NEWS

Chinese Businessman Was Conned Over $45K

Bo Zhang, who runs Xinyuan Fiji Ltd at Rewa Street in Suva, said he posted on Facebook last Friday that he was selling some products, namely wash basins, toilet sets and pipes.
04 Jul 2019 11:00
Chinese Businessman Was Conned Over $45K
An image of the email message that Bo Zhang received claiming to be from a senior immigrant visa officer from the US Embassy in Suva. An embassy spokesperson confirmed that no one of that name worked at the embassy and the email address is fake.

Police have asked people  not to strike business deals with anyone online and  avoid accepting cheques as payment from someone they do not know.

This advice comes after an incident in which a Chinese businessman was conned of $45,370 worth of products by a man pretending to be an employee of the US Embassy in Suva.

Bo Zhang, who runs Xinyuan Fiji Ltd at Rewa Street in Suva, said he posted on Facebook last Friday that he was selling some products, namely wash basins, toilet sets and pipes.

“A Fijian of Indian descent man contacted me via Viber and discussed purchasing the products,” Mr Bo said.

“He then asked me for my email address and sent me an email saying that he was the senior immigrant visa officer at the US Embassy in Suva.

“The man identified himself as Daniel Shankar and said that while he worked at the embassy, his family ran a business.”

A copy of the email obtained by the Fiji Sun shows the address as suva.immigrantvisa@state.gov.us.

A spokesperson from the United States Embassy confirmed last night that no one by the name of Daniel Shankar worked at the embassy and that the email address provided was a fake.

In the email to Mr Bo the man who called himself Daniel Shankar said his family ran a furniture construction and joinery business.

The man also told Mr Bo in the email, “Please do not reply here as unauthorised emails will be rejected by the Homeland Security”.

Mr Bo said after several phone calls by the man and discussions last weekend they agreed to reach a deal.

“On Monday, the man sent four men in a truck to Rewa Street where I operate from to take the items,” he said.

“One of them gave me a cash cheque for $45,370, but since it was late in the afternoon I couldn’t check with the bank because all banks had closed by then.

“I believed the man because he told me that he worked in the US Embassy and he had made several calls to me in the weekend and talked to me.

“When I went to the bank with the cheque on Tuesday morning, I was told that the account for the particular company named on the cheque leaf had been closed a long time ago.

“I have been doing business for the past five years, but this is the first time that I have been conned by someone.”

Mr Bo said he reported the matter at Totogo Police Station on Tuesday and he also found out that the mobile number the man called him from belonged to a woman.

“I’ve been calling the number 2049259 since Tuesday morning, but it has been switched off. I also found out that he doesn’t work at the embassy,” he said.

“I also found out that the men took the items from my place and loaded them onto another truck at some place.

“The items taken are of the SSWW brand and no one else in Fiji has products of this particular brand, only I have them.

“So, if anyone is approached by people selling this particular brand of items then they should know that it has been stolen, taken from me by deception.”

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro confirmed that Police had received a report on the matter and investigations were being carried out.

Ms Naisoro said Police received other reports of deception, but they were different and on a smaller scale.

She said those reports were mainly of people promising to do something for someone, but they did not do it.

She said a check would have to be carried out with all crime offices in the country to find out if there were reports of similar cases.

In general, Ms Naisoro said people should not deal with anyone online.

“People just have to be very careful because anyone can create a fake profile,” she said.

“And if someone doesn’t meet you to complete a business transaction and pays you by cheque through someone, then it should just ring alarm bells.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: avinesh.gopal@fijisun.com.fj

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