Con Men and Their Scams - God, Trust and Money

Con Men in Your Church, Gym or Grocery Store
Trouble in River City. 
God, Trust and Money

Did a stranger approach you on the street, needing to find "two honest Americans, to fulfill the conditions of a will", so he could inherit a huge sum of money? Not all scams and scammers appear in email, a letter or a phone call.  Some approach you where and when you least expect them: in church, at school, in a grocery store or gym.

Below is a report from a victim of just such a scam.  Here's how it works:

  1. The scammer uses a confederate (another scammer who works with him, but appears to be a stranger to you and the scammer) and a fake roll of money to gain your trust.

  2. Once he has your trust (confidence) he gets you top provide something valuable to him.

  3. As soon as he has possession of your items of value, he's gone.

This type of scam has been around for generations. Rent "The Music Man" with Robert Preston for a classic Hollywood movie version of how a con scam works.

What can you do to defend yourself from scams, frauds and identity theft? Whether you think you have been the victim of a fraud or scam or want to be proactive in protecting yourself, here is a list.


Report of a con: God and Money

The author's English was very poor - we've cleaned it up to make it readable.

My name is Dom. I was approached by man, he was on his cell phone and asked for direction since he didn't know where he was. He said his name is James, he was from Sera Leon in Africa and he has only been in the U.S. for 2 days.

He asked if I would talk to his lawyer to describe to him where he's at. He said a taxi dropped him after driving around looking for a church where he intended to make a large donation. He said he said he gave the taxi driver S400.00 but still did not find a church.

He claimed his uncle died and he inherited a great sum of money. He showed me a letter from his uncle's attorney saying he is worth $9,7000,000.00. Since he cannot bring this to his country, he has to donate to the American Red Cross $7,000,000.00, which he did already. The remaining $2,000.000.00 he will receive, on condition that he finds 2 Americans that he can trust.

He claims he has $140,000.00 in cash. He showed me 2 bundles rolled with a rubber in a small bag. What he wants to do with this money is give it to charity, church, schools or to whom I think will need it.

He said he has only up to 6:00 o' clock to do this and do not have time to do it by himself. According to the letter he can find 2 Americans he can trust to help him. Since I was kind enough attend to him and everybody else he met think he was a bum, he think I am trust worthy. Now we have to find another person and I was trusting enough to drive around with him. He saw a black guy, got to find out he's half black half asian a self employed building contractor. He showed him the letter and tell him his problem. (We'll call him "Man B")

To prove to James that he is trustworthy, Man B will take his money out of his bank. He left and came back with the money. Now James told this guy to get out of the car, leave the money with us, to prove to us that Man B can trust us with his money. So we drive around and come back to him.

So this guy Man B, now identified as "Makimbe" gave James one roll of money and with own money went back to the bank to deposit it. I cannot see the bank from where we are. Now it is my turn. I cash advance $5000.00 from my credit card. Now, to prove to them that we trust each other, I give Makimbe my $5000.00 and drive around. When I return, they are gone.

I am a Catholic, always ready to help. When this person told me I'll be able to donate to any church, to help persons in need, I was hooked. When he told  this agreement is between me and James and god, I stop to think.

He also said that he will leave the $2,000,000.00 with me, since he cannot bring it to his country. He would leave it to us as a business venture since he trusted us.

All this happened in a 3 hour period. James telling me how he was trying all time to give his life in Sera Leon, how bad his country is. These con men are very convincing. I was talking to his "lawyer" in the cell phone and all the time he was concerned with James because he's carrying around so much cash.

So when people are talking about god, better ask "who is your God?". It may be money.

Lessons learned:

Swiss cheese has fewer holes than this story.

  1. Any time a stranger talks about both god and money, and the conversation eventually involves YOUR money - it will ALWAYS be a scam.

  2. There is no prohibition about bring money into the U.S.; quite the opposite; in order to get visas, one must prove that they do in fact HAVE money.

  3. "The remaining $2,000.000.00 he will receive, on condition that he finds 2 Americans that he can trust." That is obvious nonsense.  While someone could put that in a will, why would anyone?  That's a very obvious device of the con.

  4. "He claims he has $140,000.00 in cash. He showed me 2 bundles rolled with a rubber in a small bag. " This trick has been used as long as paper money has been in existence.  Simply cut newspaper into the size and shape of the paper bills, and place a few $100 bills around the outside.  Roll it up and put a rubber band around it.  You have an instant wad that appears to be worth millions.

  5. "What he wants to do with this money is give it to charity, church, schools or to whom I think will need it."  You're kidding, right?  Folks, anyone who would believe a statement like this, from a complete stranger; should never, EVER go outside without an intelligent escort.

  6. "He said he has only up to 6:00 o' clock to do this".  Umm.  Can we ask a question?... Why? Why only until 6:00 pm?  Does he turn into a pumpkin.  More stuff of fairy tales.

  7. "Now we have to find another person and I was trusting enough to drive around with him. He saw a black guy, got to find out he's half black half asian a self employed building contractor."  This guy is what is called a "confederate" or a "shill".  He's no stranger, he's part of the scam.

  8. "I cash advance $5000.00 from my credit card. Now, to prove to them that we trust each other, I give Makimbe my $5000.00 and drive around. When I return, they are gone." The logical conclusion.

The obvious moral is: Keep your money in the bank. Don't give it to strangers to hold.

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