Monday, 09 September, 2002

A New Twist On An Old Scam

I've seen variants of this scam for the last year or two, but this one adds a new wrinkle.  Here's the letter, exactly as I received it:

From:  femi douglas <femidouglas@yahoo.com> 
Subject  ATTN: Mischel
Date:  Mon, 9 Sep 2002 03:53:33 -0700 (PDT)
To:  <femidouglas@yahoo.com> 

Barister Femi Douglas.
Morgan Partners.
Ahmed Onibudo Crescent,
Victoria Island,Lagos-Nigeria.
email: femidouglas@yahoo.com

Dear Mischel ,

I am Barrister Femi Douglas ,a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney to Mr Mark H. Mischel ,a national of your country, who used to work with shell development company in Nigeria. Here in after shall be referred to as my client.

On the 21st of April 1999, my client, his wife And their three children were involved in a car accident along sagbama express road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost there lives.

Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives this has also proved unsuccessful.

After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you.

I have contacted you to assist in repartrating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confisicated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged.

Particularly, the finance company where the deceased had an account valued at about US$3,500,000.00 dollars has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confisicated within the next ten official working days.

since I have been unsuccesfull in locating the relatives for over 2 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you have the same last name so that the proceeds of this account valued at US$3,500,000.00 dollars can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money. 60% to me and 40% to you

I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we may make. all I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through.

I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

please get in touch with me by my email to enable us discuss further.

Best regards,
Barister Femi Douglas esq.

It's an interesting twist on the corrupt minor African government official who desperately needs somebody to help him spirit an embezzled fortune out of the country.  What surprises me the most about this letter is that it's so poorly written.  You'd think that somebody wanting to appear as a lawyer would have impeccable grammar and spelling.  Perhaps it's calculated to sound like an especially stupid and somewhat corrupt lawyer.  After all, he is trying to stick it to me by taking 60% of my supposed inheritance.

I understand that people are falling for these types of scams regularly.  Somehow they get talked into giving up critical bank account information, and the scam artist cleans it out.  I may not be the most worldly person, but I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.  Sometimes you just shake your head and move on.