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|GOLD COMMENT - November 2005
|NIGERIAN - GHANAIAN - 4 - 1 - 9 SCAMS
|Any one who uses the Internet will be aware of the large number of unsolicited email offers originating from Nigeria relating to offers of great wealth that you can access for just a few dollars. Amazingly, although these are obvious frauds the industry in Nigeria is such a huge money earner for the country the government is somewhat reluctant to act against these criminals.
HERE'S HOW THEY WORK
An individual or company receives a letter or fax from an alleged "official" representing a foreign government or agency
An offer is made to transfer millions of dollars in "over invoiced contract funds into your personal bank account
You are encouraged to travel overseas to complete the transaction
You are requested to provide blank company letterhead forms, banking account information, telephone/fax numbers
You receive numerous documents with official looking stamps, seals and logo testifying to the authenticity of the proposal
Eventually you must provide up-front or advance fees for various taxes, attorney fees, transaction fees or bribes
Numerous other schemes of similar nature that had their criminal origins in Nigeria are now well developed in other third world countries, including Ghana.
Gold Net Australia receives a number of gold offers from Ghana via email every week. Most are obvious frauds, but the diverse and devious criminal mind will always dream up new ways to perpetrat and expand criminal fraud.
Although Gold Net had ignored a large number of these offers - we recently appointed an agent in Ghana. Ghanian by birth, with a history as a mining engineer - Kojo was just the man to sort through all these offers - so we replied to the offers and advised them to contact our "Agent" in Ghana.
Of the entire lot of offers - we had considered 120 might have some truth to them. Of that 120 only 5 contacted my agent. When they realised that he was Ghanian only 2 met him. One of these groups offered him 30 kg of gold at a low price. They had considerable documentation and in fact they showed the agent what apeared to be about 30kg of gold. He believed it was real and it probably was, and paid for an assay report. Now Gold Net is aware that gold with origins in Ghana is about 92% pure. Imagine our surprise when the report returned a 99.3% pure assay report. Alarm bells went off immediately, but the only person that was told of this concern that is was probably an elaborate scam, was our agent.
As soon as this group thought they had Gold Net hooked - they then hit us with the costs, and here they are.
1. Insurance 180 dollars per kg $ 5400
2. Bank of Ghana charges $ 4800
3. Customs charges $ 2500
4. Taxes $ 4300
5. Packing Agents fees $ 2500
6. Freight charges $ 3700
7. Security charges $ 1500
Total $ 24,700 US Dollars
Not a bad little haul for 30kg of gold bait.
Part of the scam was that they wanted Gold Net Australia to use their profit to source machinery for their gold mine.
That sounded possible, until I got an email from a colleague in New Zealand, who had a very similar offer. Common sense would indicate that providing mining equipment from Australia or New Zealand, is going to cost a lot more that if it was sourced from Europe, or South Africa.
Red lights were again flashing before our eyes...
Although I had intended visiting Ghana to complete several authenticated gold deals, when I advised that I would no longer be coming, the bad guys lost interest and disappeared.
Although there are real gold offers and some good guys in Ghana, the corruption that pervades throughout this country due to the poverty that is evident throughout the country, and this comment includes government agencies. Our advice to the unwary is this.
If you receive a gold offer from Ghana via email, check it our thoroughly - preferably by a reliable contact within Ghana.
If you are unable to do this - save your hard earned and look for real deals in other parts of the world.
As a final comment, Gold Net Australia also has an agent in Iran - who has been looking for real gold deals. To date after 12 months of trying, all Saeid has found is 5 sham offers, some with possible origins within government. The modus operandi is very similar tothe 4-1-9 Nigerian scams.
We have also confirmed that at least one group from Australia was scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, where at some late stage in the process, the gold was switched.
A Texas refinery has been scammed, in similar manner and we continue to receive numerous reports of criminal activity within Ghana relating to gold.