Vietnam police warn of foreign-based online scams

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City are investigating fraud schemes being practiced against local businesses by foreigners, after receiving complaints from several victims claiming they had been cheated out of tens of thousands dollars.

According to HCMC police department's crime division (PC45), in one of the scams, a person who claimed to be Michael Vivo, head of Auditing Division with South Africa Bank's branch in Sandton, a wealthy area of Johannesburg, sent emails to local businesses, offering a piece of the US$10.2 million left by a deceased millionaire.

In the emails sent in January, Vivo claimed that a Filipino millionaire and his family were all killed in the tsunami-earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, and his fortune remained unclaimed at the bank.

He said under South African law, the money was due to be submitted to state budget if no one claimed it as inheritance within three years of the account holder's death.

The man offered 40 percent of the money to any Vietnamese businesses who agreed to cooperate with him, the PC45 said. He asked interested people to contact him for instructions on completing the necessary procedures, they added.

Fearing that they were being targeted by hackers, many people and businesses reported the email to police.

The PC45 have also received complaints from two people who said they were cheated out of more than US$42,000, an officer told Thanh Nien.

Earlier, in November last year, a 33-year-old woman in HCMC also filed a complaint with the PC45, saying that foreigners had swindled her out of over $80,000, using a similar scheme.

In December last year, a person who claimed to be Thanaporn Deng, chairman of the Asia Pacific Lottery Association, emailed numerous HCMC businesses, informing them that they had won $2.5 million during in a random spinning the association held on December 4.

The email asked its recipients to keep the information secret and contact his associate, Nathan Sanool, to receive instructions on completing the necessary paperwork to receive the money.

According to the PC45 officer, police are issuing warnings against such online scams. 

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