The wash-wash Scam format

Gentle Giant

Giant Admin for a Day
Staff member
This used to be a staple in the scammer's list of favorites, but this one takes a long time to set up and is complicated to run. It can, however, net a scammer a bunch of money if he and his friends (usually takes 2-3 people minimum to run) have the time and patience to set it up. It also requires a very willing victim.

We call it the wash-wash around here because that is the name which the scammers use for it. It's also called the "black money scam", the "black dollar scam", the "marked money scam", or the "defaced currency scam".

It is often referred to as the black money scam because a large amount of money has been covered with black ink for various reasons, mostly related to security. Oh yeah. :rolleyes: The money can be restored and then used if it is cleaned with a special cleaning solution which removes the ink. The scammers will actually travel to meet the victim (or vice versa). They show the victim how this works and then the victim spends lots of money trying to buy the special cleaning solution, then some more, some more, then some more get the idea. In the end a victim may get a suitcase full of a few $20 bills and a lot of black construction paper all lumped together.

Scammers like this format because it can make them a lot of money. After initially contacting a victim, the scammers may get some money in advance fees from the victim for taxes, fees for a security company storage unit, even bribes for corrupt government officials. (Hmm. sound very real...). The victim then is either invited to host the "officials" in his/her own country or (REALLY DANGEROUS) to travel to the country where the scammers are. Some scammers actually specialize in this type of scam and will actually "outsource" their services to other scammers. This is where all the scammers can make a lot of money. Gangs that specialize in this can be found in Nigeria and other west African states in addition to the emigre communities of Nigerians in London, Amsterdam, Toronto, etc.

Traveling to meet scammers on their own turf is EXTREMELY dangerous and should never be done. Period. End of discussion. People can actually be kidnapped, tortured, held for ransom or killed in this kind of scam. It has been known to happen. If a victim actually meets with the scammers the meeting usually takes place in a warehouse or some rented office. In the event that the victim does actually contact the local police after losing their money, there isn't anything the police will find except an empty room.

Scammers will go to great lengths to run this scam, even as far as actually defacing some real currency with black ink and using a chemical to clean it to prove to the victim that it can be done. The real questions a victim ought to be asking are, "why in the world would anyone cover millions of dollars in black ink", and "who has time to do this"? The use of some sample money may simply be a card trick or a sleight of hand trick. The scammers might let a victim actually keep a suitcase or a bag with some money in it, anything to make a victim satisfy him/herself of any doubts about the reliability of the scammers. The scammers who do this can string it out for a long time getting the victim to pay more and more more. One victim (this was actually on ABC News) paid over $250,000 over a period of time before ABC News set up a sting operation and filmed the scammers. (It's in the video forum).

Another article on the wash-wash scam can be found at the BBC by clicking here. In this story, the total was over $742,000.

De Master Yoda

One of the ways This scam has evolved uses safes. The scammer says the money or the "chemicals" needed are in a safe.

The scammers are now carrying around small combination safes in suitcases that also have a key lock. The potential victim is told he has to pay to obtain the combination lock code to proceed.

Once this is paid for, the scammer then demands more money for the key to open the lock that the safe also has.

After more payments, invariably the key that was received was wrong and now requires yet another payment to get the new key.

If the so called "breeze" or "Black money" is finally obtained, it then needs a so called "Very special Chemical " to clean it with. The "bank notes" are usually painted with an Iodine solution and the "special" chemical is ascorbic acid (Vitamin C/Orange juice).

The scammers will make a big show and build up the value of this so called "special Chemical" using a variety of impressive sounding names for it. so they can dupe the prospective victim into parting with a lot of money to purchase this Chemical.

Another variation on this involves the safes containing Gold or gold dust.

Some of the names for the "special chemical" (orange juice ) are:
The chemical
  • S.S.D. Solution
  • Vectrol Paste
  • Tebi-Manetic
  • Humine Powder
    • solid solution
    • Shiba / Fay
    • Motion
    • Decharge
    • Sahualla