If you haven’t ever gotten an email from a scammer, consider yourself lucky. These scams are all over these days and take multiple forms, like the emails explaining that there’s a big chunk of money that you can claim if you pay a fee first. More dangerous and threatening are the phishing emails in which you’re directed to click a link so that you can verify information for a bank account, or other account like PayPal or eBay. The page you’re directed to is a spoof, designed to look just like the company they say that they’re from (like your bank), except it’s not.
A recent survey indicates that consumers in the United States have lost over $7 billion to online scams. That is an insanely high number for a problem that I thought was well exposed by now. According to the survey, around eight percent of people respond to the phishing scams that they receive in their email, giving scammers access to all kinds of sensitive information. There are also those that respond to the bogus offers for money, like the one shown below:
Dear Partner, Good day, Firstly, I apologize for sending you this sensitive information via e-mail instead of a Certified mail/Post-mail. This is due to the urgency and importance of the information. I humbly crave your indulgence to read this e-mail with all seriousness of purpose , because this project is based on Trust and Confidentiality in order to have an acceptable meeting of the minds. I am forty five(45)years old American established Lawyer. One of my clients Engr.Michael Keogh (Now deceased) hereinafter shall be referred to as “My Client.”
Four years ago, My Client successfully executed a contract for the Federal Government of Nigeria worth US$14.7 million dollars. A part payment of US$7million dollars was paid to my client, while the balance of US$7.7million Dollars was still unpaid before my client died in a ghastly Car crash. However, all my efforts to locate the possible next of kin proved abortive. Until his sudden demise, He was not married and was 44years old.NOW THE CRUX OF THIS E-LETTER is that the Federal Government is fully paying all Contractors who have successfully executed their contracts. My client is among those due to be paid in this first quarter payment schedule. As his personal attorney before his sudden death, I have been officially notified and instructed to forward particulars of my client’s next of kin so that he/she can be paid the outstanding US$7.7 Million dollars.
I know he did not leave any valid WILL because He died intestate. This funds will therefore be paid to whosoever I present to the government or his bank as the possible next of kin . In a nutshell,I intend to channel this funds to the account of a clever but reliable person who upon successful payment of the money, will earn 40% thereof, while 40% will be for me the remaining 20% will be for charity. Your nationality does not matter as all modalities have been perfected and put in place to pay whoever I present as the next of kin.
Hopefully when you read that, you realized that there was something not quite right with it. The problem is, not everybody realizes that there’s something wrong, and people actually go through the process of trying to retrieve the money. In the process, they end up losing money.
The lesson to be learned here is simply be careful! $7 Billion dollars alone in the United States is a lot of money lost to something that is easily preventable. While we all think that everybody knows by now that emails like the one above are a scam, they don’t. Be sure to tell those who may not be quite as tech savvy as you to take extra precautions when something sounds too good to be true, or when they receive a request through email to verify account information.