This week, there is a new detailed account of how Nigerian scammers are still able to snare victims and bleed them for months and even years. John Rempel, of Leamington, Canada, ultimately lost $150,000 after scam artists convinced him to send money from himself and relatives for over a year. In the process, he quit his job and traveled around the world for what is known as the Nigerian 419 scam.
Rempel was snared with the promise of $12.8 million in windfall funds — an irresistible prize that led him to not just give everything that he had but to borrow $55,000 from an uncle in Mexico and $60,000 from his parents.
He was hooked by scammers in July 2007 with an e-mail from a faux lawyer telling him that a client named David Rempel died in a 2005 bomb attack in London and wanted the money to go to a Rempel. Rempel explained that “It sounded all good so I called him. He sounded very happy and said God bless you.” Then came the little fees and deposits required to free up the money.
He was then asked to pay the taxes on the money (originally $250,000 and then mysteriously reduced to $25,000).
Getting money from an uncle in Mexico, he then flew to London. He met people who showed him a suitcase with $10.6 million in shrink-wrapped U.S. bills. Rempel wanted more proof. His new friends pulled out one bill and “cleansed” it with a liquid “formula,” which washed off some kind of stamp. Rempel was told that process made the money “legal tender.”
They gave him the “formula,” but failed to show up to cleanse the rest of the money. Rempel then broke the bottle of magic formula and they told him that they would get him more, but that it would cost $120,000.
Money kept being demanded and sent by Rempel. Finally, the men claimed that they had been stopped at the airport in New York and needed $12,500 for a bribe. Finally, Rempel got wise and refused. Rempel, his parents and 10-year-old brother Ike drove to New York and searched the airport. To their disappointment, the men were not there.
What is striking about this account is that level of contact with these men. If Rempel can meet with these men and telephone them, why can’t our own investigators trap such scammers?
Recently, we learned of a woman who gave Nigerians $400,000 in such a scam. These stories show why these scammers need only to score in less than one percent of recipients of emails to make considerable money.
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