Monday, May 14, 2007


Such a simple scam

The email below is the first stop on what is a very simple scam, it is part of the suite of tricks used primarily by Nigerians known as 419 scams (After the article of Nigerian law that deals with them) or advance fee fraud, however this one differs in that no upfront fee is requested. Here is how it works...

1) You respond and they sign you up.

2) The cheques start to arrive; you are implored to pay them in to your bank and wire the money immediately.

3) The Cheques bounce (they are fake) and you have to repay the money, problem is that international money transfers are hard to trace, the fraudster has made off with your money.

It really is that simple, yet it works because it has the classic scam hook, easy money, the optimist in us would love to believe that someone would just email, out of the blue offering money for old rope.

Interestingly a trace on “Michael Nash” showed that the email was send from Hamburg, Germany, not Japan as claimed.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Nash"
To: stopscamguides(at)
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 11:25 AM
Subject: P/T Job Vacancy.

> TOKYO 1000005
> Registration Number: 3699677
> VAT registration number: 832 6732
> My name is Michael Nash, a representatives from MIN-KAN INTERNATIONAL LIMITED with the head quarter in Tokyo, Japan.
> We recently expanded our sales to the United Kingdom and Europe becuase of the great innovation the company have gain across the world in the marketing of all sort of Electronic apppliances. We have been facing serious difficulties when it comes to selling our products to britain, interms of payment as majority of them offer payment with cheque payment, which is very difficult for us to cash here in Japan.
> We are presently working on setting up a branch in the United Kingdom for now and we are urgently in need of a representative in the United kingdom who will be working for us as a part time staff workers who will be working from home without affecting his/her present job if they have any at hand now and we will be willing to pay 10% for every transaction.
> We are looking for an individual in the United Kingdom who will be working for us and we are willing to pay 10% for each & every transaction, which wouldn't affect your present state of work, someone who will receive payments on our behalf, from our customers in Europe. These payments are in form of a cheque and it will be made payable to your name, so all you need do is cash the cheque, deduct your percentage and wire the rest back to us via western union or moneygram money transfer. I want you to know that you will not be investing any money from your pocket in this venture, you are to receive payments which will be sent by my customers to you via express mail.
> If you can assist us with this transaction, I would like you to get back to me.
> Awaiting your response and thanks.
> Sincerely,
> Michael Nash
> X-PHP-Mail: Mon May 14 12:25:52 CEST 2007 - /home/www/web93/html

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


A trip to Brussels.

Many of you reading this blog will have signed the petition to the European Parliament, many more of you made your own petitions or submissions using the website of the parliament. The petition is important because the scam guides have for decades escaped justice by operating across borders. Rarely does a guide target the host country, and when they do the result is often swift action under national laws.

What the ECG does would almost certainly be illegal within most of the countries affected, in Belgium it has been classed as fraud, but the affected countries can do little other than to appeal to the Spanish. The EU offers a chance to transcend national borders, making life impossible for the scams within any member state.

The European Parliament receives thousands of petitions each year, most are not accepted simply because there is not the time, the committee has to select those that appear most worthy, then invite petitioners to make a more detailed submission. Simply to get to the point where I was invited to Brussels on your behalf is a major achievement.

As my train wound its way across the unusually sunny Welsh countryside I considered that my 5 minutes before the Petitions Committee might be as valuable as all the work I have done for StopECG up to now. It was also sobering to know that I would be speaking for all who had signed the petition as Vincenzo, from Italy who initiated it was unable to attend. At least the journey by train allowed me time to prepare the speech and go over it repeatedly.

And so to the morning of the 2nd May, I was due to speak at 10.30 am. The process of accreditation left little time and I was rushed to the chamber to take a seat at the back and await my turn. The chamber used was not the main parliamentary room, it was still a good size, capable of seating 200-300 people. Around the back were 14 smaller rooms fronted with smoked glass, in each stood or sat the translators. Near the front sat the MEPs, behind them the petitioners and at the back guests and press. Facing us all, on a raised platform, the committee. I donned the headphones and listened to the conversation, translated into English form several languages.

In front of the chairman was stacked a huge pile of papers, I looked at them and thought, “Oh my god, this is just TODAY’S business, surely our little petition will get lost in all this!”

Then I was called, the chairman reached over and slid the huge pile of papers forward, it was not the days business, but our petition against scam guides! I pressed the red button on the microphone in front of me and suddenly my amplified voice was being translated into every major European tongue.

Five minutes is not long to explain a subject as extensive as the campaign to stop these guides, and although the speech went well I missed a couple of points I had wanted to make. At least my main point was delivered clearly, that an extension of EU wide consumer protection laws to small businesses and sole traders would offer immediate relief from the worst excesses of these guides.

Next to speak was a representative of the commission, he was not helpful, the commission had no plans to extend consumer protection to businesses, they had made representations to the Spanish government who reported that the Valencian Authorities had negotiated with the ECG to get modifications to the contract. It was very frustrating!

Fortunately my frustration was shared by the MEPs who followed him, they managed to pick up on the main points I had missed and made it clear that the current status-quo in Valencia is not sufficient; many thanks to Richard Corbett MEP for an excellent speech.

It was decided to investigate the matter further and to send it to two more committees, dealing with Legal affairs and the Internal Market, this process will take time, but at least the matter is now firmly on the Brussels agenda.

For those of you who missed the petition, all is not lost, you should still contact your MEP, send them full dossiers of your correspondence with the scam guide you are fighting, and ask that they take an interest in the ongoing efforts of the European Parliament to tackle this problem. The Petition is in the name of the European City Guide, but will examine all the guides, As I understand it MEPs can follow its progress and attend committees where it is discussed. I will try to keep you informed as to the progress in Brussels so that you can update your MEPs on a regular basis.

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