uses memory of Holocaust victims
You may have been courted by the Nigerian
scam, also known as the 419 scam (named after the section of
the law pertaining to it). It comes in e-mail or letter form
and tells you of a huge amount of money hidden overseas that
the writer of the letter wants to put in your bank account.
In return, he promises you a big cut of the cash.
What you may not know is that this scam comes in many different
forms. Con artists are continually updating the scam in an attempt
to change it enough so that people won't recognize it. While
the original version of this bogus letter claims to have access
to a bank account in Nigeria, Bankrate recently received a version
of the scam that claims to be from Switzerland. Rather than
money that belonged to warlords, this person claims to have
access to funds that belonged to victims of the Holocaust who
are now deceased and left no wills.
Long story short: Any checks you receive from this person will
be fake. The crook will ask you to keep part of the money and
send him the difference. Shortly after you send him the difference
by mail or wire, his check will bounce, and you will owe the
total amount to your bank. Warning: Sometimes people are told
by their banks that the check has cleared, so they go ahead
and wire the difference to the scammer. But don't be too sure:
The scammers sometimes forge a cashier's check, which fools
the bank into prematurely reporting the check as "cleared."
Once the forgery is discovered, the bank will try to hold you
You should not answer these e-mails or
click on the links they contain. The Federal Trade Commission
has warned that by clicking on links, you may unknowingly
onto your computer.
Here's how one Holocaust scam e-mail,
entitled "THE GAIN OF WORLD WAR II," reads:
My name is Mr. Ronald Lauder, a member of Independent Committee
of Eminent Persons (ICEP), Switzerland. ICEP is charged
with the responsibility of finding bank accounts in Switzerland
belonging to non-Swiss indigenes [sic], which have remained
dormant since World War II. It may interest you to know
that in July of 1997, the Swiss Banker's Association published
a list of dormant accounts originally opened by non-Swiss
citizens. These accounts had been dormant since the end
of World War II (May 9, 1945). Most belonged to Holocaust
victims. The continuing efforts of the Independent Committee
of Eminent Persons (ICEP) have since resulted in the discovery
of additional dormant accounts -- 54,000 in December 1999.
The published lists contain all types of
dormant accounts, including interest-bearing savings accounts,
securities accounts, safe-deposit boxes, custody accounts,
and non-interest-bearing transaction accounts. Numbered
accounts are also included. Interest is paid on accounts
that were interest bearing when established.
The Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT) handles processing
of all claims on accounts due non-Swiss citizens. I discovered
a dormant account of ORDNER ADELE with a credit balance
of 35,000,000 US dollar plus accumulated interest. The beneficiary
was murdered during the holocaust era, leaving no WILL and
no possible records for trace of heirs. The Claims Resolution
Tribunal has been mandated to report all unclaimed funds
for permanent closure of accounts and transfer of existing
credit balance into the treasury of Switzerland government
as provided by the law for management of assets of deceased
beneficiaries who died interstate (living no wills) [sic].
Being a top executive at ICEP, I have all
secret details and necessary contacts for claim of the funds
without any hitch. The funds will be banked in the Cayman
Island, being a tax free, safe haven for funds and we can
share the funds and use in investment of our choice. Due
to the sensitive nature of my job, I need a foreigner to
HELP claim the funds. All that is required is for you to
provide me with your details for processing of the necessary
legal and administrative claim documents for transfer of
the funds in your name.
Kindly provide me with your full name,
address, and telephone/fax. I will pay all required fees
to ensure that the fund is transferred to a secure, numbered
account in your name in the Cayman Island, of which you
will be capable of accessing the funds gradually and transferring
to your country and other banks of choice in the world.
My share will be 60 percent and your share is 40 percent
of the total amount. THERE IS NO RISK INVOLVED.
The letter goes on to include the scam artist's
contact information and Web addresses for various sites. Keep
in mind that anyone can build a legitimate-looking Web site
-- a Web site does not validate anyone's claims to cash.
If you receive these e-mails, you should
delete them immediately or report them to the United States
Secret Service by forwarding them to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the words "no money lost" in your subject line
-- then delete them.
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