Monday, May 31, 2010

Another sample letter


Hello Sir/Madam,

My name is Mr Aziz Mostaf I am the regional manager of Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana Tarkwa branch in the western region of Ghana . I came to know you in my Private Search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidential transaction. I write you this proposal in good faith.

I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and me, as the regional manager of the Standard Chartered Bank it is my duty to send in a financial report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each business year. On the course of 2009 business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made Six million eigth hundred and fifty thousand united state dollars ($6,850,000.00)which my head office are not aware of and will never be aware of. I have placed this funds on what we call escrow call account with no beneficiary. As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 30% of the total funds as commission.

There are practically no risks involved, it will be a bank-to-bank transfer and all I need from you is to stand and claim as the original depositor of these funds as who made the deposit with my branch so that my head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account. If you accept this offer to work with me, and you find this proposal Suitable for you do furnish me with the following information.

Private Telephone

Occupation and
I will appreciate it very much, If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not make undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed on you, and I assure you we can achieve it successfully.

Thank you in advance and May God bless you and your family. you may reach me on my email


Mr Aziz Mostaf

U.S. is requiring companies to defend against identity theft -

I wanted to share an article I found about requiring companies to defend against Identity Theft.

Here is a quote from the article

The government says that businesses have the responsibility of making sure thieves don't use stolen information to buy goods or open phony accounts. And to that end, the Federal Trade Commission wants businesses that might be targets of identity thieves to develop written plans to spot "red flags" that fraud could be involved and prevent it.

Starting June 1, all businesses that extend credit to customers will have to develop plans to try to prevent identity theft.

"Once the information is in the hands of identity thieves, there's not much more the consumer can do," said Naomi Lefkovitz, senior attorney for the FTC, which will oversee enforcement of the rule as it applies to many — though not all — businesses. "Now it's in the hands of the businesses."

To read the entire article, go to
U.S. is requiring companies to defend against identity theft -

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lottery Scam Email

We wish to inform you that your email address won 550,000.00 Euros in an
International Award Prize promotion on May 30, 2010 .For claim of award
prize contact

Mr. Luis Gonzales
Tel: +34-672-520-303

Batch Nr: 498 Ticket Nr: 898 Ref Nr: BD-840

All winnings must be claimed not later than June 14, 2010, thereafter unclaimed
funds would be included in the next stake.

Yours Sincerely,
Mrs. Anissa Morales.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Read the fine print

An article I just read talks about how many people do not read the fine print in contracts that they sign. I have to admit, I have been guilty of this myself. But this contract takes things to a whole new level. Here is a portion of the article.

A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.
The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the "immortal soul clause" to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.
"By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from or one of its duly authorised minions."
GameStation's form also points out that "we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."
The terms of service were updated on April Fool's Day as a gag, but the retailer did so to make a very real point: No one reads the online terms and conditions of shopping, and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents.

You can read the entire article here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More scam emails

From Miss Rose Bayo.
Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire
West Africa.

Dearest One,

I am the only Daughter of my late parents Mr.and Mrs. James .D. Bayo. My father was a highly reputable business magnate who operated in the capital of Ivory coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on the 12th June 2006. Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle of his who travelled with him at
that time. But God knows the truth! My mother died when I was just 6yrs old, and since then my father took me so special.

Before his death on June 2006, he called me and informed me that he has the sum of Four Million, Six Hundred thousand United State Dollars.(USD$4,600,000.00)left in fixed deposit account in one of the leading banks in Africa. He further told me that he deposited the money in my name, and also gave me all the necessary legal documents to this fund with the bank.

I am just 18 years old and a university undergraduate and really don't know what to do. Now I want an account overseas where I can transfer this funds and after the transaction I will come and reside permanently in your country until such a time that it will be convenient for me to return back home if I so desire. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life. I also want to invest the fund under your care because I am ignorant of business world.

I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards. Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded. Now permit me to ask these few questions:

1. Can you honestly help me from your heart?
2. Can I completely trust you?
3. What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you after the money is in your account?

Please, consider this and get back to me as soon as possible. Immedaitely I confirm your willingness, I will send to you the Detail and also inform you more details involved in this matter.
Looking forward to read from you soon.

Best regards,

Miss Rose Bayo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grandparent Scams

The Consumer Law and Policy Blog posted this information about Grandparent Scams.

"It's Me Fraud"
by Jeff Sovern

Those of us at the University of Houston Teaching Consumer Law Conference last week were treated to a report on a type of fraud I personally had never heard of and that is so new, it goes under several names, including it's me fraud and grandparent fraud. Basically, someone calls a grandparent (or sometimes a parent) claiming to be his or her grandchild facing an emergency and in need of funds.

We at Scam Victims United have been reporting on this scam for years now, calling it the Grandparent Scam. The biggest target are seniors, and the scammers use the fact that the Grandparent will want to help out their grandchild no matter what the cost.

What we recommend is that the Grandparents set up a code word with thier grandchildren, so that if the grandchild really DOES need their help and they call the Grandparent can say "What is the code word?" and if the person on the other end of the phone does not know the code word then they will know it is a scam. Don't make the code word anything that could be found on the grandchild's social networking site info, like their high school or middle name.

Another thing that Grandparents can do if they get one of these calls and have NOT set up a code word with their grandchild is to think of a name that no one in your family has, in my case I would use something like Jenny, and then ask the "grandchild" that calls them "Is your sister Jenny with you too?" If the caller says anything like "Yes, Jenny is here." or "No, Jenny is at home." then the Grandparent would know it is a scam since there is no "Jenny".

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of
There is strength in numbers!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Connection between scams and terrorists

I have thought for a LONG time that there was a connection between scams and terrorists, but because I did not want to be seen as a conspiracy theory person I did not talk about it a lot. Well, now there is an FBI press release that supports that theory.

Al Qaeda Supporter Pleads Guilty to Supporting Terrorist Organization
Kansas City Man Also Admits to Bank Fraud, Overseas Money Laundering

KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorist organization al Qaeda. He also pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.

“National security is the highest priority of the Department of Justice,” Phillips said. “I applaud the diligent work of our law enforcement partners from local, state and federal agencies that serve on the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force. These agencies have made significant investments of manpower and resources to the task force, and I appreciate their commitment to defeating terrorism. Much of their work is done behind the scenes, investigating and gathering information, but they play a crucial role in preventing terrorist activities.”

Khalid Ouazzani, 32, of Kansas City, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to a federal information that charges him with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Ouazzani also pleaded guilty to charges contained in an indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Feb. 3, 2010.

Ouazzani, a native of Morocco and a naturalized citizen of the United States, swore an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda in June 2008. Ouazzani admitted that, from August 2007 to February 2010, he participated in a conspiracy to provide material support or resources to al Qaeda.

Ouazzani also admitted that he personally provided more than $23,000 to al Qaeda and performed other tasks at the request of and for the benefit of al Qaeda. Ouazzani had conversations with others about various ways to support al Qaeda, including plans for them to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Somalia.

“Citizens here in the heartland should be alert to suspicious activity and never hesitate to report their concerns to law enforcement. This case serves as a reminder that terrorist-related activities can occur anywhere,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian A. Truchon of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Kansas City field office.

Ouazzani agreed to contribute $6,500 to al Qaeda in August 2007. A co-conspirator, who is not identified in court documents, made that payment on Ouazzani’s behalf. Ouazzani repaid the co-conspirator in November 2007 through a wire transfer to the co-conspirator’s bank account in the United Arab Emirates. Those funds came from Ouazzani’s sale of his business, Hafssa LLC, doing business as Truman Used Auto Parts, a retail operation that bought and sold used auto parts and used motor vehicles.

In June or July 2008, Ouazzani also agreed to pay al Qaeda $17,000, which represented his profit from the sale of an apartment in the United Arab Emirates that was owned by Ouazzani and a co-conspirator (who is not identified in court documents).

Bank Fraud Scheme

Ouazzani obtained a $175,000 line of credit commercial loan from Union Bank in April 2007 for Hafssa LLC (Truman Used Auto Parts). Under the terms of the loan, the funds were to be used as working capital for his business. Ouazzani admitted that he submitted false financial information about himself and the company to obtain the loan, and used substantial amounts of the loan proceeds for various personal purposes.

Ouazzani made only approximately $13,000 in payments on this loan. In September 2008 Union Bank wrote off the loan (then in the amount of $174,028) as uncollectible. On Feb. 11, 2009, Union Bank obtained a civil default judgment against Ouazzani and Hafssa LLC in the amount of $177,001.

Money Laundering

Ouazzani admitted that he used part of the proceeds of the Union Bank loan to purchase an apartment in the United Arab Emirates with a co-conspirator.

On May 23, 2007, Ouazzani caused a wire transfer of $112,830 to be sent to a bank account in the United Arab Emirates. The funds for this wire transfer included funds obtained from the $175,000 Union Bank loan and involved a series of transactions designed to make it more difficult to trace the funds.

Ouazzani used the wire-transferred funds to purchase an apartment in the United Arab Emirates, which he later sold for a profit of approximately $17,000. Ouazzani requested a co-conspirator to pay this $17,000 to al Qaeda.

“The criminal justice system is a valuable tool for disrupting terrorist plots and bringing terrorists to justice,” Phillips said. “We must use every means—criminal prosecutions as well as intelligence and military operations—to protect the American people. Federal prosecutions not only result in long prison sentences, but yield valuable intelligence that can be used in the fight against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”

Under federal statutes, Ouazzani is subject to a sentence of up to 65 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Daniel Stewart, David M. Ketchmark and Brian P. Casey and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Menzel of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri, with assistance from attorneys at the Justice Department’s National Security Division, including the Counterterrorism Section. It was investigated by the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Missouri Department of Social Services - Division of Legal Services Investigation Section.

Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Federal Air Marshals Service
IRS-Criminal Investigation
Kansas City, Kan., Police Department
Kansas City, Mo., Police Department
Kansas Highway Patrol
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Overland Park, Kan., Police Department
U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Western District of Missouri and the District of Kansas
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Marshals Service
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
U.S. Secret Service

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sample of a scam email

(Executive Director & Chief financial Officer) Hang Seng Bank Limited
83 Des Voeux Road, Central
Hong Kong SAR


It is understandable that you might be a little bit apprehensive because you do not know me but I have a lucrative business proposal of mutual interest to share with you.
I got your reference in my search for someone who suits my proposed business relationship.

I am Mr. Lee Ping Executive Director & Chief financial Officer of Hang Seng Bank Ltd.
I have an obscured business suggestion for you. I will need you to assist me in executing a business project from Hong Kong to your country.
It involves the transfer of a large sum of money. Everything concerning this transaction shall be legally done without hitch.
Please endeavour to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue.

Once the funds have been successfully transferred into your account, we shall share in the ratio to be agreed by both of us,
i will prefer you reach me on my private email address below
( and finally after that I shall furnish you with more information’s about this operation.

Please if you are not interested delete this email and do not hunt me because I am putting my career and the life of my family at stake with this venture.

Although nothing ventured is nothing gained.

Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Mr.Lee Ping

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things are getting busy

I wanted to thank all of you for following and reading this blog. It really helps keep me going to know that there are others out there that find this topic important.

I have some big things going on in the next couple of months, so I might not have as much time to blog as I used to, but I hope that all of you stay with me through this time. I would also like to open this up as a time when it would be wonderful to have some guest bloggers on this site. If you have your own website or blog about scams, fraud or consumer protection issues and would like to share what you do and why you do it with the Scam Victims United readers, that would be great. Or if there is a specific topic, like medical fraud or credit card scams that you would like to focus on that would also be something we could share here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More on MoneyGram

I read a press release stating that MoneyGram is now available in over 6,000 Candada Post Locations.

I sure hope that they do some better training of their staff at these locations, and monitor them more closely than they did their other Canadian locations.  What am I talking about?

The FTC charged that between 2004 and 2008, MoneyGram agents helped fraudulent telemarketers and other con artists who tricked U.S. consumers into wiring more than $84 million within the United States and to Canada – after these consumers were falsely told they had won a lottery, were hired for a secret shopper program, or were guaranteed loans. The $84 million in losses is based on consumer complaints to MoneyGram – actual consumer losses likely are much higher.

The FTC charged that MoneyGram knew that its system was being used to defraud people but did very little about it, and that in some cases its agents in Canada actually participated in these schemes. According to the FTC’s complaint, MoneyGram knew, or avoided knowing, that about 131 of its more than 1,200 agents accounted for more than 95 percent of the fraud complaints it received in 2008 regarding money transfers to Canada; a similarly small number of agents was responsible for more than 96 percent of all fraud complaints to the company in 2006.

You can read the entire press release here.  

Friday, May 14, 2010

White Collar Crime Bill

I was reading a recent article on a white collar crime bill in Canada, and I wanted to share a few things with you. Here are a few quotes from the article

"Fraud can have a devastating impact on the lives of its victims, just as much as if they'd been mugged in an alley," Nicholson said at a news conference at the Guy-Favreau Complex.

"We'd like to see a restitution or relief program put into place that we proposed to the government where a victim of white-collar crime can go to and seek immediate relief," Davis said.
"We need this because when your money is stolen and your resources are robbed of, who do you to turn to? We think the government should be there but there are no policy or programs in place."

I could not agree with this more!  We have been saying for years now that scam and fraud victims deserve the same attention and rights as the person that us mugged on the street.  There are plenty of places to report the scam or fraud to, but as of right now there is still not one source for victims of this crime to turn to for assistance such as emergency funds to live off of while they are recovering from these scams and fraud.

Read more:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Did you know . . .

That Facebook recently changed it's privacy settings? Now they can share your personal information with large companies WITHOUT YOUR APPROVAL! What is the point of having an account with settings so that only certain people can view your account if they are going to give the info to anyone they want.

Senator Al Franken recently asked Facebook to change their policies.  The Electronic Privacy Information Center is also asking the FTC to do something about this issue.

Until Facebook does change their policy you can opt-out of having your information shared with third parities.

You can complete the whole process in a few minutes using the links below and your browser’s ‘back’ button. Here is how:
  1. First, log into Facebook in a new window or tab.
  2. Next, go to the “Instant Personalization” page (under Account/Privacy Settings/Applications and Websites) and uncheck the “allow” box.
  3. To prevent the third parties from accessing your information through your friends who have not opted out, you need to visit Pandora, Microsoft, and Yelp and click on the “Block Application” link in the upper left corner of the page.
  4. Finally, check Facebook’s “Help Center” frequently to see an up-to-date list of applications that need to be individually blocked to maintain your privacy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a non-profit organization that focuses on consumer information and consumer advocacy.  They have some great information and alerts that you can sign up for at

The founder and director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has contributed to several books dealing with consumer rights and privacy, including The Privacy Rights Handbook.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Birthday IC3

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is celebrating 10 years of crime fighting.

IC3 was established in May 2000 as a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The organization gives victims of cybercrime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. IC3 provides law enforcement and regulatory agencies at all levels a central referral system for complaints involving Internet-related crimes.
“Since its creation in 2000, we have seen the number of complaints coming into IC3 increase year after year. Cybercrime is not going away and, in fact, is only going to continue as criminals become savvier,” said Don Brackman, Director of the NW3C. “We are so proud to be partners with the FBI in operating IC3 to address this growing global issue.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

When scam victims are arrested

Finding out that you have become a victim of a scam is scary enough, but if you are also arrested and being charged with defrauding the bank it becomes a living nightmare.  One of the things that can help is understanding the definition of some of the words being throw around by lawyers and other officers of the courts.

Arraignment: An arraignment is not a trial, it is where you are read the charges and asked to enter a plea (guilty, not guilty).  It is at arraignment that the first court date is usually scheduled.  Make sure that you have an attorney present at your arraignment.

Burden of Proof:  The party that files the complaint carries the burden of proof, which is proving that there is enough evidence for a case.  In many cases where a scam victim is being charged with trying to defraud the bank and being a willing participate in the scam, the only "proof" that the prosecution has is that the defendant presented a counterfeit document.  

Discovery: The discovery is the pre-trial exchange of information between attorneys.  

Indictment: This is a document that basically sums up the case . . . the charges, the people involved, the court in which the case will be heard.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Click and Trick

Click and Trick schemes, also called "data pass", occur when a customer goes online to make a legitimate purchase and then agrees to a SECOND transaction without knowing it.  Because the customer does not need to enter their credit card information they may even believe they are accepting a free trial of a product or service and it is not until they see the charges on their credit card to they know that it was not really "free".

This is just another reason that we should all be careful of what we click on when we are online, and monitor our credit card statements closely to make sure no surprise charges show up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 is the Federal Government's website dedicated to helping Americans understand more about their money - how to save it, invest it, and manage it to meet their personal goals. You can use the resources on this site to learn how to manage your money better - and we hope you'll share what you learn with others.

There are sections of this website devoted to
Knowing your consumer rights
Scams and Fraud

Monday, May 3, 2010

Shop at Amazon

Do you ever shop on Amazon? I know that I do.

Did you know that when you shop at Amazon you can help support Scam Victims United? That's right! With ANY purchase you make at Amazon you can support Scam Victims United. All you need to do is go to Amazon through our special Scam Victims United link and then Amazon will know we referred you to them, and we will get credit for that. It is that easy!

It does not matter what you are buying, just go to Amazon through our link, and you help support us. If you are a regular Amazon shopper you might want to bookmark the link so that you can find it easily.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I am dying . . .

Here is an email that showed up in my spam folder.


From: James Bradley
Reply to:

Hi, my name is James Bradley from Sydney, Australia, I am an E.C. patient, and presently hospitalized, my doctor says I have a few months to live, and I desire to stay within the confinement of my hospital room and live out my last days on earth quietly. I asked that my hospital room be equipped with a laptop so that I can take care of some outstanding issues. One of which is my desire to donate a sizable amount of money to cancer research institutes and other deserving charity organizations, so I decided to go online and find some one remotely afar who can receive the funds from where it is presently deposited, and assist me in disbursing the funds to cancer research institutes and other deserving charity organizations. By the way the full meaning of (E.C.) is Esophageal Cancer, and don't mind the time taken from your busy schedule to work with me on this sole act of charity, because you will surely be compensated.

Indicate your wiliness to assist me by sending an email to my private email box ( by doing so I will be able to send you more details.

Kind Regards,
James Bradley

This is an angle that many scammers use . . . they play on a person's sense of kindness and wanting to do the right thing . . . helping a man fulfill his dying wish by assisting him in donating his money to a charity.  If it were true, it would be a very kind gesture.  Here are some of the tips that it is not real.

  1. The use of several different email addresses between the from, reply to and the address within the email.  Scammers use multiple emails addresses because they may be spoofing a real address, because their email accounts get turned off once reported for spam so they need a back up, or because of the way their "ring" works . . . one person could be sending all of the emails while a totally different person works the scams once the victim is hooked in, and that second person is the one on the receiving end of the reply to address.
  2. He says that he only has a few days to live, but he is using it to email strangers?  How does he even know you will see this email before he dies?  Some people don't check email daily, like I do.
  3. If a person truly wanted to donate all of their money to charity, they could easily contact the charity directly to set up this donation.  They would not need the help of a third party stranger to do this.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


We have talked about Phishing in the past, which are those emails that you get that say they are from your bank or other company and want you to update your account information, then they ask you to click on a link within the email. Now we also have to watch out for this type of scam over the phone.

This type of scam is called "vishing", which is short for "voice phishing". There was an article on this the other day. Here is a quote from the article.

Sometimes vishing begins with a phone call, not an e-mail. And these calls are quite believable, because the caller already knows your credit card number. All you are asked to provide is the three-digit security code found on the back of the card. "It is becoming more difficult to distinguish phishing attempts from actual attempts to contact customers," Ron O'Brien, a security analyst with Sophos PLC, told the AP.

If you ever get a phone call from someone that wants personal information such as your bank account or credit card information, ask them what company they are with and for their first name and then HANG UP! After that, look up the phone number for that company on your own. If it is your bank or credit card company then that information should be on one of your statements from them. Call their customer service line. Since YOU are making the call to the number on your account statement then you KNOW that the person on the other end of the phone is really with that company. Tell them that you just got a call about a problem with your account, and they can verify if there REALLY is an issue with your account.