will be added to your Principal amount . The
Real time Balance (RTB) will now be Principal amount
USD$100,000,005M + Activation fee 12,500 Euro. Upon this
payment an authorization code will automatically be given to
you, for you to further your sum transfer to your nominated
bank account via our online system. this activation fee you
are paying will reflect in your Saving account immediately.
The basic fact is by
law, The activation fee is still your money, it will be
added to your balance.
Madam (or Sir), your understanding to this very matter would
be greatly appreciated, to enhance the successful conclusion
of your transaction with us. Note that as
soon as you pay this fee, that you must confirm the transfer
of your sum within 48HR with our online banking system, We
await to your urgent response (classic phrase used
by con artists).
Consequently, find below the name of our accounting clerk
for you to send the activation fee, via Western union
Monetary transfer (no legitimate financial
institution asks for money to be sent Western Union. They
request this because there is no way to trace it - classic
technique of con artists). to us, for finalisation of
(1) Bright Carlos Ogebe.
(2) Jerry Brown.
Address: 951 Arenaplein, 1155Bh Amsterdam The Netherlands.
Endeavour to send the (MTCN)western union money transfer
control number for us to cash the payment. (you'll
never see this money or be able to contact these people
Ms Lucia Van Brooke
Online Banking Supervision Officer pdsbf/nl.
Tax Collection Scams
In September 2006, the IRS turned over
collection of a small number of taxpayer debts to three
private collection agencies. On occasion, people have
seen bogus letters, telephone calls and emails all pretending to
official IRS collection efforts.
The LEGITIMATE programs works like this:
1. You get a letter from the IRS saying
you're in the collection program and naming the collection
agency that have been given your account
2. You receive a letter from the collection
agency confirming that they will be in touch with you to
3. When you come to make payment, the
collection agency will provide you an official IRS payment
coupon. The coupon will require the check be made out to the
U.S. Treasury, NOT the collection agency.
Scam Warning Signs: threats to place liens
or seize property by the collection agency, and request for
personal or banking info. The legitimate collection agencies
are authorized only to discuss payment schedules and collect
the debt. They will not ask for social security numbers or
bank account passwords.
Any concerns about any tax collection
contact you receive, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
There are too many to list here, but one we encounter very
frequently is overseas currency investing clubs. You
pay a few hundred dollars up front and are told that in a
few months you will get a return of several thousand dollars,
and a few months after that a return of several hundred thousand
dollars. All for your initial investment of $500 or so. They
tell you to form an IBC or offshore trust and get an offshore
Not a single one we've encountered yet has EVER paid any return
is a pyramid and Ponzi scheme. The first investors may get
some money back (paid with money invested by later investors)
but that is only to encourage you to invest an even greater
amount, which you will lose.The spread of the Internet and email, which
makes it possible to target millions of potential victims
quickly and inexpensively has caused a surge in investment
You may receive an invitation to earn double-digit returns
in prime securities, supposedly secret investments known
only to major banks. Unfortunately, there's no such market.
You may be invited to join an overseas investment club that
promises $80,000 return at the end of 5 years and $9,000
per month for life - all for your investment of only about
You may be offered the chance to start your own home-based
business with promises of fantastic earnings. Too often,
these turn out to be pyramid schemes where profits are based
primarily on your recruiting others to join the program.
Another common scam is the 'pump and dump' scheme. A promoter
will plant favorable stories on Web sites and in chat groups
about a stock he owns, leading to a buying surge and a rise
in share price. He then sells at the pumped-up price, leaving
investors to discover too late that the stories were complete
lies and the stock price crashes.
Counterfeit Check Scams
This is a recent but fast-growing scam, that
has duped some of the brightest people in the U.S. The
criminal starts by sending YOU a check or money order. Let's
say you post a resume or an item for sale online. The
criminal says he wants to hire you, or buy what you're
selling. He offers to send you a check from somebody who
owes him money - a check for MORE than your wages or asking
price. You are instructed to deposit the check and wire the
excess to a third party (who is the scammer or an accomplice
Your bank must make deposited funds
available to you within 5 days. But his check is a skillful
forgery that may not bounce for 3 weeks. When it does, your
bank subtracts the amount of that check from your account.
The average loss in this type of scam is $5,200.
The IRS recently warned taxpayers about the
latest tax scams. These include abusive trust schemes, where
scam artists offer to set up a series of trusts that they
claim will shield virtually all your income from taxes.
Of course, you pay several thousand dollars in upfront fees
for the promoter to set up the trust. Trusts are always
under investigation by the government, especially offshore
trusts, because so many of them are fraudulent. Many trusts have
no regulations restricting how they must be set up - they
are totally creative and can be set up in any way by anyone.
A trust is only as good as the person setting it up. Legitimate
trusts are for estate planning purposes only - NOT for tax
evasion. Legitimate trusts are set up by attorneys only.
Other tax scams offer to show you how to deduct personal
household costs as business expenses or to sell you the
'secret' of opting out of the tax system.
If you invest in one of these tax scams, you will find yourself
facing civil and even criminal penalties. The IRS currently
has over 800 promoters of tax scams under investigation.
The IRS gets the customer/client list for each one of these
promoters and investigates each person on the list.
THERE ARE NO LEGITIMATE AND LEGAL WAYS TO EVADE U.S. INCOME
TAX if you have earned income!! You can minimize or defer
taxes but never evade them legally.
How to Protect Yourself
Never invest in anything unless you have
the full details in writing, full disclosure and references
on the company offering the investment, and full understanding
of the investment. Remember that if something seems
too good to be true, (someone wants to give you thousands
or millions of dollars for doing virtually nothing, or an
investment promises incredible returns, or someone says
you can evade U.S. income taxes), it almost certainly is.
You do NOT get handed millions of dollars for doing nothing!
There are no such things as 'transfer taxes' or 'bond purchases'
for you to pay, to receive money you're being promised.
Nigeria, Netherlands Lotto, and Overseas
'Family Inheritance' Financial Scams
Our company gets so many calls from people
wanting to form a Bahamas IBC because they are convinced
they are about to get millions of dollars from Nigeria or
an overseas 'inheritance' from a deceased family member
(both of which are professional scams) that we've decided
to try to address it here.
First of all, remember that no one gets millions
of dollars for doing nothing - unless you buy a winning
legitimate lottery ticket. Professional con artists target
vulnerable people who are out of work, struggling financially,
or otherwise willing to throw caution to the winds when
faced with the prospect of easy, instant money. Greed is
the oldest of all human emotions to prey upon.
Nigeria Bank Scams
Any offer coming out of Nigeria is, WITHOUT EXCEPTION,
a financial scam.
No legitimate funds ever come out of Nigeria.
numerous reports in the national news media over the past
few years, and a special branch of the Secret Service and
FBI set up to deal with nothing but Nigerian financial scams,
Americans are still falling for this oldest of all financial
cons. These messages originate from boiler room operations
in Nigeria that randomly target tens of thousands of people,
says Edward Nasiatka, a retired U.S. Secret Service supervisor
who was head of the interagency West Africa Task Force in
New York. The problem is so huge that a special branch of
the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Trade Commission
are set up to deal with nothing else
but Nigerian financial scams.
Here's how it works:
Claiming to be Nigerian officials, con artists offer in an
email to you (that's also been emailed to at least two
million other Americans) to transfer millions of dollars
into your bank account in exchange for a small fee. If you
respond to the initial email 'offer' you may receive
official-looking documents. Typically, you are then asked to
provide a blank letterhead and your bank account numbers, as
well as some money to cover 'transaction and transfer costs'
and attorney's fees. (note: there are no transfer fees ever
required to transfer money internationally, that request
alone marks it as a financial scam). You may even be
encouraged to travel to Nigeria or a border country to
complete the fictitious transaction. Sometimes, the scammers
will depict trunks of dyed or stamped money to verify their
claims. Inevitably, 'emergencies' come up, requiring more of
your money and delaying the transfer of the promised
fortune. In the end, there is no money, only losses and the
con artist vanishes along with your money.
Following is an example of one of the Nigerian emails virtually
everyone in America with an email address has received by
Courtesy of Business opportunity, I take liberty anchored
on strong desire to solicit for your assistance on this
mutual beneficial and risk free transaction with you, which
I hope you give urgent attention. To be precise, I am Mr.
Francis Johnson the Manager of Bills/Exchange at the Foreign
Exchange/Remittance Department of UNION BANK OF NIGERIA
PLC. In my department, we discovered an abandoned sum of
US$12,524,000.00 (Twelve Million, Five Hundred and Twenty
Four Thousand United States
Dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our customers
who died along with his entire family in 1988 Lockerbie
Pan American Airline plane crash. (NOTE THE BLATANT PLAY
ON SYMPATHY, REFERRING TO THE LOCKERBIE CRASH. THIS IS A
CHARACTERISTIC OF CON MEN, - TO PLAY ON SYMPATHIES)
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting
his next of Kin to come over and claim his money, because
we can not release it unless somebody
applied for its next of Kin or Relation to the deceased
as indicated in our banking procedure, but unfortunately
to no avail, and nobody has come forward to claim the money
(because the mentioned next of kin which is Son died as
Therefore, upon this discovery I and other two officials
in my department now decide to establish a cordial business
relationship with you, hence my contacting you. We want
you to purportedly present your good self as the next of
Kin or relation of the deceased so that we can prepare documentations
and release the funds (US$12.524 Million) into your account
for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming
for it and again we do not want the funds to go into the
Governments account as “Unclaimed Bill”.
The banking law and procedures herein stipulates that any
account abandoned or dormant for a period of some years
is subjected to be closed and all money contained therein
will be forfeited to the Government Treasury Account. Now
it is being speculated that the above sum will be transferred
into Government Treasury Account as unclaimed funds on or
before end of December 2003. The reason for you to present
your good self as the next of kin in occasioned by the fact
that the deceased customer was a foreigner.
Mode of sharing after the successful completion of the transfer
is as follows, for the role you will be expected to play
in the whole exercise, we have agreed to give you twenty
five (25%) of the total sum, and 5% has been set aside for
expenses we are going to encounter by both parties in the
process of this transaction and the remaining 70% shall
be for my colleagues and I. In support of the aforementioned,
you are urged to reply this letter indicating your readiness
and interest to participate in the business. After you reply,
you will be advised on the next step forward.
I quite believe that you will protect our interest by keeping
this business Top Secret and Confidential, as your interest
will be equally protected in order to achieve and maintain
maximum confidentiality. Trust to hear from you on the above
Email address: francis_johnson77
at dinastyfair.com in the letter as I count on your
Mr. Francis Johnson"