Foreign exchange fraud – or rip deal

If someone who appears to be interested in your property advertisement suggests doing a foreign exchange deal with you ‘on the side’, be careful! It may be a foreign exchange scam.

The money changing scam involves a fraudulent currency exchange transaction. Fraudsters are always trying out new tricks for this scam. But all of them have the same goal: to cheat their victims out of their money.

However, there are various attributes that can help you quickly identify this type of fraud.

Example of a currency exchange scam

The scammers usually find their victims through ads (such as property ads). When such a currency exchange scammer contacts a potential victim,

  • he/she usually does it from other countries
  • After contacting you, a meeting is arranged – usually in a foreign country. Upon meeting, the scammer steers the conversation away from the ad and to the topic of exchanging currency or a cash transaction.
  • he/she often uses exotic-sounding names
  • The victim is offered to exchange euros and/or US dollars for Swiss francs or vice versa. Sometimes the scammer lies to the victim and tells them it is under-the-table or laundered money, which is why the currency exchange transaction must be done secretly.

When it comes to handing over the money, the creativity of the currency exchange scammer is seems to know no bounds:

  • counterfeit money or facsimile notes instead of actual cash
  • empty briefcases
  • fake bundles of money with only one real note on top
  • dyed bills that can supposedly be restored again with chemicals

Distinguishing features

Currency exchange scams can usually be identified by one or more of the following:

  • The supposedly interested party asks you, the buyer, to pay the brokering fees and commissions in cash.
  • The entire transaction is to be done with cash.
  • Vi viene prospettato un guadagno altamente sproporzionato.
  • You are offered the prospect of unusually high gains.
  • The meeting point for the transfer is to take place in a different country (northern Italy, France, Spain, Turkey or the Benelux countries).
  • The supposedly interested party wants to meet you in a public place.
  • The agreed meeting place and time are changed at the last minute.
  • The supposedly interested party accepts the price for the property in your ad without verifying and/or viewing it.
  • Aside from the actual transaction (e.g. house purchase), the intention for other transactions (including foreign exchange swaps) is expressed as well.

What should I do?

If you are contacted by someone who meets one or more of the above criteria, do not let down your guard for this person. Report the incident immediately to ImmoScout24 customer service.