Has someone offered you a huge sum of money or a valuable consignment? It's a 419 or advance fee fraud - find out how they work, and what to do to be safe.
#200697 by Thomas Bis Thu May 08, 2014 9:02 pm
Hi all!
I work for a company that sells products on Alibaba. I'd like to get your feedback regarding the following conversation from a (possible) customer in Benin.
They first made a general enquiry on Aliaba asking for price and I quoted it, so the following is the email exchange between us after they found the price of our product.


from: orji agwu <[email protected]>

DEAR SIR,

THANKS FOR YOUR MAIL.

WE ARE VERY MUCH INTERESTED TO START A VERY GOOD BUSINESS
RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU AND YOUR COMPANY IN THE AREA OF IMPORTING
THE BELOW PRODUCTS FROM YOUR COMPANY:


Red Tail Horse Mackerel

WE ARE READY TO BE YOUR AGENT HERE IN WEST AFRICA AS WE ARE
GOING TO DISTRIBUTE THE PRODUCTS THROUGHOUT WEST AFRICA REGIONS
SO WE WANT YOU TO USE YOUR GOOD OFFICE TO SEND US YOUR ROCK
BOTTOM PRICE CIF TO COTONOU BENIN REP.

WAITING FOR YOUR URGENT REPLY.

THANKS

MRS JULIET MORE

ETS. MORE BENIN SARL
C/1228 CADJEHOUN
COTONOU BENIN REP
Tel: +229-6459- 8306

===========================

Hello Miss Juliet

CIF for Cotonou-Benin will be Xusd/kg including documents/seal and container cost.
Price valid until 31st of May, based on the purchase of 5 40' containers (120 tons).

Regards

==============================

DEAR THOMAS,
THANKS FOR YOUR MAIL.
WE HAS STUDIED THE PRICE DETAILS CIF TO COTONOU BENIN REP.
WE ARE VERY MUCH INTERESTED TO START THE BUSINESS ON REGULAR SHIPMENT BASIS.

WE ARE READY TO START OUR FIRST SHIPMENT WITH 5X40FT CONTAINERS.WE
WILL ADVICE YOU TO SEND US THE SCAN PHOTOS OF THE RED TAIL HORSE
MACKEREL AS TO SHOW THE PHOTOS TO OUR CUSTOMERS.

UPON GETTING THE SCAN PHOTOS THEN WE WILL SEND TO YOU THE DETAILS TO
PREPARE THE P.INVOICE FOR THE 5X40FT CONTAINERS.

THANKS

MRS JULIET MORE
=====================================================

Hello Juliet

Tomorrow morning I'll ask the staff to prepare some boxes and I'll take more pictures for you, how it's 5pm here and everyone is leaving already.
Have a good day!

====================================================
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#200701 by HillBilly Thu May 08, 2014 10:31 pm
without knowing what type of products you are talking about, its pretty hard to guess. I would assume you have done some homework to know weather or not it is legal to import your products into Benin.

Please read this : http://www.west-africa-import-export-scam.tk/

I would also assume you have a "due diligence" company at your disposal to run the company's credit, legality, etc before considering a possible 100% loss to your business.

Also, that phone # they gave you is a mobile phone ( and chances are good its pre-paid) so you will never be able to trace it.

Information on phone number range +229 64XXXXXX
Number billable as mobile number
Country or destination Benin
City or exchange location
Original network provider* Telecel (MOOV Bénin)

The same goes for the anonymous gmail address, its completely untraceable.

Just don't ship anything until you have money in hand ( not a CC, check or M/O, cash only), and don't pay any "Government" importer fees, or any type of fees for the "privilege" of exporting into their country.

Personally, I would not even consider getting involved with any Benin company, for any reason. The chance of fraud there is so high its not worth the few hundred dollars on a professional "due diligence" check.

They don't have any web presence, except for a lot of free B2B website advertisements, and all of those started this year. No domain, only free and anonymous gmail addresses 2 yahoo.com email addresses. And a prepaid anonymous mobile phone. Not to mention either a phony or incorrect address that can't be found on a Benin map. It sounds way too suspicious for me.

#200702 by Thomas Bis Thu May 08, 2014 10:42 pm
Thanks for the reply!
The product is frozen fish, which is fine to trade to Benin.
It's usually easy to spot scammers on Alibaba, but this one is a bit different in terms of attitude.

Most scammers on Alibaba will start by something along the lines of:"WE AREVERY BIG COMPANY WE'VE BEEN IN (country) FOR YEARS etc etc", while this company simply made a request to receive quote for a very specific variety of fish.
I gave them the CNF price, and in their first email they asked for CIF instead. Now they're asking for extra pictures of the product.
We've not talked about any payment yet, so if they start to mention some fees that we need to pay in advance, or cash against documents, then we have a no go.
My company is pretty big and one of our offices is in charge of dealing with "bank stuff", but we've not reached that point yet.
It definitely sounds fishy, but since it's currently costing me nothing I'm still following the conversation to see where it will lead.
#200703 by vonpaso xlura Thu May 08, 2014 11:03 pm
This does indeed sound fishy :D
There are three types of product lads:
*those that order medium amounts of product with stolen credit cards
*those that order huge amounts of product with fake bank transfers and
*those that send you to a website to log in with your email address for you to see their order, trying to phish the password.
I'll ignore the third type, as I've never yet found out what they want to order.

Product lads order blindly from a catalog, not knowing anything about the products they order. I've had them order turboencabulator parts. I've had one order an optical device (from the same price list) which has a spacing as required parameter and stalled him for weeks while he tried to answer the question of what that parameter is.

I suggest you ask some question which he can answer only if he knows what a horse mackerel is. For instance, you could ask him the relative size of a horse mackerel and an ace mackerel. (One of my other baiting characters catches ace mackerel, red gombessa, albertfish, and other similar fishes.)

... ni los estafadores heredarán el reino de Dios. 1 Cor. 6:10
#200705 by Thomas Bis Thu May 08, 2014 11:16 pm
Haha that sounds fun, asking something like:"What are your customer requirements in terms of glazing % and freezing method?" and see if they reply:"Everything's fine, no problem!" :laugh-s:

The amount of fish they intend to order would definitely place them in the second category, so for me it's either:

a) As soon as I'll start to talk about payment, they'll ask us me some cash in advance or CAD.
b) They want to "pay" 100% l/c through a fake bank

The former is easily dealt with, the second one might waste a bit of time on our side.
#200869 by TerranceBoyce Fri May 09, 2014 6:58 pm
From my days in banking the general rule, that never let me down, was that any document with the word 'Nigeria' on it was either a fraud or a forgery and Benin is next door with many Nigerians operating from there.

One thing that strikes me is that even the most rudimentary economy will have a fishing industry and any Western company will struggle to compete with the local product, so why would they order your fish ? You may know the worth and value of your fish but why do they find it appealing. They must have a reason and a market to sell it to because, if they don't, then their only reason is to rip you off.

In the unlikely even that they're genuine, the sensible way to proceed is with a trial order for a value that wouldn't hurt you and would avoid complex and costly procedures like letters of credit. I strongly doubt you'll ever get a letter of credit out of Benin and, if you did, I'd examine it closely.

CAR ADVERTS - If a car seller mentions escrow - he's scamming you Never ever for any reason pay anything until you have seen and inspected the vehicle

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