Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How the Black Money scam works

The Black Money scam was reported by Interpol to have surfaced in Malaysia in 1998.
Most of these con artists enter the country on a social visit pass which allows them to stay up to 30 days. They tend to enrol in local colleges, just to obtain student visas so that they could extend their stay here.

They would then send out random emails and SMS, promising huge piles of money. Usually a “processing fee” is required in advance from their targets. In some cases, the victim lost big amounts of money without realising it until the fraudster goes missing. They are such smooth operators that a number of victims took loans from Ah Longs to pay them.

Victims are told about a stash of bank notes which had been dyed black to avoid Customs detection. The money was supposedly kept in a safe somewhere and the victim should purchase a type of chemical to wash off the dye which would then unveil “genuine” US dollars. The victim would be promised a share of the money.

The supposed origin of the riches varied with each new victim. The most popular version is that the money is the lost fortunes of former Nigerian dictator General Abacha which need to be transported out of Nigeria without the Customs knowing it.

Commercial Crime Investigation Department director said the con men, upon meeting their target, would produce a small vial of washing liquid called “Universal Automatic Washer” and ask the victim to select any black bank note at random.
The black banknote would be washed but with a sleight of hand, the con man would substitute it with a real note. Victims are given the “washed” bank notes and are encouraged to verify their authenticity at a money changer.

They would ask the victim to buy the chemical in order to process more money and that the costs of the chemicals are very high. These con artists modus operandi of “layering,” where a different person is sent to each meeting with the victim.
They are also known to use local women to carry out their deception, targeting single mothers or college students and using their bank accounts to conduct their shady business.

Most of these con artists are deported to their home countries as authorities usually lack evidence to charge them. However, a number of them would return to Malaysia under different passports.

As long as there are Malaysians who are fuelled by greed, there will be someone to take advantage of them!

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