Scam of the day – September 23, 2013 – Syrian email scam

Today’s “Scam of the day” comes both from my own email box and also the headlines.  although the letter appears to come from General Abdul Aziz Jassem al- Shallal, it is just a scam letter similar to what has come to be known as the “Nigerian letter scam.”  General Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal is a real person and, in fact, did defect from the Syrian army in 2012, however, the real General Aziz Jassem al-Shallal did not send me and the email copied below and if you got one, he did not send one to you either.  The email is typical of the Nigerian letter scam in that it describes a convoluted opportunity for you to acquire huge money at no risk.  In fact, once you are hooked into the scheme, you are then required to provide funds time after time for various costs of completing the transaction and although the victim provides the money repeatedly, the big payoff never comes.  This scheme relies on our greed to blind us to the reality that such schemes are scams.

Here is a copy of the email I received:

“Greetings,
I apologized using this medium to reach you for a transaction/business of this magnitude, but this is due to Confidentiality and prompt access reposed on this medium. In unfolding this proposal, I want to count on you, as a respected and honest person to handle this project/transaction with sincerity, trust and confidentiality.
Let me use this opportunity to introduce myself briefly to you. I am General Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal. One of the general that defected from the Syrian Army.
My office monitors and controls the affairs of sensitive institutions including some financial post in my country concerned with foreign contract payments as well..
I am the final signatory to any transfer or remittance of funds moving within banks both on the local and international levels in line to foreigncontracts settlement. I have before me, list of funds which could not be transferred to some nominated accounts as these accounts have beenidentified either as ghost accounts, unclaimed deposits or over-invoiced sum e.t.c. before I defected.
Now listen carefully please. I write to present you to the federal government that you are among the people expecting the funds to betransferred into their accounts. On this note, I wish to have a deal with you as regards to the unpaid certified contract funds.
I have every file before me and the data’s will be changed into your name to enable you receive the fund into your nominated account as thecontractor/beneficiary of the fund amount $20 Million U.S.D.
It is my duty to recommend the transfer of these surplus funds to the  government treasury and reserve accounts as unclaimed deposits. I have the opportunity to write you based on the opportunity that the funds was release to my office which I have made deposit into three countries France , United States and Britain namely.
Among several others, I have decided to remit this sum following my idea that we have a deal/agreement and I am going to do this legally.
MY CONDITIONS AS FOLLOWS.
1. You will give me 70% at of the total sum as soon as you confirm the total fund in your designated account. 25% will be for you for while 5% should be set aside for any miscellaneous expenses.
2. This transaction must be kept highly secretive as I am still in service to avoid public notice and all correspondence will be strictly by email for security purposes. We will talk on phone partially if any warrant for that.
3. There should be no third parties as most problems associated with fund release are caused by your agents or representative.
If you agree with my conditions, I will intimate you with the procedures to enable me fix your name on the payment schedule instantly to meet the mandate and vital information for you to receive the funds legally from the bank in which country funds has been safely deposited.
I hope you don’t reject this offer as this great opportunity comes but once in one’s entire life.
General Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal.
email:genbdulaziz@yahoo.co.jp”

TIPS

This particular “Nigerian letter scam” relies upon a number of distinguishing factors.  It uses the name of a real person and invokes a scenario regarding Syria, a country in the news that may sound slightly plausible to someone who wants to blind themselves to reality in the hope of a big payday.  You have to ask yourself first, why and how would this general seek me out?  The answer should be sufficient to let you know that it is a scam.   In addition, the letter contains the typical poor grammar that is so often found in these scams that originate in Nigeria and other countries where English is a second language.   Finally,any deal that sounds too good to be true, generally is.  Remember my motto, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”