Monday, January 16, 2006

Email Fraud

Anyone who has been on the internet for any length of time has probably got the email from someone—usually claiming to be from Nigeria—who has a large sum of money stowed away in a bank somewhere that they can’t get at, and if you just send a few hundred dollars for “banking fees”, they’ll split the money with you. (Or, more likely, they won’t ask for any money up front; but eventually things will go a bit wrong, and they’ll need some money from you to get things back on track.) It’s a famous scam, and it’s been around for a long time. (It’s known as the Nigerian Scam, and also known as a “4-1-9” or “Advance Fee Fraud” scheme. You can learn more on Snopes.)

But I just saw a version that, to me, looks updated: There is now someone claiming to be a Christian, with a large sum of money, that they want to give to you so that their non-Christian in-laws can’t get their sinful hands on it. Andrea claims to have seen the Christian version a long time ago, so it’s probably not that new at all, but I believe it’s a variant of the older Nigerian Scam.

It looks like the same old con, but they’ve modified it especially for Christians. The email I got is as follows:

Dear Beloved in Christ.

It is by the grace of God that I received Christ, having known the truth; I had no choice than to do what is lawful and just in the sight of God for eternal life and in the sight of man for witness of God & His Mercies and glory upon my life.

I am Mrs. Mary Parker, the wife of Mr. Robert Parker, my husband worked with the Chevron/Texaco in Kenya for twenty years before he died in the year 2003.We were married for ten years without a child. My Husband died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we both got born-again and dedicated Christians. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is strongly against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$7.5 Million (Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars) with a Bank in Europe. Presently, this money is still with the Bank and the management just wrote me as the beneficiary that our account has been DORMANT and if I, as the beneficiary of the funds, do not re-activate the account; the funds will be CONFISCATED or I rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf (note that you need to activate this account) as I can not come over.

Presently, I’m in a hospital in Kenya where I have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few weeks to live. It is my last wish to see this money distributed to charity organizations anywhere in the World. Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them. Please, I beg you in the name of God to help me Stand-in as the beneficiary and collect the Funds from the Bank.

I want a person that is God-fearing who will use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained. The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband’s relatives are not Christians and I don’t want my husband’s hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers. I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death since I know where I am going to. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. {Exodus14 VS14} says that the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace. I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my soundless voice and presence of my husband’s relatives around me always. I don’t want them to know about this development.

With God all things are possible.

BELOVED ONE, REPLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAIL: maryparker78@netscape.net

Your Sister in Christ,

Mrs. Mary Parker

I just hope and pray that few—or no—people fall for this. It’s sad that people with such good intentions will get caught up by something like this, because they don’t take a few minutes to think about it first, before they start sending money.

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