Although I’ve frequently got the following scam to my email box, today was the first time it hit my blog – and not even Askismet caught it!
Amazingly, the 419 scam is probabably the most warned about, reported on, and discussed scam ever…yet an alarming amount of people continue to fall for it every single day!
Just in case you’ve somehow missed the thousands of warnings that go out all the time, here’s the warning AGAIN pulled from the FBI website:
Nigerian Letter or “419″ Fraud
Nigerian letter frauds combine the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter, mailed from Nigeria, offers the recipient the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author, a self-proclaimed government official, is trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria. The recipient is encouraged to send information to the author, such as blank letterhead stationery, bank name and account numbers and other identifying information using a facsimile number provided in the letter. Some of these letters have also been received via E-mail through the Internet. The scheme relies on convincing a willing victim, who has demonstrated a “propensity for larceny” by responding to the invitation, to send money to the author of the letter in Nigeria in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons.
Payment of taxes, bribes to government officials, and legal fees are often described in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are spirited out of Nigeria. In actuality, the millions of dollars do not exist and the victim eventually ends up with nothing but loss. Once the victim stops sending money, the perpetrators have been known to use the personal information and checks that they received to impersonate the victim, draining bank accounts and credit card balances until the victim’s assets are taken in their entirety. While such an invitation impresses most law-abiding citizens as a laughable hoax, millions of dollars in losses are caused by these schemes annually. Some victims have been lured to Nigeria, where they have been imprisoned against their will, in addition to losing large sums of money. The Nigerian government is not sympathetic to victims of these schemes, since the victim actually conspires to remove funds from Nigeria in a manner that is contrary to Nigerian law. The schemes themselves violate section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code, hence the label “419 fraud.”
Here’s an example of a 419 scam email in the extremely unlikely chance you’ve never seen one:
I know such letter of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, However I have decided to contact you direct by e-mail due to the urgency of this. However, I am compelled to deliver this offer to you, to seek your assistance on a profitable business opportunity that requires a foreign reliable partner for it to succeed. I had been a female Medical student of the University of cocody in Abidjan , Ivory Coast , West Africa . But the political crisis in my country had forced me to withdraw for now. Few years ago, the Rebels in my country struck our town and killed my parents in one of their attacks. My late Father, Mr.Gilbert Tomson, being a highly reputable doctor and politician in my country was a prime target. Fortunately for me, I was in school in Abidjan when the attack took place.
However, my life is still in danger! Before his death he had a foreign account here in Côte d’Ivoire up to the sum of ( $8.5 Million United State Dollars ) which he had earlier confided in me was for the establishment of a medical establishment oversees, as stated in his will. In my father’s will, he specifically made it clear ” THAT I CAN ONLY INHERIT THE MONEY IF IT IS SPECIFICALLY USED FOR THE PURPOSE HE INTENDED FOR IT TO BE USED! And that is to establish a medical institute in a foreign country, with the kind assistance of a foreign medical doctor, or a reliable businessman/woman, clergyman, or philanthropist. He wanted me to practice out of my country because of the unpredictable and serous political crises.
Accordingly, I intend to invest in your country in the direction that my father had indicated before his death. This is my reason for writing to you. If you are willing to assist me please indicate your interest. OUR PECENTAGE SHARING WOULD BE: 75% FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HOSPITAL ABROAD 20% FOR YOUR SERVICES 5% FOR INTERNATIONAL / LOCAL EXPENSES INCURRED. Please if you have any question, I will be too willing to answer it. Please treat as confidential! Hoping to hear from you soonest.
Thanks and best regards.
Miss Rebecca Tomson.
Email address used: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a version of basically the same 419 Scam letter that I got a while back to my email:
Dearest One, I am delighted to write you. I am sorry if this mail will come to you as a surprise but am contacting you for a business investment in your country. I am Princess Sarah Johnson from Ivory Coast and am contacting you because i need your help in the management of a large sum of money that my late father Late Chief Adam Johnson intended to use for for an investment overseas before his death. The amount is 6.2 Million USD deposited in a bank here in abidjan. Its such a large amount... Its such a large amount that i dont even know were to start from due to my age and condition here. I lost my mother long time ago during child birth and ever since then I have been with my father until his death as the only child. My Late father was a very rich Cocoa farmer and he was poisoned by his business colleagues. Now i want you to stand as my guardian and appointed beneficiary to help me see that this fund is transfered to your account in your country since i am just 20 years and an orphan. I am not safe here because of the political crisis going on here for some time now and am also afraid my late fathers colleagues might come after me. I am presently in the asylum camp because our house was set on fire during one of the political problems here which rendered me homeless.
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