Feeds

Web scammers sell Indian PM's house to American

Old school con

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

You'd imagine there is not a man, woman or child in Christendom who has not heard the classic - and likely apocryphal - tale of how enterprising Londoners sold the defunct old London Bridge to some enthusiastic Americans who thought they were buying Tower Bridge.

Well, here's someone who must have been out playing golf when that particular yarn did the rounds stateside: John Hammond from Little Rock, Arkansas, who paid more than $800,000 for a nice little place in New Delhi which he spotted on the web, only to discover later he had "bought" the Indian prime minister's official residence.

A suitably embarrassed Hammond told the Hindustani Times: "I run a consultancy firm in the US and was planning to open an office here. I was scouting the Net for a good property when I came across this website that had some very attractive offers listed. No. 7 Race Course Road was described as a 'huge, sprawling mansion in the heart of Lutyen's Delhi with 24x7 running water and electricity'. There were even pictures of the place and I liked it immediately. I got in touch with the so-called estate agents who promised to give me a good deal. What a deal it has turned out to be!"

After months of negotiations, Hammond duly transferred the funds to a Cayman Islands bank account and thereafter received his title deeds. Only when he arrived in New Delhi and jumped into a cab to his new pad did the horrible truth begin to dawn on the hapless scammee.

The Indian police admit Hammond and his money are unlikely to be reunited. An officer from the Special Investigation Team charged with probing the outrage said: "What can we do? The gang operates on an international scale and is most likely based outside India. The account in the Cayman Islands has already been closed and the money transferred. The banking laws there allow people to open accounts through local lawyers. In this case, the lawyer who handled the entire transaction says he received instructions over the phone and never met his principles. It's a complete dead-end."

The flabbergasted copper added: "It helps if people aren't so gullible. Hammond is a successful businessman in his own country - why couldn't he have verified the antecedents of the property that had been put for sale? A call to any government office in India would have told him whose house he was really buying." ®

Related stories

Watch out, there be scammers about, warns watchdog
How scammers run rings round eBay
419ers take Aussie financial advisor for AU$1m

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.