Sunday, August 06, 2006

L.A. Times: Homesellers being targeted in latest Nigerian scam

Apparently homesellers in the area who advertise their homes on and are targets of the latest Nigerian 419 scheme, also known as the advance-fee scam, according to an August 6 L.A. Times story by Gayle Pollard-Terry.

The article highlights a professional realtor trying to sell her Huntington Beach house who still got taken in. Apparently her potential buyer was in England and the buyer had a Nigerian lawyer, which made her suspicious. The lawyer needed to come to Southern California to work out the details of the transfer, and wanted a few thousand dollars to make the trip over. Plane fare isn't a normal business expense in the escrow negotiation process. Warily, the realtor negotiated the lawyer down to $150 in expenses that she finally sent him. After she wired the money, the lawyer called a week later, said his office had been robbed at gunpoint, and he needed $350 more. At that point the realtor alerted the FBI.

Homesellers, don't fall for a scam like this! This lady was fortunate and "only" lost $150, but in my opinion, the instant she heard the word "Nigerian" she should have said I'm sorry, no deal and hung up. Panic and desperation can drive people to do foolish things. Don't fall for it.


Blogger Anthony said...

I've heard of a scam like this before. There's people who sell their printers on sites like myspace and friendster, and people claim they're from somewhere in Africa wanting the printer. They'd mail a fake FexEx shipping label with a fake cheque for the printer, and you can guess what happens next.

4:57 PM, August 06, 2006  

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