The Colonel's Secret Recipe

by Osman Parvez

Ever visited the Ivory Coast? Here's an unexpected twist on the old advance fee scam.

Selecting a $579,000 property in the Holiday Neighborhood, a visitor to our site sent us the following email.

I am Col. Ahmed Kone. A citizen of Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire. I am interested in the property. Kindly inform me on the necessary details and the mode of payments. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Col. Ahmed Kone

Suspecting a scam, we decided to play along anyway and sent him an email outlining the process. We inquired when he might be in Boulder to see the property. He wrote back that he wouldn't be coming because he was busy (of course!). The Colonel wanted to buy the house sight unseen.

His next email...

I will like to transfer the money for the property to you so that you can do the purchase on my behalf,But Can you be able to come down to my country so that we can see face to face and arrange on how to send the money over to you?

Would we fly down to the Ivory Coast to meet with him?


A few hours after receiving the second message, the Colonel managed to tear himself away from his military duties and actually called (gotta love Skype). He said he was working with his lawyer to send the money to purchase the home and again tried to convince us of the wisdom of flying to the Ivory Coast to meet him. The Colonel said that we had to move fast because he needed the home in three weeks, paperwork and process be damned. Again he asked if we would be willing to accept money on his behalf.

It turns out "the Colonel" is a common ruse in a Nigerian 419 Advance Fee Scam. We emailed him a link to the scammer site and asked if he was one and the same.

The Colonel replied...

I was surprice to read your mail today. Why have you decided to ternish my personality by likening my proposal to buy a property through you as scam. What do i have to do with your bank account? I am not interested in your bank account at all.

I told you over the telephone yesterday that i can not be able to come down to US now due to my Job. I have been making arrangeemnts with my lawyer on how to transfer the money to you so that you can take care of the purchase. I am a responsible Col. I dont have any intention of doing any bad thing.

If you want to help me carry on the transaction, kindly send me what i demanded from you in my previous mail, But if you fill that i am not real, Let's forget about it. I dont have time to wast, I am very serious to but the property.

Alas, just as rapidly as it began, so ended the Colonel's interest in Boulder. Or perhaps the Colonel isn't finished working his scam yet. He's probably using a different name and working another agent's site.

Maybe he's even been promoted to General?

p.s. Apparently $450MM per year is lost through advance fee fraud worldwide. If you don't know how 419 Advance Fee scam's work and want to protect yourself, here's a resource page with more information.

Image: Lasagna Boy

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 

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This document contains forward-looking statements. You are strongly cautioned that investment results are subject to business, economic and other uncertainties. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time. Always consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.