If you've been in business for a while, the chances are you've come across persons of debatable moral standing who have tried to steal some of your hard earned money through fraud or con tricks. We will periodically publish examples of these scams on this page in an effort to make you the small business owner aware of them and hopefully prevent you from becoming a victim. The business world is competitive enough for us not wanting our meager profits being stolen by con men. The new scams will be featured in our newsletters so we strongly recommend that you register for the newsletter so that you don't miss any. Information is power.
If you have been a victim of some form of theft or fraud, let us know so that we can warn others.
The 419 scam.
This is a very common and well known scam that originated in Nigeria and has taken its name from the Nigerian fraud act.
How it works: You receive a letter / fax / email from someone claiming to be an official either high up in Government or part of a large company. The message explains that they have many millions of US dollars that for some reason is sitting in a bank account that has been forgotten about. They need your help to get the funds out of their country and all you have to do is provide a bank account. In return you will receive a large percentage of the funds, typically 10-20% which amounts to tens of millions of dollars. You are asked to keep it confidential so that others don't become involved and take another slice of the pie. It is also implied that this is not strictly legal, but at least no one is getting hurt.
Once they have you interested they will very convincingly run into a few snags which will require a few small payments, such as small bribes that need to be paid or bank charges, courier fees, etc. They offer to refund you these expenses once the lump sum comes through .... but it never does. It doesn't exist. They simply keep on siphoning small payments off you for as long as you continue to believe in them. When you eventually smell a rat, they disappear.
How to prevent it: Easy. Delete or throw away the original message and never answer it. This story is too good to be true. Its highly unlikely that there are bank accounts with millions of dollars that need little old you to help release the funds.
For more information on this world wide scam and perhaps a chance at making the fraudsters lives more difficult, take a look ate 419 eater.