Many knowledgeable observers and respected analysts of the industry have noted, for example, that particularly in these hard global economic times, many crooks, scammers and fraudsters with actually no real crude oil to sell, have trooped into the international crude oil selling business in tremendous numbers, seeing it as a fertile ground for them in which, many of them think, they can “strike it big” by scamming unsuspecting or gullible international crude buyers, aided and made easier for them by the Internet and the easier cover of anonymity that it provides. Consequently, clearly, a well-established and settled FACT in the world of international crude oil buying and selling business today, is that that whole terrain is literally teeming and crawling with congenital scammers, and pathological crooks and fraudsters who parade themselves, especially on the Internet, as crude “sellers.” (See, for an example, another article by this writer published by EzineArticles.com, titled “Buy Nigeria Crude Oil Without Fraud: How Authentic Crude Oil Sellers Can Find Ready Buyers.”).
CLUES & SIGNS FOR SPOTTING POTENTIAL CROOKS AND SCAMMERS
Given the above-described distinct reality today, are there ways in which you can spot or detect crude “sellers” who are not LEGITIMATE, or those who are most likely simply scammers and fraudsters with no real crude allocation or crude to sell?
The following are some of the ways and signs:
1. THE “SIGN THE SPA,” “SIGN THE CONTRACT” GAME.
Often, a Buyer may get a seller or his agent who aggressively pushes and presses that the buyer should simply “just sign the contract, just sign the SPA,” and that everything else will work out for the buyer after that. Typically, such seller or the agent will promise virtually heaven and earth, and commit to providing the buyer virtually any and everything whatsoever the buyer asks of him, PROVIDED that the buyer just signs the contract. He will, the buyer will be promised, be immediately provided satisfactorily verifiable POP, or the 2% Performance Bond, or get the seller’s profile, his proof of past track record or past performance in the selling of crude oil or of his creditworthiness, etc., etc – but only “after” the buyer has signed the contract!
Watch out for such scenario by sellers or sellers’ agents! Many supposed sellers like that probably don’t really have any oil allocation or available oil to sell. However, for them, the trick is simply to get some gullible buyer to sign the SPA or Contract. And then once that is done, such fraudsters will often deliberately fault the agreement in some way or the other, and employ that as a ruse to demand a hefty penalty fee of upwards of $100,000 or more from the buyer. The buyer will thus be forced either to pay for a deal that never occurred, or else, to have the buyer’s Letter of Credit tied up, at perhaps greater cost and expense to the buyer, until perhaps he succumbs and pays up the scammy seller’s “penalty.”
2. A SELLER WHO WANTS YOU TO MOVE/PAY FIRST
A good sign that you better employ caution, is when a seller wants you to make the move first on the sensitive FINANCIAL aspects of the deal, such as requiring that you (the buyer) issue the Letter of Credit first before the seller will then issue the customary 2% Performance Bond to activate that LC. A less scam-prone way would be for the buyer (unless it is a well-known seller that’s involved) to have the seller move FIRST by issuing the PB from a reputable international bank, as this will guarantee that the seller has the financial capability to be able to put up the PB before the buyer goes through the hassle of putting up an LC, which could be quite an expensive proposition for any buyer. Scammy sellers are notorious for not being able to put up the 2% PB after the buyer might have first put up the LC simply because, being usually a small, obscure or sometimes even non-existent operation, such “sellers” often lack the funds to afford the PB, thus leaving the buyer with huge expense in banking costs for posting the LC.