Talking about barking up the wrong tree… One of my coworkers at Your BBB just got a couple of emails with business proposals that–to us–were pretty obviously scams. They might not be obvious to everyone, however. We deal with this subject a lot.
Scam attempt #1:
The first email was a classic 419 or “Nigerian Prince” scam offer. A Mr. A.M. Yassin, purportedly a bank officer from the United Arab Emirates, found a fortune that belonged to a deceased individual with no heirs. Stand in as next of kin and help smuggle that fortune out of the U.A.E. and you’ll get a cut of the money.
Here’s an excerpt (I left all the typos. You can search sections and find other examples on the web.): “In my department I discovered an abandoned sum of US$26,700,000.00 (Twenty Six Million, Seven Hundred Thousand US Dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers Late Mr. Amir Khouri, an Iraqi Foreign Oil consultant /contractor with OIL AND NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY, who unfortunately lost his life in the March 11th 2011 Earthquake disaster in Tohoku, Japan that killed over 15,000 people. He was in Japan on a business trip and that was how he met his end. Personally I have been un-successful in locating the relatives for the past 2 years and the information I got from the Iraqi Government is that none of his family member survived the 2 Gulf wars. Therefore I seek your consent to present you as the business partner/next of kin Beneficiary so that the proceeds of this account valued at US$26,700,000.00 can be paid to you instead of letting the bank confiscate the money since nobody has shown up for the claim or applied in writing for 2years since the Earthquake happened.”
What you would actually get if you agreed to an offer like this is ripped off. The scammer would find various fees you’d have to pay, officials to pay off, whatever they could get you to wire them. Or they might talk you into giving up bank info so they can deposit money into your account–and of course they would actually withdraw your money and disappear.
Scam attempt #2:
The second email is an offer is one that targets businesses (we’re a non-profit, not a business, so they really missed the target). The scammer claims to be interested in purchasing products.
After a bit of web searching, it seems this is relatively common. If you make a deal, the scammer uses a stolen credit card to purchase from your business, then disappears after the product ships through a third party (also paid with a stolen credit card number). They get free product they can resell, and the shipping company will likely try to come after you to recoup its losses, since you’ll be the only party they can find.
Excerpt: “We are interested in purchasing your products and we sincerely hope to establish a long-term business relationship with your esteemed company. Please kindly send me your latest catalog. Also, inform us about the Minimum Order Quantity, Delivery time or F.O.B, and payment terms warranty. Please contact us through this Email Address…”