irrevocable letter of credit = scam buster

Mike Arman armanmik at
Thu Oct 2 17:18:44 EDT 2003

Subject: irrevocable letter of credit = scam buster
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 10:03:39 -0700
Hi All,
Here's another johnny-come-lately copy-cat. For those of you who have not
done business internationally, the irrevocable letter of credit, ILC, is the
answer for almost all of these. The scammers will balk at the prospect of
going to a real live bank and executing an ILC.

Even irrevocable letters of credit can be a problem.

1) They are easy to forge - our buddies in Nigeria and lately Sierra Leone
are past masters at funny paper. Ask your local banker if he's even
actually SEEN an Irrevocable Letter of Credit - most banks and bankers in
the US have NOT and wouldn't know a forged one from a real one if their
life depended on it. And they really don't care, either, since this is only
YOUR money, not theirs.

2) Even a good ILC can have problems - if *anything* is wrong with it, or
even suspected to be wrong with it (and we are talking typographical errors
of a very minor nature, or shipping windows - proof of shipment must be
provided as follows, between the dates of X and Y, and you shipped on Y +1
day), they can still be refused.

3) Most banks are in no hurry to turn them into cash anyway, and you may
get to wait as much as 30 days before you get your money.

Remember, deals that are too good to be true are too good to be true. Sell
your car INSIDE the country of your residence - that way if there is a
problem, you KNOW who has jurisdiction, and you know who to complain to and
you can have them arrested, sued, etc.

International business is not for the faint of heart - there's a LOT of
varmints out there, and very, very little cross border law enforcement at
the amounts we are talking about. I have a buddy at the FBI - I had a
problem with someone in Russia - he told me that unless someone was dead,
or it involved at least seven figures, or both, they just were not
interested, and I was on my own.

I solved the problem by contacting some business acquaintances in the area,
and they were (quickly) able to convince the guy of the error of his ways .
. . and oh, boy, was I ever lucky on this one . . .

Best Regards,

Mike Arman

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