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A man I recently started talking to over Facebook says he is a doctor from the US working with the UN in Tripoli. He wants get out of Tripoli because of terrorist attacks on his camp. He is asking me to open an online bank account for his account manager to send me money, and then I send the money to the camp head office. Am I being scammed?

  • He is wanting me to send it through the online account not through Western Union or anything. – Tonya Neal Jun 6 at 8:46
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    What are the chances that a US Doctor has no IRL (in real life) friends/relatives he can contact for this kind of help? – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jun 6 at 9:02
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    Yes. Why would the UN not be able to send money to "camp head office" if you (essentially a random person on the internet) are able to? – TripeHound Jun 6 at 10:25
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    What terrorist attacks?? I was just in Tripoli. – Mikey Jun 6 at 16:43
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    Comments here seem kinda snarky to me. "Why would ..." and "What are the chances..." imply that OP doesn't know something obvious. Same with "Suggest revising the title". OP comes here for help not to be berated – Oct18 is day of silence on SE Jun 6 at 17:36
84

This is a scam. You will send the money on, they will withdraw the money in cash from the account you send it to, and then it will turn out that the money he sent you doesn't actually exist. You will be out as much as they can scam you for.

Note that if he really was "working for the UN", they have enormous experience at helping expatriate workers, and he would have maintained his existing US-based account.

Furthermore, if he can transfer the money to the account you have opened, he can transfer the money to "the camp head office".

Do not try to argue these points with the person; he will come up with plausible sounding excuses why they don't apply in this particular case. Just block them on Facebook and be relieved you have dodged a bullet.

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    I would hope Facebook has a reporting mechanism so you can make life more difficult for this scammer. – mattm Jun 6 at 12:53
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    In some versions of this scam, the money is actually "real" but dirty - the facebook friend is using you to launder it and may actually be happy letting you keep a tiny fraction. Then, when their criminal or terrorist enterprise is eventually busted, the FBI comes knocking on your door instead of theirs. For as many of these scams that are about kiting money that doesn't exist, there are billions of real but dirty dollars crossing international borders every year through similar scams. – dwizum Jun 6 at 13:26
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    Besides reporting the user to Facebook, if they've asked you to use a specific bank or credit union, you should report the incident to that institution. Scammers will often target a specific institution because they believe they understand it's policies well enough to safely use it for scams (i.e. they know the thresholds that FI monitors for online banking fund transfers), and that institution may either be unaware that they've been targeted or already involved in hunting the person down with law enforcement - either way, this information could be helpful for them. – dwizum Jun 6 at 13:29
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    Facebook has a reporting mechanism, but after MANY reports, I have the impression that they have no interest in doing anything that doesn’t affect their advertising sales. – WGroleau Jun 7 at 4:11
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A man I recently started talking to over Facebook

I could stop right here and tell you this is a scam. If someone you do not actually know is asking you to do anything like this it is going to be a scam. Even if it is someone you know it might not actually be them unless you talk to them yourself and not just via text.

Once again, the old rule, if I have to ask if it is a scam then it is, remains true.

10

This is just a variant of Advance-fee scam, i.e. Romance scam.

With social networking, The 419 artist(s) simply screen their candidate meeting their criteria, then everything starts by following their storybook. In the beginning, they will spend some time with the "candidate", slowly build a relationship, which leads to sunk cost mentality. Near the end of the storybook, they will throw out the money bait.

Just search internet dating advance fee scam, go through all those exposed email and message, you will learn how the storybook flow.

To make the story convincing, some "artist" will even give you a realistic looking banking website to convince the "candidates" that there millions of $$ inside the scam artist bank account.

  • It can't both be an advance-fee scam and a romance scam. They're different things! (In fact, it is most likely neither, as Martin Bonner's answer explains). – Henning Makholm Jun 6 at 23:45
  • @HenningMakholm Romance scam ∈ Advance-fee scam. I.e. Salmon ∈ Fish. – mootmoot Jun 7 at 7:19
3

You would do well to peruse this site https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety and to report this person. Maybe go along with the scam long enough to get some solid details, to help the investigation? But don't do this without guidance from law enforcement professionals, you are too much at risk of believing the crooks..

Note that many of these fake facebook accounts are very fond of impersonating military guys. It gives them an excellent excuse for being 'out of the country', while seeming more reliable to naive targets, often older conservative ones. This is usually mixed in with a dose of oxymoronic kindness to sweeten the pill, like pictures of kittens or as in this case claims of medical activity. The military doctor is the current version of the Nigerian prince :-)

1

The Scam

The money will be "transferred" to your new account in a reversible way, using a fake check or fraudulent ACH. It will show up in the bank account as real money that you can withdraw. The scammer will ask you to make a non-reversible transfer such as Western Union, bitcoin, mail an envelope of cash or a prepaid visa, etc. Then the scam hits, the deposit to your bank account is reversed, and it now shows a very negative balance. The bank technically loaned you the money until the deposit settled, now they want to be paid back! There is no way to get back the money sent, so the bank will just come after you instead (with overdraft fees accruing at an alarming rate).

The Scam Part II

Many who fall for the first scam will, instead of walking away, get more involved with their scammer. They might believe another sad story and send even more money, or believe that the scammer is going to give their money back; in the process being conned again. Victims have drained their entire life savings and become money mules as a result of the romance scam.

What Now?

You can dodge a bullet. Block this person immediately, never talk to them again. Find a hobby, join a club, visit the YMCA... avoid new "friends" on Facebook.

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The "doctor's" intent is money laundering, by you opening an account overseas, taking receipt of the money then forwarding to another account 'washes' the money but also makes you complicit with and likely the one to be charged with the criminal offence of money laundering.

  • This doesn't add any extra information to the other answers. If you want to agree with another answer you can do it by voting that answer up. – DJClayworth Jun 7 at 14:15
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Someone is trying to scam you. There are many plot holes in the story. A doctor who works with the UN wouldn't be asking you for money. Anyway, best thing to do is break contact and report him to facebook.

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    This answer doesn't add anything meaningful to answers previously posted. – ChrisInEdmonton Jun 6 at 16:27

protected by GS - Apologise to Monica Jun 7 at 4:35

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