Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Maryland, United States
Timezone: GMT -5
They should call it SCAMMEROON
When you see "Cameroon", think "Scammeroon" and you'll have just saved yourself a ton of grief and some money.
Here's how I got played, and if you give them the tiniest benefit of a doubt, it is how you will be played also.
1) There is something they know people want. They advertise it, possibly setting up a website with a "webshop" listing an assortment of desirable items.
There might be some inconsistencies about the webshop: it is poorly configured, or some of the pages are obviously just partially filled-in with "your product name here" spaces and missing graphics.
But, also, the shop might also have some nice features, graphics or explanations-- there might even be a map of "their stores" in a familiar country. They are realizing that saying they are from Cameroon marks them instantly, so they don't advertise this.
2) You ignore some of the inconsistencies, they have a good price! So you enter in your information into their webshop. It all seems fine and steps you through until it is time for payment...
3) then... what...? they don't take a credit card. Or paypal. The webpage might not provide any payment option at all, the checkout just stops, and you're hanging. Or, it will provide some text saying they will accept payment via Western Union.
Now, I want to be clear that this is not to cast aspersions on Western Union or the concept of that kind of service. It can literally be a lifesaver in an emergency. But here's how they work it:
If you want what they have in their shop, you may contact them once you see they can't pay. Or, they may contact you, because you filled in your info.
They will say "you can pay by Western Union", or "I will send you payment details".
The details will arrive, they go like this:
"Here is the person's name to send it to in this city/country, *and add this test question*..."
Now, the test question is a simple question/answer pair, "what color is the car?" "green", that you agree upon. When used legitimately, it might be something that you know only the real recipient would know, also.
The concept behind the test question is if someone has been robbed and they have no ID, you can at least get money to them. See, WU is good.
But, they twist this: if you send them money in this manner, then *they do not have to show ID at the WU office*-- they claim they lost it. So they go to the office with just the sender name, the recip name, and then use the question and answer method to claim the money. If it comes down to that, nobody can saw who actually picked up the money.
4) But, maybe now you see they are from Cameroon. You might even try to back out of the deal. If so, they will give you a contact closer to your local area. But the payment conditions are the same.
5) At that point you say, ok, I'm now working with someone in my country, at least. And, the price is good! You send the money with the question.
But of course you've been played just the same. You are working with a friend of theirs who turns around and sends the money back overseas to them after taking their cut. Oh sure, the price may be good, if they actually ever shipped anything... but anyway
6) You've wired the money. It's expensive to send money this way, and the only place you can send money via WU with a test question is at an actual Western Union office, so there's gas to be spent as well. But, at this point, they've been paid and you get an email saying to wait for shipment information. You sigh "Ok, it was a pain, but at last, I'll get a tracking number..."
NO, you won't. What you get is
7) another email, from an "international courier service" requesting more money for shipment! It might be a lot more money. At this point, your 'bargain price' for whatever it was ends up costing you about the top rate in your local area.
Now, the international courier, they have a website, and maybe even a nice website. Or, maybe it is a crap website. Either way, they will ask you for more money to be wired with a test question.
I'm not sure how many times this loop repeats. There is probably more money to get it through customs, and so on.
I've only let it repeat once, and the "show" is not cheap.