Email claims that Terri Irwin, the wife of fallen wildlife warrior Steve Irwin, needs the recipient’s help to distribute a large sum of money to charity.
Subject: PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP Date: Thu, 17 May 2007
I come in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am Mrs. Terri Irwin; widow to late Mr. Steve Irwin, the director of the Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia, and host of Animal Planet’s series The Crocodile Hunter. On Monday, 4 September 2006, My Husband died prior to a stingray barb that pierced his chest, according to Cairns police sources.
Unfortunately before the death of my husband, we had a deposit with a Bank , valued presently 11million pounds Sterling, which we did not disclose to anybody it’s only within me and my husband and our private Lawyer . I was informed that the bank is planning to use the money for nuclear weapons. This is because am suffering from cancer illness. From all indications my condition is really deteriorating and it’s quite obvious that I may not get better quickly or live long according to my doctors. I have pray over this before I contacted you. Cause I want you to use 60% of the fund to contribute to the development of Church and Mosque in America, Asia and Europe. While the rest 40% belongs to you for the less privileged. Conclusively. I honestly pray that when this fund get claimed. Will be used for the said purpose, my private attorney will be in charge to prepare all the legal documentations that will authenticate you as the next of kin/will beneficiary to my late husband. Please get in touch with me through My Personal Assistance for more details, with the below Email:
Thanks for your understanding my they lord be with you.
Mrs. Terri Irwin.
Internet scammers will stop at nothing to steal money or identities from their unsuspecting victims. The fraudster responsible for this callous scam email has the audacity to pose as Terri Irwin, the wife of wildlife warrior Steve, who was tragically killed by a stingray barb in September 2006.
According to the message, Terri herself is now seriously ill and therefore needs the recipient’s help to deal with 11 million pounds deposited in a secret bank account. The message requests that the recipient pose as Steve Irwin’s next of kin so that he or she can collect the money and distribute 60% of it to churches and mosques, while holding on to the other 40%. It even makes the ridiculous claim that the bank currently holding the funds intends to “use the money for nuclear weapons”.
It hardly needs to be said that this absurd message is totally bogus and is not from Terri Irwin or any of her representatives. Terri and her family receive a great deal of media attention and, if true, news that she was seriously ill would certainly make the headlines. Moreover, in the unfortunate event that she did become ill, there would be no logical reason for her to find a total stranger to pose as Steve’s next of kin. Steve has other close living relatives including his father and his own children.
Except for the references to the Irwin family, the message is very similar to countless other Nigerian or 419 scams that claim a wealthy but dying merchant or widow needs help to distribute funds to charity. Like all such scams, the primary aim is to fool the victim into parting with advance fees that supposedly must be paid before the imaginary funds can be released. Requests for fees are likely to continue until the victim finally realizes what is happening or runs out of money. During the course of the scam, the criminals responsible may also gain enough sensitive personal information to steal their victim’s identity.
These criminals are without scruples and will use any cover story they can to achieve their aims, no matter how contemptible. As well as attempting to capitalize on the deaths of well-known people as they have in this case, they also willingly exploit natural disasters such as the Asian tsunami and current events such as the war in Iraq.
There is a seemingly endless variety of cover stories used in these scam messages. Regardless of how convincing a message may seem, be extremely cautious of any message that claims that the recipient will receive a percentage of a large sum of money in exchange for offering some manner of assistance with handling the funds.
If you receive a suspected scam message, do not reply or respond in any way to the scammers. Do not follow any links in such messages, as some may lead to malicious websites that can download malware.
Last updated: 23rd May 2007
First published: 23rd May 2007
By Brett M. Christensen