Scammers getting bolder

THE scams keep coming and the scammers are getting bolder. This time a retired Murwillumbah businessman has been offered a 30 per cent cut of a $65 million deal under the letterhead of a major South African gold mining company.

Former joinery owner and department store keeper Adrian Bryant was not so stunned by the usual format of the scam letter posted to him from South Africa early this month, as the letterhead at the top of it.

“This is a well-known South African company,” said Mr Bryant, pointing to the letterhead for AngloGold Ashanti - a stock exchange-listed company which in 2007 was responsible for an estimated seven per cent of global gold production, making it the third-largest gold producer in the world.

The letter offering the huge role in the $65million deal was signed by a “Dr William Imoko”, who went on to describe himself as associated with the “contract awarding committee” of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.

“I would like to transfer this money into your personal or company account anywhere in the world for safe keeping pending our arrival in your country for the sharing of the fund,”'Dr Imoko' wrote.

He said the money originated from an over-invoice on contracts some years ago and after the transfer Mr Bryant could take 30 per cent of the total sum.

The deal is similar to those in other so-called “Nigerian” scam letters sent to Murwillumbah residents in recent years, even to the point of asking Mr Bryant not to tell anyone else.

“We would not like you to publicise this deal for our safety,” it said.

Mr Bryant was unimpressed.

“I don't need the money. Perhaps you know someone who does,” he quipped, handing over the letter to the Tweed Daily News.

Media spokespeople for AngloGold Ashanti have not yet replied to emailed requests for comment on the use of the letterhead and whether the company is associated with the alleged writer.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission such money transfer scams are called “Nigerian” because the first wave of them came from Nigeria, but they can come from anywhere in the world.

The Commission warns: “The scammers usually contact you by email or letter and offer you a share in a large sum of money that they want to transfer out of their country.

“Scammers ask you to pay money or give them your bank account details to help them transfer the money. You are then asked to pay fees, charges or taxes to help release or transfer the money out of the country through your bank.

“These 'fees' may even start out as quite small amounts.

“If paid, the scammer makes up new fees that require payment before you can receive your 'reward'.

“You will never be sent the money that was promised.”

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