You might think that as an aspiring frugalist, scammers would give me a wide berth. But you would be surprised by how many scammers have been trying to contact me through the blog, supposedly in order to repatriate millions of dollars to me in exchange, of course, for a large fee to be deposited in their accounts.
I’ve had a few of the usual Nigerian scam emails recently, but one over the weekend caught my eye. Some bright spark calling himself “Alex Bruno, Attorney at Law” emailed me through the blog. Typically he writes in poor English and spins a long and drawn out sob story about some oil engineer supposedly also called Terrett whose plane crashed in Beirut in 2003, leaving a $11m fortune behind. I find this very difficult to believe as the Terretts, as a rule, hate travelling. According to our family tree, my father was the first to venture north of the River Thames and he only made it as far as Ireland.
Mr Bruno claims that for ‘two years’ now he has been searching for the relatives. Only two years? Shouldn’t it be six years if the crash was in 2003?! For a ‘lawyer’ our Mr Bruno doesn’t have much of a grasp of arithmetic. He claims that as not just the oil engineer by the name of Terrett, but his entire family was wiped out in the crash, he’s been struggling to find relatives to pass the inheritance on to. So as a last ditch attempt, he’s come across me on the internet. I’m sure that the imaginary oil engineer would be delighted to know that his imaginary lawyer is willing to pass on his imaginary hard earned cash to a stranger he’s found over the web!
You have to give Mr Bruno some credit. For once he hasn’t simply cut and pasted the scam email he uses, but he or his scam software system has tried to personalise it. I’ve had many of these so-called Nigerian financial scam emails sent to me over the years but this is the first time somebody’s done this. He asks me to email him via his Google mail account. Er…if he were a real lawyer wouldn’t he have some kind of official sounding email address? Alex.Bruno@loadsamoneylawyers.com?
Honestly, you’d think that these scammers would have more sense than to target somebody writing a frugal blog, but perhaps that’s it. They think, “Well, she’d obviously be tempted.” For a split second I admit that the thought crossed my mind, just think, what if there really was $11m waiting for me? Ah…what would I do with it? Think of all the goats I could buy…But then common sense prevailed. No, it was just another scam. And I Googled him and came back with this. Mr Bruno, our scammer, is evidently targeting Windows Live users, so beware. The old investment adage is a good one to live by: if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
For what it’s worth, here is the text of the email so you can avoid falling for it:
Dear Piper Terrett ,
Compliment of the day, I apologized for using this medium to reach you for a Transaction/ business of this magnitude, but this is due to confidentiality required for the smooth operation of the transaction. It is withtrust that I wish to contact you on this matter.
From time immemorial, those who have been inspired to bring change have all employed one thing in common; innovation, creative tools, and most importantly through good thinking and I have decided to contact you having in mind that friendship starts from a point in time as friends today were once strangers.
I am Barr. Alex. Bruno of Alex Bruno lawfirm and associate chambers,an Attorney at law, and the Personal lawyer to Engineer M. C Terrett an Oil consultant hereinafter referred to as my client.
On the 26Th December 2003, my client, his wife and their only daugther were involved in a plane crash Boeing 727 Beirut bound, which crashed into the sea off the West African state of Benin on their holiday trip to Dubai. The news of this crash was on the news which we have notified his relatives to no avail.
Since then I have made several enquiries to the embassy here to locate any of my clients relatives, this has proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any of his remote relatives hence I contacted you. I am contacting you to assist in repatriating the fund valued at US$11.5 million left behind by my client before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable by the finance company where this huge amount was deposited.
The said finance company has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have his account confiscated within the next twenty-one working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased since you have the same last name, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.
On smooth conclusion of this transaction, both of us will be entitled to equal shares (45%) of the total sum, while 10% will be set aside to take care of expenses that will arise during the time of transfer and also telephone bills. All I require from you is your honest co-operation to enable us see this transaction through.
I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
I expect your urgent response indicating your full interest in this great business transaction to our both mutual trust.
Your telephone and fax number will be needed for our easy communication.
Alex Bruno Esq.
Have you been the victim of a phishing scam or other type of con? Or have you been in touch with Mr Bruno? Leave a comment and let me know.
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