Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Nigerian scammers con WA woman of $9000

CORTLAN BENNETT
May 13, 2010 – 3:44PM

A West Australian single mother is out of pocket by nearly $9000 after being ripped off by Nigerian internet scammers who impersonated the state’s consumer fraud regulator.

The woman, who did not want to be named, was conned into transferring the money overseas with the promise of a $US250,000 ($A278,000) windfall from the Nigerian government.

The hoaxers used fake emails from WA ScamNet, eBay, PayPal and the Nigerian Police, Customs and Central Bank in the elaborate sting.
WA ScamNet is the fraud advisory arm of the WA Department of Consumer and Employment Protection (DOCEP), which profiles scams targeting local consumers and businesses.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll said the victim was targeted after selling a $250 portable PlayStation on eBay last month.

A bogus buyer made an offer, but asked for the item to be shipped to Nigeria, claiming to have transferred the funds via PayPal.

The seller received a fake email from PayPal confirming the funds had been deposited, and was then asked by the scammers to pay additional shipping costs and duty.

Fake Nigerian Customs forms and phony PayPal emails again `confirmed’ payment.

Suspecting a scam, the victim contacted WA ScamNet, which advised her to break off contact with the fraudsters.

But after forwarding the email to the scammers themselves, they sent her fake emails with WA ScamNet and WA government logos, advising her to co-operate with Nigerian authorities.

She then received a phony eBay email saying the case had been reported to the Nigerian police, who had arrested the fraudster.

Later, a fake police email told her the Nigerian president had awarded her $US250,000 ($A279,485) in compensation.

But there was a catch.

A false document from the Nigerian Central Bank said the woman had to pay a transfer fee of about $US7000 ($A7800) before the money could be released.

After losing about $8700, the victim went to the WA ScamNet offices in Perth and was told she’d been conned.

“I felt violated,” the woman said in an interview supplied by DOCEP.

“(I) just can’t believe that people could do this.

“When I actually said over time that I can’t afford this, I’m a single parent, well they would come back with, ‘Go get a loan.’

“It was nearly $9000 with all the fees.

“If I go on eBay again, I’m not selling anything to overseas.

“This was our first time – and it’s my last time.”

Ms Driscoll said it was very concerning that overseas scammers were impersonating official bodies.

“This was a particularly alarming scenario where scammers have actually impersonated the WA regulator,” she said.

“The thing to remember is that no overseas organisation is going to pay you a large amount of money for nothing – especially the Nigerian government.

“If you need assurance that you’re talking, emailing the correct regulator or bank or secure online transaction point, make sure you’re logged directly to the legitimate site.

“Don’t trust a link that’s sent to you by somebody you don’t know.”

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May 13, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Very informative article. Ironically, someone has scammed me, in a way: ran a smear campaign across the internet by signing my full name and leaving idiotic, mean, embarrassing posts in the comments section of various blogs. Namely, yours. Please, please, please… Could you please contact me?

    Comment by L | May 17, 2010 | Reply


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