Today’s Scam of the day is another version of the Nigerian email scam that continues to plague the online community. Although it may seem 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 scam victim with a vast reward that included, in some circumstances, the Spanish prisoner’s beautiful daughter in marriage.

In the various versions of this scam circulating on the Internet today, you are promised great sums of money if you assist a Nigerian or someone elsewhere 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 involves a transfer for charitable purposes. In all the variations of this scam, although you are told initially 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 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.  This particular version of the scam email contains numerous indications that it is a scam.  It is not addressed to you by name; the IMF is not working with the FBI to return scam victims’ money; and the grammar is flawed. Unfortunately, some people allow their greed to overcome their good sense and become victims of this scam.

Here is a copy of the email presently being circulated in which I have blocked out the email addresses included in the original email:

Address: Plot 1261,Adela Hopewell Street CO/B/REP, Republic Of Benin.
Email: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Attention: E-mail Address Owner,
Sequel to the meeting held with Federal Bureau of Investigation,The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating all the scam victims and some email users which your name and email address was found on the list.
However, we have concluded to effect your own payment through Western Union Money Transfer,$5,000 daily until the total sum of your compensation fund is transferred to you.
BELOW IS THE MTCN AND TRACKING WEBSITE TO ENABLE YOU TRACK YOUR FIRST PROGRAMMED APPROVED PAYMENT,
MTCN#: 197-756-7616
Amount Programmed: $5.000
You are advised to get back to the contact person through the email below for more direction on how to be receiving your payment
CONTACT PERSON: DR.INNOCENT KOLA
Email: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Thanks,
SAMUEL MABOTA
Director Western Union Money Transfer,
Head Office Benin Republic.

TIPS

This is a simple scam to avoid.  It preys upon people whose greed overcomes their good sense.  If you receive such an email, the first thing you should ask yourself is how does this possibly relate to you and 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 either question, you should merely hit delete and be happy that you avoided a scam.  As with many such scams, which originate outside of the United States, the punctuation and grammar are often not good. Often the emails are sent from an email address that has no relation to the purported sender which is an indication that the email is being sent through a botnet of hacked computers. In addition, it is important to note that nowhere in this particular version of the scam email is your name mentioned. The scam email is obviously being sent out as a mass mailing.

Many people wonder why cybercriminals and scammers send out such ridiculously obvious scam letters that anyone with an ounce of sense would recognize as a scam, but that may be intentional on the part of the scammer because if someone responds to such an email, they are more likely to fall prey to the scam without much effort by the scammers.

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