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 most common version of this scam, 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 recently received by a Scamicide reader involves a gift from the Qatar Foundation International to the “lucky” beneficiary of a payment to help “ease the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic.” In all the variations of this scam, although you are told initially that you do not need to contribute anything financially to the endeavor, however, 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 and while the Qatar Foundation International is a legitimate organization, it has absolutely nothing to do with the type of payments described in the email. 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:
This is to inform you that you have been picked as one of the lucky beneficiaries to receive a financial relief fund/payment from the Qatar Foundation International to help ease the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic
To collect the funds allocated to you, kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Congratulations
Dr. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
5825 Al Luqta Street
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. Often, as in this case, 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.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”
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