Email Scammers Capitalize On Colin And Chris Weir's Lottery Winning
It All Begins With The Summer Donation Program
We've all heard about email scams. Email scam artists sending emails to targeted individuals about some winnings somewhere, or about some off-shore account that needed to be claimed. Sometimes it's a promise of an inheritance.
Recipients of these emails are usually asked to give up their personal information, such as, names, addresses, phone number, and bank information, including the bank account routing number. These information, they're told will help to necessitate the transfer of the funds, inheritance or winning to the recipient's bank account.
I received such an email about a week ago, and I replied to it. And then, I received a response. You're probably wondering, with all the information out there about email scams from 'these Nigerians, or Africans', why would anyone reply to such an email. Why didn't I just toss it into my junk or trash mail?
Colin and Chris Weir - Real Lottery Winners
Well, the truth, I had a moment of weakness there. One that got me was the names being used, Colin and Chris Weir. This couple are actual lottery winners (and they do have a giveaway program, but only for non-profit, charity organizations, not for individuals, except for maybe, family members and friends).
Also, I am a Nigerian American, yes, and I'm proud of my Nigerian heritage. I'm also fully aware of the bad names that a few of the Nigerian population have given to those of us who are trying to make an honest living. It bothers me that I sometimes have to explain to some belligerent colleague that, no I do not know the individual that's been trying to scam them through email or paper mail.
My husband and I had fallen victim to a similar scam, the credit card scam. Investigation revealed that not all email or credit card scams are from Nigerians or Africans. There are copy-cats everywhere that uses this tactics, even fellow Americans. But only a group of people takes the rap for all the crimes.
Beware of Scammers!!!
- snopes.com: Hitman Bribe Scam
Con artists present themselves as 'hitmen' already hired by others to kill you, then extort payment to not carry out the contract.
- BBC NEWS | Technology | E-mail scam victim counts his losses
How an experienced businessman was conned out of thousands of dollars by e-mail fraudsters.
It's Not All It's Cooked Up To Be
So, yes, I was a little curious. I wanted to see if I'll actually get a response. I sent everything this scam artist asked for, my name, phone number, age, sex, and country of residence. By the way, with three personal websites, three blog sites, and my hub-pages account out there, all these information about me are already public on the Internet, so I knew I was't giving away anything that could hurt me. Did I get a response? Yes, I did.
There were some things I noticed right away. Some mis-information on the actual win of the Weirs was a little off. It could have been a typo, but the fact remains. Then, there was the spellings.
In the first email, it was obvious that the sender did a copy paste, possibly from an original posting of a Nigerian email scam. How did I know this? The British spellings of the word "programme" as well as the wording of the tenses in the initial email sent is so different when compared with the American spellings, "program" in the response that I got.
Nigerians back home uses the same spellings as the British, as we were a British colony. So, whoever it was that responded to my email response is a copy-cat. I may be wrong, but from an ABC 20/20 investigation a while ago, Nigerian email scam artist do not operate from American soil.
And then, there was the additional request for my bank account: bank name, account name, routing number etc. Another mistake the scammer made can be seen in the initial email, shown below. It states that I will be issued a check in the amount of £1,500,000.00.
In the response the tune changed. See image Below.
"My wife and I were very happy to receive your reply/details as regard the first email which we sent to you which clearly pointed out that you are a winner of $2,350,000.00 USD in our Summer Millionaire Donation Program. We wish to officially inform you that your total funds are now ready to be transferred to your operational bank account in your country by our pay-out bank, Citibank."
The scam artist is definitely an amateur criminal, and needs to be caught and punished.
Don't Fall For The Trap
I got the response about two days ago. I haven't responded yet, and I'm not about to give out my bank information. I thought about playing some tricks on the scam artist, like giving them some made up account information, but that would be stooping to their level. So, I'm going to let the guys at law enforcement handle this.
Why did I choose to write this hub? Well, in times like this, with the economy being the way it is, it's very easy to fall prey to these type of scams. There are many unemployed, very desperate individuals, breadwinners, fathers, mothers, who have lost it all. Scams like this gives them a ray of hope. Oftentimes, the recipients of such emails are gullible enough to fall for these scam artists, or rather criminals. I'm hoping this will help somebody avoid such pitfall.