Black Money/Wash-Wash scams explained

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The Inquisitor
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Black Money/Wash-Wash scams explained


Unread post by The Inquisitor » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:23 pm

Have you been contacted at random by a customs agent or lawyer claiming to have trunk boxes, cases or a safe filled with bank notes that belongs to a dead relative that you did not know existed? You may have been contacted by a black money scammer - also known as a “wash-wash” scam.

This scam is a classic and often overlooked advanced-fee fraud scam that thousands of victims have fallen for over the years. Even recently, articles from the media indicate the prevalence and truly international reach of this scam: ... am-1568099 ... lion-black ... ence-hotel

How does the black money scam work? Typically, an initial email will be received from the scammer that may look similar to the following -
“I am a lawyer in Belgium and I am charged with seeking the rightful heir to certain assets which were deposited many years ago with a security company here in Brussels by a man who died a few years ago. We have made extensive searches to find any living heirs, but with minimal success. A man with your name is named in the Will and Testament as being the only beneficiary of these assets. We believe that you may be the person entitled and are writing to enquire if you have any dead relatives or friends who may have named you as a beneficiary of these assets in their will and testament. If so please let us have their names and any other information so we can check if you are indeed the beneficiary. The amount of the assets is $150,000 and one large trunk, contents unknown. Please reply immediately.” The scammer will often typically be sending this to thousands of potential victims from a disposable email address, with the likelihood of response from a victim being small.

Once a victim does reply, a process of “trust building” will take place. The scammer will appear charismatic and hasty for the victim to receive their funds. Unfortunately, however, the scammer is merely attempting to speed up the process to scam as much money out of a victim in a short time-frame. In this stage, the scammer may attempt to persuade the victim to pay for a plethora of non-existent fees such as “customs fees” or “taxes”. Of course, these fees are just the first stage of continuously growing amount non-existent costs.

Once the victim has passed through the first stage, the scammer will start to persuade the victim that the cash within the trunk box has been dyed black. The reason for this varies but a typical excuse is: "The deceased traded in African artefacts and had to pay for some expensive items in cash before he died. To avoid customs problems and theft the money had to be stained black." Further extraction of funds from the victim may take place at this stage too in the form of “import shipping fees” to the country of the victim.

The third stage is what makes this scam truly unique and moves scarily into the “real world”. The victim will be invited to have a meeting with the scammer (often a gang-member living nearer to the victim) and view the cash for themselves. The scammer at this point is likely to produce “washing liquid” and using a slight of hand, wash a sample note himself by quickly replacing the blackened note with a normal currency note. The black-money in the case is nothing more than black paper cut to the size of paper currency and the liquid is often only water and crushed vitamin C tablets. Examples of "black money" and washing liquid (commonly known as "SSD liquid") are illustrated below:




Variants of this scam exist, as shown below in the form of a machine that can magically change black notes into currency using flamboyant and impressive light features and sounds:

Scammers will typically set up websites or spam forums for victims of black money scams to buy their “SSD liquid” that will wash the currency for the victim. This part of the scam takes place in the form of a traditional non-delivery scam where the liquid will never arrive to the victim after payment is made up-front. Examples of these fraudulent websites are below:

If an individual sends you an email claiming that you are entitled to a lifechanging sum of money, this is likely a scam! Exercise extreme caution.

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