Lienhua Qian Jiang and Wei Sun Zhou exporting Nigerian scam Chinese style

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

This past week, BBB received three different letters that show the growth to Asia in the advance-fee fraud scheme.

Each letter details how a person – bank employee or business investment adviser – had discovered some previously unknown information about a prominent person who “bears the same name” or is a “possible relative.” The person claims a huge amount of money – in the tens of millions – will be turned over to the Chinese government  if an heir isn’t found.

The “same-name” benefactor died or was killed in some remote location in China and didn’t leave a will (in one case, the entire family was killed). Two scenarios spread out from here: a) the man sharing the last name would pose as a relative and claim the investment; b) the investing adviser would create documentation and transfer the fund to the recipient’s newly created American-based bank account.

These people supposedly have long-established relationships with the deceased and managed his/her funds since the 1990s.

In one letter, the ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) with address in Spain and phone numbers are included in the letter. The other has  an email address and a phone number.

This similar scam started in mid-80s when a ruling corrupt Nigerian government allegedly left millions of dollars and people (and later a supposed prince) were trying to transfer the money out the country. Big promises of sharing 30-50% of the money enticed people.

The Internet lowered the cost of sending scam letters, and scam emails have replaced paper. Recently BBB was swamped with calls about faxes from a man in Nigeria who was attempting to transfer money out of the country.

While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they may be originated in other nations as well. According to studies done in 2006, 61% of Internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States, 16% in the United Kingdom and 6% to locations in Nigeria. Other nations, according to wikipedia, with a high incidence of advance-fee fraud include Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Spain.

The letters from China (they may actually be from another country) are well written with few grammatical or spelling errors.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Lienhua Qian Jiang and Wei Sun Zhou exporting Nigerian scam Chinese style

  1. Mark Burrows

    I do not go much in for a lot of these studies, as they can only base their information on trial and error exploration, polls, and surveys. Polls and surveys are biased because they limit the questions and leave little room for the person filling them out to comment why they gave an answer, more frustrating is many of them are multiple choice, and the choice you might wish to make is not even listed.
    So, I do not harbor to the statistics. I actually do the research. The infamous Nigerian scam, is still strong and still runs rampant up and down the west coast countries of Africa. Yes some of it has moved in to Asia, but oddly enough I have traced them to Vietnam more so than China.
    Here are some things you have to understand about laws of deceased people in just about any country. It is not the responsibility of banks to locate relatives of deceased parties. It is very unlikely that anyone with great wealth would die without having a will. Even in the slight event that there is no will, any wealthy person would have some kind of legal representation in the form of a lawyer, barrister, or legal firm. It would be their responsibility to seek next of kin. Trust me, they do not send out random emails, and they do not charge fees in advance. They would provide all costs, travel, and accommodations until you collect your inheritance then take their percentage. You would be subject to the laws and taxes of the land, as well as the taxes of your own country upon return.
    If no claimants are found, then the funds are handed over to the government and the lawyers collect their fees. Governments need funding all the time. They have to pay towards national debts, they have to build roads, they have to maintain stability. Collecting taxes is just one way governments garner monies. If we deny them funds from uncollected estates, then the country just ends up raising taxes and borrowing more money from other countries.
    The simple fact is, there is no money waiting for your greedy little hands, the scam involves you sending them money as a fee to get the ball rolling. Once you start, they keep tapping you. Then they might send you back a $100.00 after you have given them thousands and tell you that was all they could recover before they were caught by the government, or they just vanish.

  2. Pingback: Barclay’s Bank latest victim in phishing scam | snakeriverBBB

  3. Uncle Duke

    This Sino variation of the familiar Nigerian scam is now circulating in south Florida. What’s different about the Sino scam is the use of a real bank’s name: Nanyang Commercial Bank–with the admonition, however, to “keep communication for now strictly by the above {Gmail] Email, Telephone and Fax numbers.” There is a manuscript signature at the bottom of the letter. It’s difficult to imagine that there a still people naive or foolish enough to be caught by this solicitation, but you never know.

    • Mark Burrows

      Here is a another simple thought. Are people so uneducated that even the first thought that might come to their mind is that some one is asking them to launder money out of a country? A massive crime with a equally huge penalty if caught. Are people so blinded by greed to think that they can slip past common sense and legal process and cash in on some incredible offer? To me it is almost inconceivable that anyone would go forward and follow through on such a notion without consulting a lawyer, a clergyman, or a notary public. Never talk to relatives, they may have the same genetic inclination to buy into the scam. Okay, last bit was an attempt at humor. Still, talking to someone about anything that might change your life is warranted. It is better to suffer the embarrassment of being told it’s a scam before you engage than after. The later is more that embarrassing, it is pain and humiliation.

  4. Here’s a little, shorter twist on this:

    Hello friend, I am

    Xuerong Liang

    from Bank of China with a

    Business Scheme of mutual

    benefit worth millions

    Email me through XXXXXXX219@qq.com

    for details.

    Mr. Xurong Liang

    China

    • Mark Burrows

      Well, considering that the sender incorrectly spelled his own name which is the most obvious red flag, I would also hope the message would not appear exactly like that because the opening line, Friend, I am, before you see the double space and the rest of the message, leaves a visual image of getting an email from Star Wars own Yoda. I could never take such an email seriously, the laughter alone might require medical attention from splitting a gut.

  5. I’m really liking this one:
    Before I start, I must firstly, apologize for this unsolicited proposal to you. I am aware that this is certainly an unconventional approach to starting a relationship, but as time goes on you will realize the need for my action.
    My name is Jason Danner and I am a Manager of a bank here in my country and I have taken pains to find out your contact.
    On a routine check last year, I discovered some investment accounts that have been dormant for years now. All the funds in the account belong to a late foreign depositor Meng Le wang, with monies totaling, Thirty four Million, Two Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling (Ј34,200,000.00). Now the banking regulation and legislation demands that I do notify the fiscal authorities after a statutory time when dormant accounts of this type, are called in by the Banking Regulatory Commission bodies.
    The above facts are the reason why I am writing and proposing to you. My investigation of the said account reveals that the depositor died in 1997 before the deposit matured. I can authoritatively confirm to you with certainty that the said investor, died intestate and no next of kin to his estate has been found or has come forward all these years.
    I am greatly convinced that using my insider leverage, and working with you, the money can be secured in the account for us instead of allowing it pass as unclaimed funds into the coffers of the Government of my country. Now, I am craving for your participation, indulgence and co-operation . I have with me, all relevant and legal documents that will facilitate our putting you forward as the only surviving beneficiary of the funds and ultimately allow you to transfer the money to an account of your own choice.
    Of course you shall be handsomely rewarded for your part in this transaction or deal, am prepared and willing to allocate a 40% slice of the total funds for your efforts subject to negotiation. I shall leave out all further details of this transaction till I receive a confirmatory note of participation from you.
    Be rest assured that I am on top of this situation all the time and there will be a no risk whatsoever if you elect to come on board. Needless to say, UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY is of vital importance if we are to successfully reap the immense benefits of this transaction. I will give you more information about the late depositor ASAP.
    I look forward to hear from you soon.

    Yours truly,
    Jason Danner

    • Mark Burrows

      Again, as I said before, everything said in this letter is so illegal. What surprises me most of all, is this so called Jason Danner, is openly admitting that he is committing the crime. Banks generally do delay reporting large funds left in case of a deceased simply because they do legally have the right to use those funds to invest into short term projects but still guarantee the principle amount and collective interest. What he was not truthful about was that after a period of time when a legal advocate of or for the deceased has exhausted all avenues of finding an heir to the estate, the account is reported by the legal advocate, and must be followed up by the bank. The money is taken by the governing country of the bank.
      Another thing to keep in mind, it is really very, very rare that someone with wealth would pass without either a will or an executor of estate.

  6. Denise

    Where do I report leaving a faxed letter like this?

  7. Victoria

    I just received one of the letters that came via Fax at my place of bussiness. I do not have any relatives that will travel to china.

  8. Mark Burrows

    I still fail to see anyone’s obsession with money that they are not entitled to. Yes, true, we fall on hard times, we find ourselves under the umbrella of medical needs, financial debt, and a desire to bring more to the table, but our conscience alone should tell us we deserve nothing more than we are able to earn or be able to pay for in our lifetime. Sure, some of us buy lottery tickets and dream, but dreaming should be as far as it goes. If chance deals you a piece of luck and you win then you can fluff your feathers. But think of this. Look back at history when the gold rushes ran rampant in the continent, how many people sold everything to pack up and head out to stake a claim? How many people got scammed into claims that yielded nothing because the con artists planted a few scant grains of gold in a creek? How many people were murdered for their gold because banks had not yet been built? How many trustees that said they represented banks and worked from wagons or tents just upped and disappeared?
    We hear all of the great stories about the success, but we pay scant attention to the hardships and the defeats, because we don’t wish to hear them, we don’t wish to be sad. Yet, if we do not learn from what makes us sad, the failures, the hardships, and the defeats, then we will continue to fall into those traps. Then we cry foul and ask, “How could this happen to me?” The answer is simple, we ignore the sad and bad things since the dawn of time and revel only in the heroic tales.
    Now, think hard, where do most of these criminal con artists come from? The answer is, mostly from the poor and the desperate. Highly intelligent, but being poor and desolate didn’t get advanced education. They work their way up through the system because they are angry, and it is not greed that drives them, it is retribution for themselves and possibly for their society.
    Yes, true their are high level white collar criminals as well such as Bernie Madoff, Enron, and of course the daddy of them all, Charles Ponzi, but these men are educated and are driven by greed. Yet, in fact, they are a minority in criminal scamming. They get caught.

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