BEWARE OF OIL SCAMMERS
To all Buyers of Petroleum Products.
This massive scam involves the setting up of fake websites for various imaginary Russian oil, energy, mineral, agrochemical, natural gas and coal companies. To support the scam, fake Russian government, associations, banks, law firms, shipping companies, and due diligence websites are also set up. The purpose is to induce the victim into paying advance fees for non-existent oil or other commodities.
Fake documents are sent to the potential victim as further inducement. Many scammers will request an advance payment or fee from $30,000 to even $150,000, before any oil is delivered, since, of course no oil will ever be delivered.
The fee is usually for some fake government or association allocation code, license fee, tax, contract servicing, authorization fee, mandate seller fee, down payment, federation fee, Russian Ministry fee, pipeline fee, Uraltransneft fee, etc.
The fake advance fees are only limited by the scammer's imagination, so keep in mind that ANY request for an advance fee is likely a scam!
Frequently, the scammers request the fake fees be paid to some fake government officials or oil association agents through a fake websites.
These scammers will state that such payment or fees are "customary." They are not. !ANY ADVANCE FEE IS LIKELY TO BE A SCAM!
Here is an example of scam contract language containing scam advance fees:
"Seller pays for the Legalization/Registration of the “CONTRACT” directly to the Ministry of Energy"
"Buyer pays to obtain Transaction Passport Transfer Certificate (TPTC) / Export Clearance Affidavit (ECA) which defines the buyer’s intention and competence, and it is duly documented to that effect."
"Buyer will open file with the Seller Company, fee of the file opening will be calculated and be based on the volume of the signed Contract. Fee stands for operational charges and payment will be TT wire transfer."
"Upon the Verification of the above documents by the Buyer, The buyers pays via T/T Wire transfer of the total Vessel Charter Fees to re-route the course of the Vessel Tanker to the buyer's discharge port."
Note that scammers will demand that advance fees be paid via Western Union/MoneyGram or Bank to Bank transfer so that once you've been scammed, you will not be able to get your money back!. Please read: Western Union/MoneyGram and B2B Transfers Indicate Scam!!!
Here is another example from a scam contract:
"PAYMENT: Payment terms may be optional except the payment for THE ALLOCATION FILE OPENING WITH SAMARA SALES DEPARTMENT payment will be made by NON-NEGOTIABLE TT WIRE -TRANSFER..."
Any request for an advance fee payment, especially for the "privilege" of importing oil or a down payment is a clear sign of the scam!
If you receive an unsolicited offer from a "Russian oil company, it is most likely a scam.
Many of these fake oil companies use virtual numbers which are VOIP numbers that one can set up from their computer. The number then forwards the call to anywhere in the world: so any telephone number beginning with 7-495 should be considered very suspicious! http://www.flynumber.com/virtual-phone-number/russian-federation_moscow_7-495
No real oil company, or any company for that matter, uses free email addresses, especially free email address chosen to match their supposed company names. Google every thing about any prospective company. The name of the company, the domain name, the email address, the telephone number, the name of the officials. Many of these fraudulent companies are list on various anti-fraud forums and it's very frustrating when potential victims do not take the time or energy to simply Google the information . Just because you don't find anything that indicates a company is not a scam, doesn't mean it isn't. It could be a new scam site.
A great way to tell whether a company is a scam is to look at the date the website's domain was registered. if the domain registration date is within a year, its most likely a scam. Thoroughly read Identifying Obvious Scam Websites If they don't have a website, they are most likely scammers.
There're some known fake government ministries and oil associations with their aa419.org fake forum listings. The scammers will put more of these up so one has to be alert and question the legitimacy of any supposed government or trade association website! Keep in mind that the scammers create fake government sites every day so this list is not complete!