Nigerians: Money available for all
Beware of any unexpected faxes, letters or e-mails from Nigeria because it’s probably a fraud designed to empty your bank account.
South Lake Tahoe Police Detective Mike Dente said at least one South Shore business recently got a fax from a man named Dr. Hassan Abubakar, claiming to work for Nigeria’s Ministry of petroleum .
It states: “We have under our control as overdue contract payments, bills totaling Thirty One Million United States Dollars, which we want to transfer to a foreign account.
“… We have a lot of such over invoiced contract payments pending which we have identified floating at the central bank of Nigeria ready for payment. However by virtue of our position as civil servants, we cannot acquire this money in our names. We are seeking your assistance in providing us with a good company account or any other offshore bank account into which we can remit this money … this we can do by swapping account information.”
Chris Campion, special agent for the FBI, said people are also trying to scam California residents by telling them, via phone or letters, they’ve won a lottery in Canada.
“Typically it’s a fraud scheme and (the goal is) to get access to the accounts,” he said. “People are promised a large amount of money if they first put forward a smaller amount.
“The recipient is told they have won an amount of money from the lottery, and now they have to prepay the taxes. For example, someone might have to send $5,000 if they’ve won $1.5 million.”
The key to catching such crooks is to lure them to the United States, investigators said. In October 1998, FBI and U.S. Secret Service nabbed a Nigerian man who had allegedly stolen more than $1 million from U.S. citizens.
They arrested him in Sacramento for defrauding American businesses since 1992. Investigators said Sunday E. Evbodaghe, then 56, reportedly used letters or faxes to negotiate “contracts” for goods or services, but then asked the individual to travel to Nigeria and pay fees to complete the transaction.
Anyone who receives a suspect letter should contact his or her local law enforcement or FBI office.
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