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Scam & Fraud News

The 'wash-wash trick' and 'romance scamming'

By Sandra Mélan, SaS - RTL Today - 19-02-18
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Romance Scams
Romance Scams © Pixabay

It is no new phenomenon for dishonest people to trick others out of their money. Scammers still remain successful in making those who may be more gullible part with their money.

In Germany and Luxembourg, the term "Nigeria Connection" refers to the advance-fee scam, which exists in many formats. The German police introduced the term due to the prevalence of scammers pretending to be Nigerian princes. In English, the scam is also known as the "419 scam", as 419 refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.

The "wash-wash" scam

The predecessor of the "Nigeria Connection" is the "wash-wash scam", otherwise known as the "black money scam". Steve Goedert, head of the police's prevention service, explained the scam in more detail.

As Goedert explains, an earlier form of the trick would involve the scammer offering the potential victim with an envelope containing €10, put in earlier. The scammer then employs a distraction manoeuvre to swap the envelope with one containing €100.

Scammers managed to convince some individuals to try the entire thing with larger sums of money, the caveat being that they have to wait longer before they open the envelope again. Then, a week later, the money is no longer in the envelope.

Scammers always look for new methods to trick people out of their money. With the advent of the internet, scamming methods have become more modern. The frequent use of smartphones in particular enables scammers to trick people out of their money without even having to meet them, from the comfort of their home.

Catfishing and other romance scams

One particular avenue to steal money from people is by manipulating their emotions with romance scams, also called catfish scams. The first contact with the target person takes place through online dating portals and scammers start by establishing trust with their victim. Using a false identity, the scammer builds a relationship with their gullible victim before mentioning money.

Whilst a rarer scam in Luxembourg, it does still happen. The scammers often pretend to be a US soldier seeking a relationship whilst on a mission in another country. At some point, the scammer mentions how their mission abroad means they are unable to access their own money. Consequently, the scammer spins this story and asks to "borrow" money, promising to pay it back.

Unfortunately for the victim, that is usually the last they ever see of their money. As Goedert explains, this is a long-term scam which takes place over the course of several weeks. In some international cases, these scams have been kept up for even longer - months or even years.

While scammers are constantly updating their methods, the police also ensure that its information remains up-to-date. You can find further information on www.police.lu.

 


 

Tags: Nigeria, wash-wash, romance scam, black money scam, social media, dating, catfishing

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