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 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.  Other 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 program to compensate fraud victims.  In most 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 requires you to pay $100 through gift cards.  Asking to be paid by a gift card is a common request of scammers and a request that is never made by the agencies and companies that they pretend to be.  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.

Here is a copy of the email presently being circulated.

From: Mr. Michael Loughlin <officefiles*****@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2020, 01:10:36 AM PDT
Subject: Your Urgent Attention
Wells Fargo Bank Headquarter San Francisco California,
Address; 420 Montgomery Street San Francisco, California 94163
Transfer Release Update
Your Urgent Attention
I am Mr.Michael Loughlin– CRO and Senior Executive Vice President Wells Fargo Bank Headquarter San Francisco California Office, please read this mail carefully and proceeds to receive your Funds worth of US$22.5 million payment. Following this year’s (2020) review of the global financial matters and just concluded investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FIB) in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), it is revealed that your name is among the list of people who have never received any of their Funds and victims who have lost a lot of money to scammers while trying to claim their funds. In view of the foregoing, a new payment of US$22.5 million has been approved in your favor and it will be credited into your bank account as soon as you wire the required Fees for United States Insurance Policy & Proof of Ownership Certificate.
The Wells Fargo Bank controlling department controlling of the security transfer CODE which is (RE/NO:003-BoA/0047/2020), the Authentication section code of this bank concludes the verification of your file. After going through all the documents of claim received by this department with justification and verification from the global strategy United States we are completely satisfied and you have been confirmed. Considering the volume of your payment, it is right for us to seek for the approval of some money regulatory Boards here in United States before we can carry out the Transfer of an amount of such magnitude to anybody, otherwise any such transfer will be stopped by the Authorities of US Government (AUG), and the International Monetary Fund {IMF}
This is in line with the instructions of the Secretary of U.S. Department of the Treasury, Mr. Steven Terner Mnuchin, that all unpaid funds should be paid.
The United States Insurance Policy & Proof of Ownership Certificate fee is mandatory for any transfer of funds here in the USA involving amounts above $1,000,000.00 (One million USD).The amount to be transferred into your account is US $22.5 Million and is far above $1 Million. This is why the $100 for United States Insurance Policy & Proof of Ownership Certificate fee is required and the fee cannot be deducted from source in accordance with section 3 subsection 2 (a) of the Huge Funds Transfer Regulation Act HFTRA of 2001 promulgated by law after the terrorist attack on our dear country.
Meanwhile, note that this is the only fees that you will bear the cost and your approval funds sum of US$22.5 Million will transfer to you without any delays, and we the US BANK are doing Auditing for the year 2020,so we want your funds US$22.5 Million to be transferred into your nominated bank account the same day we receive this fees from you. We are doing banking Auditing for the year 2020, we advise you to treat as matter of urgency and try as much as possible to raise and come up with the fees of $100 dollars for (United States Insurance Policy & Proof of Ownership Certificate fee) and send it to Wells Fargo Bank Accountant Officer/Cashier Office so that we will transfer your Funds into your bank account before closing for the day, We are doing banking Auditing for the year 2020 and all unclaimed fund will be cancel and send back to United States Government Treasury Account as Unclaimed Funds.
Be informed that we need only an United States Insurance Policy & Proof of Ownership Certificate from US Attorney General Office to complete the wire transfer. The fee to obtain the United States Insurance Policy & Proof of Ownership Certificate from Attorney General Office is $100 and no other fee is involved.
Please I will advise to go straight Apple Store around you buy iTunes Card of $100 or steam gift card then scratched the back attached it and send it to me immediately,
If we receive the fee today, we will transfer your funds US$22.5 Million before we close office and the funds will reflect 3 hours after the transfer. We will send you all the transfer documents to enable you start making cash withdrawals from your account same day the funds are transferred. We have waited for so long and we cannot Continue to wait. Wells Fargo Bank hereby state officially that the required payment will remain the only and final monetary obligation required from You prior to the final transfer of your funds, hence any further charges will be our bank’ s full responsibility till final transfer of your payment is made to your bank account.
Further delay in sending this fee will lead you to losing the funds to the American government. This is the last instruction I will issue to you because I do not want you to lose your US$22.5 Million because of only $100. You know that it will be ridiculous to hear that. However, if you fail/refuse and/or neglect to send this only remaining fee, please do not blame us but blame yourself if eventually you lose these funds to the American government. I think I have given you enough time to pay this fee.
This law is stated according to section 35 and 36 of the banking sector interaction realm of our constitution and the outside world. Based on article of association and memorandum of association.the Wells Fargo Bank controlling agency of United States and your happiness suits our stand and we will make sure that your fund is fully endorsed to your bank account as soon as you have comprehended with our instructions.
Wells Fargo Bank hereby state officially that the required payment will remain the only and final monetary obligation required from You prior to the final transfer of your funds, hence any further charges will be our bank’ s full responsibility till final transfer of your payment is made to your bank account.
We advice that you stop any further communication with any correspondence from your side or any other Office, We know that your representatives will advise you to still go ahead with them, which will be on your own risk. Follow up our directives and your fund US$22.5 Million will be release to you. Do not go through anybody again but through Wells Fargo Bank if you really want your fund. I am very sorry for the delay you have gone through in the past years.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve your banking needs. I will wait to hear from you ASAP with the payment Details.
Yours faithfully,
Mr. Michael Loughlin
CRO and Senior Executive Vice President Wells Fargo Bank
TELE Phone (567) 563-8345
Wells Fargo Bank Headquarter San Francisco California,

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.  The entire email is merely a hoax intended to sound official and legitimate.

it is also interesting to note that Michael Loughlin, the person indicated as the sender of the email no longer is employed by Wells Fargo.  He announced his retirement after being accused of improprieties in 2018.
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