Monday, July 1, 2013

Stuck-at-Custom Friendship Scams

Below is likely to be a scam. The scammer would pretend to befriend the victim and decide to drop by the victim's country. Then, he would be "trapped" at the custom for whatever reasons and require the victim's financial assistance.

There are many kind souls among us who are willing to offer help to friends. However, we would like everyone to take extra precaution when it comes to any form of help that involves in money. Even your real life friends may not return you the money you loan to them, what makes you think an online friend from another country will return?

Hi all,

I came across this blog, read the stories, and thought I should share mine. It is not 100% certified as a scam case, but I am at least 99% sure. Do tell me what you think after reading.

It all began when I downloaded an app called PlanetRomeo to my iPhone. It's a gay hook-up app, so to speak.

One fine day, I got a message from this guy. He first asked me how was the weather in Singapore, and we started chatting from there. We hit it off straightaway.

He said he was from Cardiff, UK, and said that his current project would end soon, and his next project would be at Australia. He claimed that he was looking for a friend to hang out with during the 3 weeks between his current project in the UK, and the next one at Perth.

So I found out from him when he would be arriving and all the details, and waited in anticipation for his arrival.

The fateful day arrived.

Tuesday, 18 June, 2013.
I received a call from an unknown number at around 12+ pm. It was him! I nearly had a heart attack, thinking that he had arrived in Singapore.

Sadly, no, he was not in Singapore. He told me that he was stuck at the KL customs. When I asked him why, he told me he was carrying a large amount of cash, and that his cash had been confiscated by the authorities. He needed 2600 Malaysian Ringgit to pay for an anti-money laundering certificate. He said he had only 1200 Malaysian Ringgit in his wallet, and asked if I could send him the balance. I did.

Well, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013.
Another call was received from him, at around the same time. This time, he asked for 1800 Malaysian Ringgit. He claimed that the customs officer's boss needed him to pay this amount for some form of insurance. So I obliged.

Thursday, 20 June, 2013.
Wow, another call. This time, he said he needed 800 Malaysian Ringgit to pay for some endorsement that will enable him to pass through the Singapore customs without being stopped again because of his cash.

I remitted the money, and a few hours later, he called me again, and said that it should be 800 Singapore Dollars instead. Well, what could I do? I helped again.

Friday, 21 June, 2013.
What needed to be done now was for him to check that his luggage had not been tampered with, and that his cash was all intact.

He asked for 2800 Malaysian Ringgit, saying that he needed to purchase some Swif Code that will enable him to open his luggage to check.

I started getting suspicious, and googled to find out what was a Swif Code - I did not find any information on it.

Stupidly thinking that this would be the last hurdle, I remitted this amount accordingly.

He told me that he had managed to contact his kid sister in the US, and she will be remitting some money to my account

Saturday, 22 June, 2013.
I got an email from this lady, who attached the PDF copies of the transaction she did at the Bank of America. It was a wire transfer for an amount of USD 5000. Transaction was done on Fri, 21 June, 2013, US timing 9 or 10am. It was called a Payment Advice. Of course, I was more reassured with this so-called "proof".

Back to him. Well, he had the Swif Code, but before they could release his luggage back to him, he needed to pay for some customs overstay, which was quite a big amount. I can't remember how much it was, but I paid up accordingly.

Sunday, 23 June, 2013.
No news.

Monday, 24 June, 2013.
He called and told me he was not able to leave on Saturday, although I had already remitted the funds, because the office that was supposed to clear him to leave for Singapore was open half day. He needed more money for overstay.

Tuesday, 25 June, 2013.
I remitted some money via Western Union to him to pay for the overstay, but for some reason, the KL Western Union machine had some problems, and he could not get that funds. The airport officer told me that because this is a machine fault, he will not be charged for the overstay from 25 June - 12 pm on 26 June.

He also claimed that he had spoken to someone from the UK embassy, and told the person about his circumstances.

Wednesday, 26 June, 2013.
Got an SMS from the airport officer, saying that they had booked an evening flight for him.

I was overjoyed, because I thought I would finally be able to meet him, and get my money back.

My happiness was short-lived.

Shortly after the SMS from the airport officer, he called, and said that they were going to charge him for the overstay... I was speechless.

Desperately, I checked my bank account to see if his sister's funds have come through - no, no news at all.

Anyway, the conclusion: I dished out around S$7500, most of which was borrowed from friends and family, to help this man. My only hope is that the USD 5000 would come in accordingly...


  1. Beware of scammers on online dating site.
    An English man named Andrew balder aged 50. Claimed to be a geologist bidding for a refinery job to work with Singapore Chevron refinery for 2 years. A widower with a 8 year old daughter living in UK Kent.
    Then he had to work 3 weeks in Nigeria on a sub contract before getting the main contract in Singapore.
    On the night on departure to Nigeria , he asked for a laptop urgently as his engineer does not have one.
    Upon arriving Nigeria ,he needed money to pay for the high customs charges.
    The moment he asked for money I knew it was a scam. Did not send him any money.
    Be careful ladies.

  2. Many one this site, regardless of the circumstance, ditch them if they ask for money. Whatever they said or promise before that are just the stories to gain your trust.