Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Same Last Name" Email Scam

The Sharp family woke up to some some good news this morning: a private investigator who works with a private bank in the UK has offered to share a fortune with us - because we are lucky enough to have the same last name as a deceased client.

In his email to "undisclosed recipients", the aforementioned P.I. says that he is "not a criminal", which is good to know. He is, apparently, doing this because "the dynamics of my industry dictates that I make this move."


Folks, if you receive an email from someone - anyone - saying they have found a pile of money previously owned by a deceased person with the same name as you, don't reply. It is a scam.

If someone says in an email that they have been hired to kill you - but will forget about it if you empty your bank account in their direction - don't reply. It is a scam.

If a bank or credit union asks you to change or verify or transmit your login credentials via email, don't do it. It is a scam.

An unfortunately large number of people are still are replying to these emails - and many are still being taken for a ride, to the tune of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

I followed one of these threads to its natural conclusion a couple of years ago, and the guy on the other side - "a UK barrister" was pretty slick. I can see how to some folks a deal might just seem real enough to invest a few hundred bucks.

Bottom line: if an email from a stranger - or an institution - surprises you in some unexpected way, delete it, or if you bank with the institution in question, call customer service before clicking on anything in the email.

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