Libyan General Needs Your Help Moving Money to US

Posted August 30, 2011 in Frauds & Scams by Arthur Buono

Today our own Jennifer King wrote about the top ten internet scams. Sure we hear about them all the time. But they never really happen to us, do they? Well, I thought you might like to see what just popped into my inbox this morning.


Watch Out for Sad Libyan Generals and Secret Shopping Scams

  • Email phishing scams adapt to current events and trends
  • Libyan generals just would be trying to get money out of country, wouldn’t they?
  • Less obvious, more plausible scams use the same basic deception
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Without bothering to respond, I can guess this is going to be an "advance fee" scam. It also could be simply a phishing expedition to try and get my bank account information. But clearly this is a twist on the Nigerian money transfer flavor of scams.

It’s a neat twist too because of what’s been going on in Libya since the spring. Corrupt Gaddafi regime officials probably have been trying to move money out of Libya. Of course the smart ones moved the money a long time ago when things were peaceful.

If you’re not a banker, anybody asking you to help them move money around is probably looking to rip you off. It doesn’t need to be an email from Italy about a "Lybian" general. The "secret shopper" scam is trickier. You may be phished by email, phone, newspaper or website. The Better Business Bureau recently warned of a pretty neat mystery shopping scam:

  • A woman was looking for legitimate "mystery shopper" gigs
  • She was contacted by mail with such an offer
  • She was asked to rate a money transfer service. For this she got a check for $1,300. She was told to cash the check, keep $300 as her fee, wire $1,000 to a foreign address, and rate the service
  • Of course, the company’s check bounced but by then the woman had wired $1,000 of her own money to the fraudsters

See how easy it is? These scams want you to exchange money. What’s nice about this one is the exchange was in the form of a shopping experience at a wire transfer company. It’s a clever twist on a simple, age-old scam.

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