Monday, August 25, 2008

A scam warning to all of our readers

I'm going to defer on any more posts on Islam, Jihad, or Malaysian politics for the moment, and ask our readers a question.

Have you ever gotten an email, letter or SMS from someone claiming that you've won a lottery, specifically a foreign 'email lottery' that you've never heard of, or have no recollection entering? Ever been asked by someone claiming to be a barrister to split up an 'inheritance' or 'unclaimed funds'? Ever been asked to 'move funds' out of some third world craphole with you getting a piece of the action? Ever been asked to supply your personal bank account to facilitate the transfer of millions? Or has some lonely heart asked you for just a few thousand dollars for plane tickets or to help him/her out of a jam?

If any of this nonsense has ever crossed your inbox, then you've been solicited by the advance-fee fraud. Also called the 419 scam or the Nigerian scam, scammers send out millions of these sorts of emails every day. And they don't care if you're Muslim or Kafir, Jew or Gentile, American or Malaysian. They just want to steal your money, your life savings if possible. And to do that, the scammers will pretend to be anyone and will tell you anything--"Just send this money to me (usually via Western Union or Moneygram) and millions will be yours." If you do that, I guaranteee that your money will disappear and you will never, ever get it back.

And as for the 'millions' of pounds, euros, dollars or whatever that the scammers tell you about--it's not real and doesn't exist. But what is real are the huge sums of money that these scum steal with their confidence scams. The 419 scam is hugely profitable for the criminals who do it. In the UK alone, just for 2006, the authorities estimate that £150 million was taken by this sort of fraud, with the average victim losing £31,000.

There are almost an endless number of variations of this fraud. It mutates rapidly so that scammers can always find new ways to steal money and create new victims. Scammers will pretend to be anyone to perpetuate their fraud--lawyers, generals, royalty, diplomats, US soldiers in Iraq, government officials, wealthy businessmen, dying philanthropists, and so on. A lot of the scams seem to originate from Africa, specifically Nigeria (hence the photo shown above and the name for this fraud), but it's well worth noting that this scam could originate from anywhere or anyone.

If you ever get an email, text message, letter or phone call from anyone who promises riches for nothing or something that's too good to be true, don't believe it for a second. Don't respond. Just ignore or delete it. And be sure to tell your family and friends about this sort of fraud so that you and the people you care about don't become their next victims.

I decided to write on this topic because PI's inbox gets dozens of these sorts of scams a week. I'm also writing this so that everyone who learns about this can avoid being scammed. Even if you don't agree with our positions here, no one deserves to have their money stolen.


Thorum said...

Good story!! I have received these emails a few times. Anyone should know these days that if something is too good to be true, it is.

Anonymous said...

AJ, great work. Thank you for taking an effort to tell us this story. Hopefully people out there will always watch out of this scam bastards.

Muhammad's Mother said...

Hey Dude.. taking a break from ISLAM?