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 origin 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.  While we refer to this type of scam as the Nigerian Email Scam, as indicated in the email below, not all versions of this scam involve Nigeria.  Common variations of the scam include the movement of embezzled funds by corrupt officials, a dying man 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 moving family money.  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.

Here is a copy of the email presently being circulated.

Dear,

I am writing to request for your assistance in cleaning my father’s funds in an Online Banking account with the Santander Bank and I will offer you the 30% of the total funds as I believe that we will complete the transaction with trust because I don’t want anybody that will disappoint me again as I have trusted so many people in the past and in the end they all disappointed me.

Therefore, the reason I communicate with you is that I have online account with the Santander Bank and the online account is content the sum of USD$250,000,000.00 and I need assistance for the securing of the legal documents that authorize transfer from the online account and if you are ready to proceed with this arrangement then let me know so that I will release the online account details to you.

I believe that you are in the position to handle this transaction without any further problem and I want you to understand that I am having a financial problem at the moment and that is the reason I need your assistance to securing all the necessary legal documents that will authorize the release of the funds to enable us to start transferring the funds into your nominated Bank account of your choice.

Please I want you to go to the online account so that you will understand that everything is true and you will not lose any money in this transaction at all and after going through the online account then let me know if you are interested to proceed because I need financial assistance to secure the funds Clearance.

I will also need your direct phone number for easy communication and please I want you to keep this information between you and me for security reasons and I will be waiting for your reply on my below email address: xxx@gmail.com

Best Regards,

John Anthony Scott

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 often 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.   Even the salutation merely states “Dear” without your name appearing.  The scam email is obviously being sent out as a mass mailing.

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