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 advice - girlfriend embroiled in scam!

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massive
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Joined: 24 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

hi,

i'm new here and need advice on something that has happened over the past few days.

me and my girlfriend are both students, she is an international student and does not receive a standard loan like most UK based students, so making ends meet and living costs prove hard for us.

she has been looking for work lately, with very little success.

one day she decided to scour the internet to find work, and used Gumtree, applied to various forms of work.

around 3 days ago, a letter arrived, with a badly scrawled on name and address for her.

she opened it and 3 $500 US travellers cheques were enclosed!

I asked her what they were for, and she said she applied to some ad from this guy, thinking hardly any of it.

the alarm bells went off in my head! a complete scam if I ever seen one.

the email instructions were to go and cash the cheques, take a 10% cut and put the rest of the cash in a Western Union account.

she went and cashed them, with a £925 exchange rate.

the next day, another email stating that $5000 will be arriving via recorded delivery, and she must immediately cash this and follow the same instructions as before.

I read the email and it was very amateurish, with terrible spelling and grammar.

she has not given any account details to this person, and has not put the money into an account yet.

we are currently apart for the Christmas holidays visiting people, but the cheques are still in our house, along with the £925.

today she suggested just keeping hold of the money to "see what happens" which I think is a completely crazy idea!

has this scam been heard of before?

who are the people who are behind it?

what is the law's take on situations like this?

and what would happen if the money was kept? can they send people to our house to get it back?

she has emailed them saying a matter of family emergency has came around and will not be there for the next few days.
this is so we can figure out how to end this situation.

how can we stop them from sending the cheques over?

i'm very worried about this, if someone can answer these questions and give me some advice, then i'd be very grateful!
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Cathartic Kate
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes it is a scam.

Well done on stalling the situation. Do nothing until someone on this forum advises you.

I am fairly new to this also, but we have many many wise heads here that will give you excellent and sound advice regarding the above.

Delay as long as you need.

Christmas is upon us. but firstly do not allow this to spoil yours.

I am sure someone will very soon reply, be patient and keep checking back.

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bill2
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Go to your local law officer and report it and ask them what to do, bring all info you have on this scam. Keep a copy for yourself, you might need it.
Got a lawyer handy? Then let him do it and ask his advice.

Then write a letter to your bank, where she cashed it and explain it and state that you will refund the money right away. Be there when they open up again and deposit the funds. You might get away clean this time.

Then to prevent these mishaps with other people, report it at scamwarners.com as complete as possible so other people can find it by Googling the text/name/address/etc.

You know how to spice a boring Xmas evening up, but if you are fast you (she) might get away with it this time.

Edit: And a Merry Xmas U2 almost forgot my manners here.

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Last edited by bill2 on Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Collider
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Joined: 08 Jun 2008
Posts: 62


PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm not into check baiting, but you could read the University until the masters come. Bottom line - the checks are fake, but your bank hasn't figured it out yet.
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EvilMidnightbomber
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Joined: 25 Nov 2008
Posts: 34


PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi and welcome to 419.

I am sure a moderator will answer shortly too, but my 2 cents would be to NOT cash any checks. Do not spend the money you have and to contact the police.

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Old No. 7
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I think you are right to be worried. This is a classic scam and your girlfriend is in danger of aiding and abetting criminals, if not actually becoming one.

The person sending your girlfriend money is using her to launder this money - once it is paid into Western Union, the criminal can then collect his money anywhere in the world and can almost certainly never be traced or caught.

There is a strong possibility that the traveler's cheques were stolen, or fake, or they were the product of some other criminal activity.

As this is primarily a baiter site, my suggestion is that you visit our sister site scamwarners.com - there is a link at the top of this page.

If you repeat your story there, the team there will be able to give you advice on the best actions forward - this is something I'm probably not best qualified to do.

What you should not do is to do anything else with the money, and certainly do not pay it into any bank accounts nor send any to the criminals who sent you the cheques. You should also make sure your girlfriend immediately stops communicating with these criminals.

I hope this helps.

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Mugatu
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
has this scam been heard of before?


Yes, it's very well known. It's known as a fake job scam, a fake job offer, amongst other names. Search within this forum for "job offer" and also at www.scamwarners.com and you'll see many examples.

Quote:
who are the people who are behind it?


Who knows? Probably a small West African gang, but you'll never get to know more than that.

Quote:
what is the law's take on situations like this?


Depends. Sometimes they frown on it, BIG time, and treat it as money laundering. People (victims) have gone to jail for it in the past. Some agencies are more lenient and see the victim as just that, a victim. Know one thing for sure: Your girlfriend will lose money, whatever stance the authorities take.

Quote:
and what would happen if the money was kept? can they send people to our house to get it back?


One, there IS NO MONEY. That money you have in your posession is the banks. They will take that back, plus fees.
Two, If your girlfriend ceases contact with the scammer, it is very unlikely that he will come after her.

Quote:
she has emailed them saying a matter of family emergency has came around and will not be there for the next few days.
this is so we can figure out how to end this situation.

how can we stop them from sending the cheques over?


Just email them back and tell them that the cheques are fraudulent and the Police have been informed.
That does the trick in nearly all cases, you won't hear back.

Bottom line is this: Your girlfriend MUST contact the bank where she cashed the cheques. She MUST tell them she suspects that the cheques are counterfeit (because they 100% certainly are).
If she does it quickly, she may escape any fees.
I'd also think about reporting the matter to the Police.... they won't do much, but you will be on record as a victim, and not a perpetrator.

Good on you for spotting this, you've saved her a lot of heartache and trouble.
Please don't worry about it anymore, just get those wheels in motion.

Good luck mate, and if you need further help, just ask.

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bill2
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
she went and cashed them, with a £925 exchange rate.
That's not pocket money, they better play it straight and quick before the alarm bells go off

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Dorothy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm sorry to hear a scam is clouding your holidays.

The most important thing to know is that THE CHECKS ARE FAKE. The problem is that the bank hasn't identified it yet. But they will, and once that happens, even if it is weeks or months from now, assuming they got her information when she cashed the checks, the bank WILL come back after your girlfriend for the money, and she could actually face charges for passing fake checks. And the scammer, who is in another country somewhere, will have vanished.

As Bill said, if you have a lawyer, it is best to contact them. If not, you want to report the scam to local law enforcement--be prepared to provide copies of all correspondence with the scammers. The bank will need to be notified of the fake, and the money paid back now.


Then drop all contact with the scammers. You can just stop answering them and block them, but the simplest way is to tell them that the bank told you the checks were fake, and that law enforcement has been notified. Leave it at that, and don't answer any further emails or phone calls. The scammers may threaten you, but do not send them any money, and do not negotiate any deals with them.

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massive
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

thanks for the replies and quick responses, its alot off my mind and nice to have some clarification on this matter.

i've re-posted this on to the Scamwarners site too.

the main thing i'm worried about, even after this all passes over, is her safety. can these people come around our place to threaten us for instance? (EDIT - thanks for the info Mugatu!)

i'm gonna call her later and pass on your info.

once again, thank you all and I wish everyone a happy Christmas Smile


Last edited by massive on Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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bill2
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just stop all contact, like the police will tell you. There's no money in revenge so why would the lad try that?
Just be careful where you drop personal info online and tell the neighbors/friends so they get something from this terrible mishap too.

Edit: If in doubt, don't do it and we can always check out a website for you if needed.

Happy New Year

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Pachanga
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@ Massive, it is unlikely that the scammers will contact your girlfriend again if she tells them the checks are fraudulent.

As the others have said, she really must contact the bank quickly, and she should take copies of the relevant e-mails with her for proof that she is telling the truth. She should also take that proof with her when she contacts the police.

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massive
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

its just really pissed me off to be honest.

fair do's, she's been nieve (sic), but she's a good girl... wouldnt be goin out together if she wasnt.

arses like these clowns play on people like that. I find it disgusting how folk take advantage in this way.

pretty happy that at least theres people willing to look out for each other though. cheers for all your help, meant alot.

good to know that the world isnt 100% rotten Smile
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bill2
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Yep shit happens, get it cleaned up and although it's a bit embarrassing, tell other people about it so they don't make the same mistake.
Merry Xmas anyway, you caught it in time, imagine if the cops got involved after the bank took the money back, you're good, enjoy Xmas

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massive
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

i'm better than I was about a day ago, great to have an insight to whats going on.

thanks a million for the help Smile
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PsycheDelia_Smith
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The only threats people tend to see from the employment scammers are usually ridiculous and always empty. Don't discuss, reason, or argue with them. If you tell them the checks were bad, the bank's frozen all your accounts and the police are on it, they'll be gone pretty quick.

Watch out for other amazing offers you're likely to receive, all of which you can read about here or at scamwarners.

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