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A man from Dubai (I’m from Spain) I just met through Instagram wants to send me money and even offered to pay my rent in the future. He says he does it because he has too much money and he want to spend it on someone good. We have talked only for two days. Am I being scammed?

EDIT: He lives in Dubai but was born in Nigeria. His name is Andrew Young and he appears as the Chief Executive at Anbays Group company website.

EDIT: I have offered him to send me the money through Western Union and he has acted offended because I talked about being safe and online scams. He says as he has plans to come to Spain he will hand me the money. Does he intend to kidnap me or something like that?

EDIT: I just want to thank you all for your advice, I have decided not to accept that so called money and just end communication with him. Thank you so so much, I see now I was being too naïve.

  • 26
    Please get back to us and tell what happened in the end. – d-b Dec 14 '18 at 8:21
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    He just asked for my: street name, email, phone number, SWIFT code, bank name, bank address and to send that to his personal email because “Instagram is not secured” – sophia Dec 14 '18 at 10:26
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    Your second sentence begins "He says". That's good. Do that more. Let's rephrase your first sentence with that in mind: "I received a message that claims to be from a man, but it might be from a scammer's robot, or a woman. He claims to be from Dubai." You then abandon this in the edits. He says he lives in Dubai. He says he was born in Nigeria. He says his name is Andrew Young. You keep on stating things as facts with no evidence; stop doing that and you will be less susceptible to scams. Odds are good that most of those "facts" are falsehoods. – Eric Lippert Dec 14 '18 at 21:35
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    For those of you wondering: I didn’t give him any bank details or other private information. I just refused the money and eventually blocked him. Your advice has been crucial and I’ve learned so much about scams. So grateful. Love from Spain! – sophia Dec 15 '18 at 16:32
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    @ako Until you actually spend the bitcoins and the police wonders why you have received bitcoins from a known criminal they have had under investigation for a year. Bitcoins may be anonymous, but they are perfectly traceable. – pipe Dec 16 '18 at 18:05
124

This is 200% a scam

Here are some of the red flags, and I've reported the site to its registrar (whatever good that does):

  • You just met him, and are pretty much a stranger, but he wants to send you money and pay your rent.
  • Without meeting you, after just 2 days, he "knows you are good".
  • The reason is unrealistic. He has "too much money". Not impossible, but a red flag, very unlikely. People don't become rich CEOs by having "too much money" that they simply have to give it to a person they just met on Instagram.
  • He claims to be the named CEO of a prestigious, and exotic, company.
  • The company's website was only created in April 2018 (link)
  • The company website also looks like a single page "dummy" (fake) website. Under "contact" and "find out more", it gives just an email address and street address. No phone. No legal pages or terms. No customer service. No details of business contracts it's won, projects it worked on, or company news. Twitter but no tweets (account only created September 2018). A simple 1 page "looks like a company" website with nothing checkable. Google Maps and street view show nothing likely to be a substantial company of that description at that address. Google search shows no business related hits for such a company.
  • A Nigeria connection.

Now, let's look at why these are red flags.

  • Numerous scams start by a person saying "I want to send you money" to a stranger. This can be a "hook" into getting money sent back, or to personal information, or a kind of scam where part of the money is paid onward or back, but then the original payment fails (much later).
  • The very rapid building of emotional "hooks". You are "good". He is a prestigious person. His profile can be found online (must be genuine!). He will send money. He will pay rent (a very personal and emotive thing, the house over your head). Too unlikely, and too contrived, but very common in scams because they rob you of critical thinking space. It's too much, too good, moving too fast. Classic scammy stuff.
  • Implausible motive. The world of scams is full of bank managers who have money to give away and you are "the only living relative", people in love and you're the "only person for me", church owners who want to find a true believer in Jesus and give all their money to them.... this follows the same pattern.
  • Using a web-verifiable identity. The name and photo exists, so it must be real. In other scams, names and photos of genuine but unconnected company owners, accident victims, refugees are used, to add a sense of veracity. This person could be anyone, but they happen to be a prestigious CEO verifiable on a website. Is it them? Unlikely.
  • Recently created single-page website: Scammers often create a website to back their scam. Does the company really exist? Did it recently change name? Can it be found in old media (news/industry) records? Does it look like a real company website (real contacts, contracts/clients, media coverage)? Above all, do other "very well known" reputable websites mention it or have links to it, including mentions that aren't recent? If those look surprisingly empty, there is usually a reason.
  • Nigerian connection. This is probably contentious, and may be seen as inappropriate. Not all Nigerian sources are scammers. But if profiling, this kind of scam is linked with Nigeria enough that its usual name (419 scam) is named after a section of the Nigerian criminal code. Read up on Wikipedia.

Just don't

If against all advice, you want to engage further

Assume any phone numbers, names, addresses and photos you get, aren't those of the actual person you are talking to, or (for phone/email) are untraceable "dead ends".

For example, someone who thinks you are "good" enough to give you much money after just 2 days will surely be happy for you to phone them at their office. You might ask or he might offer a number. If you do, DO NOT TRUST THE NUMBER HE GIVES. Google a correct company number online, ask for his secretary, call a number you yourself have found, not one he gave you. Except there isn't one..

Don't give personal identifying or bank information. If he wants to send money, ask for it via Moneygram, western union etc. Date of birth, address, bank account, PIN, etc - he may ask for those, be sure it's not for your own good, do not give them, no matter what he tempts you with, (even if "I can't send you money unless you tell me", or "don't you trust me", or "I thought you were good")

Last, if you do receive money, you may be asked to send some on to a third party, or repay some. Don't do that until your bank confirms in writing, that the funds are cleared to the point that they cannot be requested back by the sender. A very common scam relies on you sending someone else some of the money, then the bank finds they have to repay all of it from your account, so you end up out of pocket.

He is supposedly very rich. So if he asks you to spend anything or send anything (to anyone!), don't. Let him do it.

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    I can see all of the red flags you are talking about. He has actually acted offended when I refused to disclose those personal bank details. Fishy. – sophia Dec 14 '18 at 11:46
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    I'm tempted to say, Tell him to make any payments to your lawyer's client bank account, as you wish to treat his money with especial care and respect. Name any local lawyer. Wait for reply. It should be amusing. But better and safer just to disengage. – Stilez Dec 14 '18 at 12:09
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    Actually, even if the bank were to confirm, yes, the money is now yours and cannot be returned/requested back/charged back, think twice if he asks you to pass a portion of the money on to a 3rd party - you might be a money mule / laundering money (Criminal source (dirty money) -> you (innocent person) -> 3rd party (clean money) – CharonX Dec 14 '18 at 14:17
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    A minor additional thing: The website is apparently made with wix.com, an service to quickly set up a website. A big corporation would unlikely use that for their main page. A small startup might, but then the CEO had better things to do than looking for people to give money, he'd be looking for people to get money from^^ – Frank Hopkins Dec 14 '18 at 16:06
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    Also suspicious: he's using the name of a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., far enough in the past that people will not remember exactly where they've heard the name, but recent enough that older people might still have some sort of vague "yeah, that guy sounds familiar, and I associate him with something related to Africa" sort of feeling. – shoover Dec 14 '18 at 20:13
69

Look out for other red flags, like

  • he asks for more information than necessary for sending the money. For example, any personally identifiable information (national ID card/passport/social security number), or passwords of any sort. Please note that no one needs your banking password in order to send you money.
  • he asks you to open a separate bank account for this purpose, especially if he specifies the bank or a sends a link to an "online bank" where you ought to create the account.
  • he asks you to transfer a portion of the money he sent you, to another account
  • he "accidentally" sends more than he promised, then asks you to return the difference.
  • he asks you for a small money transfer from you to him before he sends the big money, in order to show him "goodwill and trust"
  • he actually sends you some small amount of money a few times (to build up trust), then he suddenly sends you a distress message that he is stuck in a foreign country with his wallet stolen, and you need to send him a large sum so he can get home, promising to repay you.

If these red flags are missing, it still has a high chance of being a scam. But if any of them is present, it's 100% sure it's a scam.

Edit:

After several comments and additions by the OP, it is even more sure it's a scam:

  • insisting on one specific payment method, and refusing all alternatives suggested by you.
  • insisting on continuing all conversation outside of instagram. (I'm almost sure that if you reported him now on instagram to the moderators, they would find out he messaged many other women with similar offers, and he will be probably banned)
  • mentioning he comes from Nigeria. This is both useful as a filter (more cautious victims would stop responding after seeing "Nigeria", so the scammer doesn't have to waste time with them and can concentrate on less cautious victims), and as an excuse later on if he tries sending money from a Nigerian account (many African countries, especially Nigeria is well known from having more lax or corrupt law enforcement regarding financial frauds than more developed countries). He might even use that "Nigerian connection" later on, claiming he inherited a large sum of money, but it's illegal in Dubai to receive money from Nigeria so he has to use your account for the transfer.

I would recommend blocking him and ending all communication. He might try to threaten you and scare you into cooperating, in that case note that it's not profitable for him to actually carry out those threats, because he is likely messaging hundreds of others at the same time, and his time is more valuable to him if he uses it to find other victims.

  • 4
    Thank you! This is very useful. He hasn’t done anything yet, but when I briefly mentioned using PayPal to transfer me the money he laughed and said “no one uses PayPal here, I’ll send it to your bank account”. Also, should I mention the fact he lives in Dubai BUT was born in Nigeria? I’ve read about the Nigerian scammers. – sophia Dec 14 '18 at 9:46
  • Yes, born in Nigeria is an obvious red flag as well. – Mast Dec 14 '18 at 18:41
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    @sophia Just to note, many scammers will claim to be Nigerian despite having never even been to Africa. They do that to find the most singularly gullible people who are so out of touch with the world that they don't know the modern connotations that word entails. It feels weird spelling it out, but some people did actually come to believe that all Nigerian citizens are scammers, which they are not, not by and large at least. – undercat Dec 15 '18 at 12:41
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Are you a beautiful woman?

If no, then you're probably being scammed.

If yes, there's a smaller probability that you're being scammed.

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    Just have the man send you expensive jewelry :->) – Bob Baerker Dec 14 '18 at 4:05
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    If yes, then you're probably beeing scammed. – DonQuiKong Dec 14 '18 at 9:08
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    Irrelevant check. There's no way this isn't a scam. – AJFaraday Dec 14 '18 at 16:18
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    This answer doesn't really contribute anything. At best, it's humorous. At worst, it encourages people who think they're beautiful to be less cautious than they should be. Even as a joke, that's a dangerous thing to suggest. – Zibbobz Dec 14 '18 at 16:35
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    @BobBaerker has the right idea. Tell him you'd love some exotic jewelry from Dubai (or Nigeria!) and that you would treasure that far more than material wealth. If he "has too much money", he should have no problem buying said jewelry and sending it to you. Give him a PO Box to send it to. If you get jewelry... hey, free jewelry. And he can't reverse the charges, file for fraud, drain your account, etc. – Doktor J Dec 14 '18 at 17:26
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Yes. I would be very careful as nothing in the world is free. There are cases where they would first donate money and then ask you to transfer part of it elsewhere are common. And then it turns out the money they provided you was stolen money see this link for additional information https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/comment/51378.I would not give personal details to anyone. Especially not someone you have never met. This can eventually lead to financial scam or worse personal harm.

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    Please include (quote or paraphrase) the relevant information in your answer and only use the link to provide extended information. Assume that the link can become stale at any time. – Matthieu M. Dec 14 '18 at 8:42
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The very fact that he claims to be from Nigeria proves it is a scam. This is him telling any savvy observer that it is a scam.

Scamming is a broad search for a very few naïve, vulnerable people. It is vital to efficiently screen out anyone else. They can't afford to waste their precious time running a con on someone who is a little too savvy to fall for their game. That is why scammers (who are actually not from Nigeria) say they're from Nigeria.

In American politics, we use the word "dog whistle" to describe a term you only expect some people to understand. Saying you're from Nigeria is a dog whistle to anyone who knows enough about scams to see through your scam.

Proposing that he send money to you via Western Union is a new twist, but I suspect it had dual reasons: First, it's another dog-whistle to warn off anyone familiar with scams, since Western Union is the money transfer scheme of choice for scammers. Second, it softens you up to the idea of using Western Union in the first place.

Him sending you money via Western Union will certainly never happen. Instead, he will send you a cashiers check. What happens next is an accident: he wrote the check for too much money. Along with some absurd reason why this happened. He will ask you to send the excess amount back to him, and one guess how: (click for spoiler)

Western Union

Money, once sent that way, is 100% irrevocable. It is gone.

And how could you not? After he did such a great kindness to you?? That will seem OK, since your bank will show the cashier's check amount as a pending balance, and soon, as a good balance. That's just what bank systems do. It doesn't reflect on whether the check has cleared.

Of course, you know where this is going. The check is either a) forged in a clever way such that it will take weeks bouncing around the African banking system before finally being refused as a forgery, or b) the check has valid account numbers and bank details on it, but these were stolen or hacked, often by another confidence scammer who talked somebody else out of their -- can you see it coming? --

Account numbers and bank details.

And so the wheel turns. Eventually, the check is found to be no good. The "money" is debited back out of your account, and the amount that disappears is -- anyone, anyone, Bueller?

the full face value of the check.

The money you wired to the scammer is still gone. And if this overdrafts your account, you're on the hook for that Right Now. Nobody is going to eat this loss for you. It's just on you.

This finishes with you out-of-pocket the amount of money you sent Westen Union, Western Union fees, and whatever fees the bank tacks on. The scammer is richer by the amount you sent.

Often the scam will be more elaborate, with more stories and more checks and more sendbacks.

If you want to jump on the grenade for the rest of humanity, you can "troll" this guy and waste as much of his time as possible, by playing along. Put it on Youtube, you might get $10 in advertising revenue for your trouble.

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    It was the OP who suggested the scammer send the money via WU. The scammer promptly refused, of course :-) – jcaron Dec 17 '18 at 11:36
  • @jcaron I agree that's how it's written, but I'd like to hear from OP who mentioned it first. – Harper Dec 17 '18 at 17:15
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Any answer or comment that doesn't advise the OP to completely break all contact immediately with this obvious scammer should be rethought by the poster. This young lady had the good sense to be suspicious and ask here what to do. You guys (accusations of being sexist be damned!) should not suggest "tests" or "alternates" or reverse scams or anything that will keep her in contact with this predator even one more second.

I'd add that she should change her passwords on any financial account she may have, and make the passwords very strong.

  • Who said she's young? – Dawood ibn Kareem Dec 16 '18 at 18:06
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    The OP did. Under the answer of Jack Klompus the OP said: " I am indeed a girl and he says he thinks I’m beautiful, and I’m a college student with not a lot of money (and he knows that, that’s why he offered supposedly." – ab2 Dec 16 '18 at 18:09
  • My apologies. I missed that comment! – Dawood ibn Kareem Dec 16 '18 at 18:10
1

You could just ask him to send you Bitcoins. That way, you wouldn't have to reveal any personal information.

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    even if the person sends money, this is not per se without risk. It can be part of a money laundering scheme. Later the person might ask to "donate a part to a 'friend'", etc. – Willem Van Onsem Dec 14 '18 at 9:29
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    then you could say no. just keep a copy of the correspondence – sudo rm -rf slash Dec 14 '18 at 9:45
-1

"He says he does it because he has too much money and he want to spend it on someone good." ..

IMHO, just share the info for all the charity foundation that needs (ad hoc or continuous) fund/organization known to you. And let the person fulfill his/her "charity" the right way.

Affiliation aside, the only legal way around this is to get married with the person who intend to share his/her wealth freely.

If this person really is legit, then you can at least be a friend that can pass this message : "Yeah.. I get your (charity sense) point.. but you better to be careful not to trust anyone too quickly.. me included." ( :

  • 2
    Only legal way? – chrylis Dec 14 '18 at 8:34
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    Since when it is illegal to just give money to people? – chrylis Dec 14 '18 at 8:39
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    Under US law, any person can give any US citizen or resident any amount of money legally. However, giving any amount over roughly USD 13,000 involves gift tax law, getting into an issue of taxable vs. nontaxable. That said, if the giver in the OP truly wants to give away their money to a worthy cause, there are many charity organizations in the world that would love to be the giver's worthy cause. (Charity donations don't involve US gift tax law.) – Codes with Hammer Dec 14 '18 at 14:34
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    Why wish the pain of dealing with fraud onto a charity? – Phil Dec 16 '18 at 10:00
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    @p._phidot_ FWIW, I thought your answer was helpful. I concur with your suggestion of passing along info about charity organizations. – Codes with Hammer Dec 17 '18 at 16:46

protected by Ganesh Sittampalam Dec 14 '18 at 8:42

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