According to this email, a wealthy widow diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour needs your help to distribute a multi-million dollar investment fund “for the mutual benefit of the orphans and the less privileged ones in your location”.
Supposedly, if you agree to help, you will get to keep 50% of the 9 million dollar fund for yourself. The “widow” claims that she has no children or family members to entrust the money to. She asks you to reply promptly because she only has a few days left to live.
But, alas, the email is yet another advance fee scam. There is no dying widow with a fortune to give away. Even if you respond and subsequently comply with all of the “widow’s” instructions, you will never receive so much as a cent.
If you do respond, you will quickly be told that you must send money to cover various upfront expenses supposedly associated with the processing and transfer of the fund.
“Mrs Marina” will claim that these expenses cannot be paid out of the fund itself for legal or insurance reasons. After you send money the first time, further requests for money will likely follow. The scammer will invent all sorts of excuses as to why the extra money must be paid by you in advance.
After she has extracted as much of your money as she possibly can, she will go silent. You will no longer receive replies to your emails. If she has supplied a phone number, it will now be disconnected. In other words, she will pocket the money you sent and disappear, never to be heard from again. You will never get your money back. Nor, of course, will you ever get the promised million-dollar payout, which was always nothing more than a figment of the scammer’s imagination.
Moreover, you may well have been tricked into sending the scammer a large amount of your personal and financial information, ostensibly to prove your identity and arrange the fund to be transferred to your account. This information may later be used to steal your identity.
There have been countless variations of this scam distributed by letter, email, SMS, and private messages for many years. the scam predates the Internet by decades. Nevertheless, it still works. Every day, all around the world new victims fall for the scam and have their money and information stolen.
An example of the scam email:
I know that this message might come to you as a surprise because we don’t know each other nor have we ever met before but accept it with an open and positive mind, because I have a very important request that made me to contact you in this regard. I am a widow diagnosed with brain tumor disease. It has gotten to a very bad stage which my doctors have confirmed and announced to me that I have just a few days to leave, Now that I’m ending the race like this, without any family members and no child.I was a business woman from Indonesia dealing with gold exportation here in the Republic of Burkina Faso. I have decided to hand over and entrust the sum of ($ 9,650,000.00, Nine Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars) in my account to you for the mutual benefit of the orphans and the less privileged ones in your location to fulfill my wish on earth. But before handing over my data’s to you, I want you to understand that It will be my pleasure to compensate you as my Investment Manager/Partner with 50% percent of the total money for your effort in handling the transaction, while 50% of the fund will be invested into the charity project there in your country. Meanwhile if only you are interested I am waiting for your prompt response Now I have access to the Internet in the hospital, I will give you further details and my data. Please always check your e-mail as I have only a few days to leave on this earth. Your early response will be appreciated.
Mrs Marina [Surname removed].