Those pesky Nigerian scammers are back, this time with a new game designed to make you think they’re not out to get your money. They are, of course, and here’s what they’re doing and how to avoid them.
The latest scam email offers you the opportunity to lose your money while letting you think you’re connecting with a victim of these scams.
We’ve all seen and heard about these scams before: someone from another part of the world will give you a cut of a large portion of money if you help them get that money out of the country. You may have to provide a loan to help bribe officials and possibly provide bank details, only to find out that your money has been removed from your bank account a day later. Whether you donated $500 or $5000, the scammer will almost always disappear the moment money has changed hands.
Commonly called the “Nigerian scam” and seen all over current affairs programs on TV, this new scam isn’t so dissimilar. Instead of being sent from someone who has a lot of money, the new trick is sent from a so-called victim of the scam, declaring what he or she had to do in order to get paid in the end. This new scam isn’t very different, but relies on the idea that you will connect with someone who got tricked into losing their money because we’re all now aware of these con artists.
There are a few versions of this email, and while details such as the amount of money you can reclaim and who you should contact to retrieve it, they’re essentially the same.
We’ve reproduced one of the sample we received on the last page of this article, and while the writer describes how her actions enabled her to claim $US950,000, there are several characteristics of the email that identify it as unmistakably fraudulent and, ultimately, dangerous.
For starters, it’s written extremely poorly; it’s badly expressed, with lots of double spaces and incorrect punctuation throughout.
Then there’s the question of how we got the email. Like most phishing emails – where nefarious types try to trick you into giving sensitive information for the purposes of fraud or identify theft – it made it to our inbox, and to the inbox of thousands of others. But we are not identified by name in the body of the email, there’s just a “Goodday”. There’s not even a space between the words.
Then there are the sender details. Our email was from [email protected], which sort of makes that “Triad Foundation Inc” look genuine. Until you visit tfi.com and find that it’s the website of “Technology Futures, Inc”. Not quite the same company
Of course, if you actually hit the reply button, you’ll find the email is replaced with a different one, [email protected] Reply to this person, and you’ll likely never stop getting scam emails again, with the possibility of both dangerous malware being delivered to your computer and your email account being hacked (especially if your password isn’t very secure).
And if you think this is just a PC issue, think again. These scams can affect users of any operating system, inlcuding those on mobile phones. No one is safe from the scams.