Is There Now a US Army Iraq Nigerian Scam?

New Nigerian scam, Amazon phishing scams, unclaimed money and more: Internet ScamBusters #142

Internet ScamBusters™

The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud

By Audri and Jim Lanford

Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford

All rights reserved.

Issue #142

Hi Everyone,

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


Let’s begin…

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,

we wrote:

"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,

visit now.


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…