Scam of the day – August 2, 2014 – Nigerian letter, Chinese style

By now everyone is familiar with the so-called Nigerian letter scam which starts with your receiving an email from Nigerian telling you of an inheritance or some other way that you have been fortunate enough to be receiving a fortune.  At first it appears that you do not have to do anything to claim your money, but as time goes on more and more fees make their way into the mix, from taxes to administrative fees to even bribes of public officials, the victim ends up paying thousands of dollars and ultimately receiving nothing.  These emails are still being sent and they are still successful too much of the time as some people’s greed blinds their good sense.  This scam has worked with little variation for more than six hundred years.

Now we have a new variation.  In this new version of the scam you receive an actual letter from a private wealth management company affiliated with a bank in China.  You are told that a deceased client of the company has a name that is very similar to yours and that the client died leaving nine million dollars which has been wisely invested to a point where it is now worth twelve million dollars.  The scammers sending you this letter know your actual name and direct the letter to you by name and describe the dead relative with a name quite similar to yours.  The letter is well written and looks official.  Once again, the letter initially makes it appear that claiming the millions is simple and at no cost, but as time goes by more and more funds are required to be paid in order to claim your inheritance which never comes.  Interestingly enough, the letter closes with a reminder that “riches never come easy or on a platter of gold.”  The people receiving the letter should heed that advice and ignore the letter. It is nothing but a scam and no good will come if you communicate with the sender in any way.  It has been estimated by law enforcement officials that ten thousand of these letters have already been circulated and that as many as six hundred people have fallen for the scam.  That is only 6%, but it is 6% too many.