Friday 4 April 2014

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

Please Consumer Watchdog can you find out if this is a scam for me? I haven’t responded yet.

I received an email from the Financial Intelligence Centre of the Republic of South Africa. The email says I have won 430,000 dollars via ATM card. It says the SA Minister of Finance received a letter from the International Monetary Fund and the G8 Summit meeting regarding the settlement of all winning inheritance funds. They have created an ATM card for me to withdraw the money. They say that I must contact HSBC bank in the United Kingdom and send them my full name, address, age, occupation and my cellphone number.

Do you think I should send them?

I think you really know that this is a scam, don’t you?

The clues are fairly obvious when you look at the email critically. Firstly an obvious clue. Why don’t they know your name? The email is addressed “Dear Email Owner/Fund Beneficiary” and later they even ask you for your name. If, as they claim, you are the beneficiary of this money and they’ve created an ATM card for you, don’t you think they should already know who you are?

There’s also the fact that foreign governments and organizations like the IMF and G8 don’t go around handing out money to total strangers. Nobody gives out money by sending them an ATM card.

Then there are the usual things. The email you received wasn’t from the domain of any recognized organization but was from an “” address. Also the email for the person they say is at HSBC in the UK has an “” email address. Real organizations use real email domains, not free ones. In the same way they use landline phone numbers not a redirectable UK cellphone number like these guys.

This is, without any shadow of a doubt, the beginning of a “419” or advance fee scam. There is no money waiting for you, there is no ATM card, there’s nothing true about this story at all. Sooner or later they’ll require you to pay them money in order to get your fictitious money. That’s what the entire thing is about, getting your money.

Just delete the email. Either that or send them the rudest, most offensive email you can think of. They deserve it!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I’ve been using one of the banks here in Botswana I was having a business account with them, my business is new so transactions were at minimal. This month I learnt my account was closed last January and I was told I have to re-apply (application fee P1000) and if am lucky I might get the chance to use the same account number I had before. I wonder if this is how its suppose to be or am just unfortunate?

My understanding is that bank accounts from your bank (it’s one of the big ones) are declared “dormant”, meaning that it can no longer be used, if there are no transactions in the account for more than three months. Also business accounts are usually required to have a minimum balance of P1,000 at any time. I imagine that’s the P1,000 the bank referred to.

I suspect that if you want to resurrect your account you’ll probably need to go through the account opening procedure again. I sometimes wonder if banks are TRYING to make our lives more difficult than they need be.

No comments: