The black money, or money cleaning scam is fairly active across most Asean member countries. Despite frequent media reports of victims and warnings from national police forces new victims continue to fall prey to the scam.
For those not familiar with the black money, or money cleaning scam it goes something like this:
The fraudster meets with his/ her victim, often introduced by an unwitting friend of the victim.
Some of the fraudsters form a romantic relationship with the intended victim, while others attempt to build a friendship. Sooner rather than later the matter of him/her having a friend who has just arrived in the country with a large amount of money that has been disguised by black ink to avoid customs detection is raised.
Playing on the greed of the intended victim the amount of money that the fraudster’s new ‘friend’ has is anywhere up to US$100 million, and all that is needed are some chemicals to clean the money.
Unfortunately the new ‘friend’ hasn’t got the money needed to clean the black money so he or she is looking for a partner to cover the cost of the chemicals in exchange for xx per cent of the money.
To dispel any disbelief the intended victim is taken to see how easy the cleaning process is, and is generally given one of the cleaned notes to take away and get verified as being authentic.
Good fraudsters come up with a variety of reasons to get the victim to pay increasing amounts for the magic chemicals necessary, including that the solution was spoiled by heat or cold, is out of date, or was seized by customs.
Once the fraudsters have milked as much money out of the victim as they can they then vanish, leaving. According to national police most victims don’t report the crime, not wanting to admit their naivety, or that they had agreed to participate in cleaning black money obtained due to criminal activity such as drug smuggling, tax evasion, or theft.
How is the black money scam done?
A few genuine US dollar bank notes are first coated with a thin solution of polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue, marked under a number of names including wood glue, white glue, carpenter’s glue, school glue, Elmer’s glue (USA), or simply PVA glue. Once the glue has dried the bills are then coated with tincture of iodine.
The ‘cleaning solutions’ and chemicals necessary to wash the black money can be anything the fraudsters think up, with cases in the past seeing flavoured cordial, ground up aspirin dissolved in water, or even talcum powder being used.
Most people have never seen the con performed, so we include this sample video in our uh-hu collection in the hopes that people’s curiosity of the con is sated.
Feature video Radio 419 MegaHertz