Transaction with Senegal
Thread poster: Paula Loubier

Paula Loubier  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:32
French to English
+ ...
Jan 19, 2016

I have signed a contract to do a translation for an author in Senegal through a university. I have received the translation file and vetted the author, and am confident the offer is legit.

However, I am being asked to jump through hoops to get a down payment. Client has deposited funds in her bank, and I've received a confirmation of that from the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’AFRIQUE de l’OUEST, Groupe Attijariwafa, with whom I've been in constant contact. Theý're asking for a security deposit to be sent to their fund manager in Ivory Coast, via Money Gram, to protect them against fraudulent transactions/ money laundering from Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations. Author told me they would be doing this.

Of course your first thought, and mine is SCAM. Money Gram is refusing to do the transaction. Does anyone have first hand experience specifically with this banking group in Ivory Coast or Senegal? It does seem bizarre, but these are bizarre times. Any thoughts or especially, experience, with this?


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:32
Member
English to French
It doesn't mean anything Jan 19, 2016

The bank confirmation may very well be forged.
Paula Loubier wrote:

I have signed a contract to do a translation for an author in Senegal through a university. I have received the translation file and vetted the author, and am confident the offer is legit.

However, I am being asked to jump through hoops to get a down payment. Client has deposited funds in her bank, and I've received a confirmation of that from the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’AFRIQUE de l’OUEST, Groupe Attijariwafa, with whom I've been in constant contact. Theý're asking for a security deposit to be sent to their fund manager in Ivory Coast, via Money Gram, to protect them against fraudulent transactions/ money laundering from Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations. Author told me they would be doing this.

Of course your first thought, and mine is SCAM. Money Gram is refusing to do the transaction. Does anyone have first hand experience specifically with this banking group in Ivory Coast or Senegal? It does seem bizarre, but these are bizarre times. Any thoughts or especially, experience, with this?

I know that Attijariwafa (Moroccan banking group) has operations in Western Africa.
But if the guy/uni can't pay abroad, they should easily find local providers. I certainly wouldn't do anything without full advance payment via international bank transfer.

Philippe

[Edited at 2016-01-19 19:18 GMT]


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:32
English to French
+ ...
MoneyGram to the Ivory Coast?! Jan 19, 2016

Although this sounds very suspicious (in particular the request to send money to the Ivory Coast!), I would ask the US Embassy in Dakar (http://dakar.usembassy.gov/about_the_embassy/contact-us.html).

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Alejandro Cavalitto
Local time: 02:32
SITE STAFF
Please submit a support request Jan 19, 2016

Hello Paula,

From what you say, it sounds like you could be dealing with a scammer. Could you please submit a support request including the full text on the emails so I can look into it and compare the information to that used in known scams? Thank you.

Best regards,
Alejandro


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:32
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
They are asking YOU for a deposit??? Jan 20, 2016

Paula Loubier wrote:

Theý're asking for a security deposit to be sent to their fund manager in Ivory Coast, via Money Gram, to protect them against fraudulent transactions/ money laundering from Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations.


Are you saying that they (who, the bank, or the client?) asking you to pay a deposit via MoneyGram?
If that is the case, run fast. This is not normal business, except for scammers.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:32
French to English
Scam comes to mind! Jan 20, 2016

As you said yourself, it does seem fishy!

You say that you have been in "constant contact" with their bank. How are you sure that it's really their bank? Has this contact been by email, phone, both? Are they contacting you, or you contacting them through the official contact details on the bank website or other secure source of contact details?

I don't even see a legitimate reason for the bank to contact you in the first place. This is not normal banking practice. Bankers never call transfer recipients, there are secure ways for bankers to contact the other party's bank to work out any problems.

With the addition of the money gram + Ivory Coast details... the whole thing just reeks!

Seriously, phone calls from banks should be treated caution, even in "Western" countries. Just last week I had a phone message from my own bank asking me to call back, they left a number to call back. I checked my online banking and couldn't find that the phone number was in any way associated with my bank, so I called my usual customer service number and they confirmed that indeed, the given phone number was not the bank's phone number, they told me to ignore the call because it was probably phishing.


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MªAngeles Salazar
Local time: 06:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
I do think it's a scam Jan 21, 2016

Hi,

Around three months ago I got the same offer to translate for an author in Senegal through a uni. The content of the email made me think it was scam but I replied to see what they said.

First of all, it was really suspicious that they were willing to offer 13k euros and let me work without a deadline. They didn't say how they had got my email address, the message contained a few spelling/grammar mistakes and they sent the whole 400 pages document without any problem.

As you say, if you check the name of the person sending the email it corresponds to a real author who works with unis in Africa, but I think the scammers could have used this as a way to make their offer more credible.

When I asked how they got to me and stated my conditions, "she" said a French teacher had recommended me (very suspicious again) and wanted to make the payment her own way. There was quite a lot of insistence in my signing a contract and making sure my home address was there. I thought no one in Senegal needs my home address and it was weird that they refused to make a secure payment so I didn't reply again and marked the email as spam.


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Veronika Vavrova  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:32
Slovak to English
+ ...
Be aware Jan 21, 2016

Hello,

I was in similar situation few months ago, despite the fact that the situation related with house rent. Scammer acted like a client of well-known house renting site and despite the fact that he insisted on paying deposit in advance before I was allowed to see the flat (deposit should be made to the bank account of well-known real estate company and fully returned to me in case I step out from the rental agreement) I threw my suspicion away thinking he is just kind of weird person. I need to say that both alleged client and real estate company communicated with me clearly, without no grammar mistakes, responded correctly to every e-mail and alleged company was using logos and e-mail templates of real well-known company. So I had no suspicion that it could be scam (I saw few scams before). However, later I found out that it was scam and I just was not following warnings. And your case reminds me mine. I would be very aware in your case. For sure, don´t make any advance payment to anybody - it´s unnecesary (I was told this later by bank institutions, police, etc.). Sometimes, scammers can act also like other institutions, companies ... So maybe you do not communicate with bank in Senegal, but simply with scammer via another address. Their e-mail adresses can look like addresses of real companies, instutions - they don´t have to be fake addresses that you can reveal at first glance. I would probably ask for help U.S. embassy in that country or your bank institution if they can verify the correspondence.

But I would recommend you not to pay to that person. Sometimes, I work with countries like Senegal and I know that true clients use standard ways of payment (especially PayPal).

Regards,
Veronika Vavrova

[Edited at 2016-01-21 15:15 GMT]


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