The Press reports:

 A Christchurch man has lost $20,000 in a scam that offered him a “flicker of hope”.

The man, who did not want to be named, fed thousands of dollars to a wire transfer scam after receiving an email on April 25 saying he had won more than US$600,000 (NZ$760,000) from Ghana.

His first impression was that the email was a joke and he sent an email reply saying “in no uncertain terms … don’t try to scam me”.

Mistake No 1 – replying. He was right of course it was a scam. You can not win money in a lottery you did not enter!

The man was then emailed several different forms of identification, including one from someone claiming to be from the United States Department of Homeland Security.

He also talked on the phone to one of the scammers up to 20 times.

“Everything came across as being factual. These people are so expert in persuasion.”

They are con artists, but you still have to be very gullible. If it is too good to be true – it is. The correct way to deal with a scammer on the phone is to transfer the call to a fax machine.

He came to believe the prize was legitimate and that he would have to send some money through Western Union for administration fees before he could receive the total sum.

“Then he started to want more money.

“I said `no, no, you’re full of s…, you’re having me on’.”

The man then began to receive emails claiming they were from “Infidelity Bank” and saying they were holding the promised prize. He found a website for the bank, which appeared to be legitimate, and he again believed that the prize was real. He sent more money for what he believed were insurance fees.

Oh God. It is not as if these scams are unknown.

He acknowledged he was “a victim of me”, but was angry that no-one had been able to confirm the prize was a scam.

Umm. Did he try a google on the text? Did he try Consumer Affairs? A community law centre? Asking friends? His accountant? His lawyer?

He had asked his bank to verify the claims made by the scammers, but was “laughed out of the bank”.

“I took those documents into the bank … and just wanted them to check the validity of them, but they refused.”

If the really did laugh at the claims, would that not ring a bell?

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