There have been many hits on this posting from people doing searches. Glad I can be of service. A bit of new material is posted at the end.
You never met a weblog writer quite like me! Gather round, gang. Uncle Bob wants to show you a scam. Remember, I do this stuff to entertain and educate. Most of my readers won't fall for this, but maybe someone who stumbles on this site (and they do come from all around the world) will take the warning. Be suspicious!
I received two letters in two days. They're almost identical. (I'm not the only one, either.) I'll reproduce one here and put my comments in red.
FROM: ALPHA FINANCIAL CONSULT. Yes, this does exist.
We wish to notify you again (?) that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of £6,000,000.00 GBP (Six Million British Pounds) in the
codicil and last testament of the deceased. (Name now withheld since
this is our second letter to you). No, it's not.
We contacted you because you bear the surname identity Oh, yes, dear old Uncle Stormbringer and therefore can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance. We therefore reckoned that you could receive these funds as you are qualified by your
name identity. All the legal papers will be processed upon your acceptance.
Upon your acceptance of this deal, Ummm...a beneficiary is not part of a "deal" we request that you kindly forward to us your letter of acceptance,Punctuate much? The comma and break are in the original.
Your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to
enable us file necessary LEGAL documents in your name at our high court
probate division You're not telling which court. for the release of the fund in question.
Please contact me immediatley Bad spelling is also in the second letter so that we can get this done immediately.
Please contact me immediatley See? so that we can get this done immediately.
These goofballs sent the same letter from two different e-mail accounts. One of them is Hotmail, the other is one I've never heard of. A legitimate firm is not likely to be using free accounts!
My name, or the name of any relation, does not appear. Big money, and I have no relatives that are (a) this rich, and (b) in the UK. No decent contact information was given.
This is only on the Internet. Something real would have shown up in my postal mail, with signatures and verifiable information.
Know what happens next? In my case, nothing. I hope it's that way for you, too. If you or I bothered to reply, you know too well that they'd be asking for personal information, bank accounts, etc. Never give it! People fall for that too often. Let me say what you should know already: Never give sensitive information like passwords, identity, account numbers to someone that contacts you. When in doubt (and if you really have an account with a company that contacts you), you contact them through numbers that you probably have on file already, or through their main Website, and ask them if it's real. Don't click on a link and fill out a form.
OK, hope Uncle Bob has educated and entertained you.
Addendum, the morning of 2-05-2008
I just received a different one. (I have a feeling that I'm in for a wave of these things, but I won't post all of them.) Take a look. Pick it apart, apply what you've learned:
FROM: OFFICE OF REV.FR PAUL BASTIAN, DIRECTOR,
SPECIAL DUTIES UNITED NATIONS, IN CONJUNCTION
WITH THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND,WORLD BANK
SPECIAL DUTIES OFFICE:DAKAR,SENEGAL.
I am Rev.Fr Paul Bastian,a senior staff with the UN special duties office ;my office monitors and controls the affairs of all banks and financial institutions. I have before me list of funds and beneficiaries, which could not be transferred to some nominated accounts as these accounts have been identified either as ghost accounts, unclaimed deposits or over-invoiced sum etc. I have the opportunity to write you based on the instructions among others I received days ago from the officer in the computer section in person of Dr. Tony Kimber,to bring out part of your total pending payment with reference number (LM-02-341)amounting US$10million. The (Ten Million Dollars) is already arranged to be paid to you.
A lot of people are interested in your payment and those people are merely doing paper works with you and that explains why you receive different kinds of untrue fax, email and phone messages from different people everyday. As I found out that you have almost met all the statutory requirements in respect of your pending payment. Also we found out that some of the officials of the parastatals have been extorting money from you with the pretext of helping you receive your money. I can assure you this will keep happening if you do not do away with those officers.I am the final signatory to any transfer or remittance of huge funds moving within banks both on the local and international levels.
I am conditionally prepared to assist you get the money, practically after studying the part leading to this particular stage in the payment process in connivance with your local collaborators to conceal the authentic source of the funds.And my only condition for this unusual assistance is after all arrangements we have concluded that you must donate at least Four Hundred Thousand United States dollars (US$400,000.00) to any charity organization I designate as soon as you receive your money. To this effect, you will send to us a promissory note for the donation along with your full information. Call me on my private line below for instructions and further discussions on the payment.
May almighty God bless you, Please maintain top confidentiality as it may cause a lot of problems if found out that we are using this way to help you until you received your money. When you conclude this we will help to transfer the final part of your money to you. Henceforth, write me on my private email address below.
Director, Special Duties.UNO/WBF.
Hopefully, you know that you should never give personal information, especially when it comes from a stranger offering a prize for a contest or sweepstakes that you never entered in the first place.
YOGA CLOTHING PROMOTION
Gravel Pit Cottages,High Toynton,
FROM: Mrs Trina Weaver.
Secret Pin No:YOC: 00777471
Reference Number: YOC: 12058006/08
Dear Winner, [They don't know my name?]
This Email is to inform you that your email address just won you £800,000.00 from the
nineth year anniversary promotion draws held today in London, the United Kingdom.
The selection process was carried out through random selection in our
computerized Email selection system (ESS) from a database of over
250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world. The
Yoga Clothing Promotional Lottery is approved by the British Gaming
Board and also Licensed by the International Association of Gaming
Regulators (IAGR).This lottery is the 2nd of its kind and we intend to
Sensitize the public. [Hopefully, the public is sensitized enough to avoid scams like this.]
This is your Secret Pin No.: YOC: 00777471 and your
Reference Number YOC: 12058006/08.
Contact your Claims Agent(Fabric Designer) with the Address
below to claim your winnings
Mr Alison Bell,
+44 70457 39297
Contact email: email@example.com
Yoga Clothing Promotion
Contact him with your secret pin code:`YOC: 00777471 and your reference
number YOC: 12058006/08.You are also advised to provide him with the
underlisted information as soon as possible:
1. Your Name in full------------------
5. Marital Status--------------------
7. Next Of Kin------------------------
9. Phone Number-----------------------
10. Present Country-------------------
If you do not contact your claims agent within 7 working days of this
notification, your winnings would be revoked. Winners are advised to
keep their winning details/information from the public to avoid
fraudulent claim (IMPORTANT) pending the transfer/claim by Winner.
neleve2010: Congratulations once again!
With Best Regards
Mrs. Trina Weaver
Lottery Promotion Manager.
They lay the groundwork and don't ask for the personal information. If you're silly enough to respond, watch out, they'll sneak around to asking for it anyway.