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A Facebook friend of mine named "Eve Amar Saab" has asked me to send him money via Moneygram to him. He lives in Pakistan. However, he gives me a different name-"Shaban Masih Karamat Masih." Is this a scam or at least a red flag?

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    It's a scam. DO NOT reply in any way AT ALL. Note that if you do, it is possible YOU YOURSELF could be in VERY serious trouble for being involved in money laundering and other crime. YOU are who the authorities will go after. DO NOT reply in any way AT ALL.
    – Fattie
    Apr 4 at 13:02
  • Let's suppose someone you met in the pub and struck up a friendship with asked you to give him some money. Would you? Would you still give him money if he said he could only take the money in a specific form, and asked you to actually give it to someone with a different name?
    – Vicky
    Apr 4 at 17:07
  • (In other words - yes, this is a scam. Even if you can't work out in what way you're being scammed.)
    – Vicky
    Apr 4 at 17:07
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    I wouldn't necessarily say that this is a scam, any more than say the typical GoFundMe appeal is a scam. He wants the OP to send him money. If there's no trickery (e.g. I send you $5000 in fake money and you send back $4500 in real money), then it's not a scam, it's just giving money.
    – jamesqf
    Apr 4 at 17:29
  • Facebook was recently compromised, he may have lost control of his account,
    – Jasen
    Apr 5 at 11:13
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Most likely this is a scam. I had an Arab friend that I knew by one name when we worked together, but he goes by a different last name today. Maybe this flexibility with last names is something in Islamic cultures we don't see in the US. If someone knows either way, please set me straight.

Supposing we ignore the red flag of the name discrepancy and further suppose it to be innocent cultural variation. How would you ascertain this is not a scam? Have you communicated with him via a different (non-internet) channel? Whenever I feel a prickling in my thumbs about something, I look up a phone number or a snail mail address. In fact, just this week, suspecting a fraud had been perpetrated in my name, I drafted a stiffly-worded letter to the State of Michigan and sent it off registered mail.

Scammers are unlikely to spoof non-electronic communications channels when you choose the channel and the address. Frankly, I think you're being scammed.

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So there are soooooo many places THIS question could go...!

THE ONE TRUTH IS THAT WHENEVER SOMEONE HAS TO ASK, "IS THIS A SCAM?", THE ANSWER ALMOST ALWAYS SHOULD BE OBVIOUS -- YES!!!

If you're unsure of the situation (and you know FAR MORE than we ever can) then your first reaction should be to follow your instinct and not do it.

The fact the person is now giving you a DIFFERENT name to send the money to should be an automatic red flag!

Apart from the fact you will likely never see your money again, you don't really KNOW who this person is, and you could find yourself on watchlists and involved in the kinds of things that nightmares are made of.

Having covered the obvious (and assuming you might still be willing to entertain this harebrained idea), is this someone you only know via Facebook? Under what circumstances did you meet, and why are they asking you for money now? How much do they want, and do they intend to pay you back? Even if they did agree to pay you, how could you ever collect?

You need to be VERY, VERY CAREFUL! You don't know what is happening on the other end and where this might lead, unless this is a person you know far better than some social media account.

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  • He now tells me that it is his brother's account and he says he does not have any account because he cannot "afford money." Apr 3 at 23:22
  • If you're sending money via MoneyGram, it doesn't REQUIRE any kind of account. And if he can't "afford money", what does he live on? How does he manage to have a computer to contact you with? Even if he's using a cyber cafe, they don't give you free access, so how does he pay for that? It all leads back to the questions I gave in my answer about how well you know him.
    – RiverNet
    Apr 3 at 23:32
  • Thank you! I am asking him these questions now and awaiting his response. Apr 3 at 23:59
  • DO NOT reply in any way AT ALL. Note that if you do, it is possible YOU YOURSELF could be in VERY serious trouble for being involved in money laundering and other crime. YOU are who the authorities will go after. DO NOT reply in any way AT ALL.
    – Fattie
    Apr 4 at 13:02
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DO NOT SEND MONEY

If you are lucky, this just a scam and you'll just loose your money. But it's also possible that this related to some money laundering scheme or you are being used as a money mule. Could be just criminals but it could also be related to a terrorist organization in which case you would commit a serious crime and potentially end up in jail.

DO NOT SEND MONEY

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