Move over, Nigerian scam
June 7, 2009, 6:01 AM EST
Investment advisers are among the targets of a continuing “advance fee” scam that involves bogus promises of work from the Dubai International Finance Center in exchange for a fee.
“This is undoubtedly the latest iteration of the Nigerian scam,” a brokerage executive wrote in an e-mail. The executive, who asked not to be identified, forwarded the scam note.
The Nigerian scam has been one of the most pervasive Internet hoaxes using e-mail to target victims. Simply put, it is a confidence trick in which the victim is persuaded to pay, in advance, sums of money in the hope of getting a much larger return.
In the Dubai scam, the e-mail is supposedly sent by Omar Bin Sulaiman, governor of the Dubai International Finance Center in the United Arab Emirates.
The letter says that he “wishes to invite you to participate as a broker/agent to DIFC individualized equity investment portfolio management program.” The DIFC is swimming in profit and “wishes to reinvest this fund by putting it into the management of private businessmen and corporations with good business ideas,” according to the letter.
Several websites are warning advisers about the scam. According to golden-age-investment.com's description of the fraud, Mr. Sulaiman, who is a real person, “will get in touch with you, communicate with you by phone on a daily basis for weeks — offering to invest in your business.”
The website goes on to say: “There is a condition — the (fake) investment can only happen if you are incorporated in the UAE — which will, of course (ahem!), require payment. They will use the name and website of a genuine business broker to handle the incorporation — but the employee you deal with will be fake, and the bank account will be theirs — and not the bank account of the company you think you are dealing with.”