Check Scams, Debt Collection scams and other financial scams.
#159385 by Boaz Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:46 pm
Hi,
In short, here's what happened:

- My parents went on holiday to Ethiopia.
- Were approached by a 'student', around 18 years old at the time, whom they befriended.
- After returning, they set up a monthly money transfer for a small amount to help him through Uni.
- He updated them regularly on his course and his progress, referring to himself as their 'son'.
- At one stage he emailed that his girlfriend was pregnant.
- He married her, they had a child which they named after my father.
- When he finished his Uni course, my parents let him know that they would stop their monthly contribution.
- He recently asked for help for a specific situation and my parents told him they would not help him out.
- Last week he emailed that his son (with the same name as my father) needed heart surgery and that he needed $2100 for the operation. He asked my parents for the money, indicating that the alternative would be praying and waiting for the child to die.
- My parents transferred the money. This was four days ago.
- Today they emailed me this, at the same time indicating he would go to jail if he didn't come up with the extra money:

Hello, how are you doing today?
The operation had finished successfully last Saturday but still [child's] condition in dangerous because he breathe with the help of oxygen. The operation take 5 hour and 25 five minute, that time was so extremely worse and desperate. I was not hope he can survive because they told me the operation coronary bypass surgery by using pump machine. It is bad. Still he not wakes well and we fright so much. We had agreed to back [wife] to [home] to beg money from her families but the doctor told us she not go there. Yesterday [wife] had ringed for her father and uncle as they send money but they can send only 310 dollar but after this we need at least about 521- 600 including our bread and tea. We are very anxious to get money because you have warning me as I not ask you any money, it is deserve for you because you sent what you can….. ,The money what we have is not enough to cover the total cost what we keeping from hospital, if we stay more from hospital the cots will increase . I have decided to take him to [home] but [wife] and doctors not agree, the doctor strictly warning me as I not try it. If I out him from hospital he will die soon, I don’t like lost my child but all alternative to get money closed. What you say me???
I am eagerly looking your hope full response. I am so so sorry. I understand your decision and idea but what can you do in my place? Please pray for [child] and us.


- Sounds like a scam to me. I've kept quiet till now. Please let me know your thoughts.
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#159436 by Bubbles Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:41 pm
It is hard to say for certain. He could be more of a beggar. Scammers usually offer something in exchange for the money. "Love", "Treasure" or something else.

We would have no way of knowing if the story is true about the child. Yes, scammers often come up with more and more reasons to ask for money.

Have you searched the email address he is communicating to them with? That can be telling in many cases. Also put the "medical" information in to a search engine to see if it shows up as a script being used by a scammer. If he has sent any photos, you can use www.tineye.com or google images to find where the photos may have come from. Having him hold a newspaper up with a photo can sort things out too. If he gets angry, then you can pretty well expect he is pulling something. We don't see a lot of scams from Ethiopia.

Do your parents have the name of the hospital and or doctor. They should verify all through internet search to make certain it is not this character or a confederate they are talking to. The call should go through the hospital switchboard and be verifiable on a website.

Sadly, sending money like this becomes a bottomless pit. People who receive money for doing nothing always find reasons to keep needing more money. Kind of like feeding an animal in the wild, they begin to get dependent on the hand out.

I don't fault them. If this person is real, I don't fault him, it is just a reality of human and animal behavior.

I will say that I have not heard of an infant needing a bypass operation. That is for clogged arteries. I am not a medical doctor, so it might be good to do some research on that too.

Best of luck

Bubbles, former Scamwarners moderator.

Rest in Peace 24 June 2015.

Gone, but never forgotten.
#159440 by jolly_roger Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:12 am
I would have thought to befriend someone and contribute some of the costing's toward their University courses is fair enough. To transfer money to someone that is not related, on a monthly basis to help him through his studies is indeed a very kind act. Stopping the monthly contributions when the University course finishes would be the normal action I would think. My own thoughts is perhaps he has grown to be dependant on your parents contribution and said individual is now like a beggar? Not being in the medical field myself, I won't say infants do not need bypass operations but it would be un-common for such a procedure. You should be able to verify the story from hospital records/ doctors and specialists reports etcetera. At which hospital did the coronary bypass surgery take place I wonder?
re: I have decided to take him to [home] but [wife] and doctors not agree.
That statement is not quite true, the hospital would not allow such actions to take place I would have thought. It might happen in a Hollywood type movie where it seems anything is possible.
#172399 by A.Faranji Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:04 am
This is probably a scam. I provided money for education and living costs to an 18 year old Ethiopian. Last year he claimed to have been involved in a serious accident and needed about £2,500 for hospital treatment. Unforunately, I sent it but later learned that there had been an accident but he was not involved. I have also been in contact with another lady who had a similar experience with an Ethiopian.
A.Faranji.
#172410 by A.Faranji Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:48 am
Mod note: Merged topic - CW

When visiting Ethiopia it is almost impossible not to be affected by the extent of poverty. This has inspired Westerners to set up charities for specific projects or to help individuals. Ethiopian school children often ask Westerners to help them with their further education. The school director provides a school report and suggests suitable further education. This may be a satisfactory arrangement when there has been personal contact between the sponsor and school director but, if contact is by e-mail, there is the possibility that the school director is being impersonated by someone else. The would-be sponsor is told that the most suitable career is to be a tour operator. Arrangements will then be made to enrol the student at the Lion Ethiopia Tourism and Hotel College. This is a private college in Addis Ababa. Fees are more expensive than Ethiopian universities but not totally unreasonable. Tour companies will be willing to employ someone with a diploma. Once the sponsor agrees, prices of accommodation in Addis Ababa are far more expensive than expected and the student needs his own furniture and kitchen materials. After about a month at the Lion, the sponsor is told money is needed for educational trips. This is compulsory or the student will fail that course. Money for the educational trip includes hiring a digital camera at great expense. It is therefore cheaper to send a digital camera which can be used on all trips. None of these extra expenses are necessary so the sponsor can be paying more than three times the required amount.
Once the first year has been completed, it becomes apparent that tour companies have fewer places than students wanting to fill them. This causes great distress and motivates efforts to set up as self-employed. The sponsor receives business plans, written by professionals, asking for large amounts of money. The student may or may not be still attending the Lion. This is impossible to establish because the Lion receptionist is most unhelpful on the ‘phone and e-mails are ignored.
If the sponsor does agree to set the student up in business, the business may become unprofitable due to changes in global markets or government policies. More money is needed to set up a different business or to build a house on land the government has given him. A house provides collateral that can be used for a loan.
By now, the sponsor has provided well for the student and feels there is no need for more help. E-mails become less frequent until greed takes over and the student resorts to traditional scams. The student or close relative has a severe illness or is involved in a road accident that requires expensive medical treatment. Since there has been e-mail correspondence over several years, the sponsor feels they have a close relationship with the student and is unwilling to believe this is a scam.
Establishing that scams have taken place is difficult but not impossible. Both Ethiopians and Westerners can be threatened for enquiring too closely into scams.
Even students who did complete the Lion’s diploma are often underemployed and may try to get their sponsors to set them up in business with over-priced second hand equipment.
Some charities do sponsor students in higher education but they will not take on students visitors may have befriended. The Ethiopian government does have a loan scheme whereby the student repays the loan once they are employed but, according to “Loan sharking Ethiopia’s future” (2009), higher educational institutions have been prohibited from providing some students with their academic credentials until they can find work to re-pay the loan.
A. Faranji
#214534 by Michaelowa Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:34 pm
The Lion Ethiopia Tourism and Hotel College scam is still active in 2014. Moreover, it is now copied for a nursing college in Addis Ababa called Kia Med Medical College. The scam is quite sophisticated. Both colleges can be found in listings of educational institutions. Students provide sponsors with very officially looking, stamped reports and mark sheets. Moreover, they use real school directors in Lalibela as reference persons and arrange meetings with them to serve as guarantors. So be very careful if asked for sponsorship in Lalibela!

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