Beware of so-called “rip deals”: These are tempting sounding, however fraudulent, foreign exchange transactions
What are “rip deals”, and are there, in that respect, any typical procedures involved?
So-called “rip deals” are fraudulent foreign exchange transactions, the initiation and settlement of which are mostly characterised by similar methods. First of all, the victims of such foreign exchange transactions are promised high profits, but, anticipating a profitable transaction, they are ultimately defrauded of their money when it the time comes to for the money to be handed over.
The term “rip deal” is comprised of the English words “to rip off” (meaning to defraud) and “deal” (meaning transaction). The name says it all.
Such fraudulent activities usually follow a similar, repetitive pattern. Contact is typically taken up by means of a phone call, or, on a case-by-case basis, also via personal contacts. The telephone numbers are predominantly found out by the fraudsters via newspaper advertisements which the potential victims have often placed themselves over the Internet or in a newspaper. The telephone numbers are frequently found in property advertisements, or in advertisements to sell vehicles or art objects. Under false pretences and giving the prospect false facts, personal meetings are arranged to settle the purchase of those items advertised abroad, especially in Northern Italy, but also in France, Spain, Turkey or the Benelux States.
At such meeting the purchase transaction initiated is, however, suddenly no longer a topic, or merely a side topic. Invitations to view houses are rejected, and the potential victims are instead offered lucrative foreign exchange transactions or cash transactions, in a sophisticated manner, mostly involving the exchange of Swiss francs for euros, or, in individual cases, also US dollars. What is offered, for example, is to exchange Swiss francs at the same nominal value as euros. The evidently “poor transaction” for the fraudster is justified claiming that the money has been acquired illegally or is unreported income.
With the ulterior motive of eliciting the trust of the potential victim, an exchange of smaller amounts of money, as a “trial transaction” as it were, in many cases actually does takes place. Based on the trust earned in this way, exchange transactions on a larger scale are subsequently offered. Luxury hotels are often proposed as the place of transfer. Should the victim agree to such transactions, the perpetrators flee either directly after the money has been transferred, without providing the consideration, or the victims is handed a suitcase, in which solely or predominantly counterfeit currency is to be found. It can also not be excluded that the fraudsters may resort to violence.