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Offshore Scams

Your Money Is At Risk!

There are many more scams than legit opportunities on the Internet, and this is particularly true in the "offshore services" arena! You should be particularly suspicious of "investments" and "secret banking" offers as they are fertile breeding grounds for scammers and organized criminals alike!

We have been around long enough to see our share of scams (and to be victimized by them), and also long enough to know those in the offshore services business that are running legitimate operations.

It is not always easy to tell the bad guys from the good! The examples below are only a few that we could share, part of our mission at the Offshore & Privacy Club is to protect our members by exposing these frauds when they are brought to our attention. By joining the club you will gain access to the latest scam alerts and learn how to protect yourself from being a victim.

If you encounter the following companies, individuals or offers online, stay as far away from them as far as you can, you'll never see your money again.

As they change their names and locations quite frequently, look for "common traits". If in doubt, forward us a couple of messages and we'll compare the style with our extensive scam archive.

Just In! Now With Updated Information!

Update 01/01 - EE-BizVentures's sites have been shut down, and it appears that they are "gone"! Another scam that was able to rake in millions of dollars from their unsuspecting victims.

Update 12/23 - It seems like the scamsters at EE-BizVentures are about to disappear... and now try to extract even the last penny out of their desperate victims.


EE-BizVentures must be one of the most obvious scams we have seen, yet it seems to be highly popular and many people are falling for this one.

From their website:

"EE-Biz Ventures is a Christian-based humanitarian organization that helps individuals improve their financial situation."

It seems that this is all it takes! Say that you're "Christian" and "humanitarian"... "charitable" and "government-approved"... and everyone lets down their guards.

But when you look through the deception, you will realize that EE-BizVentures has all the hallmarks of a scam... including the soft-spoken statements that they are, well, *not* a scam.

Here are more quotes from within their members only site:

"The e-Biz Bonus 10K Spend! A single spend of $10,000 gives you a return of 40% every week for 40 consecutive weeks. See instructions below."

That's a 1,600% annualized return! Do you REALLY believe this?


"All spends are final! There are no guarantees and never deposit more than you can afford!"

There you have it! We predict that EE-BizVentures will fold by the end of the year... probably sooner. And all the money will be gone.


They have now stopped payouts through e-gold and ask many of their members to buy an anonymous debit card (at $850 each), otherwise they won't get paid.

But, get this: EE-Biz wants you to send the money to the PAREX BANK, to an account of the "Pacific International Bank". Parex Bank is also the bank which is supposed to supply the anonymous debit cards. (The cheapest source we have seen for these cards is, they charge $250 plus delivery costs, that's $600 less than Foxanon wants from EE-Biz Members!)

By e-gold
Submit payment to account #216067 "Foxanon."
By Western Union
Submit payment to
Mr. Tikkomirov Serguei
Paris, France
By Bank Wire Transfer
Submit payment to ....
Beneficiary's Bank: PAREX BANK,
Account: 0390242018
Beneficiary: Pacific International Bank
Details of Payment: ref: 50378504 -"your application #"

The above is quoted from

However - what a coincidence - the "Pacific International Bank" is an SSD clone (see below), and a scam bank if there ever was one!

Many offers at their site look very suspicious. Check out and judge for yourself!

How do we know that they are an "SSD Clone"?

Simple: Back in 1999, both SSD and PacInBank informed us about their services and Website only a couple of days apart, and in the exact same way: by anonymous remailer! They used the almost exact same wording in their promotional email, and they offered almost the exact same "services".

They use the exact same bank as their "correspondent" bank (Parex Bank), they speak the exact same native language (French), and they are exactly as unwilling and unable to supply a copy of their banking license - or at the very least their registration number - as SSD.

In addition to this, they use the exact same "humanitarian" approach. SSD said that they donate 50% of the money they make through their scams to humanitarian organizations (yeah sure). You can read below what PacInBank says about their humanitarian activities.

Coincidence? We don't think so. However, if you have any information that would contradict our suspicions, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Once again, you're invited to judge for yourself:

If you're thinking, "How would a scam bank be able to get a bank account at the Parex Bank?", think again: The Parex Bank offers special anonymous accounts that accept ANY beneficiary name you might care to quote... even bank names, and even several beneficiary names at the same time! Some of these scammers have been known to use their Parex accounts to run several scams at the same time (Example: PREMIER CLUB and OASIS SAVINGS CLUB, two "unrelated" scams, used the same bank account number at Parex Bank, but different account names).

Back to the Pacific International Bank... they too use the "humanitarian" approach. Get this:

PacInBank is a charitable-sensitive Bank. You can find on our Web Site a direct link with a charitable organisation; it is this Bank's deep and long-term intention to always assist to the extent possible, from the net profits of the Bank herself, by offering humanitarian donations to this charitable organisation! PacInBank CARES FOR THE WELL-BEING OF THE WORLD! YOU CAN BE CONFIDENT THAT YOUR BANK PacInBank, HAS A SOLID AND MOST SINCERE LONG-TERM CHARITABLE ACTIVITY WHICH PROVES ONCE MORE THAT EFFICIENT BUSINESS AND CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES ARE BY NO MEANS INCOMPATIBLE!

It is only a question of time until this charitable, humanitarian "bank" disappears... with their clients' funds of course... And while they might initially actually deliver some of the promised anonymous debit cards (they're readily available from the Parex Bank), it is more likely that the "founders" use one of those cards themselves... and are busily going from ATM to ATM just in time for the holiday season!

The very same applies to EE-BizVentures... probably the most profitable online & offshore scam this year. But at least it's "Christian"... or is it?

Like one of our members said: "I have smelled rotten fish that smelled a lot better than this."


If you did send some of your money to EE-BizVentures, you will NEVER see it again! If you do, it will be so at the expense of those who joined after you... probably those you referred.

And what about the latest story about the debit cards? It's just another ploy to extract even more money out of you! Get over it... don't send them any additional funds... or get ready for yet another "learning experience"!

Update 12/23 - It seems like the scamsters at EE-BizVentures are about to disappear... and now try to extract even the last penny out of their desperate victims.

The following was forwarded to us by an EE-Biz member:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

VERY VERY VERY Important! - 12/22/00

Because of the actions of 67 people we must do the following!

EE-Biz has come under fire by the USA Government, There are 2 things that must be done within the next 72 hours no exceptions or EE-Biz USA and Aussie site's will be gone forever!!! Get this out to everyone that is in EE-BIZ this must happen or everyone will lose out!

1.) Spend $5 to E-Gold account 194632 this is the legal fund.
2.) Spend $20 to E-Gold account 218634 this is the $20 Aussie site.

"VERY Important Make this spend from the Aussie Site! Into the $20 program."

Here is the chat room link for EE-Biz now! You will need to become a member of this club.

We have 72 hours to do this!! 50% of the membership must comply with this, if we do not do this we will all lose BIG TIME. Aussie site and USA site will be shut down on the web!

It is my understanding from listening in on chat room that EE-BIZ will not be totally shut down. If 50% of the membership does not comply with the above, the websites, chartrooms and all of the $$$$ that is in the E-Gold accounts will be frozen / shut down. EE-Biz will be going to the offshore bank effective this next Friday December 29th. 2000 the cost will be $850 for the offshore account and debit card. - once you are at this site click on the EE-Biz link to get info. Please get in on the chat about this as soon as possible to learn about the current situation and the offshore account!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Comment: WAKE UP and GET REAL! Do you really believe this crap?


Right now, we're not even sure whether to keep posting these scam warnings as many of you don't want to read them anyway! You consider them to be too "negative"... and you'd rather keep "hoping" that things will turn out fine... that these scamsters have your best interests on their minds and that they will eventually pay you.

But fact is, they won't. If they do, you will receive the funds of those who came in after you... the funds of those who will lose all of their money.

The sooner you wake up to the realities of life, the better.

Reality #1: Participating in these scams is not the way to long-term wealth and peace of mind. If you win, you do so at the expense of those who come in too late, and you end up being a scammer yourself. And if you lose, you lose...

Reality #2: There will always be scammers... and we all need to find a way to defend ourselves without giving up our own freedoms in the process. In our opinion, the best way to do this is through education.

To those of you who aren't all that easily scared by a little negativity, we highly recommend that you keep reading.

From one of our members:

I belong to a mail list where most of the post are about ee-biz. I've directed to your publication (the scam url) and even copied the information and pasted it into an email for posting. You remember the story of how to get an ass to go to a place that it doesn't want to go to. You dangle a carrot in front of it. I think that that about sums up the ongoing saga of ee-biz and its investors. I'm one who won't bite on the PacIn Bank account with a Parex debit card. I've posted your information on the association between pacIn Bank and the Parex. It would seem, unless you know more, that it is the relationship between PacIn and Parex that is corrupt as the Parex would seem to deal with other accounts in a more honest, straightforward manner.

Most people are looking for some kind of evidentiary proof that ee-biz is dishonest, besides their lack of money, I guess. Besides pointing out to them that EE-Biz has their money and they don't themselves, there seems to be a lack of evidence. I don't know what other kind of evidence they are looking for. What's going to come first. The second coming of Christ, the end of the world, or payments by EE-Biz. They are all promises. I, for myself, am looking at the end of the world to come first, or the second coming of christ, which may turn out to be the end of the world. But I think that ee-biz is not ever going to pay any more money although many of its representatives think that it will. If it does it will be only to extract more, from those who can afford to risk more, and like carrots.

I called their offer to pay only those who will spend more money by getting their bank account and debit card blackmail or extortion. Was speaking emotionally but probably correctly. Don't know whether that could get me into trouble over slander or libel or something. After all, EE-Biz says they don't need our money to grow. So I guess I couldn't financially hurt them, which is a requirement for either of the two crimes mentioned. But to call a spade a spade, that is what they are doing to their members. And that is Christian Humanitarianism. haha.

Note: As expected, we received many hostile emails after posting the above scam warning. It seems that many people WANT to get ripped off... that they WANT to be cheated out of their money... as long as the scammers keep giving them HOPE for the big "something for nothing" payout that will miraculously solve all their troubles.

For these reasons, we will no longer spend our time warning those who will not listen anyway. If you wish to receive offshore scam warnings in the future, please join our private Offshore & Privacy Club. Thank you.

Banking & Wire Transfer Scams

Safety Spar & Darlehenskasse (SSD) and Parex Bank

There are indications that Parex Bank, Latvia's largest bank, is infiltrated by a team of offshore scamsters and thieves, with one of Parex' highest executives providing inside assistance to these criminals. To name just one recent example, Parex Bank provides a safe haven for the "Safety Spar & Darlehenskasse" (SSD), which is a fraudulent operation designed to rip off unsuspecting offshore investors.

We were able to gain some insights on how this particular scam operates; I'm quite sure that these fraudsters (SSD) operate under many different names and that there are other quite similar scams out there, so try to understand the patterns of this scam and you'll be able to identify and avoid dozens of others as well.

SSD pretends to be a "licensed banking company", claims to be incorporated on the Isle of Sark, and offers anonymous and high-yield bank accounts to the public through their Internet Website at Hypermart. Apart from that, they "boast" about being able to hack into the computer systems of various law enforcement agencies, including Interpol and FBI.

Their correspondent account details are as follows:


Account Name: Safety Spar & Darlenskas (SSD) LTD
Account # 000706357

After several of our clients and even yours truly had sent substantial funds to this bank account, only to never see them again, we demanded an explanation from SSD. After weeks of strange excuses, we directly contacted Mr. Pildegovis, the relationship manager of Parex Bank - and were in for a big surprise.

How could this have happened? Tens of thousands of dollars successfully sent to an account which doesn't exist and whose alleged owner isn't even a client of the bank?

We asked our clients to forward some faxed transfer confirmations; only then did Mr. Pildegovis find the account - in his own words, after a "thorough search". (Presumably Parex Bank's computers were down for Y2K maintenance...?)

The procedure he finally suggested to recover the stolen funds was as follows:

"At the current stage we would advise You to act in accordance to the legislation of Your jurisdiction. We will be able to report further on the account in question only after receipt of appropriate inquiry approved by the chief prosecutor of the Republic of Latvia."

Now, this is the very banking law which has enabled Latvia to attract billions of dollars from all over the world - not only from the Russian Mafia, but also from thousands of legitimate companies and individuals from Western countries desiring to save taxes and to protect their privacy and assets.

So far, so good - but it doesn't stop here - not by a long shot!

Another Big Surprise

Right from the start, we had asked Mr. Pildegovis to keep the matter fully confidential, and chances are that he informed only the highest bank executives. (He had previously honored this request of confidentiality, and had been authorized by one of the bank's highest officials - "by the bank's vice-president" - to inform us that SSD is not a client of Parex Bank, and that the account number does not exist.)

Still, whenever we sent an email to Mr Pildegovis, we were sure to receive an email from the scammers at SSD only a couple of hours later, referencing and ridiculing the very email we had sent to Mr Pildegovis.

Here's the most revealing example:

From: SSD

My associate contacted me urgently some hours ago, telling that we have been warned by the bank where we have one of our accounts, the bank that YOU know. Yes, we have a very high contact in this bank :) He told us that you warned the bank about us.


Here you have it - conclusive proof that Parex Bank is either infiltrated by a hacker who reads all emails to bank employees (and probably plays around with the account balances as well in his spare time...) or by a fraudster at executive level who assists these scammers in their illegal operations, among them bank fraud, extortion and money laundering.

Initially estimated total loss: $280,000+

Update Dec 21, 1999: $1,500,000+

The story continues, draw your own conclusions ...

(Yes, they sent this twice!)

Date: Dec 20, 1999
From: Anonymous User

Date: Dec 21, 1999
From: lcs Mixmaster Remailer

Salut Robert !

My friends and I did appreciate your comments on the "scam pages" of your website, concerning the SSD :))) Really !

But we hope that you got more details about the SSD, as these described on your website are really... poor :(

We will let you investigate :) But we were really surprised when you wrote the "estimated scam" is about $ 280k ! Robert, you can easily multiply this amount by 5 or 6 :)))

And THANKS about your warning ! Do you know that we received emails from people telling "I was about to send money to the SSD, but have been warned by [you], so I prefer send to YOU"

You understand of course, that we have one other structure, whose name is not SSD, and without any account in Parex :)))
Thanks to your warning, we got at least 3 Clients for a total of (today) about $ 170k :)))

Best wishes for 2000, Robert ! And sincerely, I hope that you will be more lucky in the future !

SSD team :)

According to some information we received these people are also using the names "Morrison Group", "Merckx-Lambert Banking Group" and possibly others. They have various Websites where they offer Tempest devices, passports and banking services. As usual, they don't deliver - but instead attempt to blackmail their "clients" (with messages like - "You tried to order a passport from us. Send us $20,000 immediately or we'll forward your photo and address to the FBI").


SSD is currently doing "business" under the following names:

  • Merckx-Lambert Banking Group (MLBG)
  • Pacific International Bank
  • Premier Club Ltd.
  • SSD's director, the scamster of all scamsters, Ron Higgins, speaks French as his native language. He lives in Belgium, and while some of his messages originate at []), he prefers to dial up through Estonia, and frequently uses anonymous remailers. He has lots of offshore related inside knowledge which he uses to impress and defraud unsuspecting victims. He especially likes to claim that he can "hack" into various Interpol and FBI databases.

    His "style" is very recognizable - see above. He seems to have brushed up his English recently; a couple of months ago it was far from perfect. But hey, how many language courses can you buy with $1.5 million? :-(

    Additional Comment added in July 2000:

    Being in favor of strong banking secrecy laws is easy as long as it is your own money and identity which is being protected by these laws. However, when fraudsters are using these laws to steal your money, it becomes a lot harder to still be in favor of these laws.

    We have decided to stand behind our principles and realize that having fallen for the above scam was our own fault. Retrospectively, there were lots of "red flags" which should have told us that something was wrong, but we only took notice when it was already too late.

    It has proven to be quite easy to infiltrate offshore banks, especially for organized criminals (and this includes the IRS in our opinion). Parex Bank certainly isn't the only bank that "protects" its friends. The same thing happens in banks all around the world, including the US and UK.

    However, this is the price of freedom! As long as we live in a free world, there will always be a way for scamsters and fraudsters to operate... and one's best preventive protection is to educate oneself to the greatest extent possible before risking any money. In addition to this, never let your greed silence your ability to think clearly!

    Luckily, you can learn from our numerous offshore experiences without having to go through them yourself.

    From Nigeria With Love ...

    Due to the tremendous amount and wide variety of scams coming out of Nigeria you would be very well advised to treat all offers coming from that country with suspicion. Above anything else, never travel there upon invitation of a "newly found business contact" whose references you cannot verify independently. We've heard of people being robbed or outright disappearing - so be careful!

    It could all end as a nightmare, but start as a dream - with a letter or email similar to the following one.

    (Note: The email address of the "family attorney" has been censored but is available to interested investigators upon request. But, let's face it, these scams are so common and Nigeria is so corrupt that investigations are very unlikely to happen, let alone to succeed.)

    urgent and confidential business proposal

    Dear Sir,

    I am Mariam C. Usman (Mrs.), widow of the late Col. Bello Usman, the former Governor of Kano State of Nigeria. My late husband was one of the victims of the November 17th, 1996 Nigerian A.D.C. Aircraft boeing 722 that crashed in Lagos.

    I have just been informed by our legal attorney Barrister Samuel Okum of Samuel Okum & Associates that my late husband operated a secret account with fictitious name in a Nigerian Bank into which a total sum of Twenty Nine Million, Five Hundred Thousand U. S. Dollars ($29.5M) was transferred and credited in his favour and stated me as next of kin. The attorney now advised me to seek in confidence a foreign account unto which this fund could be transferred for disbursement as directed by my late husband in his will.

    It has been resolved that 2% will be your share for nominating an account for this purpose and any other assistance you will give in that regards. 5% has been mapped out to pay back all local and international expenses which may be incurred in the transfer process and 5% has been conceded to the local bank manager here assisting in facilitating the transfer.

    Finally, 70% will accrue to my family and I, from where our attorney's bill will be settled. A good part of this fund shall be directed towards executing his will which is to buy shares and stocks in foreign country to secure his children's future to facilitate the conclusion of this transaction, if accepted, do contact our family attorney through E-mail: for further information on the way forward.

    Please, note that I have been assured that the transaction will be concluded in ten (10) bank working days upon commencement by our family attorney, so endeavour to contact him immediately.

    May I at this point emphasize the high level of confidentiality which this business demands and hope you will not betray the trust and confidence which I repose in you. However, you may need to give me sufficient assurance that you will not sit on this fund when it is finally remitted into your account. Please, give this proposal a prompt response as the condition in Nigeria now is favourable for the transfer to be made since we have a new government in place.

    Yours faithfully,

    Mariam C. Usman

    Now, apart from the numbers not adding up (what happens to the missing 18%?), the sad thing is that if you accept their proposal, you will at some stage be required to pay an urgent up-front fee in order to facilitate the transaction. If you pay that money you'll never see it again, nor will their transfer ever arrive at your account.

    These scamsters are very creative in designing new "scenarios", but in the end it all boils down to the following: Someone wants to transfer money from Nigeria to a foreign bank account (yours) and promises to pay you a commission for receiving and then forwarding or investing the money. If you agree, you will be required to pay an up-front fee to make the transfer possible. Once you've paid, they will try again and ask for another fee. And so on - until you are no longer willing to pay. At this point your money is gone and the scamsters disappear.

    Credit Card Scams

    From one of our subscribers:

    I have a problem with Mr. T Ferrie and his company

    I think is a scam, since after several emails and after my Western Union payment for a credit card, I've never received anything from the bank. Also it was a nightmare to get in touch with him. I know that I'll never see my money again but I'd like you advice other people to don't make any business with him...

    Note from OPC: We tried to contact the above mentioned company several times for clarification, but received no response. Be careful!

    Investment Scams

    International Forex Ltd.

    Here's what one of our subscribers wrote about this company:

    Here is a note to warn of a large scam that has occurred, in America and Bermuda of all places.

    There is a company named International Forex Ltd., based in San Diego California and a branch in Bermuda for those that wish to be offshore. Their website is We have been trying to get our money out for four months now. We have sent emails, regular mail, faxes and called to this company - and were totally ignored. Last week I finally got thru to the President and he told me they are Bankrupt and to speak to his Lawyer, the slicktalking President is named Mr. William McCray.

    After speaking to their lawyers and the Creditors Lawyers we learned some interesting facts: they owe 19 million dollars US to creditors around the globe, the authorities found $50,000!! Mr. McCray's story is people were reimbursed without deducting commissions and other fees. They are under investigation now with the FBI and IRS there digging hard now. Their business is managed currency trading and they claim an internal audit is underway when in fact all activity is frozen by the government. The Creditor Committee Lawyer has said that people were still investing as little as 2-3 weeks ago.

    Update May 24, 2000 - from a site visitor:

    I'm a regular subscriber to your very informative newsletter. Over time, I've looked over your website, and noticed the businesses in your "Scams" category. The one that I am going to refer to is the International Forex Ltd.

    By chance, on Monday, May 15th, I ran into a gentleman by the name of Joseph Cruz at a seminar in Irvine, CA, who says that he used to be a currency trader with Int'l Forex. He was highly praising and promoting the company, and says that he is very close to the company president, William McCray. He gave me the phone number of the company, and stated that returns average about 50 - 60% per year on their trades.

    What was interesting about this was that I happened to remember this company name from your website, so I knew something was fishy about the company from your report. Of course, I wasn't about to invest with a scam! The person who asked me to come to the seminar that night was the sales person I dealt with when I bought a new vacation plan a couple of weeks ago. This Joseph Cruz works with her at the vacation plan company in Ontario, and she has lost $10,000 from Int'l Forex, with this Joseph Cruz as her trader! If I were her, I sure would be hesitant about associating with this man, as well as very angry, but she doesn't seem to realize anything was unusual, since she knows that foreign currency trading is a high risk type of investing. I believe she even signed up under him for the business opportunity we were seeing. It takes all kinds to run a world!

    I just wanted to let you know that Int'l Forex is still around, still based in La Jolla, CA, which is the San Diego area. When I told Mr. Cruz about seeing this company on a scam alert online, he faded away very quickly. Before, he had been trying very hard to push the business opportunity we were attending on me, very hard pressure which I was resisting with no problem, since I severely doubted his credibility. After my friend who lost money told me to tell him what I had told her, he vanished pretty quickly.

    Int'l. Forex can be reached at (800) 953-6739. I don't know if this has always been their number or not, but I thought someone might want to know. I also know the information on Joseph Cruz's work address and phone number, if needed.

    Bank Scams

    * Carl Michael Kyrk and Peter Brinkenholt, also known as OMG and Eurobanco, are offering European offshore banks. They are very friendly before you send the money, but once they have the cash they become very arrogant and quickly disappear.

    Total reported loss: In excess of $70,000

    Note: We have temporarily removed additional details as Mr. Brinkenholt has emailed us to say that he had no intentions to rip off anyone, but came into troubles himself. He has promised to refund all clients over the next few months. While this is a good sign, anyone considering doing business with these guys would be well advised not to send them any up-front payments until we permanently remove this notice. Instead, if you do business with them, reach an agreement that requires you to pay only upon confirmed delivery.

    Passport Scam #1

    Silverbay Finance Limited aka Christopher Robinson aka James T. Hesketh are offering Italian passports issued supposedly under a little utilized "religious exemption" law, which of course does not exist.

    Total reported loss: In excess of $75,000+


    Silverbay are operating from the following addresses:

    Silverbay Finance Limited
    James T. Hesketh
    - Director
    David Burgess - Counsel
    25258 Cabot Road
    Laguna Hills,
    Ca. 92653. USA

    1000 BRUXELLES
    Phone: 32-2-225-0446
    Fax: 32-2-225-0546

    Christopher Robinson, Esq.
    4,000 MacArthur Blvd
    Newport Beach, CA 92660

    and via the following bank accounts:

    NEW YORK NY 10081 USA
    ABA #: 021000021

    ACCOUNT # 030-860-060
    ACCOUNT # 607745


    Here's what our subscribers wrote about Silverbay:

    "I lost $5,000 and I know 6 other people that lost between $2,000 and $10,000 to them. I am putting up a web site about Silverbay and will inform you when it is completed. I think you might wish to warn other subscribers about this company."

    "I am a Mozambique citizen and do business in Europe. Because of the VISA formalities, I was looking for a European passport. So I tried Silverbay Finance Limited. After 6 weeks he hadn't any result and the escrow contract was delayed. So I asked them to send the money back and I'm still waiting for it now after another 12 weeks! They kept me on line so they think they can still go on for a while with this fraudulent business. They claimed plenty reasons why I didn't receive the money yet. Like: We don't have your address to send the bank confirmation. We have sent the confirmation to the address we have from you. I have sent them already 3 times my address, phone number and fax but they don't even answer anymore."


    Passport Scam #2

    Tibere is a guy who is offering illegal rebirth passports, driver's licenses and identity cards from France, fast-track naturalization from Australia, and diplomatic appointments from Madagascar.

    Total reported loss: In excess of $50,000+

    Tibere (aka Robert Sirtaki)

    Tibere is operating via various e-gold accounts

    Broken English, French accent, soft-spoken, very slimy, obviously has inside knowledge of the passport market but uses it to defraud unsuspecting victims.

    One of our subscribers wrote the following about Tibere:

    "This dude is operating via various email addresses and is a real scum bag, thief, crook and the lowest of the low. He is very slick, will send jpeg copies of birth certificate and passport, then you send money and he is supposed to courier the documents, which are 'lost' in a courier package WITHOUT any airway number, excuses, etc. then nothing, your money has grown wings and disappeared."

    World Currency Cartel

    The World Currency Cartel scam is promoted by spam and first appeared in late 1997. It has made a resurgence over the past two months.

    It all starts with you receiving an email full of hype describing a secret way to make money:

    "We are glad to announce that for the first time and for a very short period of time, WORLD CURRENCY CARTEL will instruct a LIMITED number of people worldwide on 'HOW TO CONVERT $25 INTO ONE HUNDRED OF LEGAL CURRENCY'. We will transact the first conversion for you, after that you can easily and quickly do this on your own hundreds or even thousands of times every month."
    Note - they say one hundred of legal currency. They don't say that it's US dollars!

    Next, the spam promises:

    "While currency does fluctuate daily, we can show you 'HOW TO CONVERT $99 INTO $588 AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT'. That means, you will be able to EXCHANGE $99, AMERICAN LEGAL CURRENCY DOLLARS, FOR $580 OF THE SAME. You can do this as many times as you wish, every day, every week, every month. All very LEGAL and effortlessly!"
    So, what do you get when you send $35 (or, in some versions, $30 or even $25) to the PO box listed in the spam? You might not get anything - several people have reported sending money off to them and never hearing from them again.

    If you're lucky, when you send them your money, you get back one hundred units of currency from some far-away land where they still sell leaded gasoline and the water may or may not be drinkable - perhaps from a backward, third-world country like Guinea Bissau or Eritrea. You might get a hundred Burundian Francs, which have a total value of about twenty-five cents.

    And how do you turn $99 into $580 as many times as you want? You might have already figured out how they expect you to do this: by replicating the scam! It works like this:

    So, like the plain, boring version of the envelope-stuffing scheme, it's victim-spread.

    And what about the "secret flaw" that the original spam repeatedly mentions? Although it's heavily implied, nowhere does the spammer explicitly state that this is a "secret flaw" in the currency exchange process. The secret flaw to which the spammer refers is probably that flaw in human nature which ensures that scams like this will continue to proliferate throughout all eternity: That flaw is called "being a sucker."

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