Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Beware of Scam Messages

This article was originally published in Postnoon on June 20, 2013

Abhi, my cousin, had been going through a bad patch in his life. He lost his job last year as the company in which he was working was acquired by another firm. In the process, many employees were laid off. He was still unemployed and looking for ways to improve his financial situation. He called me excitedly one evening and told me that there is something he wants to show me. Since I did not have any other engagements, I agreed to see him at home.

He walked into my drawing room before time, with a piece of paper in his hands and a wide smile on his face.

Abhi: See! God is very kind. Look what I've got! This came into my mail box today morning. All my troubles will be resolved now.

Nicky: Really? Let me see.

I read the letter he was carrying.

Attention dear,

I am Mann Sylvester, barrister at law. A deceased client of mine who died as the result of a heart-related condition in March 12th 2005. His heart condition was due to the death of all the members of his family in the tsunami disaster on the 26th December 2004 in Sumatra Indonesia.

I have contacted you to assist in distributing the money left behind by my client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this deposit valued at $19million dollars is lodged.

This bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin, or the account will be confiscated. My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the next-of-kin and beneficiary of my late client, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you. Then we can share the amount on a mutually agreed-upon percentage.

All legal documents to back up your claim as my client's next of kin will be secured gradually and forwarded to you. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

If this business proposition offends your moral values, do accept my apology. Please contact me at once to indicate your interest. Please note keep this proposal confidential between us only.

As I finished reading the letter, Abhi looked at me expectantly. I looked at him angrily.
Nicky: Abhi, have you completely lost your senses? Do you really believe that someone is waiting out there to share $19 million with you?

Abhi: I have no reason to not believe it. That's what the letter says.
Nicky: How about common sense? Don't you realize that this is just a way to fool you and get some money from you instead? As soon as you reply to this mail, this person will ask for your bank account details and then he will ask you to transfer some money to him to cover transaction costs. As soon as you do that, you will never hear from him again if you are lucky. In the worst case scenario, using your account details, they can withdraw money from your account.

This is a very common way to lure people into divulging details about their bank accounts. You must beware of such deals.
Abhi: I am glad I ran it through you first before accepting the deal.
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