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Recently, I read an article about how Congo born, Dikembe Mutombo, an all-star NBA defender, was nicely scammed in a fake gold deal.
Evidently, he and Houston based oil executive Kase Lawal were beguiled into believing that they could purchase around million worth of the precious metal at a hugely discounted price to the prevailing global market price from dealers in the African country of Kenya.
These so called dealers often claim to be registered with government agencies such as the Precious Mineral Marketing Company (PMMC) in Ghana in order to gain the trust of potential victims.
In the event that the buyer is not prepared to travel to see the “gold,” the would-be buyer is made to send money for travel of the seller, for insurance, for shipping and for refinery assays.
I remember an incident that happened to me several years ago, while driving from South Africa to Harare the capital of Zimbabwe.
On my way to Harare I stopped to fill my car with petrol (gasoline).
The sellers will try and lure you to coming to see them just as long as you bring some money with you.
Then, in an elaborate web of false documentation and well-greased government individuals you will be quickly separated from your money and lucky to be allowed to leave the country.
My newly acquainted gold bullion dealer did not protest, and took the money. And, at the entrance to the mine, they all got out the car, and wished me a safe journey.
No matter the format, as soon as you receive one of these letters you have to believe that there is no gold on offer and you are being set up by some unscrupulous group of thieves who will have no hesitation in taking you and your money.
It is simply another version of the old and ubiquitous Nigerian 419 scam.
It is surprising how the lure of making quick easy money can fool any greedy, well intentioned individual.
In the case of Mutombo and Lawal, of course they never got a gram of gold and instead lost millions of dollars. single_page=true In 2010 several tons of gold imported into the UAE by traders and investors turned out to be fake resulting in millions of dirhams in losses.As I climbed into the drivers’ seat, and just as my passenger got into the car, two other black men unexpectedly jumped into the rear seat.