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Afferbecklauder
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Joined: 08 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This article from Sydney Morning Herald in Australia today:

Family fleeced in elaborate scam

A Queensland family has been fleeced of more than $1.3 million in an elaborate variation of a scam that persuades people to part with large sums of money so they can retrieve an overseas inheritance, police say.

The fraud has become known as the Nigerian 419 scam.

Steven Baker, a member of the Queensland family who lost up to $1.5 million, has told police he was approached by a friend who believed her father, whom she had never met, had left a $US17 million ($20.38 million) estate when he passed away.

He said the woman had never met her father, but she knew his name and responded to a newspaper advertisement that had individually targeted her, mentioning both her name and her father's.

Fraudsters communicated with the woman through a solicitor from a Liberian legal firm offering her the "inheritance", however the woman could not afford the requested series of payments to cover supposed legal fees, administrative charges and local taxes to forward the funds to Australia.

That's when Mr Baker was approached to help.

During the scam, which lost the Baker family between $1.3 million and $1.5 million since early 2005, Mr Baker travelled to Europe three times, where he was shown an elaborate ruse of fake government officialdom in Spain, Italy and Holland and was taken to a Spanish bank and shown a case of United States currency that was supposedly the inheritance.

"The professionalism of it is just unbelievable, the paperwork, the officials, going to government departments, you would think if they were straight out scammers they wouldn't have access to government officials and places and the paperwork with all the stamps," Mr Baker told ABC Radio.

Mr Baker came forward to police after viewing a current affairs' segment on Nigerian-style scams last month.

Police said the scam in which the Baker family lost money was an especially elaborate version of the Nigerian-style scam, which can originate from any part of the world.

"We can only theorise how they came to know (the woman) and I would suggest it would be from online chat rooms where she thinks she knows who she's talking to, and people say a lot of things that they wouldn't tell others," Detective Acting Superintendent Brian Hay of the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group said.

"I'd say they built up a profile and specifically targeted that person.

"(This is a) very elaborate, well-resourced and well-organised scam."

The Baker family should feel no shame, Det A/Supt Hay said.

"They saw an opportunity, it (seemed) legitimate, they did a lot of research, a lot of the names of the companies and businesses all panned out to be legitimate with their cursory inquires."

Anyone who is asked to send money overseas for an investment or inheritance retrieval should contact the country's consulate in Australia first, he said.

One man has been arrested in Amsterdam following Mr Baker's complaint.

AAP

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OxygenDeprived
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Wow. That was professional. Thank God 99.9% of the scammers don't have that kind of resources to fool people.

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Mugatu
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ Agreed.

Do you think the lad in question has three safari hats on his siggy? Laughing

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JMRazor
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

How droll Mugatu.

What's quite amazing is that this Baker chap had over a million dollars to throw away at this scam. What the hell did he need the "inheritance" for?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^I second that.

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Joaquin
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I wouldn't be too sure Baker's friend (the woman) is not part of the scam group.

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Seven of Nine
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

fwif, the story went to air on the Channel 9 6.00pm news. There would have been a fairly large audience as it was Saturday night. Sorry, I did not record it.

It makes me angry when a few lads can pull off a con like this over 18 months.

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Red
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:20 am Reply with quoteBack to top

JMRazor wrote:
What's quite amazing is that this Baker chap had over a million dollars to throw away at this scam. What the hell did he need the "inheritance" for?


As you'd be well aware the scammers prey on greed just as much as they prey on desperation.
For the scammer the victim who is greedy is a far better mark than the victim who is merely desperate because there are a lot more funds available.
Also, who knows how he raised the $1.5 million. He may have a famoily property that he secured a mortgage against.
Doing this doesn't make him rich, it makes him indebted.

Anyway, bottom line, Queensland's quota of losing $500,000 per month to 419 is secured for the next 3 months.
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ParaNoid
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 3:01 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I wondered if Steven Baker knew he could have negotiated the percentage... Shocked


*ducks and runs*

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Jack B. S.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Holy CRAP!!

With 1.5 million (from a mortgage or a trust fund), one can easily afford a lawyer.

'nuf said.

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