Foreknowledge is forewarning - an insurance against many frauds
and scams. This is specially so in Internet where fraudsters of
a same kind of scam follow more or less same on-line tricks, even
similar language. These fraudsters believe success lies in large
number - as thousands of new surfers are joining Internet everyday.
What is old hat and discarded immediately by an experienced surfer
- may work on a newcomer. And we must say - there is some truth
in this statement - otherwise Nigerian 419 scam can not continue
for so many years.
We have documented here few on-line scams and abuses encountered
frequently by business persons.
False Promise Leaves Manufacturer/Exporter
A new kind of fly-by-night operators have devised this smart trick
to defraud unsuspecting exporters. Here, so called buyer negotiates
with manufacturer/exporter for custom designed product as per given
specifications. The quantities are huge - sometimes there is even
talk of buy-back arrangement.
The 'buyer' convinces the seller that he/she is about to place a
huge order on L/C basis with attractive payment option and the seller
should start production immediately.
However, once production is complete the buyer goes back on his
word, and the manufacturer is left with custom designed products
that can not be sold to others. The seller has no option but to
sell the stock to the buyer at reduced price and under atrocious
Your insurance remains in not agreeing to early production, specially
for unknown buyer, no matter how attractive the order is.
This is a smart trick that has fooled even experienced exporters.
The fraud starts with an innocent looking fax requesting you to
send detail information about your products, services, prices etc.
You may ask where is the scam ? Well, the requester provides a fax
number only. The only way you can provide the information is by
return fax to a number that turns out to be in a foreign country,
resulting in expensive charges on your phone bill.
Beware of faxes, letters or e-mails asking you for detailed information
about your products or services and providing only a fax number
for you to respond. No matter what elaborate explanation is given,
these people aren't really interested in buying anything from your
business. The real motivation is to get you to send a lengthy fax
to a foreign phone number, resulting in high charges on your phone
When you dial a foreign number, your local phone company connects
you to the overseas telecom company in the country you are calling.
The overseas company connects you to the number you dialed. Part
of what you pay for the call or fax goes to the foreign phone company
- and the scammer profits by arranging to share the revenue with
Remember - telephone numbers in Canada and some parts of Caribbean
follow same dialing code (1-nnn-nn..etc.) as used by US companies.
You may assume the fax or telephone number to be from USA - while
it may actually belong to a Caribbean country.
Your protection against such frauds lie in checking the telephone/fax
number carefully and insisting on full particulars about requesting
company before sending a lengthy fax. Another protection against
such scam is to direct such callers to visit your website for detail
information (if you still do not have a website - think again. You
really need one for international business).
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 4, Issue 17
; Dec 24' 2003
Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various
capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development,
MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce
venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of
his own. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org