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Landlords beware - Nigerian 419ers are targeting online UK flatshare sites in an attempt to practice their dark advance fee fraud arts on unsuspecting advertisers.

Reg reader James Wilson placed an ad for a spare room on several such sites last Friday. Within hours he had received the following BREATHLESS MISSIVE from NIGERIA. The scam itself is pretty bog-standard: a) tempt mugu (victim) with promise of large cheque, contrive problem with cheque, ask for cash up front via money transfer pending clearance of cheque, proceed directly to Lagos boutique to buy expensive new black-and-white leather shoes; or b) send mugu stolen cheque, receive cut via money transfer, await arrival of police at mugu's address, proceed directly to Lagos boutique to buy expensive new black-and-white leather shoes.

HELLO, MY NAME IS paul pama FROM NIGERIA WEST AFRICA,I AM INTERESTED IN RENTING YOUR Large double room (£280 x 6 months) AS TO MOVE IN WHEN I COME TO THE UK ACCORDING TO YOUR PRICE AND DISCRIPTION IT IS VERY OK TO ME,BUT I HAVE GOTTEN A LITTLE PROBLEM,I HAVE A FREIND IN THE UK WHO IS OWING ME AND WANTS TO PAY ME WITH A UK CHEQUE OF(£6500) AND IT IS NOT EASY TO CASH A FOREIGN CHEQUE AT OUR LOCAL BANK HERE,SO I WANT HIM TO SEND YOUR THE CHEQUE ON YOUR NAME SO THAT WHEN YOU GET IT, YOU DEDUCT YOUR PAYMENT AND SEND THE EXCESS FUND TO ME IN NIGERIA VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER FOR MY TICKET AND ALL OTHER EXPENSES,IF YOU ARE OK WITH ME GIVE ME YOUR FULL NAME ,ADDRESS,AND PHONE NUMBER THAT WILL BE ON THE CHEQUE ,I WILL GIVE YOU EXTRA £100 FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS TOWARDS THIS TRANSACTION.PLS REPLY ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Ahem. We can foresee only trouble from this flatshare - young Paul racking up huge phone bills, drinking the last of the milk, leaving the toilet seat up, etc, etc - and advise our would-be landlord to look for a more suitable tenant. Actually, now we think about it, what about the lovely Miss Bless KIFFA of Ivory Coast? Back in August she was offering a slice of £16m and free sex to anyone willing to give her and her wedge a good home. By our reckoning, she's got enough wonga to pay 57,000 weeks' rent in advance with sufficient left in the bank to get the take-away pizzas in for a month. Sounds ideal. ®

Bootnote

James has emailed all those sites on which he's currently advertising suggesting they might want to stick up a warning about the Lads from Lagos. A good move, we reckon.

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