I sometimes publish emails for scams and fraud that I get, noting the variety and new twisted ways of fooling people. For example, there is the winning a fake lottery, internet classified, craiglist, and usenet scams, and the classic Nigeria 419 advance fee fraud.A few days ago, I got an email from someone asking for help about the lottery. The email was so vague and written in broken English. Upon checking the IP address of the sender, along with his name, it turned out that he is from Egypt. So to make matters easier, I asked for details in Arabic.After a few emails were exchanged, here is what happened:
- That person got an email saying that he won the lottery.
- He contacted the sender, who pretended to be an official with the lottery, who handed them over to someone pretending to be from an alleged Johannesburg, South Africa bank (FNB), and is the manager of transfers.
- Some papers were sent, with the bank logo and stamp on it. The poor fellow checked the bank somehow and found that indeed there is a bank by that name and address in South Africa.
- The bank person said that an account was opened in South Africa for the victim, and that the money was transferred to it. The fake account was sent to the victim.
- The bank person then asked for advance fees for certain certificates (proof that this money is rightfully his from the South Africa government), as well as non-resident bank account opening fee.
- He sent $750 to South Africa.
- The bank person is asking for more money for more documents, such as letter with power of attorney, US dollar certificate, ...etc. so that the government allows the transfer.
- The bank person also offered to pay part of the fees, after the victim complained that he does not have enough money.
So, there you have it: the typical advanced fee fraud. These crooks rely on the ease of communicating with people in other countries and being immune from persecution by the law enforcment in that country. They also rely on human greed (how can one win a lottery if they did not buy a ticket?), as well as gullibility. Sad, but sobering ...