Nigerians place too-good-to-be-true newpaper ad

Expats and subscribers elsewhere probably do not know that a full-page Tico Times newspaper ad marketing cell telephones and other electronic devices was placed by Nigerians who have a history of scams.

The ad has run for at least three weeks on the back page of the English-language weekly.

Map shows spot where email was sent

The key contact on the ad, identified as Billy Kasht, sends his email messages from this IP address: The numbers trace back to an Internet server at in Lagos, Nigeria.

The full-page advertisement contains the same telephone number that was flagged by scam busters as being associated with The Thunder-Ball UK lottery scam. LLC, a Japanese firm that follows scams, listed Thunder-Ball as an advance fee fraud that was making the rounds in 2006. Emails would show up in a victim’s inbox saying that the email address won a big prize. Never mind that the victim did not enter any contest.

The more naïve would follow instructions and send money for taxes, fees and other charges in order to claim the non-existent money prize.

That phone number is 447024064888. An Internet search shows that it also is related to a company that calls itself Ocean Limited.

Newspaper ad has run for at least three weeks

The firm or individual using that name was placing classified ads a year ago “Looking for 18-50 guys and girls for Entry Level Customer service/Sale/Account Manager/Transport/ Marketing Positions.”

Ocean Limited uses this email address: Scam busters report that scammers frequently use free email accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail.

Scam busters also said that the phone number above is a special mobile type in Britain that forwards incoming calls to other countries. The company address is ostensible 8 Charlton Ave. in Eccles, Manchester, England.

The full-page newspaper ad also uses the email address Imesh Perera is a 26-year-old student in Sri Lanka who does not seem to be in the Internet marketing business, according to her Linked-in online profile.

However, the email address using her name is associated with classified ads for customer service, sales, account managers, market and transport and other job categories. The ads are running all over the world including one on another Costa Rican classified Web page. It says the email address is for the Oriental Coast Yacht Hotel UK.

The classified was posted in January and again in June.

Also seeking 50 individuals to fill entry-level jobs is the current key contact who uses the email address This person is identified in online classified postings as being associated with a firm called Oceans 17 Limited. This is a real British firm, according to the Company House there. The classified ads are circulating all over the world.

Scammers frequently offer jobs to persons seeking adventure but then demand advanced fees.

Billy Kasht also is another contact person if one seeks to purchase cell telephones via the full-page weekly newspaper ad. He offers the same Yahoo email account address, too. In the ad, Kasht says he is associated with The Mobile Phone Communications Limited and offers an address in Manchester, England. In direct mails, the firm is called The Mobile Telephone Exchange Limited, which is very similar to but not the same as a large London company that purchases used cellular telephones by mail.

The ad offers iPhones and iPads at what appears to be about half the normal retail price.

Newspapers are vulnerable because they are anxious to run advertising. Scammers have been known to pay their bills with fake or stolen credit cards. The newspaper publishes the ad for several weeks before the credit card companies report that the purchase was bogus. Consequently, some scammers are able to get their announcements before the public by trickery but without any expense.

The individual identified as Billy Kasht sought to place advertising in A.M. Costa Rica and its associated news titles. To pay the $5,000 bill, he offered a Citibank Mastercard in another name. A Mastercard fraud worker in The Philippines said that the card still was active. She said she would contact the card holder. The bank is based in New York.

Those expats who use a credit card to purchase mythical cell telephones from Nigerians should expect that their numbers will be used frequently and fraudulently by the scammers.

There once was a time when scammers offered to sell cell telephones and other electronic devices from their Nigerian location via emails. The suspicious wondered why Nigerians would offer good deals on such devices because the country did not manufacture cell telephones. The main reason is that the Nigerians had no intention of actually selling anything. They just wanted credit card information or money wired by Western Union.

But Nigeria was so notorious as a scammer’s paradise that most customers were reluctant to do business with persons located there. Consequently many set up front operations in other countries to make it appear the customer was doing business in the First World. Scammers in Nigeria are so blatant that many such scams are called Nigerian 419s in reference to the section of the country’s penal code that covers such crimes.

The paid newspaper ad appears to be an alternate approach and seeks to have individuals believe that the sellers are located in Manchester.

In an email exchange, editors challenged Billy Kasht to provide more information about the company and perhaps a bank reference. That is normal in business.

The individual appeared miffed in the broken English reply. He said “We are have been putting advert in the newspaper you found our advert and there is know complain. So why such question{We want to make sure that our readers get the cell telephones that they order}?Our company is on 17th aniversary that is why we reduce the price for the month.”

Instead of a bank reference he provided a list of individuals who were supposed to be satisfied customers. Two had email addresses that have been associated with scams in the past, according to an Internet search. Also included was a second telephone number, 442032390186, that appears to be associated with a number of job offer ads on the Internet.

The irony is that for years bilingual crooks in Costa Rica marketed top-of-the-line computers that did not exist to victims in the United States.

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