Beware African 50,000 IP Camera Contract Scam

By John Honovich, Published Jul 12, 2019, 07:49am EDT

A “Nigerian Prince” scam for the video surveillance market is going around. You, or at least we, could be lucky enough to be the single bidder for a 50,000 IP camera project.

africa ip camera scam

Generic scams have been going on for years but this is a scam customized for video surveillance providers. Here is how it works.

**** ******** ******** **** email:

**** ***/*****,** ***** **** to ********* ** *** our ******* ****** *********** Limited. ** *** ***** an *********** ** *** Government ** ****** ** look *** ******* ******* which *** *** ******** to *** *** ****** for *** ******* ***** in **** ********;

****** *** ** *******- ITEMS (** *******) - TOTAL ********: **,*,***.** ***- SUPPLY: ** ******* / installments- ****: ******* ****

****** ** ****** ** your ******* ** ***** to *********** ** ************* Ministry ******

**** *** *********** ****** *********************** **********. *** **** ***** are *** ***** ******** but **** *** *** that *** ** *** ordinary ** **** ********** RFPs *********, *.*., **** excerpt:

*** ********** **** ** the ****** ***** *** expanded, ** *** ******** progressed, *** **** ** should ** ** ******:

****** *** *** *****. Sorry * ***** **** to ****** *** **** i **** ******* ** total ********! ** *** supposed ** ** *,****.**. Find *** ******** *** spec **** ***** ********. Please **** ** *** total *** *********.

***** **** ********* *** next **** *** ******** of *********** *** ******* me **** *** ******* is ** *** *** funds **** ********* *** are ********* ** *** Government ******** ******* ******* a ******** ******** **** is ***** ** *** and ****** *** *** above ********* *******, ** please ** ****** ** when **** ** ** ready ****** **** ** Uganda *** *** ******** discussions **** ** **** in ******** ***** ****.

******** **** *** ******** we **** *** ** Uganda *** *** ******* days, ** ******* **** so **** * ****** you **** ********* **** need ** ****** **** and **** ***** **** for ************ *** ********* the ****** ********* **** they **** **** *** later **** *** ********.

********** ******** **** **** arrange **** ****** ********* and ******** **** **** here *** *** ******** meetings *** ******* ** the ********.

*** **** *** ********* lucky ****** ** ** the '*** ****** ******' for **** ******* *******:

***** *** *** ******* interest ** *** ********** ministry *******, ******* ** i **** **** ********* you **** **** ** aninternational **-****** *** ** **** *** ****** ****** ** ******* for the above mentioned project reason is chairman and his fellow ministry officials have interest and influence in this project and have added their commission that is why they are willing to work with a reliable company that is ready to bid and tender for the above mentioned project.

** *** ******* *** phone ****** ******** ***** further ********* **** *** a ****:

*** ****** ** **** definitely **** ****** ** that ****** ** ****, but * *** ** call **** ***** ***** to **** *** ******* to **** ** *** a *****. *** ***** time, * ****** *** said * *** ******* about *** ** ******* that **** *** *** the *** **** ** on **. * ****** back * *** ******* later, *** * ******* thing ********. * ****** the ***** **** *** he ******** ****** ** the *****, *** **** i ******** ** ***** him ** **** *** a **** ** ***, he ****** *** ******** and **** ******** ** giving *********** **** *** in *** ***** *** couldn't ******* **** ****. Also, *** ** ***** telephone ******* (*** *** one) *****'* **** **** anywhere, ** * ****** both ** **** **** to **** ****.

Good **** ** *******

**** *** *** *******. There *** * **** amount ** ***** ****, distributors, *******, *********** *** others ******* ** **** lots ** *******.

** **, ***** ** do *** **** ******* at ***, ** ** just ******** *** ** is ********* **** * salesman ******* *** * whale **** **** ******* about ********* **** ****. Even ** **** ***** just * *** ** 1,000 ** **,*** ***** surveillance *************, ** ***** could ** * **** payday *** ***** ****** but ** ***** ** a **** ********* ********** for ******* ******* **** to ****.

Comments (18)

I never understood why people actually respond to things like this. It has all the hallmarks of a money-losing deal. Over-eager buyers thinking that they are going to impress you by quoting large quantities or name/title-dropping ("Chairman and fellow ministry officials"). "All" they need is a "fair" price from a reputable company.

My other favorite is the guy who needs your "absolute best price just for the first phase of the project", because "once we're selected and win the project, we can charge MSRP/MSRP+10%/whatever and they won't care about the price, but we need to win the initial phase first". Yeah, sure, sign me up.

Then there is the guy who called me yesterday asking if I was the "Sales rep" for State X. I mean, not really, but I'll help you with an order if you want. Guy didn't even identify himself or his company on the phone, and starts telling me how he needs a quantity of cameras and DVRs, and wants to know "if I want to work with him, or if he should just go to my competitor". Oh, and this was for all analog equipment (literally don't know if he meant analog, or HD analog). Either way, said thanks and goodbye, best of luck with your job, we don't do any analog products.

I genuinely feel bad for anyone who needs the business so bad that they get roped into these kinds of deals.

 

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We get these all the time in one form or another. We sometimes turn it around and play on their desperation to get the scam done. If they want shipment in the US, we will take their order then send them a box of glitter. 

 

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We get these alot. They always have a fake credit card too. They usually always want tons of hard drives or ubiquiti products. Whenever I see the following words, it throws a red flag for me as fraud:

Dir Sir/Madam
Kindly
Quotation
Please reply back if you accept credit cards

 

 

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How come honest folk don't say "kindly" anymore? Is kindness out of style now? :'(

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Rick;

D**m boy, that could've been yours!!

 

:-)

Greg

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The contractor told us the camera count had expanded, as our exchange progressed, and that we should go to Uganda.

Who is the lucky IPVM employee that gets to go on this trip?  Maybe they could stop by China to visit Hikvision HQ on the way back?

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Who is the lucky IPVM employee that gets to go on this trip? Maybe they could stop by China

Yikes, not sure which one would be more dangerous for us...

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The Ugandan government is currently buying / deploying video surveillance cameras, e.g. April 2019: Parliament passes loan for CCTV network expansion

These scammers are evidently clever enough to build a scam based on real events to increase the believability.

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Them hanging up on you multiple times was an effort to lend validity to their claim of being government employees.

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Unfortunately these scams must work, as they have been going on as long as the internet has been around.

 

 

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There are currently a lot of similar requests from Riyad, Oman and Doha.

Whatever is not coming straight from a procurement officer ends in our trash.

 

 

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Last year we got similar email scam attempt from Ghana. I've got an email that they planned to buy 2000 licenses of IP Video System Design Tool for "Economic Community of West African States".  

official buyer i.e Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as I have already explained to the (ECOWAS) that your company is reliable to associate with for the supply of their needs.
...they have confirmed to buy the below Quantity items :

1) IP Video System Design Tool Pro version 9.1 - 1 License - 
Quantity: 2000     

It was kind of suspicious. Why 2000 licenses? Our big corporate clients from Fortune500 usually buy up to 100 licenses (we have more than 20 Fortune500 companies among our clients).

Then I realized that 2000 x $499 (Pro license price ) gives about 1,000,000 USD. 

So be prepared. Sometimes they customize their scam email messages. 

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These scams actually existed before the internet.  I remember my father's engineering business getting these "Nigerian Prince" letters in the late 70's.  Certainly a lot easier to blast out now via e-mail though.

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There is no end to ingenuity.  At a prior company, we recently were asked to ship 100 cameras to Sudan.  We received a wire-transfer number.  We did our due diligence and entered it for payment with our bank, and then waited a whole week to see what happened.  It was all good!  We then prepared to ship the parts and voila, the bank declared the wire transfer invalid, and debited our account.  This was after ten days!  Luckily we hadn't shipped anything.  We then Googled the delivery address and found it was an empty lot in Khartoum!  I guess the delivery driver was in cahoots.

Even a wire transfer can be fake.  Same with a credit card number.  Thanks IPVM for protecting at least one gullible member!

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419 scams are nothing new. How do people still fall for these? Someone must because they wouldn’t be worth the time of the scammers if it wasn’t working. It’s been a while since I read the 419 bait forums, but they used to be very entertaining. 

https://forum.419eater.com/forum/

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Also beware of phishing attacks.  I got one yesterday and came close to falling for it.  Got an e-mail from an employee at an integrator/customer with a link to download a document.  Since I wasn't expecting a document I verified that the email address was legit and responded.  The employee responded that the request was from her and that the file was for an RFP bid.  When I tried to follow the link our IT systems barred me from following the link.

I called the cell number for this employee; from their signature.  Dead line.  Long story short, the employee's email account got hacked.  They changed the phone numbers in her signature so people couldn't call her to verify.  Be careful!

 

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Good Work On Someone

Good or Cood?

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