With some people deciding to exchange their Turkish Lira into more stable currencies like Dollars, Sterling and Euros, it was probably only a matter of time for a couple of con artists to come up with a plan to cheat people out of their savings.
Earlier this month a fraud came to light when a UK based barber heard from his friend that he had been ripped off by a two-man team who were duping people with promises of selling foreign currency to them at reduced rates.
Be careful what you wish for
It turned out that Adem Ö. and Hakan O. had constructed a website offering the chance to buy foreign exchange at substantially below the official exchange rate. On the website they claimed they would sell foreign currency worth of 500 thousand TL for 50 thousand TL.
The men agreed to meet their prey in a Fethiye park, where they gave them a few bank notes so their authenticity could be confirmed. After the prospective buyers checked the notes, and found them to be real, another meeting was arranged in the park where the Turkish Liras were paid in exchange for the foreign currency.
If it looks to good to be real…
The envelopes were delivered, supposedly full of crisp sterling notes, but the reality was very different. There was a single layer of notes but the rest turned out to be newspaper and sterling bank notes marked ‘invalid’.
One such victim, from the western town of Aydın, told his friend, Ismail Y. Determined to help his buddy, the UK based barber, set up the ultimate sting to catch the two men, events became like something out of a movie.
A hairy plan
Ismail Y. got in touch with the currency crooks through the website, saying that he was interested in buying foreign exchange worth 30,000TL. He then came to Fethiye where he told the police what was happening. Working together with the Aydın police, the Fethiye crime squad and Ismail Y. took action.
The stingers get stung
As on the previous occasion, Adem Ö and Hakan O met Ismail Y. in a park and gave him some bank notes for verification. Ismail Y. told them that he was happy about them, paid the Turkish liras to conclude the deal, and set a date to collect the sterling.
However, on this occasion the serial numbers had been recorded. As the sterling was being delivered, the police took over and caught the fraudsters red handed.
During a search of their cars and house, numerous sterling ‘invalid’ banknotes marked ‘invalid’ were found, together with blank pieces of paper and newspaper, as well as some Turkish currency and the 30,000TL used in the sting.