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Natural resources sales scams in Russia - oil, gas, and other

For more than 10 years, we have been providing foreign businessmen with services to check Russian counterparties before entering into international contracts, and in 98% of cases, we detect attempted frauds.

Top 3 natural resources sale scams to lure victims:

1. Scammers make a duplicate of the original website of some manufacturer (for example, Gazprom), indicate their contact information and bank details on it. You may enter into an agreement thinking that you did it with that real company, but you will pay money to another account. On the websites of original petroleum product suppliers, you can even find a list of such fake sites, which are periodically identified by the security services of the original manufacturers.

2. Scammers buy, for a song, a real company with a website, with its history and official reporting, that used to resell petroleum products, but has now gone bankrupt. And on behalf of this company they officially conclude a contract with you.
Thus, you can see the company has good performance, but when you pay the money, the contract simply will not be fulfilled.

3. Scammers simply create a new website for a trading company, promising favorable conditions and affordable prices for goods. When you pay money, you do not receive the goods.
Note that in most cases the scammers were not even Russian citizens. We draw this conclusion because the documents in Russian that we receive for due diligence verification sometimes contain complete nonsense: words with grammatical errors, incoherent text, and references to organizations that do not exist in Russia. Moreover, in our practice, there was a case where on a contract supposedly from Gazprom, there was a seal with the inscription “SAMPLE SEAL” instead of the name. That is, the scammers took some stamp from the Internet in Cyrillic and inserted it into the document, without even understanding what was written on it.


There may be a few scenarios:
1. The seller simply stops replying to your messages.
2. The seller provides you with fictitious documents stating that the goods have allegedly been shipped and even delivered, for example, documents stating that oil has been delivered to the port of Rotterdam. Of course these are fake documents.
3. You may be asked for more money for delivery, processing, etc.
4. We even came across a case where scammers were able to take money for a second consignment of goods by providing documents that the first consignment of goods had already been delivered and there was a port stamp.

You may ask, is it possible to get the money back?
It is a complicated question.

1. The problem is that in Russia, incorporating any company costs just 500 USD and the registration period is 5 days. After this, you can already receive money into your account. When scammers have registered such a company and received money from you, they immediately withdraw it or transfer it to other accounts. And even if you go to court and obtain a collection decision, it is unlikely that you will be able to then enforce this decision and get your money back.

2. Sometimes scammers provide bank accounts and ask to pay to an account in the USA or Europe. Even though it is silly to pay a Russian company into a US account, victims do it anyway. I've seen this quite often too.

3. In addition, scammers often simply ask for money in cryptocurrency and then it is really difficult to prove anything.

Generally, in all three cases you will not be unlikely to get your money back.

What to do then? How to find a trustworthy supplier?

We can help with this. Our company is engaged in checking counterparties in Russia.
1. We can check the supplier you have found according to 10 parameters: documents (checking for forgery), the company’s website and its financial statements, director, bankruptcy, whether the company is a fly-by-night business (or a shell), and others.
2. If your potential contractor turns out to be a fraudster, we will find a reliable supplier and arrange a face-to-face meeting with him or her.

If you decide to do it yourself, you need to adhere to some general rules:
1. Be sure to meet at least via a video conference service with the future contractor.
2. Ask for their internal passport
3. Do not pay money without a signed and verified contract.
4. Sign the contract only in person.

Need help with checking a contractor? Reach us:
Tel: +7 909 961-19-09
Visit us: Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4/1, office 308

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