Category: Advance Fee Scam

The Dead or Alive Scam

An email arrives with the title:

“*****ARE YOU DEAD OR ALIVE ********”.

Seems a little serious but is just the opening to a standard advance fee scam.

The message claims to be from a barrister at the International Monetary Fund, although his email address is not of the IMF.

The gist of the message is that two men have presented themselves as my agents at the IMF ready to claim on my behalf, a sum of $12.5 million that is due to me.

They claim that I died of throat cancer some months previously and they have power of attorney from my estate.

This may sound very strange but many scammers do love their complex highly improbable stories.

The message says I just need to forward proof that I am alive otherwise the money will be paid to the two men.

Proof in this case means providing identification documents along with personal details such as my address and date of birth.

This is all just a scam to get my confidential information to be sold to other criminals for identity theft purposes.

The second half of the scam in many cases is the advance fee part where I would have to make a small payment for release of the millions of dollars and of course there would then be another payment and so on until I realise there is no pot of money and give up.

These advance fee scams come in many guises but any offer of money or valuables for essentially nothing is always a scam. Only the scammer wins.

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The Fake Next of Kin Scam

This is a common scam and is a variant of the Advance Fee Scam (also known as the 419 scam).

It is most commonly carried out by Nigerians or strangely by people from elsewhere but claiming to from Nigeria.

There is a story, sometimes pages of it, trying to explain how the sender is some kind of bank official or government official and they have control of bank accounts. One of which belongs to a recently deceased person with no next of kin and no official will. Here’s the con. The sender wants you to pretend to be the next of kin to the dead person and claim the inheritance, which you then split with the sender.

An example of this scam is an email from Mr. Konibally Kone, although he spells his name differently at places in the email so must be confused on who he is today.

His deceased client supposedly left $13.7 million which he and I can share as long as I follow his instructions.

He also promises it is totally safe as he has all the required legal documents.

Of course, he does not have an official email address – just a Gmail personal address in the name christpoher 654321.

All I have to do is reply with name, address, contact details, date of birth and Id document.

For anyone who does reply, the scam follows the standard pattern where he or she gets drawn into the scam and has to pay an unexpected but small amount for some purpose then another fee then another and so on till the victim realised there is no fortune, just a scammer taking their money.

Also, the scammers will likely sell your details to other criminals who carry out identity theft.

Money for nothing is always a scam and pretending to be the next of kin of someone dead is a pretty nasty thing to agree to.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week St Ethelberga

St. Ethelberga was a medieval church in Bishopsgate, central London but it was damaged by an IRA bomb in 1993.

It was rebuilt and restored and re-opened as The Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Some scammers are using the name of St. Ethelberga’s for their criminal activities, trying to cash in on the reputation for integrity.

The emails claim to be from St. Ethelberga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace and even give a website address which is correct for the centre.

However the email address of the sender and the separate email address to reply to are both Gmail addresses – not St. Ethelberga’s.

The scam is the basic 419 Advance Fee scam with a common twist in that the sender is claiming that you have not been sent the correct compensation for having been scammed previously.

“we have decided to step into the process of your fund transfer to enable your funds to be transferred within the soonest possible time without needing to pay all the huge sums of monies that are being demanded from you by the remitting bank, you are to get back to us immediately.”

It doesn’t say how much money I am owed but I have to reply with my full details including copy of identification document etc.

Just a typical scammer looking for confidential details to sell to identity thieves.

Do not trust such messages, even if they appear to be from a well known organisation.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Saddam Hussein

For the months just before and then after the death of Saddam Hussein, los of scammers were using his name. Some claimed they wanted to hide his billions and you could help and be well paid for the privilege. Others told long ridiculous stories about one or more of his children being stuck somewhere like Jordan and needing you to accept a huge sum of money into your bank account for them.

Some were creative with new stories but most followed the tried and tested approach of just offering lots of money for nothing and not worrying whether the story made any sense or not.

This latest one is back on the theme of Saddam’s billions but pretends to be WBS (World Bank Swiss), which doesn’t exist and has $18.5 million to give to me from Saddam’s funds at the bank.

I just need to supply the usual details – name, phone numbers, address, bank accounts etc. and the money will be available at BIL (Bank in London), which also does not exist.

The sender is supposedly a top official at Bank of America, but the email is from a free Gmail address, so can only be fake.

Could anyone believe this level of tripe?

I hope not.

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Fake Fortune Payments


Whenever there is a natural disaster – epidemic, earthquake, flooding, forest fires etc. scammers try to take advantage by advertising fake charities, fake products, fake helplines etc. They also try to tempt people with offers of free payments and the Coronavirus pandemic has led to a lot of these.

e.g.  The United Nations and humanitarian partners (UNHP), Agency, is today brought out US$855 million for its urgent push to curb the risk and help to impact on COVID-19 outbreaks in these vulnerable communities, as part of a wider UN Global Humanitarian Response support plan to all the listed names that qualifies for US$2,500,000 compensation.  This is to inform you that your (US$2.5M) outstanding payment has been approved and ready to be paid through Bank to Bank Transfer as the bank-indicated.  “

This is just standard scammer text using the name of a made-up agency and the quite ridiculous idea that the recipient will receive $2.5 million in compensation for no reason. Anyone getting this message knows they have not lost that amount of money therefore it would be ridiculous to believe that anyone would pay such compensation to random people.

However, people do still reply, perhaps in the hope that the mistake will never be noticed.

The message goes on to request the usual personal information – name, address, contact details, bank details etc.

The sender’s email address is clearly a personal one and is registered in Hungary.

All rubbish of course.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week FBI Payout

This is yet another 419 scam using the name of the FBI.

419 scams are where the scammer promises great riches and the victim has to pay a small amount to retrieve the riches, then another small amount and so on till they realise it’s all just a scam.

This one claims to be from Christopher Wray of the FBI Anti-Terrorist And Monetary Crimes Division but is from a gmail personal address so is an obvious scam.

The message claims that the FBI have discovered that I won $7.4 million USD from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America and the FBI have paid the winning amount to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) in my name.

The message is to ‘Dear Beneficiary’ so they don’t know my name and of course the IMF is nothing to do with lottery winnings.

To get the winnings I just need to pay $250 by Western Union money transfer to a clerk, but such transfers are loved by scammers as the money is untraceable and any transfer cannot be reversed.

The FBI do not use such money transfers.

The end of the message is supposed to look official but this scammer is too stupid to do it properly and it’s a jumble of words trying to look like a job title and even includes “[Photograph of Director]” where the scammer should have put a fake photo.


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