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New wording, same old tricks

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Dear Consumer’s Voice #1
Can you help me to meet my friend who is a refugee in Senegal dakur (Dakar) whom I met through Internet but she does not have travelling documents but I want her to come to my country (Botswana). We have been communicating but i sometimes feel it is a scam because she said she has a money in the royal bank in Scotland which was left by his father before he died in the ivory coast wars in 2006.
She mentioned that she is staying in a camp and i have talked to some lawyers in Senegal to assist us to transfer the money into my account here in Botswana but they demand that I pay them the processing money through the western union so that they can help us, but I sometimes feel that it is a scam and have been reluctant to send them the money. How best can you help me to locate her and bring her here? Her name is Ms Hariet U. Yeboah from Ivory Coast but a refugee at Dakur Senegal. I wanted the bank to transfer the money to my account so that I can send her some money to process the travelling documents because she told the money is a fund which is written in her name and she wanted the money to be transferred to my account.

There is absolutely no doubt that this is a scam.  100% certain, no doubt about it.  This story about being stranded in a refugee camp, the lawyer intermediary and the use of Western Union are exactly the same story that many “419” scammers use and there is no truth in any of it.

Unfortunately the person you have been emailing simply doesn’t actually exist and neither does the lawyer in Senegal.  They are either the same person or part of the same criminal team, all pretending to be the various characters in this made-up story.

You might think that although every other story like this is a fake, perhaps this one is true?  No.  Do a Google search for “Hariet U. Yeboah” and you’ll find a report of exactly the same story, this time even with pictures of this fictional woman.  If it’s true I think it’s curious that the pictures she sends of herself to different victims are actually of different young women.

I know it might be difficult to believe after all the time you have invested in emailing her but I’m afraid you must face the truth.  You’ve been lied to and there is absolutely no truth in anything you’ve been told.

Please don’t send them any money under any circumstances.  You’ll never see it again.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

Hi Watchdog.  Please check this scam below I received this morning.

“BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT! Is your lack of a degree holding you back from career advancement? Are you having difficulty finding employment in your field of interest because you don’t have the paper to back it up – even though you are qualified? If you are looking for a fast and effective solution, we can help! Call us right now for your customized diploma: Inside U.SA.: 1-718-989-5740 Outside U.S.A.: +1-718-989-5740. Just leave your NAME & TEL. PHONE # (with country-code) on the voicemail and one of our staff members will get back to you promptly!.”

Many thanks for sending us this.  This bunch of crooks are obviously selling fake degrees, that much is clear.  However isn’t it surprising how obvious they are?

Out of interest I phoned the number (which is in New York) and left my details.  Surprisingly the voice on the answer machine was very obviously a white South African.  Clearly as crooks Africans are spreading their wings!

I left a message with my contact details so I’ll let you know if I get any response.

New Era travel update

You may recall that we reported on the conduct of a travel agency called New Era Travel which operates from the Craft Workshop in Broadhurst.  They took a consumer’s money for a hotel booking in Nairobi but didn’t actually make the booking; instead they just kept the money.  When he complained they gave him a refund cheque that bounced and then gave him months and months of excuses.  It was only after he got the Police and the Small Claims Court involved that the manager of New Era finally refunded his cash.  So was that it?

No.  New Era then ripped off another customer.  This customer paid them a small fortune for a family trip abroad only to be given a fake ticket.  When she contacted the airline they said they had no booking at all for her.  Luckily it seems she had paid New Era with two cheques and she was able to stop the second one.

The lesson is simple.  Do not, under any circumstances, use New Era Travel.

An appeal

Which company in Botswana gives you really dreadful service on the telephone?  Let us know who you think sucks on the phone and we’ll phone them, record their abysmal service and then send a recording to their CEO or MD.  Let’s demonstrate how bad things are to those who have the power to do something about it!

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