Q.I met someone from Ghana. He wants me to send him £500 to help him ship gold from his country, that he says his dad left him for when he gets married. Is this a scam to get money?
(Ms Lois Jones, 12 September 2008)
There’s always the very faint possibility that this is legitimate – but that possibility is around 0.01%, to be honest. What you almost certainly have is a slight variation on what’s known as the Nigerian advance-fee fraud. It’s also often just called 419 – its number on the Nigerian criminal statute. But whether from Nigeria, Ghana, or anywhere else, it amounts to much the same thing.
It’s one of the classic scams. Like many others you might have received an e-mail from someone in a bank or in government somewhere in Africa, claiming they have access to funds, often in the high thousands or millions, but they need to transfer it to another country.
They’ve contacted you (as well as several million others, although of course they don’t say that) in the hope you can help by letting them use your bank account. In return for that they promise you a percentage of the amount, a very tempting figure.
What they need from you, in order to get everything moving, is a certain amount of cash to grease palms. However, if you send it, you’ll find soon that they’ll say they need more, and then more and more. They’ll happily drain your bank account and you’ll end up never seeing a penny in return. There have also been instances where people have been asked to bring money to Nigeria, or wherever. Once there you money quickly disappears – there have even been reports of people being beaten and robbed.
In spite of it being one of the best-known and most publicised of the scams, people continue to fall for it. Very few end up being prosecuted for perpetrating it, either, tending to work from the anonymity of Internet cafes. A few people have certainly got rich from it. Several variations of this idea have sprung up.
Although it might be tempting – and like most scams, it appeals to the greed in us all – it’s generally easily spotted. Why would someone from another country choose you over the Internet. In your case the relationship seems more personal, but that doesn’t mean you can trust it. The safest thing to do is steer very clear.
To anyone who is now getting calls purporting to be from Falcon Solicitors, 720a or 720 a Romford Road in London, E12 6BT, please note that this Solicitors is CLOSED. A totally legitimate and Law Society verified immigration solicitors called FHN Solicitors is working out of that address (you can phone them to check on 0208 123 8810) and have nothing to do with either the true Falcon Solicitors that occupied the premises previously, or these fraudsters now pretending to be them. Anyone purporting to be Falcon Solicitors or working out of that address is therefore a fraud: you should immediately contact your police and refrain from talking to them further.Please also note that Jake Coles is now calling himself Peter Grisham.
More info - 10-Jul-12 @ 1:06 PM
I have just received a call from an Asian man telling me that I am due in court on 12th July because I owe money to the TPS. He said I had not responded to a summons sent to me on 27th May. I did not receive any such letter. I have had frequent telephone calls from Asians, claiming to be from TPS. I did, stupidly, pay the first time to stop getting so many unwanted calls from people like him! Of course it didn't make any difference and they keep hassling me to pay them more money for this non-existent service. I now know tha Tthe real TPS is free and I am already signed up for it.
Is there some way that these people can be stopped - prosecuted for what they are doing? This man today, claimed to be ringing from "Her Majesty's Court", which sounded pretty fishy to me. Surely that is a type of fraud?
Frustrated - 10-Jul-12 @ 9:30 AM
I also know someone who has been harassed by Jake Coles and his fictional firm of London solicitors, again from number 02036426456, again pursuing money relating to something fictional, again threatening the person that they were due for a hearing at a High Court. All total drivel. Absolutely sickening. We've called the police.
Disgusted - 5-Jul-12 @ 11:44 AM
i had a call from mr jake coles along the same lines as your previous comments. I new it was a scam and when i told him i was recording our call and would be handing it to the police, he got a bit upset. Would you let me know if this scum bag gets his comupance
getcole - 2-Jul-12 @ 2:49 PM
I was contacted to day thur 28th jun 2012 by a man calling himself Jake Cole from a London based firm of solicitors. he claimed a he was acting for a company TDS.claiming i owed £5000 and that court proceeding had been put in place. he claimed i had been sent a letter by registered post on may 23rd 2012 and i had not replied, (i didnt recieve this letter ) so proceeding had been put in place, i was to attend court in london on 02 jul 2012 at 1030 am. if i did not attend court the police would issue a warrant and arrest me for fraud, i would also have a mark put on my credit rating, how ever i could make a settlement now and save myself a load of money, he wantedpayment in full or a nominal fee of £500 pound cash transfer then settle rest in instalments, if i didnt i would end up with court fees, travelling expenses, solicitors fees adding upto approx £8000 pounds, but the £500 pounds had to be payed today, as the time scale was to short to get a solicitor myself and find money to fight it as i had never heard of this company it had me worried to death . i said i need half an hr to sort it out,but as a last resort check i rang Bt who googled the phone number for me and hey prestow there it was this site saying scam scam, thank god for BT at 118500 and google. i will be contacting the police
deaks - 28-Jun-12 @ 12:27 PM
My mother has been called today (27 06 12) by Jake Coles on 0203 642 6456 saying she owes £5000 and that she is due in Court on the 29 6 12 obviously a complete scam but very frightening for her.This man should be stopped i will be taking my information to the Police and i suggest that if anyone else has had dealings with him they should do the same people like this pray on the elderely and vunerable its disgusting
Tricia - 27-Jun-12 @ 4:07 PM
Sadly my 75 year old mother was contacted by a man claiming to be a Jake Coles on Monday 18th June 2012.He told her that she had commited fraud and was due in court on Wednesday unless she let him act for her to get her off the charge.He told her police officers would come to the house and arrest her. In complete terror my mother told no one but parted with £8,500.00.Ten transactions all made via Western Union.The money has gone but fortunately she has a caring family.I hope this message might stop someone else being tricked into parting with their money.
suepy - 25-Jun-12 @ 3:46 PM
In reply to Solly 17th April, I wasalso contacted 15th June 2012 saying I was due
in a \London Court on Monday 18th June to answer a case of fraud amounting to
£4000.again I had to contact Jake Coles on 02036426456, I did speak to him
said he was representing the complainant, that if i did not attend court I would
be arrested by local police.I have in fact reported this to local Police who are
Tommy - 17-Jun-12 @ 11:34 AM
Hi i received a call stating that i need to pay customs tax for goods ordered from china. However, he mentioned that they accept only credit and debit card. I'm not sure if it is a scam and if we have to pay the customs to the delivery company or the HM revenue & Customs. Please advice. Thank you.
13foxxy - 30-May-12 @ 1:09 PM
@Solly. Next time he calls ask him for his collar number, the case number and the address of the police station he works out of. Then look up the telephone number for that station and give them call. Chances are, it's a scam and he won't give you any of the information you ask for. anyhow.
SafeFromScams - 18-Apr-12 @ 10:27 AM
I have been recieving reapeted telephone calls from what seems to be an Asian person who claims to be from the police in London. He has my name and postal address. This person claims I have not responded to a summons regarding a fraud I am supposed to have commited. He claims to have no other details but suggests I call a Jake Coles (on 02035194955 supposedly a firm ofLondon based solicitors) for more details and to sort out any missunderstanding.
I have never commited fraud in my life, and suspect this is some sort of scam, Surely if this was a genuene problem I would have been paid a visit by the local police
Solly - 17-Apr-12 @ 4:08 PM
I keep getting text messages from a UK number like "FREEMSG:Our records indicate you may be entitled to £3000 for your accident"
It then says I need to send a text to enquire or stop further texts.
- I haven't had an accident.
I haven't replied but want to be sure these annoying texts can't cost me money (assuming I just delete them).