Beware this scam

In the employment pages of Wednesday's gazette, there was an innocuous-looking small ad asking for part-time assistants, with no further details. It asks for interested parties to contact someone at a yahoo.com e-mail address.

However, when that e-mail is sent, the response has all of the elements of a solid 419 Scam and should be immediately destroyed and not followed-up on. The problem of course is that the scammer has your sending e-mail address and will probably spam you in the future. Not that major if you have spam-blocking tools, I suppose.

Here's the e-mail in full and I'll comment on specific items below:
Thank you for your prompt reply, before I go further I thought I'd inform
you of both who you would be working for and what you would be doing.We
are into Manufacturing of Fabrics and Textiles with numerous customers
home and abroad and here is our site www.cheapfabrics.co.uk .We produce
various clothing materials,batiks,assorted fabrics and traditional
We need a representative in Bermuda who will be in charge of all our
payment from the Bermuda clients/customers because most of our customer
from Bermuda pay us through certified cheque, money order and cashier
cheques which are not negotiable here in UK. This brings our quest to
employ a credible and trusthworthy fellow as our representative to handle
our payments. This would not affect your present job but serve as another
stream of income to your goodself. Being our representative and assisting
us in processing the payments from our clients, You shall be paid weekly
and shall earn about 10% of every payment you assist us with because due
to the fact that we cant cash the Bermuda money order upon receipt here in
the UK immediately in the past we loose about 75,000 $ of net income each
month because of money transfer delays.
Your task is to coordinate payments from customers and help us with the
payment process.You are not involved in any sales. Our sales Manager
handle the sale of products. Once he makes a sale, The product is
delivered to a customer (usually through FEDEX).The customer receives and
checks the products. After this has been done, the customer has to pay for
the products. About 90 percent of our customers prefer to pay through
Travellers Cheques or Money orders based on the amount involved.
We have decided to open this new job position for solving this
problem.Your tasks are;
1. Recieve payment from Customers
2. Cash it at any cashing point or at your banks and you will deduct 10%
which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed
3. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices
you will be contacted to send payment to.(Payment is to be forwarded
either by Money Gram or Western Union Money Transfer. Local Money
transfers takes barely hours, so it will give us a possibility to get
customer's payment almost immediately.
For example you've got 3000.00$
You take your income : 300.00 $
Send to us: 2700.00 $(minus the transfer charges)
First month you will have 15-20 transactions on
3000.00-4000.00 $
So you may calculate your income.
For example 18 transactions on 3500.00 $ gives you
6300.00 $ Plus your basic monthly salary which is 1000.00
$ Total: 7300.00 $ per month
After establishing close co-operation you'll be able to operate with
larger orders and you'll be able to earn more. Our payments will be issued
out in your name and you get them cashed in your bank deduct your weekly
salary and forward the balance to the company via western union money
transfer or money gram money transfer.
We understand it is an unusual and incredible job position. This job
takes only 3-7 hours per week. You'll have a lot of free time doing
another job, But this job is very challenging and you should understand
it. We are looking for a worker who is satisfied with our requirements and
will be an earnest assistant. We are glad to offer this job position to
you. If you feel that you are serious about this, We implore you to
reconfirm your full name,address and phone number so we can forward it to
our clients and they will start making payments to you as the company'
representative in Bermuda and i would be glad if i can hear from you with
all the information required.
  1. The punctuation and capitalization of words is quite poor. Usually, this is a sign of a Nigerian fraud attempt; for some reason nobody's been able to produce a letter with correct usage of grammar and punctuation, so I'm immediately alerted.

  2. In the second paragraph, if the business deals with overseas customers,
    why don't they have them use payment methods that they can use instead of
    local cheques? It sounds just too easy.

  3. They explain that 90% of their customers prefer to pay using travellers' cheques or money orders. Again, this is not something that you would expect from an actual business. Also, definitely not something that people in Bermuda would do when ordering items from overseas.

  4. They then summarize the scam. You receive money, likely a mailed cheque (which will later prove to be fraudulent).

  5. Then after withdrawing your cut, which will actually be your own money anyway, they want you to send them the 'balance' by using Western Union! Notwithstanding the fact that Western Union stopped operating here years ago (and should tell you that these guys don't know what they're talking about), this is also signs of something fraudulent. You never pay a business using this type of a service anyway. Major fraud alert.

  6. Then they throw some nice math showing how you can make a lot of money quickly. Very convincing if you haven't already rejected this as a scam.

  7. The terms 'trust', 'earnest', 'credible', are thrown about throughout this. It's a good way to make you feel secure and that you're dealing with someone equally trustworthy.
They put up a link to an authentic website to validate their authenticity, however anybody can do that. I can say that I work for Microsoft and put a link to their website, it doesn't prove anything, *especially* if my e-mail address isn't @microsoft.com but freaking @yahoo.com or another free email service.

What I don't like is that the gazette didn't seem to follow up on this kind of ad when it was submitted. They've unwittingly exposed the entire island to a big scam, after all the efforts by the Police, banks and parts of the public to tell people to be wary of offers that look inviting but
are truly malicious.


Anonymous said...

There is a lengthy article in today's RG exposing the scam and the advert has been withdrawn from future publications.

Jeremy Deacon
Assistant Editor
The Royal Gazette

Unknown said...

Thanks for warning us! There was a similar scam involving some pilot service , But I cant remember exactly what they would do..