WASHINGTON — The Nigerian letter scam has officially arrived — at least in my case — on Facebook, the most popular social network.
The other day I received a personal message on Facebook. This fella has a lot of money for me. Millions. He wants me to help him get the money out of the account. How the scam usually works is: He’ll ask me to send some money for legal fees to free up the millions of dollars. And then he’ll ask for some more.
The Facebook message said this:
Attn: Allan Lengel,
Please reply via this email address
(email@example.com) or call me
I hope all is well?,indeed i am very sorry for distracting your attention .I am Barrister Johnson Morris personal attorney to Late Mr H.C Lengel,a national of your country, Who died and left some huge amount of money with a bank here in Africa, valued at US$ 20.5 million dollars. I have contacted you to assist me and get it transfered. Please Reply to My Private Email for More Details (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Barrister Johnson Morris.
First off, I wouldn’t know what to do with all that money. Secondly, who the hell is Mr. H.C. Lengel?
I used to get messages like that all the time via email when I was a reporter at the Washington Post. More often than not, I’d reply by saying something like: “this is fantastic, I’ve been waiting for a break like this. Please call me asap.” I would often then leave the person the FBI Washington Field Office number.
I usually never heard back from the person again. Except in one instance, someone wrote me back and said: “Mr. Lengel, how dare you give me the FBI number.” I responded: “How dare you try to scam me.”
I never heard back from him again.
It’s good to know the scammers are keeping up with the ever changing world. I was wondering how long it would take for them to break through and contact me on Facebook. I spoke to Robert Novy, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates these scams.
He said they’ve progressed over the years. Initially, there were letters, then faxes and then mass emails. The arrival on Facebook, he said, is a relatively new phenomena.
But hardly surprising.
I wrote back to this guy; told him I was excited about the money. He wrote back.
“Thanks for your mail,I would like you to understand that I did not contact you by mistake. I understand your concern and consider it expedient to give you the details of this transaction. This transaction is legitimate and in essence, it will undergo normal procedures as stipulated in the finance and allied matters act and all legal documents will be issued in your name.
I contacted you because you bear the same surname with my late client, (blessed memory) and you can lay claims to this huge amount he left behind as his next of kin. I have every proof in terms of documentations that are relevant to this claim and what you need to do is to send an application of claim to the bank as the next of kin/beneficiary and back up our claim with these proves of inheritance. I have no doubt that the bank will not hesitate to grant our request because the documents are here.
My late client, may or may not be related to you but since you bear the same surnames it will make it easy for us to claim the money from the bank. I have searched for any relation of his since may years without success and the bank has advised me to get the next of kin or lose the fund as unclaimed deposit. I have spent much in cash and efforts to make sure this money does not go to the top bank officials who are already super rich. So I need your support. Be assured that the project is real, and I must make sure all necessary proof will be given to you so that you will believe that it is real. As a last resort to save this estate I contacted you during my search for someone with the last name and I am sure I can work with you as my partner in this project.
You will be entitled to 60% of the total fund at the conclusion of the transaction, 20% will go to charity because my late client, was involved in some charity organizations and he intended to build a charity foundation before his death, so I intend to open a charity foundation in his name in order to immortalize his name, while 20% of the money will be mine because I will provide all the information that will make the bank release the money to you. Three days after you confirm the money in your account I wish to come over to your country for disbursement/sharing of the fund according to the agreed percentage.
My late client , was a business man and a government contractor who used to work with Panini Development Company here in Lome, Republic of Togo and Cotonou, Republic of Benin and later formed an oil servicing company. He operated an account with the bank in Lome-Togo until his death.
You must understand that in the finance industry chances or opportunities like this are common but not heard. People put their monies in finance companies and some of these accounts are either coded or confidentially operated, therefore when such people die what do you think that happens to these monies when nobody comes for their claims? Well, this is one of the numerous avenues good “free” monies are made within and among the officials. I did not mastermind my client’s death and I did not operate or manage his account but I was his personal attorney so was privy to his transaction with the bank. I have in my possession the death certificate and other relevant documents that are required for the claim. I will send to you a draft application letter which you will send to the bank as the beneficiary of the estate for an urgent approval.
Please note that this transaction requires utmost trust, sincerity and confidentiality for its conclusion. Feel free to reach me on telephone number +228 9177735 whenever deem necessary. I await your prompt reply.
Mr.Johnson Morris (Esq)”
Confidentially? You got it Mr. Morris. No one will know but you and I.