Anatomy of a Scam: Completely Fake Businesses

Scammers create the appearance of completely real businesses to scam you!

A Scam Warning

A Different Kind of  Nigerian Scam!

This is a new Nigerian Money Scam Creating Fake Companies

This is not a Dating Scam, but it comes from the same people in Nigeria that engage in dating scams, and this one could actually land the victim in jail.

For these reasons we have decided to highlight it here, to make you and others aware of its existence.

The Basic Idea:

A legitimate investment company contacts you innocently enough through either social media (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter) or even through dating websites.  The message speaks about financing, loans, or investments that they offer at low-interest rates (typically 3% to 4%).  They invite you to apply or send your business plan.

The person that contacts you appears to have a legitimate email address from the “real” company.  In fact, if you go to the company’s website, and contact them, they confirm the person that contacted you.

There is only one problem, ok maybe many problems.  The emails come from Nigeria (IP Address:, not where you think they do.

Abdullah Nasir, CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

Here is a typical first contact:

Abdullah Nasir, CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

Abdullah Nasir, CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

The Text:

LinkedIn InMail · Job inquiry

RE: Thank you

Abdullah Nasir, CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

September 16, 2014 8:44 AM


Thank you for your email.We will be interested to invest as a debt finance at 4% and what we need for our review is the business plan and executive summary.All questions should be directed to him for a more comprehensive answer.

If you have interest kindly send your proposal to our project finance manager’s official email address as stated below for further details.

Name: Ahmed Saaf.

Looking forward to building a strong business relationship with you.


Abdullah Nasir CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

Abdullah Nasir
CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

Notice that for a businessman of his age, he has vey limited work experience in his profile.  Ironically, MANY people have endorsed this profile for his skills, yet none of them know him!!!  Sheep being led to slaughter.

He also claims to have gone to a minor U.S. University, which is also not typical for an affluent Arab businessman.

Abdullah Nasir CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

Abdullah Nasir
CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting

Of course, the kicker is that a TinEye search of the profile photo shows that it is actually the Bahrain Minister of Defence!  [clue: always do a photo search even if you don’t smell a rat!]

Following up on this, we naturally contacted the company involved:  Esterad Investments through their website:   which appears to be VERY REAL!  BUT IT’s NOT – this is how go the Nigerians now are!


The website itself:

According to WHOIS, the website is hosted in the U.S. and the Domain Registered in Panama [very abnormal for any real business]:

Tech Name: Domain Administrator
Tech Organization: Fundacion Private Whois
Tech Street: Attn:, Aptds. 0850-00056
Tech City: Panama
Tech State/Province: 
Tech Postal Code: Zona 15
Tech Country: PA
Tech Phone: +507.65967959
Tech Phone Ext: 
Tech Fax: 
Tech Fax Ext: 
Tech Email:
Name Server:
Name Server:

This is a post office box in Panama!  For a Bahrain company!

According to the real reviews of the company, the real web address is:  which is currently under construction.

According to “BusinessWeek”: Esterad Investment Company BSC is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm invests in the public equity, fixed income, and alternative investment markets across the globe. Its alternative investments include investment in private equity and real estate markets. The fund’s public equity investments are spread across the Arab stock markets and investments in the international markets through third-party managers. Esterad Investment Company BSC was founded in 1973 and is based in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.  But the website says they were founded in 1997 [remember to always look at the details, this is where scammers slip up!]


In following up about the legitimacy of this initial contact, the following emails were exchanged:

#1: Sent to:

Dear Sirs,

I have been contacted by someone from your company on LinkedIn, using the profile:

I mean no disrespect, but in a world of scams, I wanted to confirm that this person is a representative of your company before I proceed.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to you information.

Warmest regards,

#2: Reply from

Dear xxx,

 The link you sent expired.What is the persons name and who did he ask you to contact.

 You are right in finding out and i will like to know more about the person.Looking forward to your reply.


Noorruddin A. Noorruddin

[No, the link had not expired – but does require a LinkedIn login – which he should have had.]

#3: To

Mr.  Noorruddin,

Thank you for your quick reply.

It is ironic, in that I am potentially interested in working with your company.  I have developed a very extensive new business plan to launch a new business here in the United States that I would like to discuss.  This is why I wanted to confirm if the message I received was real.

However, I suspected that this contact might have been false, because it is using the photo of one of your government officials, but with a different name. 

The name used on the LinkedIn profile is:  Abdullah Nasir, CEO at Abdullah Investment Consulting   Here is a link to his profile on LinkedIn:

Thank you again for your rapid and gracious reply.

Warmest regards,

#4: Reply from

Dear xxx,

 Thank you for the link and the PDF file.He is one of our registered brokers and he is genuine.Kindly proceed with your transaction with him.We are aware of him using our name because he is registered with us.

 Are you in need of project financing?You can discuss with him or can present the project directly to us for review.

Noorruddin A. Noorruddin

[This was an odd reply from the “CEO” of a major investment group.  Scammers never quite know how business works, or what formal business communications are like.]

#5: To

Thank you for your reply.

I am curious, why is he using someone else’s photo?  Is that photo not of your Minister of Defense?

[Now we are getting to the meat of the mystery!]

#6: Reply from – Love this one!

Dear xxx,
We Arabs look the same in the sight of foreigners.That is his picture and not the picture of the Minister of Defense.
Noorruddin A. Noorruddin

[The CEO of a major Arab Investment Group didn’t just say that?  Yes, He Did!  Of course, it was a scammer in Nigeria that said that!  No business person in their right mind would ever say such a thing in writing!]


This is not isolated, there are multiple scams the follow a similar approach out there.  Be careful!

In short, always look at the details.

In this case, the profile was “off” – not enough substance for a professional of that man’s age, not enough work history.

The website was “wrong” and had details that were inconsistent with other published information.

The emails also proved to be the final proof of fraud coming from Nigeria [we checked the email properties to find the IP address that confirmed they were from Nigeria.]

Always Be On Guard And Verify Everything!



SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

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