A Guyanese man is out of pocket US$1,000 in what appears to be an elaborate scam involving an email account.
The case is engaging the attention of a local money transfer company as well as
a New York branch.
The incident occurred this past week and reportedly saw the scammers collecting the money in New York using a fake identification.
According to the man, who tendered evidence and a receipt of the transaction to Kaieteur News, he has an uncle living in the US. The two would communicate using an email…an AOL account.
Last week, the man received an email from his uncle asking that he send up US$2,000 to pay for some paper work on a property he was buying.
He was asked to send it via either of the two major money transfer companies operating here.
The money was to be sent to a representative of a lawyer’s firm in Virginia, US.
It was routine that the uncle asked his nephew to transact business for him.
Thinking nothing of it, the nephew wrote his uncle and told him he did not have US$2,000 immediately but would instead send US$1,000.
The Guyanese said that he was not suspicious as on the email his uncle’s photograph was prominently displayed.
In addition, his “uncle” even sent correspondence he had with the lawyer’s firm as support of the transaction.
Just to be sure, the man checked the lawyer’s address online and found that it existed.
However, the nephew wrote his uncle and told him the money was not being sent to any lawyer’s representative. Rather the money would be sent directly to the uncle, in his name.
“I told him that I sending the money to him and for him to do the rest.”
The US$1,000 was sent via the money transfer service and the man also emailed the receipt with the necessary reference number.
The transfer was made on Tuesday, May 30.
Thinking that was the end of it, the man said much to his surprise, he saw another email from his ‘uncle’ the next day to send up another US$2,500.
“I got upset as I did not have that kind of money. I called my uncle.”
What the man learnt from his uncle left him speechless.
“He said that he never asked me for money. He checked his email and could find no evidence of the emails that I told him that he sent.”
However, the man showed Kaieteur News all the emails that were sent by the persons.
The emails even suggested that no details were spared in ensuring that no alarm bells were rung.
“They even wrote my correct name, which only my close family members knew me by.”
Realising that they have been played, the man said he hurried down to the local money transfer office. The money had already been sent. It was already collected.
His uncle visited the New York money transfer branch and learnt that someone had already collected the money. It appeared someone tendered an ID in his name and collected the US$1,000.
The branch launched an investigation. The Guyana office is also said to be investigating.
The story did not end there.
The man said that he played along with the person (s) who was communicating via his uncle’s email. He said the person was willing to accept a cheque from someone in the US.
The man said that he wrote that he agreed to have more money transferred and asked for the Social Security Number of the uncle.
It was sent.
He said that when he told his uncle about the Social Security Number, it was confirmed that the number was real.
”My uncle has filed a complaint as this can have implications on a number of them, including his credit cards and so on.”
However, it appeared that the person who had apparently hacked into the uncle’s AOL account became suspicious and since Friday morning stopped communicating.
“This is elaborate. My uncle believed that emails were safe. Apparently, it is not,” the man said.
It is not an unusual story. Many persons, right in Guyana, have fallen prey to persons who send them emails of inheritance from some far off country.
Many persons, not believing their good luck, send up processing fees, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. Sad to say, the inheritance never comes.
In this particular case, it appeared the scammers went further…forging an ID card, accessing a person’s Social Security Number and hacking an email.
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