Has this every happened to you? You get an extremely urgent email from a friend warning you of an impending virus epidemic, or that you computer will be erased if you don’t delete a file on your system before it’s too late? These emails come as warnings from friends of yours who think they are doing you a favour by forwarding an email that they received from some other worrisome friend of theirs, and so on. I have received many client calls asking for help after they blindly followed instructions from a friend regarding the removal of a supposed malicious file from their system.
In my experience, almost all of these types of emails are hoaxes. Before taking any action, perform a search on the email sent to you by checking out www.symantec.com andwww.mcafee.com for virus information, or www.snopes.com for hoaxes. If the email is truly legit, then by all means forward the email warning. However, if you find it to be a hoax, reply back to the person who sent you the email. Let them know about the hoax so they can follow up with all the people they originally emailed.
On a related topic, what about those crazy emails from some distant country like Nigeria claiming that they have MILLIONS of dollars, and that only you can help them release the funds. See the following excerpt from just one of these “419″ scams below.
FYI: The Nigerian 419 scam got its name from the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.
“Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I got your contact from the International web site directory. I prayed over it and selected your name among other names due to it’s esteeming nature and the recommendations given to me as a reputable and trust worthy person I can do business with and by the recommendations I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business.
I am Wumi Abdul; the only Daughter of late Mr and Mrs George Abdul. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan,the economic capital of Ivory Coast before he was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outing to discus on a business deal. When my mother died on the 21st October 1984, my father took me and my younger brother HASSAN special because we are motherless. Before the death of my father on 30th June 2002 in a private hospital here in Abidjan. He secretly called me on his bedside and told me that he has a sum of $12.500.000 (Twelve Million, five hundred thousand dollars) left in a suspense account in a local Bank here in Abidjan, that he used my name as his first Daughter for the next of kin in deposit of the fund.
He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth and some huge amount of money his business associates supposed to balance his from the deal they had that he was poisoned by his business associates, that I should seek for a God fearing foreign partner in a country of my choice where I will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose, (such as real estate management). Sir, we are honourably seeking your assistance in the following ways.”
The scammers then proceed to explain how you can get your hands on these funds by sending them some money to start the process to liberate the funds. So, you’re thinking to yourself, this is the most obvious scam I have ever seen, and you would never fall for this in a million years. Well, that’s the whole idea behind these scams. They are so ludicrous and outrageous, that any person with a modicum of intelligence would not fall for this ruse, unless they were truly desperate or overly trusting. These scammers are looking for people who are truly gullible, and who actually believe this could be real. This way, they use the email to isolate those individuals who will provide them with the best opportunity to bilk money from these poor, unaware souls who believe this to be true. Believe it or not, these scams really do work. This Nigerian 419 scam and others like it rob thousands of people out of millions of dollars every year!