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  received by a Scamicide reader involves a possible inheritance from an estate in Spain. 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 paying 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 the email address from which it is sent does not have any relationship to the purported sender.  Most likely the email was sent through a botnet of zombie computers infected by the scammer and used to send these emails without using their own traceable email address. 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:

-Original Message—–
From: Mr. Marlon Mayor <vivian.****@diadema.sp.gov.br>
To: Recipients <vivian.*****@diadema.sp.gov.br>
Sent: Wed, May 27, 2020 10:13 am
Subject: FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION
Hello,
Am counsel to a late client who died on the 20th of February 2012 with his immediate family in a car accident.
Before his death he had a deposit of over $24,500,000.00 in a bank to be transmitted to his next of kin.
I am seeking your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased, Knowing that you both bear the same surname.
This gives you right to claim the proceeds of this account and then we can both share it on agreed terms.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience if you wish to continue.
Mr. Marlon Mayor

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.  This particular email indicates your surname is the same of the rich deceased person, yet it neglects to provide that name.  This is because this email was not tailored to specific individuals, but just sent out in massive numbers without adapting the email to the individual people receiving it.

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.  The truth is that this is entirely intentional on the part of the scammer because the scammers know that 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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