This email, which purports to be from “Ulrich”, a regional manager at a European bank, offers you a 40% share in a multi-million dollar fund.
Supposedly, the bank where the manager works made an “excess profit” of $42.5 million, which he has diverted to an “escrow account with no beneficiary”.
The message claims that, because of his position at the bank, the manager cannot be directly connected to the money. So, the manager would like you to assist by receiving the $42.5 million fund into your own bank account. And, you’ll get to keep 40% of the money as payment for your assistance.
But, the story is nonsense. There is no $42.5 million fund sitting in a hidden bank account and the sender is certainly not a bank manager. Instead, the email is a typical advance fee scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to criminals.
If you fall for the sender’s lies and reply, you will be asked to send money to cover various fees that are supposedly associated with the transfer and processing of the fund. “Ulrich” will explain that these fees must be paid in advance by you as it is not possible to pay them from the fund itself. If you send the money as requested, “Ulrich” will continue to ask for more money until you run out of available funds or at last realise that you are being scammed.
He may also trick you into sending a large amount of your personal and financial information, supposedly to prove your identity and allow the transfer of the funds.
When the scam has run its course and “Ulrich” has stolen as much of your money as he can, he will simply disappear into cyberspace. He will no longer answer your emails or phone calls. Even if you report the fraud to the police, it is quite unlikely that you will ever get any of your money back. And, of course, you will never receive the promised millions, which never existed in the first place.
To make matters even worse, “Ulrich” may be able to steal your identity using the personal and financial information you sent to him.
Advance fee scams like this are one of the most common types of fraud and long predate the Internet. Be wary of any email, social media message, SMS, fax, or letter that promises a large sum of money from a total stranger in exchange for accepting funds into your bank account. No genuine business deal is ever likely to be conducted in such a manner.
Apparently, the perceived opportunity to get rich overnight can greatly cloud people’s judgement. Applying just a modicum of logic to messages like this should immediately reveal their fraudulent nature. Or, at the very least, raise a red flag of caution.
Why would the supposed excess profits be something unusual that could be hidden away and remain unaccounted for? Making “excess profits” is, in fact, the primary goal of most banks, usually at the expense of the bank’s hapless customers.
“Ulrich” claims that he needs your help because he cannot be directly connected to the fund. And yet, he was apparently able to divert the funds to an escrow account that his employers were not aware of. If the claims were true, I’m sure that the resourceful “Ulrich” could easily find a way to transfer the funds to another bank account he had access to. Without the need to share the fund and without involving a total stranger he contacted randomly via the Internet.
And, why would “Ulrich” risk exposure and possible criminal prosecution by telling a complete stranger about his fraudulent activities? Given that he has never met you and never had any previous business relationship with you, why then is he “instinctively convinced that you are the ideal person” to assist him? For example, even if you thought the offered deal was real but were an inherently honest person, then you would likely not agree to the request and may well let the bank know of its employee’s intended fraud.
Even the most gullible of recipients really should be able to sense something greatly amiss in such proposals if they would only take the time to logically analyse them. But, alas, given that advance fee scams continue to gain new victims all around the world every day, it seems that a great many people are still unwilling or unable to apply logic and common sense to any proposal that they believe has the potential to make them rich.
An example of the scam email:
My name is Ulrich [surname removed], I am a regional manager of one of the banks here in EUROPE, I am writing you this proposal in good faith;
i am a man of peace I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and I, as the regional Bank manager, it is my duty to send in a financial report to my head office at the end of each business year. On the course of the last year business report, I discovered that my branch office made excess profit of (US$42.5Million).
I have placed these funds in escrow account with no beneficiary. As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 40% of the total funds as your commission. I have perfected the banking procedure to enable our head office transfer the funds into your account in less than 7 working days.
I have not met with you in person neither have I had any business relationship with you previously but I am instinctively convinced that you are the ideal person I require to handle the funds for me. My major concern is to see that this money is transferred into your account, I would be very glad should you therefore confirm your willingness to assist in receiving this fund before my final departure to join you for the investment purpose.
Please reply with the information below to enable me give you a call to further discussion
FULL CONTACT ADDRESS:
TELEPHONE and FAX NUMBERS:
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Ulrich [surname removed]