This one is as dopey as “pull my finger” — but only if you fall for it: The latest email scam to hit the Internet involves a purported $15.5 million that a supposed Army captain with U.S. peacekeeping forces in Iraq says he found in Saddam Hussein’s hideaway.
The scammer says he’s tucked the money away in a European bank account and now needs to transfer his amazing windfall — to YOU.
Think about it: Someone offers you, a stranger, something for nothing. If you don’t instinctively reach for the delete button, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying. And if that isn’t enough, this scammer makes grammatical errors, as if English is his second language.
“This email, as well as those similar to it, is fraudulent,” said Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli. “Delete [it] and do not respond.”
We’ve seen the “419,” a Nigerian windfall scam named for the penal code under which it’s prosecuted: A foreigner has either won money in a lottery or is related to a government officials who can’t the proceeds out of the country. If you wire him your own money to cover fees and other costs, he’ll send you a major hunk of the proceeds from what he claims is a safe deposit box or bank account somewhere.
That one is almost as old as the street scammers who prey on the elderly, claiming they just found a bag of money and need someone to deposit it for them. The victim literally ends up holding the bag, which has nothing more than cut-up paper with a low-denomination bill on top.
There’s the dying widow scam, the dying rich merchant scam, the businessman about to be murdered scam…. You can find a list at scambusters.org.
It defies belief that one of the state’s most powerful law enforcement officials needs to tell the public this. But, obviously, enough people fall for it that warnings are necessary.
Never — EVER — supply passwords, bank account information or any other personal information to someone you don’t know, Molinelli said.
Especially to a guy who sends you an email like this:
I am [Name deleted], a sergeant in the American army, presently in Iraq among peace keeping force (sic).
During the raid of the Saddam Hussein hide out, which was also where he kept funds and valuables, I successfully smuggled out a box containing $15.5 million, which I have moved out of Iraq through a diplomatic channel.
The funds is (sic) presently in the custody of a securities and finance company in Europe. I want to move finally to safe bank account through a reliable person (sic).
If you are willing to assist me in the deal, urgently contact
me through this address for further details.
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