An Australian eBay seller has been conned out of almost $9,000 by Nigerian internet scammers impersonating the state’s consumer fraud regulator.
The Australian Financial Review reported on Friday that the single mother from Western Australia, was targeted after selling a portable PlayStation on eBay last month.
The buyer sent the woman a fake email from PayPal confirming the funds had been transferred and asked that the item be shipped to Nigeria. The buyer then asked the woman to pay an additional amount for shipping and duty. Sensing it was a scam, the woman contacted WA ScamNet who advised her to break off all contact with the bogus buyer. After the woman forwarded the email she received from WA ScamNet to the buyer in Nigeria (her first mistake), she began receiving fake emails with WA ScamNet and WA Government logos, urging her to co-operate with the Nigerian authorities.
A short time later the woman received a fake email from eBay advising the scammers had been arrested by police in Nigeria. The woman then received a bogus email from police in Nigeria advising she had been awarded US$250,000 in compensation and all she had to do to claim it, was pay a transfer fee of US$7,000. After the scammers provided the woman with a fake document from the Nigerian Central Bank, she paid them an amount of AU$8,700.
In an interview with the WA Department of Consumer and Employment Protection (DOCEP) the woman, who did not wish to be named, said she felt violated. “I just can’t believe that people could do this. If I go on eBay again, I’m not selling anything to overseas.”
It’s hard to believe that with all the media coverage about Nigerian scams, there are still people out there who are willing to hand over thousands of dollars to these scumbags. While I am certain there are some good, honest people in Nigeria, the fact is many of the internet scams we see in operation today, actually originate from Nigeria and therefore, any communication from Nigeria should be regarded with deep suspicion.
Nigerian internet scammers populate just about every corner of the internet. You’ll find them on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, internet dating sites, forums, auction websites, and of course, in your email inbox. That said, internet scams are becoming much more sophisticated these days and most people aren’t even aware they have been targeted until they have been lured into some elaborate trap, promising riches beyond their wildest dreams.
It may sound like commonsense not to send money to strangers. But every year hundreds of thousands of people do it. Are these people stupid? All the available evidence says NO – they’re not stupid, just naive.
Remember the comment by the woman who was conned on eBay: “I just can’t believe that people could do this.”
Believe it honey, not everyone is honest and good.