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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Fraud Warning and Fake Kimberley Process Certificates for Sierra Leone and Guinea


Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 9, 2014

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The Department of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection is advising the public on several scams involving Kimberley Process Certificates. Legitimate Kimberley Process Certificates are used to control the international trade in rough diamonds.

Recently, in one elaborate scheme, individuals were invited to Sierra Leone to view rough diamonds that were later evaluated as fake stones and were also provided with a fake Kimberley Process certificate numbered Sierra Leone 004199, issued in either April or May 2014. Variations of certificate SL 004199 has been presented to prospective diamond purchasers in the past three weeks. Diamond traders and business community members are also urged to be alert to the circulation of the fake certificate. If you are presented with a fake certificate, please report it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at kpmailbox@dhs.gov and to Department of State at USKimberleyProcess@state.gov For more information about the Kimberley Process, please visit: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/tfc/diamonds/index.htm

In the last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has identified false Kimberley Process Certificates from Guinea, Ghana, and Sierra Leone that have been used by criminals in an advance-fee scheme to defraud people of thousands of dollars. The criminals have approached U.S. citizens via the internet urging them to purchase rough diamonds directly from West African sources promising legitimate Kimberley Process Certificates for export.

About Internet Scams

All advance-fee scams are designed to have the victim believe they can obtain something of great value for a small upfront outlay of money. If you feel you have been a victim of an Internet scam, please send all reports of Internet fraud directly to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) - a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). IC3 was established to receive internet related criminal complaints and to research, develop, and refer complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement if appropriate. If the scam originated through a particular website, also notify the administrators of that website. When it becomes apparent you are the victim of a scam, it is best to end all communications with the scam artist, rather than attempt resolution. It is extremely rare for victims to recover lost money. For more general information about international financial scams, please see the website of the Federal Trade Commission.



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