Hi everyone and thank you for reading my post,
I want to share with you the story that happened to me on AngelList (i.e. www.angel.co). Some scammers have tried to fraud me and charge for more than $12,000 🙀, then they have tried to get equity of my startups / side projects that I’m working on right now.
For those who do not want to read all this post, here some brief information how to avoid scam on the internet regarding investment opportunities:
- Avoid emails from random domains. Big VCs and asset managers will not send you request from @gmail or @yahoo 🙂
- Check the contact person name and company name through Google and social media networks
- If you found contact person w/ the same name on the web, contact directly to clarify your conversation and make sure that is the real person (you can even attach the screenshots of messages with investment opportunities)
- Once you clarified all information, I totally recommend you to request video call or personal meeting face2face. Note, that no any investor will not agree to provide you investments without personal meeting or long discussion to understand risks, goals, etc.
- You shouldn’t provide any documents (except some generic presentation or pitch deck) via email, chat, etc. I recommend to sign off the documents only with lawyers during personal meetings.
Here’s the full story
Everything happened when I’ve got notification (summer 2018) from AngelList about investment opportunity into my startups and side projects. Conversation was started like talking to real investors, we have changed the contacts, emails, I did self into and pitched information about startups and projects. See the screenshot below, which email I’ve got first after conversation was moved from AngelList to email.
What’s funny that they attached some documents and account statement with the huge balance available on their account. These documents were looked very impressive. Take a look…
I was impressed about this opportunity, because AngelList and previously I had some good feedback from this source. But then, first of all I’ve started to think about this random email, such as: email@example.com. In addition, I thought about why they did send me such private documents. Then we had a lot of different conversations and request to provide presentation and pitch deck about the product / startup. This was fine, I didn’t see any risks there by providing some generic presentation, especially when it available on the web and SlideShare.
The major risk and signal was when they proposed me $2,000,000 of funds as loans at the rate of 4.5% annually and pushed me to open the issuance of the surety bond. They sent me some scam website www.boasuretybonds.com. This website looks terrible, they don’t even have SSL certificate. The price for opening of surety bond was $12,000.00.
Sure, I skipped this offer 🙂 But I was still engagement about this fraud and thoughts what will be next. I told that I don’t ready for the loans. They asked me about equity and I answered that this can be the best option and lets discuss this opportunity. They proposed for 25% stake in the company for $2,000,000. Sounds like a dream 🙂 The next step was to prepare and send them LOI Letter. I knew that to make to proper LOI I should spend around $500 – $1000 to lawyer.
Since this was a long fraud, I decided to stop this game because didn’t want to spend time anymore. So, I answered them that I would like to schedule a video conference call or meet them in the real life. These scammers became very angry and started to talk some bulls#^&@t something about we gave you a huge opportunity, you are delaying this deal, bla-bla-bla.
So guys, to avoid risks and optimize your time, just ask about video conference call or meeting face to face. They will drop off immediately to scam you.
What’s funny, they sent me some phone number with notes, like: I can’t make a video call I have a full time job in some bank and let’s make a just a phone call… LOL.
These scammers tried to reach out to me a couple of times more. But I ignored all their next messages.
After several months, I’ve got new request on Angel List (C’mon Angel List it’s a joke? Again?). What’s funny that new scammers have sent me the passport of some U.S. person. Hah…
I asked them for video call through Zoom or Skype and they immediately stopped to scam me. Bellow, I want to share with you these profiles of scammers so you can be aware.
I hope you liked this story, please feel free to leave comments or ask me any questions.
Best regards and be careful,