Scammers pretend to be auction officers representing large industries or The Nigerian customs service claiming to “clear” products or seized cars or other merchandize at extremely low prices.
How this scam works
The scammer contacts you via emails, text message and most commonly, online ads, pretending to represent large industries or the Nigerian Customs service, offering clearance sales of products such as Bags of rice, Cement or Cars at unbelievably cheap rates.
They also clone existing auction websites and email accounts where they post and send out details of their fake auctions.
Common Types of Auction scams:
Dangote Factory Clearance Sales
The scammers post the factory clearance sales offers usually on the comment section of online newspapers, blogs and forums.
They claim that orders can only be made in very large quantities since the factory cannot sell small quantities during auctions.
The most common commodities used in this type of scam are Cement, Sugar, Salt, Rice and Flour.
The Nigerian Customs Service Auctions
This group of scammers are often found on social media especially on Facebook, posing as Customs officials selling impounded cars are ridiculously low prices.
On the timeline of one of the scam Facebook accounts, a second hand Toyota Sienna mini-bus, which sells for over ₦1m, is being offered to buyers at ₦300,000, while a Toyota Camry, which has a market value of about ₦850, 000, was offered for between ₦200,000 and ₦250,000.
Some of the fake Facebook accounts opened in the name of the Nigerian Customs Service usually carry the emblem of the service, while others bear the photograph of its Comptroller-General. Also, the pictures of different brands of vehicles purported to be up for auction are put on the pages to attract buyers.
The accounts give users no indication that they are fake, as scammers operating them have perfected their scheme by asking people to come along with valid documents and means of identification such as driving license and passport photographs.
- Unusually low prices
- Unofficial means of communication
- You are asked to make an advance payment before the merchandise is delivered to you
- You are to pay into private accounts
- You are asked to hurriedly make payments before they give it out to someone else.
How to protect yourself
The official website of the Nigerian customs service is https://customs.gov.ng, and their official e-Auctions platform is https://trade.gov.ng/: Any communication which doesn’t originate from the official channels should be seen with caution
The official website of Dangote Industries Limited is https://www.dangote.com: Any communication which doesn’t originate from the official website on email address registered on the domain should be disregarded.
Have you been scammed?
If you think you have scammed in an auction deal, contact the police or other relevant agencies immediately.
We encourage you to report scams to us via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.
We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.
Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.