Computer Crime Research Center


Loosing money in scams

Date: October 17, 2006

Dear Reader:

I am writing to you with warm wishes from my home in Nigeria. I am the nephew of a very wealthy oilman here in my country. Unfortunately, my uncle, God rest his soul, recently passed away and left $53.8 million (U.S.) deposited in a security company here.

Because of the volatile political situation, I am unable to retrieve this money myself. If you can help me, I would be able to compensate you with 25 percent of the total amount.

All you need to do is to provide me with your bank account number so I can arrange a transfer of this money to your account. Of course, when you supply this information, the real transfer will involve taking whatever funds you have in that account and putting it in my pocket, after which time you will never hear from me again.

But you will hear from other con men, or women -- plenty of them.

Fraudulent Internet come-ons such as this one are no longer news. They have been drifting through the ether and landing in e-mail boxes for almost as long as the Internet has been operating. Yet the mere fact they are still out there indicates that people continue to fall for such scams.

Christopher Butler is the resident agent in charge at the U.S. Secret Service office in Riverside. The agency handles Internet fraud investigations.

Butler says the Nigerian scam "has been going on so many years it's hard to believe the word hasn't got out. But people still fall for that one."
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