Expats are being targeted by conmen who post advertisements selling non-existent electronic items using fraudulent or hacked Facebook accounts.
Preliminary investigations trace at least one of these financial transactions to Nigeria.
Scammers are using real bank accounts in Korea, real images and Facebook accounts of people in Korea, and the Alien Registration Card (ARC) of unsuspecting migrants.
One scammer using the Facebook account name Mc Neill Taylor used the ARC of Khan Nafees Ahmad from Pakistan and also set up a Facebook account in the name of Khan Ahmad using his images.
This account is being used to try to sell a new Mac Book Pro, Apple iPhones, and Samsung smart TVs on several Facebook sites.
The scam is simple. The scammer either sets up a new Facebook profile or uses a hacked account and changes their location to Korea.
They then photograph and advertise electronic products below market value to attract a number of sales in a short space of time.
The scammer asks for a hefty deposit and promises to deliver the item via courier within 48 hours. The item never arrives and the scammer then blocks the buyer on Facebook.
The Korea Observer has copies of conversations with a few of these scammers.
In Ahmad’s example the scammer sets up a Facebook account using the name Khan Ahmad after obtaining a photocopy of Ahmad’s real ARC.
This is an excerpt of a real conversation with the scammer posing as Ahmad. The unsuspecting expat enquires about an advertised iPhone 6 delivered for KRW500,000 [US$500].
Scammer: “Okay, I can send delivery boy to you”
Victim: “That’s good. So I can pay in cash?”
S: “You have to place order and make deposit for reservation of item.”
V: “Really? How much reservation?”
S: “200,000” [Around US$200] “You will balance 300,000 when you get from delivery boy.”
The scammer says to transfer the money to Kumar Birendra’s bank account at Kookmin Bank, account number 73950200195592 despite using the name Ahmad on Facebook.
The name on the bank account never matches the Facebook or ARC name.
V: “I thought it is a store account? That’s a personal account?”
S: “Store account, my boss account.”
V: “No, store account is different than boss account. And your boss is not Korean.”
The victim is then blocked on Facebook when they either pay the deposit or identify that it is a scam.
Investigations reveal this scammer also uses the name Benjamin Luke Arguelles, which is a Filipino name, and the Kakao ID khan20.
This Facebook profile and photos are believed to be stolen from the real profile of Benjamin Arguelles.
A Filipina source tried to communicate with the seller in Tagalog but the scammer could not understand.
When the scammer requested immediate payment prior to item delivery the source asked for ID and a bank account name.
An ARC identifying Arguelles as Filipino was presented but the name of the bank account did not match.
The victim said that it was odd when the Filipino seller could not speak tagalog and the name of the person’s bank account was different to their ARC.
Another expat also identified the Arguelles Facebook account as a fake profile being used to scam people.
“This Facebook account is trying to sell 75” brand new Samsung Smart LED TVs for 800,000 to foreigners in Korea. That price is way too good to be true. He tried to scam me and my business partner. Long story short, we tried to arrange pickup for the TVs but the seller would not give us an address.”
The same scammer also tried to sell Mac Book Pro’s for KRW600,000 on another Facebook site.
“After he receive money from another member he blocked his account. He used somebody else’s ARC.”
The name on the Kookmin bank account being used this time is Sasha Gonzalez who was unaware her bank account was being used for fraudulent activities.
“She was asked a favor from a man to transfer the donated money to Nigeria and she transferred it twice,” a trusted source said.
It is unclear how this man knew her bank account details or how they managed to get copies of ARCs.
Police are aware of this incident.