Posts Tagged: ‘email scam’

Scam of the day – May 5, 2014 – A pitiful attempt at a scam

May 5, 2014 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Before I started teaching at Bentley University, I taught in the Massachusetts state prison system.  Among my students was a scam artist, who decried the fact that in his day it took skills to be a proper scam “artist,” but that with the aid of today’s technology, anyone regardless of how skilled they may or may not be, can become a scammer.  I thought of his sage analysis recently when I received the following email:

“Hello I am David this is to bring to your notice your ATM card has been release please contact us immediately with your information !!”

The email came from an address that was obviously not in any way related to any bank issuing an ATM card.  In fact, the email did not indicate my name, an account number, the name of a bank or any scintilla of information that gave the slightest indication that the email was legitimate.  Additionally, the grammar was deplorable.  All in all, this may be the most pitiful attempt at a scam that I have ever seen.  Obviously, what the scammer was trying to do was lure people into believing an emergency existed and they needed to provide information to resolve the problem.  Of course, this information would not be used to solve a problem, but rather for purposes of identity theft.


It is easy to immediately disregard such a lame attempt to solicit personal information, however, many scam artists are indeed “artists” and their lures to induce you into providing personal information that would be used to make you a victim of identity theft are of much higher quality and more believable.  The key thing to remember is that you never can trust that anyone sending you an email, text message or calling you on the phone is who they say they are.  If you believe that the communication requesting personal information may be legitimate, you still should not respond by providing the information requested, but rather should contact the real organization purporting to be contacting you at an email address, website or phone number that you have confirmed is correct to inquire as to the legitimacy of the original communication.  It is then that your fears will be confirmed and you will be told that indeed the initial communication was, in fact, a scam.

Scam of the day – February 27, 2014 – Another Nigerian letter that isn’t from Nigeria

February 27, 2014 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Today’s Scam of the day comes right from my email and I am sure that it has appeared in the email boxes of many of you.  Although it may appear that the Nigerian email scam began in the era of the Internet, the basis of the scam actually goes back to 1588 when it was known as the Spanish Prisoner Scam.  In those days, a letter was sent to the victim purportedly from someone on behalf of a wealthy aristocrat who was imprisoned in Spain under a false name.  The identity of the nobleman was not revealed for security reasons, but the victim was asked to provide money to obtain the release of the aristocrat, who, it was promised would reward the money-contributing  victim with great sums of money and, in some circumstances, the Spanish prisoner’s beautiful daughter in marriage.

Today’s scam of the day is yet another variation of what has come to be known as the Nigerian letter scam.  In the various versions of this scam circulating on the Internet today, you are promised great sums of money if you assist a Nigerian in his effort to transfer money out of his country.  Variations include the movement of embezzled funds by corrupt officials, a dying gentleman who wants to make charitable gifts or a minor bank official trying to move the money of deceased foreigners out of his bank without the government taking it.  the example below of the email I received isn’t from Nigeria, but the scam is the same.  Although generally, you are told that you do not need to contribute anything financially to the endeavor, you soon learn that it is necessary for you to contribute continuing large amounts of money for various reasons, such as various fees, bribes, insurance or taxes before you can get anything.  Of course, the victim ends up contributing money to the scammer, but never receives anything in return.

Here is a copy of the email, I recently received:

“Dear Friend,
i need your kind attention. I will be very glad if  you do assist me to relocate this sum of ( US$15.Million dollars.) to your bank account for the benefit of our both families.
only i cannot operate it alone without using a Foreigner who will stand as a beneficiary to the money, that is why i decided to contact you in a good manner to assist me and also to share the benefit together with me.
for the sharing of the fund 50/50 base on the fact that it is two man business note that you are not taking any risk because there will be a legal back up document as well which will back the money up into your bank account there in your country.
all i need from you now is to indicating your interest and I will send you the full details on how the business will be executed.
Thanks & Best Regards,
Dr Lahman”


This is a simple scam to avoid.  It preys upon people whose greed overcomes their good sense.  The first thing you should ask yourself is why would you be singled out to be so lucky to be asked to participate in this arrangement.  Since there is no good answer to that question, you should merely hit delete and be happy that you avoided a scam.  As with many such scams, which are originating outside of the United States, the punctuation and grammar are not very good.


Scam of the day – July 11, 2013 – Email box exceeding capacity scam

July 11, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

On occasion I will repeat a warning about a particular scam as it resurfaces and today is one of those days.  I have warned you previously about the scam in which you receive an email such as the two that are reproduced below that I personally received in my email box today in which you are told that you have exceeded your capacity and that if you do not click on the link included with the email to remedy the problem, your email account will be shut down.  This is a scam and like many scams, it relies on fear.  The truth is that your account will not be shut down for exceeding a specific number of emails.  Most importantly you should never click on a link, such as contained in this particular email because if you do, you will only end up unwittingly downloading a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of your personal information from your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.  Merely delete the email.  If you have any questions as to the email’s legitimacy, call or email your email provider at a telephone number or email address that you know is accurate to find out the truth.

Here are copies of the two emails that I recently received.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS.

“Dear User,

Your e-mail account has exceeded its limit & needs to be verified, if not verified within 12hrs, we shall deactivate your account.

Validate Here



“Mailbox Quota size has exceeded its Quota limit for the month of June.QUOTA-SIZE: 89.00%
NOTE: You will be unable to send and receive messages at 92.8 % .
For mailbox cleanup CLICK HERE Management Page.Admin Help-desk.
© Copyright 2013″


These scam emails are both pretty shoddy.  They carry no logo of my email carrier.  The first has poor grammar.  Neither is signed and neither even indicate the name of my email carrier.  Never click on links in emails that you receive unless you are absolutely sure that the email is not a phony and never provide information to anyone who contacts you in an email unless you are sure that they are both legitimate and have a need for the information.  Even if the email appears to be legitimate, it may be a phony phishing email sent by an identity thief who has hacked someone’s legitimate email account.

Scam of the day – April 18 2013 – Hitman scam update

April 18, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

I have previously warned you about the hitman scam on January 15, 2012 and January 29, 2013, but I am doing so again today because this scam, which is still unfamiliar to many, is making a comeback.  Recently the FBI has been getting many complaints about incidents of this scam that begin when you receive an email informing you that the sender is a hitman who has been hired to kill you, but that if you pay him $10,000 he will refrain from doing so.  Although this is a scary email to receive, you should ignore it other than to report it to your local police and the Internet Crime Complaint Center at


Indications that the email is a scam include the fact that is entirely lacking in specific details about you.  It does not use your name or other identifying information.  In one phony email  it is addressed to “Friend.”  In addition it does not provide any details about who has hired the hitman, where you live or any other details that would take this out of a generic, mass produced scam email.   It often contains much of the poor grammar found in many email scams originating in foreign countries.  If you receive this email and have any concerns that it might be real, report it to the local police.  If you are convinced that it is a scam, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at

For a sample copy of one of the phony letters, go to the Scamicide archives for January 29, 2013. It is a good idea to always check the Scamicide archives for scams that you may hear about.  Chances are you will find information there.

Scam of the day – March 4, 2013 – New Ghana email scam

March 3, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

It is important to remember that not all email scam letters come from Nigeria.  They come from everywhere and recently it seems many of them are appearing to originate in Ghana.  The essence of all of this type of letter is the same.  In fact, the basis for the scam goes back to a scam that started in the 1500s when it was called the “Spanish Prisoner” scam.  Although there are variations of the scam email, they all involve a promise of substantial funds for little or no effort on your part.  In this particular email, which is reproduced below my assistance is requested as a “reliable partner” when the email sender has no knowledge of who I am and the email is not even addressed to me in the salutation.   These scam emails may seem ridiculous, but they are still around for a good reason, namely they work.  There are some people who are either too trusting or too blinded by the promises of riches to consider this rationally.  Don’t be one of those people.

“Name:Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes

This is Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes, former speaker of the house of parliament Ghana.
I am in need of a reliable Trustee to help me receive my 1 box of consignments containing 11 MILLION GBP in London and Under the custody of the British embassy in Tokyo Japan.

This present Ghana government is an opposition party, they trying to accuse me of looting government treasury during my time in office and this is the reason why I need a dependable and reliable partner to receive the funds as my trustee to avoid any trace.
I am prepared to give you 30% of the total fund if you can help me receive it without any trace.

All we have to do is to ask my attorney to issue you a Power of Attorney and Change of Ownership certificate in your name while he will also handle other processes which he will explain to you.

Send me your passport copy and pictures so that I can know you better.

Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes”


Never respond in anyway to any of these types of emails.  They are total scams and if you do respond, you will soon find that you need to pay money for various fees, bribes, or administrative costs in order to keep the process moving so that you can get your money.  Of course since this is a scam, you never will get any money.  The best thing you can do is to totally ignore the email although they can give you a bit of a laugh.

Scam of the day – December 16, 2012 – Republic of Benin email scam

December 16, 2012 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Many of you may never have even heard of the Republic of Benin which is an African country that has been the subject matter of many recent scams, such as found in the email below which I recently received.  Apparently the scammers believe that if you receive an email from Nigeria, you will be skeptical, but if you receive one from Benin, you will be overcome with joy at your good luck.  In any event, the email below is an exact copy of one that I received earlier this week.  I did not include the email address of the person who sent me the email because the address appeared to be that of a legitimate person whose email account had been hijacked and made a part of a Botnet, which occurs when scammers and identity thieves manage to steal access to your email account in order to send out fraudulent emails in order to cover their tracks.  I urge you to go through the scamicide website/blog to learn more about botnets and what to do if your account has been hijacked and becomes a part of a botnet.  Never respond to emails like the one below because if you respond in any way, all you will succeed in doing is either getting scammed or letting the scammers know that they have a real person with whom to deal.  Either way you are in trouble.  The best thing you can do is delete the email.

Good Day Dear Beneficiary,


This is to bring to your notice that after the meeting held by the board ministry of trustee together with the federal ministry of finance Benin republic, your fund has been approved due to the instruction from the president of the federal republic of Benin Dr. Boni Yayi, Mr. president has give the mandate to release all the pending compensation fund that has not been released so far in which you are among of the beneficiary.


The compensation fund was awarded earlier January 15th 2009, we discovered that you have been having hard time in the system of receiving the fund but still no luck yet, we also understood that you have made so much down payment to this country Benin republic but you were dealing with the wrong people.


Today dated 27th November 2012, your fund is now under the custody of the ministry of finance Benin republic because we want to handle everything financially this time in other to make sure that nobody was scammed and no wrong payment is made, note that we don’t want what happened in the time past to repeat again and that is why we are taking charge of everything concerning your compensation fund.


It is my pleasure to tell you that we have to open another new payment file for you and everything will be documented in our office here with the help and instructions from the ministry of finance and the opening of the new payment file with our office profile will cost you the only money you have to spend in this matter in which the amount is $80.00 only.

You are advised to go and send the needed $80.00 through western union with the information below.

Receiver name is Ozemenam Michael Country is Benin republic City is Cotonou Test question is who made you? Answer is God the Father Sender name is required…….. Money transfer control number (mtcn) is needed…….

My best regards,


Eze Mathew Finance Minister Benin republic E-Mail;( Phone +229 68037949



One of the first indications that this is a scam is that the address from which it appears to have come from is that of a person with an email address from somewhere other than the country from which it represents in the email it is coming from.  In the case of this particular email, a Canadian email address was hijacked to send out the phony email.  Bad grammar is rampant throughout the email and is another indication that the email is a scam.  In this particular scam, you might also ask yourself, why would you be possibly receiving money from a compensation fund from a country where you have had absolutely no contact?  Finally, if you need further evidence that it is a scam, merely Google the words “Republic of Benin scam” and see what comes up.  It will astound you.

Scam of the day – November 6, 2012 – Video update scam

November 6, 2012 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

It is an unfortunate fact that I never have difficulty coming up with a new scam or identity theft scheme for each day’s “scam of the day.”  Often, like today, I merely have to go to the inbox of my email account.  Today I found an email where the subject line read “New Video Update” and the message told me that I had a new video update followed by the tantalizing words “This changes everything.”  In case I was still hesitating to click on the link to the video update, the email went on to say “Don’t miss this, will be taking this down ASAP.”  And just in case I was still hesitating, the email ended with a “P.S. Don’t miss this video.”  Well, I will just have to miss the video because if I had clicked on the link, I would have downloaded a keystroke logging malware program that would have enabled the scammer to steal all of the information in my computer and make me a victim of identity theft.


As I regularly repeat, never click on links in emails or tweets or Facebook messages or anywhere else you receive a link unless you are absolutely sure it is legitimate.  And even then you have to be extra careful because the source of an email or other message may appear to come from someone you trust, but their account may have been hacked into so that the link actually is coming from a scammer.  The best course of action is not to click on a link unless you have confirmed with the sender that it is legitimate.  Remember, even paranoids have enemies.  By the way, this particular scam didn’t even indicate who was sending the video other than indicating it was sent by “Member Center.”  Member Center of what was not in anyway clear.