A reader got in touch asking if his bank account was safe. He said:
"Thank you very much for the help that you always give so that we can be aware of those scams who wants to eat our money. Now I am very concerned about my salary. I was involved in Highgate scam who ate my money claiming they'll give me loan. My worry is since I sent them my account number are they not going to get get to my salary from my account.The Highgate scam he mentions is a fake lender that's actually an advance fee scam. You think you're getting a loan but they're actually just trying to steal your money. Their offer might seem tempting. They open their email with:
Your assistance will be highly appreciated, pliz respond for I'm paid on the 27th so that I can act before its too late."
"Get a loan from R10,000(Ten Thousand South Africa Rand) up to R10,000,000.00(Tem Million South Africa Rand) when ever you need it -at a fixed interest rate of 2.8% for your peace of mind."Unfortunately no real company lends up to R10 million at 2% interest.
I suggested that he contact his bank and let them know what had happened, but he's reluctant, fearing that they'll just laugh at him. Which is worse, I wonder, embarrassment or victimhood?
He then asked about another "lender" who had emailed him. I wonder if it was even the same people as those behind "Highgate"?
"Welcome To Express FinanceAgain the normal clues apply. The ridiculously cheap loan, the absence of a landline, the poor English and the dodgy graphics.
Express Finance was born out of our cooperate initiative to assist individuals and corporate organizations with prompt financial services. Express Finance initiative is part of our corporate social responsibility towards our esteem numerous clients for our synergy in building a reliable partnership over the years.
The Express Finance innovation has completely satisfied the financial credit act of South Africa. We offer guaranteed loan services at 2.5% interest rate per year. Do you have bad credit? Do you have unpaid bills? Have you been turned down by your bank? Are you in debt? Do you need to set up a business? Do you wish to expand your current business? Worry no more as we are here to offer you a low interest rate loan of 2.5% interest rate per annum.
Full Names, ID Number, Contact Tel No(work/cell), E-mail, Occupation, Monthly Salary
Via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mandy Louw (Mrs.)
Loan Application Supervisor
Direct Line: +27745236190"
However, Express Finance is a real company. The NCR registration code quoted is real just like the address. But the emailed letter is a fake. I called the real Express Finance and their rather exasperated manager was very frustrated. Before I could fully explain he said "Was it from Mandy Louw?"
This is an advance fee scam. As with Highgate there'll be a setup fee, a legal expense, an account-opening fee, something to get you to send money to the lender rather than him sending money to you.
Don't fall for it.