Friday, 9 August 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

Please assist with whether this email is true or just one of those scams.

"Attention Dear Employee, We are happy to inform you that we receive your details in good faith and we bring to your notice that you have been approved to work in Beaufort Hotel London for five years. You are to stat work as soon as you get your work permit visa from Diplomat Stevin Joes. Your file has been accepted and we only advice you to contact your Representative officer in New Delhi India for Work Permit Processing to UK."
[This email from “Dr Joseph Benson” continued at length and asked for a range of personal details including two photographs and a scanned copy of his passport. It said that he must pay a “Work permit visa fee” to the British High Commission in India and then he would be sent an air ticket to get him to London to take up this job offer.]

This is certainly a scam.

Firstly this is simply not how hotels in London or anywhere else recruit people. Given also that the UK is still in a recession why do you think they would recruit outside of the UK and the European Union? They certainly don't recruit people in Botswana via the British High Commission in India. Second, diplomats don't use "Diplomat" as a title. British diplomats can also usually spell correctly whereas the email was littered with spelling mistakes. High Commissions and embassies don’t require payments using Western Union.

This is all about the "Work permit visa fee" they want you to pay them. That's the "advance fee" that the scam is all about. Once you pay that fee they’ll keep stalling you, demanding more and more money from you, either for legal fees, taxes or anything else they can think of. They’ll only stop when you run out of money or realize that you’re being scammed.

Please don’t send them anything.

It’s also extremely unwise to send copies of your passport to total strangers. ID theft is a serious issue these days.

Just out of interest I called the number given for “Dr. Joseph Benson” and had a conversation with him. To begin with he simply couldn’t understand that I knew he was a scammer. It was only when he realized that he started swearing at me and saying rude things about my mother.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

The other day my wife received an email at her work place offering loans, obviously in this tight times with that kind of Interest Rate, this offer got their whole office in an uproar everybody wants to try their luck.

This whole thing smells worse than a rotten rat to me, please help is this genuine or a scam?

You’re right to be suspicious, this is clearly a scam of some sort. The email from “Highgate Finance Corporation Pty Ltd” says that you can borrow between R10,000 and R10 million at a fixed interest rate “of only 2.8%”. They say that “you’ll have a decision in maximum 24 working hours and a cash lump sum could be in your account within just 48 hours.”

The clues that it’s a scam are quite simple. Firstly no lender these days ends that sort of money at such a low interest rate. They certainly don’t lend huge amounts to people in just 2 days. Real lenders want security and some assurance that they’ll get their money back. They don’t behave this recklessly.

Real lenders don’t just use cellphone numbers and free email addresses to run their businesses. Real lenders are actually registered companies, unlike this bunch. There is no such company registered in either South Africa or Botswana. It’s a scam for sure and it’s certainly “a rotten rat”!

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