Criminals are distributing a scam email claiming to be from American businessman and philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, son of famous billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
The email claims that, in his desire to use his wealth to help others, Howard Buffet has chosen you as the recipient of a $1.5 million donation. It urges you to contact Mr Buffet via email to arrange the transfer of your donation.
However, the email has no connection to Howard Buffet and the millionaire is not giving you a $1.5 million donation.
Instead, it is an advance fee scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to online criminals.
If you fall for the ruse and acknowledge the message as instructed, you will soon receive requests for money from the criminals, who will continue to pose as Howard Buffet or his staff. They will claim that the money is needed to pay various fees associated with the processing and transfer of your donation. And, they will insist that these payments must be made in advance and cannot be deducted from the donation itself.
If you do send money the first time, the scammers will continue to demand more payments until you either have no more money to send or finally come to realise that you are being conned.
After they have extracted as much money as possible from you, the scammers will disappear without a trace and it is very unlikely that you will ever get back any of the money you sent. Nor, of course, will you ever get the promised donation, which never existed in the first place.
Moreover, the scammers may also attempt to steal your identity using information they have gleaned from you during the course of the scam.
Howard Buffet does support charitable work via the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. However, he certainly does not randomly hand out millions of dollars in donations to strangers via email. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has warned Internet users about these scam messages via a fraud alert on its website.
Advance fee scams like this one continue to be very common. Be wary of any unsolicited message that claims that you are eligible to receive a large cash donation, grant, or lottery prize from a person or organisation that you know nothing about.
An example of the scam email:
SYNOPSIS OF DONATION.
My name is Howard G. Buffett,
I’m a philanthropist, CEO & Chairman of the Howard G. Buffett Charity Organization. As the middle son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, I have always have the mind of helping unknown people around the world with my father’s wealth. With that, I took it upon myself as a responsibility to select unknown email addresses online and decided to pick just two at random for an act of charity by donating the above amount of $1.5 Million US Dollar each. As a lucky person that you are, you have been selected to receive $1.5 Million US Dollar in your personal account as a donation from me. Remember I’m doing this voluntarily out of my benevolence because I believe in helping others with our wealth.
WHAT TO DO?
To receive your donation, you must acknowledge this message by
confirming to me that I have your right email id below:
Your request will be processed almost immediately.