WARNING !!! Consultants are being targeted !!!
The changing faces of international internet scams, more sophisticated and a bit harder to identify, until you spend a bit of time ‘digging’.
Ten years ago we received e-mail’s on a weekly basis from a Son of an high Government official. The Son’s father had fallen into disgrace, was executed, or whatever, and his Son, the writer, was looking to get his fathers fortune out of the ‘Dictators’ grasp. He asked for someone’s help in getting this done, offering as much as 50% of the monies to be deposited to someone’s account here for safe keeping. The stories showed a reasonable imagination fit for a good ‘Scam Movie’. from the view of the con artists. The money not bad either – $20 million, some a bit more, some less.The way it worked, you gave out your personal information, your Bank account and send them a cheque for maybe $10,000.00 for survival, Bribes and travelling money. A ‘meager’ donation in view of the fact that the respondent was to gain millions.
Amazingly enough, it was reported that many individuals fell for the Scam.
Before I could even think about this fantastic offer, a business friend of mine mentioned his prior experience with this scam, as it appeared first in Europe.
More recently I was approached again, this time it appeared to be very legitimate. Here we are talking about relatively little money to gain, but much more to loose
“For those of you still to be exposed to this Scam, here is how this one goes down”
You receive an e-mail from a Canadian HR professional which is connected to you, or asked to be, via ‘Linkedin’. They send you the contact persons name and e-mail address, phone number etc. in Japan, who is also an HR person for this large Japanese company. Due to the now approved and much anticipated TPP – TransPacific Partnership Agreement, increase in Trade between our Countries, Japanese Firms are looking for physical representation for their company in North America. The beautiful part is, you don’t have to have experience in their companies product line – in my case a large Japanese Steel Company, and a second enquiry came from another a Week later, a large Japanese Pharmaceutical Company, offering a similar Agency to me.
All you need to do, is when they send you a file to collect outstanding monies, contact the company by phone, fax, or e-mail, and have a nice discussion about why and when etc. about paying the shipment of Merchandise received. The idea appears to be, that this is good customer relations, and will keep or even increase business over time. Seems logical.
In the actual case I am writing about, the Customer in question was amazingly cooperative and promise to send a Cheque by a certain time, likely within the week. The cheque of course is made out in your or your companies name.
This Cheque came from a third party, a Casino of all things , which does exist in fact. In my case it came by Courier from the ‘Casino Rama’ in Orillia Ontario. A very well know Casino, on a ‘First Nations Reserve’. Talking it to deposit, my Banker mentioned, that she knew of the Casino, and the Cheque looked good. That comment upon my voicing concerns about the legitimacy.
So far this looks all pretty good. What can happen to you, as you will have all the money, right ?!
You deposit the Cheque at your Bank and it is processed, meaning it goes to the Bank on which the Cheque is drawn. Well, it actually goes to the International Clearing House “Symcor”, which clears all checks made out in US dollars. However the Destination Bank gets a scanned copy. This as per my Banker. Learn something new every day—lol.
So all they have to do is clear the Cheque as having enough money in the issuers account. The Bank then authorizes the release of the funds, and a few days later the actual Cash is in your account.
Having a signed contract, referred to by the Scam artist a MOU, “ Memorandum Of Understanding” a form of an understanding in which briefly the terms are reflected, signed by the Scam Company and yourself. Looks all very legitimate. For individuals who still believe in basic human decency and a degree of honesty, quite believable. Since we all like to make money, and loads of it, the easiest way possible, if the opportunity arises, the financial incentive is v e r y good, but believable.
Japanese companies like to do more business here, and wish to have personal representation in North America, the offer seems in line for the required services.
You have between US$ 100,000.00 to $200,000.00 thousand in your Bank Account. What’s wrong with that, you are holding all the Cards, no ?! At that moment you do, but that will change very quickly. If you are lucky, it is only the one Cheque you collect, before the ‘S’ hits the Fan.
As I felt this money coming my way, was too easy, as I always had to work long and hard to get where I am, the dark cloud in my Gut was warning. As I make it my habit, and here is a bit of a commercial for what I do, I started to dig very deep. On top of that I had some assistance as it turned out. Sometimes I get irritated by Banking staff who seem to be very aloof if they don’t know you.
The Bank in Orillia which was supposed to clear the Cheque, did not. Trying to find out why not, they refused to say, but did drop the hint, that the Cheque appears to have been altered, tampered with. Both my Bank and myself, when I deposited the Cheque, found nothing wrong
Now don’t stop reading,
as how you could get hurt if all goes well for the Scam artists, will come soon.
Meanwhile the company supposedly in Japan, is getting your ‘interim reports’ by e-mail, responding that you are doing a good job and keep them ‘up-to-date. The way they know when things get too hot for them. My ‘Friends’ will find out via this blog.
Lets assume the Cheque is cashed, you have it in your account and all is rosy.
You deduct your Retainer plus fees and make a transfer to a destination as yet to be divulged by your Principals. Cruise-ship here I come !!! As mine was returned it did not get that far, fortunately, as I may not have found out about the Scam before I got seriously hurt.
Discussing at this time the rules that apply to ‘Cheques’ with my Bankers, by now we have a supervisor involved, to help figure out what could be wrong with the Cheque. Due to the fact that the Cheque was apparently tampered with, we talk about the merits of different means of transferring money, the timing , costs etc.
So here comes the ‘kicker’ most individuals, even long time Bankers don’t know about;
Any Cheque, if found to be fraudulent, with no involvement or knowledge of the recipient, in this case my company, will be held responsible to pay the money back to the Bank from which the money was drawn on — up to a time limit of t w o years!
Having now the cash in my account, the Scam artists would instruct me where to send it.
I would send a huge amount of money from my legitimate account to the Scam artist.
Within that 2 year period, my Bank is receiving a ‘demand’ to pay the total amount back to the first Bank, as the legitimate owner / issuer of the fraudulently issued and altered Cheque, have discovered the fraud and the money missing in their account. Your Bank of course is going after you to get their money back.
Your nice little ‘gain’ becomes potentially a financial ‘catastrophe’ for you.
An old saying, not mine, but I do live by it; If it seems to be too easy, it needs investigating, listen to your instincts – always. God gave us those to be the one true way of knowing when we are in danger.
Don’t miss out on Part 3., the conclusion. Dealing with our ‘Protectors’ , very interesting indeed.
************* to be continued***************
If you know about it too, many will not. please send it on by any means you can, re-tweet, etc. someone will thank you for it.
Merry Christmas to all who read this.
To the ‘Scammers’ who feel that this is the way to make money, someone will catch up with you, so enjoy your rotten existence as long as you can, one day you will feel ‘The Hand’ on YOUR shoulders.