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SecretsReporters Exposes Scammers Impersonating U.S.-Based Company to Defraud Nigerians                                                                                                                                        

Onoja Johnson B.

SecretsReporters has uncovered a disturbing scam operation targeting Nigerian job seekers. The perpetrators of this elaborate scam have been impersonating a United States-based company, GR-Research, luring unsuspecting Nigerians with fake employment opportunities.

GR-Research, which specializes in sound systems and high-quality loudspeakers, raised the alarm via its official website, issuing a stern warning to potential victims. The message on their website clearly stated, “SCAM Alert: We are NOT hiring, and we are NOT ‘expanding sales’ into Nigeria. If you receive any messages, DMs, or emails about a sales job opportunity in Nigeria, it is fake and did NOT come from us.”

Following the alert, SecretsReporters embarked on a mission to expose the individuals behind this audacious scam. It began by chatting with the scammers, using a fake job offer sent to a Nigerian recipient.

The victim received the fraudulent job offer via Short Message Services (SMS) and was informed they could earn NGN 18,000 daily. The SMS, whose sender is “BY Team,” reads, “Your resume has been selected; by using a mobile phone can get NGN18000 per day easily. Please add now: http://wa.me/2348107849761.”

(screenshot of the sms sent by the scammer)

“Pas David Bene,” located in Nigeria. This initial discovery began a trail exposing the scammers’ SecretsReporters uncovered the first layer of the scam when it identified the phone number’s user as elaborate tactics.

The SecretsReporters’ reporter, posing as a job seeker, continued the chat with the scammer on WhatsApp, who now claimed to be “GR-Elizabeth,” purporting to be a career consulting manager at GR-Research. The scammer enticed victims with promises of lucrative part-time job opportunities, offering monthly salaries ranging from ₦200,000 to ₦2,000,000.

The scammer requested personal information from the potential victims, including their names, gender, age, profession, city of residence, and expected salary. To lend further authenticity to their ruse, the scammer provided a registration link (https://sound-gr.com/#/user/login/register?code=QjO1OCX) with persuasive statements about the potential earnings.

The scammer attempted to trick the reporter into revealing sensitive information as the investigation continued. The registration website requires a phone number verification code (OTP) for registration. When the reporter pretended not to receive the OTP, the scammer quickly provided an alternative code through WhatsApp to succeed in her fraud. The code she provided differs from the code sent to the reporter’s phone.

Upon successful registration, the scammer sent what she claimed to be a bonus code for N200, suspected to be a phishing attempt; the reporter declined the bonus, emphasizing interest in the job itself. When the reporter pretended that the website was no longer responsive, the scammer provided another link where an app could be downloaded in place of the website. When confronted about why the app is not on Google’s Play Store, she claimed it was unavailable on the App Store for now. This confirmed that the venture is clearly a scam.

Eventually, the scammer presented their fraudulent scheme. To become a GR-Research partner and earn a fixed income daily, the job seeker was required to pay a certain amount through the scamming site, designed to mimic the authentic GR-Research website. The scammer detailed the various product categories and promised monthly earnings ranging from 30K to 90K Naira.

On the fraudulent site, one is expected to “activate a hot-selling product to become a GR-Research partner and receive fixed income daily.” According to the scammer, “You can earn at least 30K-90K Naira per month by working according to my guidance.”

She said, “For C1 products, deposit 2,200 Naira into your work account and earn a fixed income of 99 Naira daily. You can earn 37 consecutive days, with a total income of 3,663 Naira. For C2 products, deposit 6,500 Naira into your work account and earn a fixed income of 299 Naira daily. You can earn 38 consecutive days, with a total income of 11,362 Naira. For C3 products, deposit 14,200 Naira into your work account and earn a fixed income of 667.4 Naira daily. You can earn 39 consecutive days, with a total income of 26,082.6 Naira.”

The scammer also went further to provide fraudulent proof of Nigerians benefitting from the scheme and making a lot of money.

(photo of alleged beneficiary sent by the scammer)

After confirming that “GR-Elizabeth” was one of the imposters and scammers operating on behalf of the authentic GR-Research, the reporter confronted her with the official company website. The scammer denied the authenticity of the real site, insisting that her link was the official one. However, when threatened with the screenshot of the genuine GR-Research scam alert and the promise to inform the company about her activities on WhatsApp, the scammer ceased communication.

Further investigation by SecretsReporters unveiled critical details about the scammer’s domain, ‘SOUND-GR.COM,’ hosted on hostinger.com. This domain was created on September 12, 2023, by Privacy Protect, LLC (PrivacyProtect.org) in Burlington, MA, United States. The contact information for Privacy Protect, LLC, which registered the domain, is +1.8022274003 and email@privacyprotect.org.

(details of the domain host of the scammer’s website)

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