I got this report and I felt I should share this with all my reader especially those who conduct their business with free web-based email accounts.
TRUE LIFE EMAIL SCAM STORY
A Nigerian who is the head of finance in his organization was instructed to purchase a piece of equipment on behalf of his company. After obtaining the quote from the oversea manufacturer, (a US based company) the deal was sealed for a six digit figure and it was agreed that the manufacturer will start building the equipment once they receive a 50% upfront payment. This was agreed on by both parties and the manufacturer representative sent an invoice containing the Wire Transfer Instructions and the Bank Account details of the manufacturing company to the Nigerian company email address (a free web based account).
Upon receipt of the email, the Nigerian observed that the Name of the beneficiary contained in the Wire Transfer Instruction was a personal name and not the Manufacturing Company Corporate Name. Not suspecting anything at this point, he informed his boss who simply told him to call the manufacturing company on phone and confirm that they actually want the money sent into a personal account.
A call was made and that was the saving grace. The manufacturing company representative was confused at the question being asked since nobody in the manufacturing organization bears the personal name that was contained in the document. He quickly requested that the purported invoice be forwarded via email to him. At this point, the Nigerian company used one of their domain based email address to forward the mail. Your guess is as good as mine, their worst fear was confirmed. The invoice was fake. The email from the manufacturer has been intercepted and the original invoice replaced with a fake-invoice!
The format of the fake invoice was slightly different from the original and as you can guess, the bank details were quite different. Both parties made several calls during the course of the day and the manufacturer had to alert his bankers and promised to report the case to FBI.
This was quite a close call that would have destroyed the reputation of both parties. Imagine what would have happened if the fraud was only discovered hours after the instruction in the fake invoice was used for the fund transfer! The Nigerian company would have sacked the officer and most probably handed him over to the police (the poor guy would have spent months and huge amount of money to proof that he knows nothing of the scam). The Nigerian company would have recorded a colossus loss which will definitely hamper its growth for years. Meanwhile, the manufacturing company (who has been very skeptical about doing business with Nigerians) would have permanently blacklisted Nigeria as a no go area.
I am happy that this true live story has a happy conclusion. It is my prayer that the perpetrator of the scam will be apprehended and brought to justice. Nigeria and Nigerians are tired of the black sheeps who continually gives us bad name in the international community.
Are you an entrepreneur, small or big business organization, you are strongly advice to stop using free email address to conduct your financial transactions. It is not safe! The cost of obtaining a personalized email address is so minute that I do not see the reason why many organization still use Yahoo free email to conduct their financial transaction. If your contacts refuse to change from your old free email account to the personalized one, send them a final notice of change and refuse to respond to further mails on that free email account.
I was reliably informed that the Nigerian company mentioned above had purchased a domain name over 5years ago, published a website and has limitless numbers of personalized email accounts they can create. Unfortunately, they continued using a free email account for contacts who are used to that account and refused to change to the new official emails. After narrating their ordeal, I promptly advised them to stop responding to contacts that insist on using the free email account since nobody knows for sure at what point their correspondence with the US based manufacturer was intercepted.
Have you ever had a close shave with scammers? Tell us your experience, we sure can learn from it. Meanwhile you can help save someone from becoming a victim by sharing this story. There is a small button below that makes it easy to Digg it, stumble it, e.t.c Cheers.