New Nigerian scam, Amazon phishing scams, unclaimed money and more: Internet ScamBusters #142
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud
By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
All rights reserved.
Today we’re doing another subscriber Q&A issue. Today’s topics are:
– Is there now a US Army Iraq Nigerian scam?
– Can you eliminate me from the Friday Notice email?
– Is this condo rental offer for real?
– Are there Amazon phishing scams?
– Should I pay this company to help me collect money that was supposedly my
mother’s that I didn’t know about (or is it a scam)?
Before we get started, we wanted to remind you about disaster scams in the wake
of Hurricane Katrina. Whenever there is a major natural or other disaster, scammers
begin sending out charity relief scams within just a couple of hours.
Click here to find out more about the many different types of Hurricane Katrina scams that are already making the rounds, how to protect yourself, and how you can best help Hurricane Katrina victims…
And also check out these tips for protecting yourself from charity
Internet ScamBusters Q&A
Question: Is this a scam? It sounds similar to the Nigerian scam.
— Begin Scam Email —
I am [Name deleted], a sergeant in the American army, presently
in Iraq among peace keeping force (sic).
During the raid of the Saddam Hussein hide out, which was also
where he kept funds and valuables, I successfully smuggled out
a box containing $15.5 million, which I have moved out of Iraq
through a diplomatic channel.
The funds is (sic) presently in the custody of a securities and
finance company in Europe. I want to move finally to safe bank
account through a reliable person (sic).
If you are willing to assist me in the deal, urgently contact
me through this address for further details.
— End Scam Email —
Answer: We’ve gotten lots of questions on this one. It’s just a new variant
of the Nigerian scam.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what country they are supposedly from — or who
or why someone wants to give you millions of dollars — it’s a scam. The fact
that it is supposedly from someone in the US Army makes it no less of a scam.
Question: I receive the Wednesday email newsletter without problem. Can you
eliminate me from the Friday Notice email? Thank you.
Answer: We’ve answered this before, but since we have tens of thousands of new
subscribers since then, we decided to answer it again.
We send the main complete issue out on Wednesdays, and a follow-up on Fridays
to let you know when each issue is posted online. Each is labeled clearly.
The reason we’re doing this is because so many subscribers who are not getting
ScamBusters (because of the filters) requested we do this. Since so much of
the information we discuss is scam-related, our newsletters are very frequently
captured by the filters.
Unfortunately, we have no good way of only sending these notices to only some
For more advanced subscribers: If you regularly get the main issue and you want
to file or delete the Friday notices in your email program, you can use the
phrase ‘ScamBusters Now Online’ in the Subject Field of the short notice to
filter it and set for auto-delete (but please don’t flag it as spam).
Question: I’m wondering if this is a scam:
I have a condo by the beach that I rent out. I advertise it on the Internet.
Someone in Holland emailed me saying she was interested in renting the condo
for a month, and asked for a price quote, which I sent her.
She then said she wanted to take the condo, but that her secretary had made
the check out for the wrong amount – about $2500 too much. She asked if I could
send $1400 to her colleague in Nigeria and keep the rest for the rental? It
seems fishy to me.
Answer: You are right, it is fishy. This is yet another variant of the overpayment
scam, this time for a rental. Remember, in Issue #139 on overpayment scams,
"It doesn’t matter *why* you are supposed to send them back money: scammers
give hundreds of different excuses that seem plausible at first blush."
For more on the overpayment scam,
Question: I received an e-mail from "Amazon" claiming my bank had
contacted them regarding some attempted charges on my credit card. It had a
link for me to confirm my identity, and asked me to wait 72 hours after I did
that to e-mail them, because e-mailing too soon would result in delays.
I e-mailed Amazon with a cut and paste version of the original. They said it
is a spoof. I wanted to give you a heads up on this one. Thanks for helping
to protect us all.
Answer: Yes, there are Amazon phishing scams. In fact by now, there seem to
be phishing scams from most well-known companies.
Question: My mother died about 6 months ago, and we are going through the probate
process. We’re finally ready to distribute the assets according to her will.
Last week, I received a call from a company who said they had money that was
unclaimed for my deceased mother from Austin. The amount is $87,000. They said
that they wanted me to sign agreement to give them 1/3 of the amount as their
commission for finding the money.
Their fee would be deducted from the distribution, and there are no up-front
I’m really surprised because my mother lived in Colorado her entire life and
kept excellent records. In addition, I’ve been doing her finances for years
and I knew nothing about this money.
Is this a scam? I really need a quick answer as the time for probate is at an
Answer: I suggest you look on this page of our site about unclaimed
If there is money, you can probably find it as easily as they can (it’s public
record) and you won’t pay 1/3 as a fee.
Given what you said, it is very likely the money belonged to someone with the
same name as your mother in another state.
I wouldn’t worry about the deadline though. Even if you pursue it today, it
will take months to find out how much money there really is and to receive it.
Any money can be distributed when it is received.
Time to wrap up — wishing you a wonderful week…