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Police & Fire

Don't Fall For It: Police Issue Alert For Unclaimed Funds Email Scam

Police released an example of the scam making the rounds.
Police released an example of the scam making the rounds. Photo Credit: Ramapo Police Department

Police in the area are cautioning local residents of a recent email scam that has been making the rounds throughout the region.

One police department, located in Rockland County, reports it just received a scam email from “Rupnarain Kamal” stating that the recipient of the email was due a payment of $22,583,112.00 as a beneficiary for an unclaimed fund at a South African bank.

“Back in January, we posted about a scam email we received in the (police department’s) General Email Account Mailbox,” the Ramapo Police Department posted online. “Well, on (Monday), July 22, we received the same email. However, this time they sweetened it up a little. Now it's at $22,583,112.00.”

In the email, “Rupnarain” states that “a deposit account was opened by a customer Wolfgang Friedrich, Deutsch Nationality who was a consultant contractor with the federal ministry of mines and power in South Africa. He made a number of deposit with the bank over a period of time which has been rolled over many times yearly … while expecting Wolfgang Friedrich to come forward to claim his fund which he never did.”

The email went on to cite a New York Times article that references “Wolfgang Friedrich’s” alleged death in May 2010.

“As a standing financial rules and regulation of South African government, if no claim is made on the deposit at the end of the stipulated period, the fund will be tagged ‘unclaimed funds’ and will be forfeited to the government. So I want to present you as the next of kin to the fund and I will guide you to ensure the fund is process legitimately in your name and transferred to your bank account for our mutual benefit.”

Police in the area mused, “nice try Rupnarain, or whoever you are! We had several staff meetings to discuss the $22,583,112.00 that you want to share with us. However, we are going to have to decline your offer again. Hopefully, no one is falling for this scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

To avoid being the next victim of a scam, police said that residents should:

  • Avoid opening any email or text message links from any suspicious or unknown people;
  • Avoid providing usernames, credit cards or passwords to unknown people;
  • Delete suspicious text messages or emails;
  • Ignore calls from unknown numbers and;
  • Not provide gift card or money card information as forms of payment. Legitimate businesses do not ask for gift cards as a form of payment.

"Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods of obtaining information," police said. "Ultimately if an agency plans to contact you regarding taxes, criminal activity or involvement, immigration status, the communication will be done in written form and sent through postal service mail."

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