By Ibrahim Saleh.
An Increase In Internet Scams Entraps Naïve Baghdad Locals
Over the past few months there has been an increase in stories about money-making scams on Facebook. Ill-informed Iraqis with get-rich-quick dreams are still falling for fraudsters’ lies.
Tariq al-Halaq works at a barbershop in the central Baghdad neighbourhood of Mansour and he likes to talk to customers about his plans to get rich. The 37-year-old wants to make money and then leave the country to live a quiet life elsewhere. “It will only take a little time,” al-Halaq says.
Ask him why and he says he has stumbled upon an ingenious new scheme to make money on Facebook.
These online scams have always been around, says one Baghdad local, but recently they have been becoming more professional, targeted and therefore more widespread.
On a post in a closed Facebook group, meant mainly for the sale of second-hand cars, al-Halaq read about a man called Ahmad al-Yasri.
“Buy a parcel for IQD6 million or a bank note for IQD60,000,” al-Yasri writes on Facebook. A parcel is a bundle of American bank notes amounting to US$10,000 and a bank note refers to a US$100 note. But the amount that the man is selling the currency for does not equate to current exchange rates. Six million Iraqi dinars only add up to around US$5,000. And six thousand Iraqi dinars only equal around US$50.
There is even a video accompanying the post which shows a surfeit of bank notes. Al-Yasri says he is trapped in another country with all the cash and cannot move it, which is why he is trading it for half of its value.