Computer Crime Research Center


Residents fall for Internet scam

Date: October 01, 2004
By: Joe Snapper

A money-wiring scam linked to Russian bank accounts is striking unwary Internet users in mid-Michigan, the FBI says.

The bureau's Mid-Michigan Area Computer Crimes Task Force is warning Web users to surf clear of a company operating under the name "Xian Energy Sot," at the site www.

A Saginaw News call to the organization went unreturned. The Xian Energy Sot Web site says it is based in Valley Village, Calif., and is "a firm specializing in sustainable enterprise asset planning services."

The FBI claims Xian Energy "goes out of its way to tell its victims that they are a valid business and provide documentation to back it up, all of which is fraudulent."

The task force claims Xian Energy persuades victims to accept checks for a few thousand dollars to $100,000 and deposit them in their personal accounts. The check usually arrives in a FedEx package.

The FBI says Xian Energy then tells victims to "quickly" wire the amount of the check's value to a payee, minus a 5 percent commission.

When the original checks don't clear, the victims lose the amount of cash they wired. The payee usually is described as a U. S. citizen abroad or a foreign national with U.S. bank accounts, the FBI says.

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