Recently, a friend of mine called me and said very happily, “I have great news, we should talk.” Upon our meeting he said in one breath, “I am a lucky man, God blessed me with fortune just when I needed money.” It turned out that he received an email from the UK, supposedly from a banker of a rich man who had just died. My friend was “selected” to be the “recipient” of his fifty million pounds. The bank manager would receive only 2 or 3 percent for a modest fee for transferring this money abroad. My friend should only send his full name, address, passport information and bank account number in order to receive this big lump sum.
I told him a story that happened a few years ago when I worked in a bank. A man whom I used to know asked me one day to meet a young lady and four men. This lady, who could barely understand English, had already sent 60,000 US dollars abroad after collecting it from the other four men. Among the four men, there was a famous person. They came to ask me to lend them 200,000 US dollars more, which was required for hiring a lawyer in order for her to inherit 10 million dollars. Once the transaction was completed it was to be returned 5 fold into our bank.
When I asked where to transfer the money, I was told, “to Burkina Faso,” a country in Africa. Skeptical, I looked through all the documents that they had brought, which were sent as email attachments. She got the first email about this offer from a girlfriend who worked in England. Since then, after understanding the letter with the help of a dictionary, she felt “lucky” to inherit such a large sum of money and had been communicating with the ‘banker’ secretively for almost a year.
She was able to convince her brother and his two other friends to pull out all their life savings. Now they were only waiting to receive this inheritance, any day now.
I called immediately to Burkina Faso. A man receiving at the other end knew about the Mongolian lady. I told him that I am calling from her bank and asked a number of questions about his previous contacts and transactions, to which he replied unconfidently taking long pauses. I expressed my desire to transfer the money directly to his business address and not to a secret combination code. When he hung up, I tried to call him back several times, all in vain.
I explained to the visitors that they should not send any more money and that there is almost no chance for them of getting back what they have already sent. I told them that there are many scams such as this one on internet nowadays. Then I showed them a number of mismatches in their documents. The more I explained, the angrier they got, as they begun to understand their situation. Including the woman who was cheated, all four left quite unhappily.
A few months ago I got an email from my friend who served in a high ranking position for the government. He spoke a number of foreign languages and used to work abroad. His message read that he was robbed in Paris in a metro station and his bag with all his documents and money was gone. He was asking his friends to send him some money for help. I was surprised because I had seen him the day before. He had not mentioned of any trip to Paris. I called his cell phone. He told me that many of his friends, international ones included, kept calling him and asking where he spent the night. It turned out that he replied to an email which asked him to verify his yahoo account and password due to the increasing load in the network.
If he was just a little cautious he could have understood that it was not from yahoo. Since then, he was not able to check his email anymore. His friends still ask him to this day if the money they sent was helpful.
Originated first in 1992 from Nigeria the cases above are called “Nigerian spam or scam.” They have ruined many people’s wealth and lives so far. This spam usually starts with the promise of huge lump sums and winnings, which require a prepayment in order for the victim to receive them. They are sent to many recipients at the same time via email. Somewhere, inevitably, someone accepts it and gets cheated. This is a criminal network. In the beginning, this spam told the story about the death of a president/dictator who stole money from his country and had transferred it abroad to a bank and after his death either a bank manager or his widow were asking someone to inherit those funds. Later on, more spam came from large banks where a bank manager of a wealthy deceased person with no successor is searching for someone to transfer the funds to for a very small fee and promise to send the money to the selected individual.
I receive this spam everyday. I delete them immediately. There is even a spam folder in yahoo itself. There still are many people in Mongolia who do not know about this spam system and some of them still lose their money and time. I write this letter with hopes that it will help these innocent people and prevent them from becoming the next scam victim.