Surely we are not that dumb

November 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Police are warning against “too good to be true” overseas aimed at tricking New Zealanders out of millions of dollars.

Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe said a recent survey of money-remittance agencies suggested New Zealanders were sending more than $100 million a year to “high risk” countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and the Ukraine.

“How much of this is fraudulently obtained or laundered funds is unclear but the figure is likely to be in the tens of millions, given the low rate of reporting of this type of occurrence,” he said.

One person had recently reported a fraud, where he paid $17,000 to “release” supposed lottery winnings.

Pascoe said that by working with remittance agencies police identified nine other victims, and found that a further $250,000 had been sent overseas to the same scammers.

How can people still be falling for those? I can understand it ten years ago when they were new, but surely everyone has heard of the scams by now.

I guess a new one is born every day after all!

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45 Responses to “Surely we are not that dumb”

  1. metcalph (1,433 comments) says:

    Hello!

    I have 96 lost episodes of Doctor Who which I found in a vault in Nigeria.

    Please send me your name and credit card number (as well as verification number).

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  2. wiseowl (925 comments) says:

    Just this week I had a guy come to me (happened to be Samoan) asking for advice.
    He had been contacted about a relative with his surname that had left him 5 million pounds in the UK.
    He had already faxed a copy of his passport and licence.They asked for 6000 pounds to pay a lawyer to release money.
    I hope I stopped him in time.He was all excited and became deflated when I explained the truth.
    Told him to go to police.

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  3. stever (26 comments) says:

    They are smarter nowadays. I got a email 2 weeks ago from a business associate that I havnt heard from for a couple of years . It claimed he was stuck in Bangkok without his wallet and passport and needed money fast . The give away was the grammar . His grammar unlike mine was always perfect the emails wasn’t.
    I phoned him to check and it was the first he had heard of it and most of his contacts got the same email .
    So be carful they are hacking email accounts.

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  4. wat dabney (3,805 comments) says:

    Police are warning against a “too good to be true” minimum wage scam organised by the Labour Party.

    One young victim said he was about to start a new job with an initial low wage but excellent training and great prospects, but now faces years of unemployment and poverty. ‘I’m on the scrap-heap at only 19, I’ve no chance of a career now,’ he said, adding, ‘still, if it gets Cunliffe and Labour elected to continue their rent-seeking at my expense I suppose it’s a price worth paying.’

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  5. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    One simple word explains this completely: Greed

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  6. big bruv (14,117 comments) says:

    “Surely we are not that dumb”

    When 10% of the population vote Green and 30% of the population vote for Labour I would have thought that the answer to that question is a resounding Yes.

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  7. Longknives (4,853 comments) says:

    “I guess a new one is born every day after all!”

    To be fair the vast majority of those ‘scammed’ will be the elderly…so lets not be too harsh.

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  8. peterwn (3,298 comments) says:

    There is unfortunately one born every minute, right back to the Brooklyn Bridge days and beyond. And it even catches lawyers, like one who is probably now making pots in the Wairarapa. He lent $250k from an estate trust to help finance a Nigerian scam in exchange for a $50k kickback if it worked. The only thing he did right was to insist on security which was given in the form of a mortgage. To cut a long story short, when it turned to custard, the Appeal Court required the lawyer to meet what he could out of his own pocket before the mortgagor was required to meet the balance if any.

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  9. OneTrack (3,211 comments) says:

    Do the police really have to spend their time on this stuff?

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  10. SGA (1,118 comments) says:

    @stever at 9:12 am

    I’ve received 2 or 3 of those “help, I’m stranded” over the last couple of years, all from people I knew whose email had been compromised. The best I received was more legit looking version of the 409 scam – more realsitic amount of money involved, name matched, and purporting to be from England. Googled the english lawyer’s name, he existed, was a lawyer, and worked for a respectable firm. E-mailed him at his work address (not the one the original e-mail had come from) – many thanks, someone was using him as a front, he’d contact the appropriate authorities.

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  11. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    I guess a new one is born every day after all!

    Have a great-aunt who lost most of her money to a scammer. Turns out she was suffering the early stages of Alzheimers. Hehehe, aren’t some people stupid. /sarc

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  12. Nookin (3,453 comments) says:

    I received the following email during the course of the week. This sort of thing is commonplace.

    “I’m sorry to disturb your privacy in this manner. It is a
    certain deceased customer of my bank, behind the $ 18 million U.S.
    left. I seek your partnership in receiving this fund I’m sorry to disturb your privacy in this manner. It is a
    certain deceased customer of my bank, behind the $ 18 million U.S.
    left. I seek your partnership in receiving this fund”

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  13. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Longknives: Actually No! There was a case of a lawyer in Rotorua (I think) sending 250,000 to some Nigerian scamster a couple of years ago….You don’t need to be a genius to be a lawyer, but you do need above average intelligence…bloody amazing…

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  14. Longknives (4,853 comments) says:

    “You don’t need to be a genius to be a lawyer, but you do need above average intelligence…”

    David Garrett- The Davina Murray/Liam Reed ‘love story’ would strongly suggest otherwise… “He just understands me like no other guy..”

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  15. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Surely we are not that dumb

    There are still people who vote labour and Winston First, so to answer your question, yep, there are there is no shortage of dumb bastards out there

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  16. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Longknives: Very good point! Now poor Davina would even be able to visit the POS

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  17. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    >I can understand it ten years ago when they were new, but surely everyone has heard of the scams by now.

    Maybe they thought they were buying millions of dollars of carbon credits? I can understand it ten years ago when they were new, but surely everyone has heard of the scams by now.

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  18. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Obvious typo..WON’T be able to visit…

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  19. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    You don’t need to be a genius to be a lawyer, but you do need above average intelligence…bloody amazing…

    I know some pretty stupid people who studied law.

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  20. gravedodger (1,567 comments) says:

    Big Bruv summed it up and Pauleastbay widened the net.

    Dumbarse voters who vote so insanely should be scammed, it is in their DNA.

    No sympathy for young or old the young should seek advice but of course just like every generation “we know everthing there is to know”.
    The Older citizens should have figured it out although that said this old bastard thought the nice subcontinent accented helpful person from Microsoft offering to “fix his computor” was almost fooled but he sought help from his very tech savvy it consultant and avoided trouble.

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  21. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    $100 million a year is being sucked out of the country! Most payees are elderly? I’m surprised Winston isn’t all over this. You would expect him to know a scam when he sees one!

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  22. Chuck Bird (4,922 comments) says:

    @DG

    “You don’t need to be a genius to be a lawyer, but you do need above average intelligence…bloody amazing…”

    Maybe when you first become a lawyer. Lawyers, judges and MPs are not immune from dementia and other forms of mental illness.

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  23. Chuck Bird (4,922 comments) says:

    “I know some pretty stupid people who studied law.”

    Some are on this blog but invariably hide behind a pseudonym.

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  24. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Good point Chuck…but IIRC the guy in Rotorua wasnt that old…maybe his fifties?

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  25. flipper (4,194 comments) says:

    the scams come in all shapes and sizes.
    My business address gets more than my personal. But last year I received an urgent email from a UK friend telling me he had been mugged in Barcelona… lost everything…and needed monies urgently to pay hospital bills, and to get back to UK. The email even gave a Western Union A/c address.

    I was aware that he has other friends in NZ… and in Australia. So I emailed several. They had received the same email.

    Needless to say it was all bullshit. Then I got a phone call from the UK confirming that “No” he had not been to Barcelona, and that he was at home recovering from minor elective surgery.

    How did it happen? It turns out that the scammers had, thru one means or another, penetrated the much lauded Google, and found each and every address to whom he had sent emails – including Lords of the Realm, UK Cabinet Ministers, business leaders, and academic luminaries. My friend’s email address was…. “@gmail.com”.

    His account was promptly closed, but since he travels the world four or five times a year he prefers that address. Google closed his a/c, and he was banned from gmail. it took three months, arm twisting, and the threat of publicity and legal action, before he got his address back – but without the slightest hint of an apology.

    S H I T !

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  26. kowtow (8,721 comments) says:

    I reckon paying taxes for settling alleged historical injustices has got to be one of the biggest scams out there. And some even have top up clauses.Thanks Sir Douglas Graham…..

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  27. itstricky (1,877 comments) says:

    Dumbarse voters who vote so insanely should be scammed

    but

    …this old bastard thought the nice subcontinent accented helpful person from Microsoft offering to “fix his computor” was almost fooled…

    hhmmmmmm….

    Lots of high & mighties here. Garrett is always attracted to these sorts of conversations, so you can immediately tell it’s one of those…

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  28. Michael (910 comments) says:

    I was worried years ago when I paid a deposit on an apartment in Dubrovnik via Western Union. It was only $100 but I was half expecting it to be lost as a scam – but it turned out to be genuine.

    Pity is that the genuine people (like the apartment owner) get a bit of a push back by asking for a reasonable deposit to be sent by a convenient method.

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  29. Don the Kiwi (1,793 comments) says:

    itstricky.

    Same thing happened to me. I argued with the guy briefly, but then, to gain authenticity, he directed me to a website – Teamviewer.com. I think – which is a valid website used by Computer repairers. I’m pretty dumb when it comes to computers, but he convinced me that I should let him check – so I gave him access.

    A little while later, I thought I might have been suckered, so I checked by online banking. Sure enough, there was a payment pending notice to a Western Union account. I immediately rang my bank and got everythoing frozen, while I organised new passwords etc.

    The next day the cheeky bastard rang me back again – the words I yelled at him down the phone are not printable :-)

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  30. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    itstricky: Just curious…have we ever met?

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  31. David in Chch (523 comments) says:

    It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who fall for the emails that start “Your mailbox has exceeded its limit …”, “Your bank security is locked down …”, etc. etc. etc. … We are told again and again and again that our company IT services, banks, etc. etc. etc., will NEVER contact us in that way. And yet there always seems to be someone who pushes the damn button and opens up our email systems to more scammers. sigh.

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  32. wikiriwhis business (4,114 comments) says:

    thisis how many ar feeling afte listening to Richard long, Collin meads and douglas.

    The days of celebrities endorsing financial schemes are over.

    and sir or no sir, who is going to work with Douglas now ?

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  33. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    itstricky

    No high and mighties, just no time for really stupid people- if you get an email and it says some dear departed relative has left you 18 million dollars but $10,000 is needed to be sent to release this money and you do ,you are of subnormal intelligence ( that coupled with terminal greed) and you should thereby surrender your right to access oxygen.

    Age is no excuse either.

    Death, taxes and if it seems to good to be true , it is . Three simple facts.

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  34. Scott (1,817 comments) says:

    Gosh some very unpleasant comments coming from the unbelievers among us.

    I think these scammers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. A lady at our church,her elderly father in law was scammed by Nigerians recently. Many thousands of dollars went before the scam was discovered. A real tragedy for those elderly who need the money and also it destroys the inheritance for future generations.These people prey on the elderly and the infirm and need to be prosecuted.

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  35. David in Chch (523 comments) says:

    Which is why they hide overseas, Scott. We can’t prosecute them, so the best strategy is to try to educate those who refuse to be educated. Sadly, that sounds sort of familiar, doesn’t it?

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  36. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Scott: how would you suggest the police go about prosecuting a Nigerian scamster who could be anywhere in the world?

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  37. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Garrett is always attracted to these sorts of conversations

    Yeah, like a vulture to carrion along with his gaggle of upticking I’m-alright-Jack-keep-your-hands-offa-my-stacks

    *apologies to the vulture species for the unflattering comparison

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  38. duggledog (1,576 comments) says:

    wat dabney: genius comment @ 9.14

    Made my weekend

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  39. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @scott – “I think these scammers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. A lady at our church,her elderly father in law was scammed by Nigerians recently. Many thousands of dollars went before the scam was discovered. A real tragedy for those elderly who need the money and also it destroys the inheritance for future generations.These people prey on the elderly and the infirm and need to be prosecuted.”

    He got what he deserved. The only reason he would’ve given them money is at the promise of getting hold of lottery money or inheritances. Greed was his problem.

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  40. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay (4,560) Says:

    There are still people who vote labour and Winston First, so to answer your question, yep, there are there is no shortage of dumb bastards out there
    ……………………..
    voting for Winston First could be strategic to counteract a perceived consensus of left and right to white ant NZ First. A consensus could exist because of a perceived advantage to property owners of unfettered immigration by cashed up migrants , on the one hand and embarrassment as progressives of an internationalist tradition fail to respond to the Harcourts Shanghai effect (on the other).
    That would be quite smart?

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  41. Scott (1,817 comments) says:

    seanmaitland- no old age and senility was his problem.

    Mr Garrett-is there no way to combat internet scammers? Surely technology exists to shut down websites, locate scammers and prosecute them? I remember a case recently about an infamous spammer getting prosecuted so it can be done I would have thought.

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  42. peterwn (3,298 comments) says:

    Scott – easier said than done especially when it is an international issue. There are mechanisms for doing just that – phlishing sites are shut down very quickly, often within hours of the spam emails going out. Things could be improved, for example Vodafone (the ex TelstraClear part) seems utterly incapable of dealing with spam emails seeking Paradise users’ userids and passwords – fortunately most users have probably forgotten their passwords as they are not needed day to day.

    It depends on whether the Russians for example are willing to track down their residents doing scams against NZ – the imminent possibility of a few years in the salt mines or Murmansk Prison would be a good deterrent. If the latter, they would be in good company with Greenpeace people whose ‘chuggers’ seem quite happy to screw payment authorities out of elderly and other people who cannot afford it.

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  43. itstricky (1,877 comments) says:

    Don – good oh for being honest. There we go, we’ve debunked the twenty comments before that saying “what a bunch of dumbarses” including gravedodger who actually disgraced himself in his own comment in some fashion. Sure, there are guilable people but I would hardly say they are “dumb”. Longknives, in a rare display of ummm… compassion? … says “go easy most of them will be elderly”

    David – no, we haven’t.

    Paul – Meh. Good luck with that. Give it ten years, technology will have progressed sufficiently that you won’t recognise it. I’m sure your plead of “age isn’t a factor” will be well relevant then.

    Here’s something non-opinionated and useful, for a change:

    http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Services-Anti-Spam-Reported-Scams?OpenDocument
    http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_url/services-anti-spam-phone-scams
    http://help.telecom.co.nz/app/answers/detail/a_id/3389
    http://help.telecom.co.nz/app/answers/detail/a_id/1236

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  44. Simon (757 comments) says:

    “The advance fee fraud was based on the premise that there was a US$22.3 million inheritance being held in the Central Bank in Burkina Faso, but that in order to release the money, certain payments were required to be made to the overseas parties. Mr Rangitauira became involved in the scheme when a client approached him asking for assistance in releasing the money. In return for Mr Rangitauira’s assistance the client agreed to give him a portion of the inheritance, ultimately being an amount of US$5.3 million”

    Mr Rangitauira was found to have dishonestly obtained funds totalling over $840,000 from Westpac banks and the Te Houoterangi Trust, of which he was a trustee, Chairman and solicitor.

    http://www.sfo.govt.nz/n239,21.html

    John David Rangitauira TofW lawyer and Annette Sykes former law firm partner.

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  45. simpleton1 (232 comments) says:

    Some revenge and time wasting for those scammers plus some real good laughs at their expense.
    Just as I googled below.

    419 Eater – The largest scambaiting community on the planet!
    http://www.419eater.com/
    Although this site concentrates mainly on the Nigerian 419 scam, we are … See
    also Baiting Tips for information on getting started on this great cyber-sport

    http://forum.419eater.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=184188 .

    I read some many years ago but I see the site keeps up with all sort of technological changes and scams

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