Beneficiary/Inheritance email scam is a 419 scam that promises people a large sum of money. Technically classified as an advance-fee scam, the scam claims the recipient has inherited millions of dollars but to get it, they first need to make several payments of thousands of dollars. It’s one of the oldest and most common scams out there, and most people will have encountered it in one way or another.
We recently came across an Inheritance email scam from “NAGARAJ RAMAKRISHNAN” that claims that the receiver has supposedly inherited $3.8 million. It’s a classic example of a 419 scam (also known as the Nigerian Prince Scam), which essentially tricks people into making up-front payments to supposedly get a significant share of a large sum of money. The reason these scams are known as 419 scams is that the number “419” refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code that deals with fraud. And because these inheritance scams often mention Nigeria and a Nigerian prince, they’ve also become known as Nigerian Prince scams.
This particular 419 scam claims that the recipient’s “Inheritance/Contract funds transfer release documents” have been reviewed and approved. Supposedly, the recipient’s documents have been held up for a long time, preventing the money from being transferred to them. But the supposed Chief Credit Officer Nagaraj Ramakrishnan from the Dubai Islamic Bank/EIB has approved the necessary documents so the recipient can now claim a part-payment of the $3.8 million.
From: “NAGARAJ RAMAKRISHNAN”
Subject: DEAR BENEFICIARY
Dubai Islamic Bank
P.O.Box 1080, Dubai
United Arab Emirates
We wish to congratulate and inform you that after thorough review of your Inheritance/Contract funds transfer release documents in conjunction with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund assessment report, your payment file was forwarded to us for immediate transfer of a part-payment of US$3,800,000.00(Three Million Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) to your designated bank account from their offshore account with us.
The audit reports given to us, shows that you have been going through hard times to see to the release of your funds, which has been delayed by some dubious officials.
We therefore advice that you stop further communication with any correspondence outside this office.
Kindly reconfirm your details to enable us credit your account through online or by telegraphic transfer and send copies of the funds transfer release documents to you and your bankers for confirmation.
Should you follow our directives, your funds will be credited and reflect in your bank account within five (5) bank working days.
For further details and assistance on this Remittance Notification, kindly provide us with the below details:
FULL NAME AND AGE:
TELEPHONE AND MOBILE NUMBERS:
FULL CONTACT ADDRESS
Chief Credit Officer,
Dubai Islamic Bank/EIB
Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
To supposedly initiate the process of transferring money to the recipient’s account, the sender requires certain information, including full name, age, phone number, and full contact address. Requesting basic information is only the initial part of the scam. If people fall for it and send the information, the sender would then request bank account data so they can supposedly initiate the transfer. The last part is essentially like a test to eliminate less gullible people.
Continued engagement with this scam would result in the sender requesting a payment because of some kind of problem encountered while attempting to transfer the funds. For example, the sender may claim that the recipient must have a certain sum (e.g. $10,000) in the bank (in this case, Dubai Islamic Bank/EIB) in order to get such a large transfer. If the recipient agrees to send the money, another problem would arise and more money would be requested. It’s not uncommon for the sender to claim that the money would be used to bribe some bank official to make the money transfer easier. This would essentially go on until the recipient either realizes what’s going on or has no more money to send.
If at some point after making an initial transfer, the recipient no longer wants to send money, 419 scammers would start applying psychological pressure. For example, if the recipient sent money to supposedly bribe someone, the scammer would start threatening to expose them for committing a crime. It’s not uncommon for such threats to convince people not to tell anyone of the situation, prolonging their distress.
To prevent victims from being able to get their money back, 419 scammers usually request money to be sent via wire transfers using Western Union and/or MoneyGram. Since international wire transfers cannot be reversed, it’s a good way for scammers to get the money. Furthermore, to avoid being identified and traced, all communication between the scammer and the victim happens over anonymous channels such as email.
419 scams date back to the 18th century when the so-called “Spanish Prisoner” scam was quite common. These inheritance scams are essentially a modern version of the Spanish Prisoner scam. While the majority of them are sent via email nowadays, people used to get them in letter form in the past.
How effective these scams are is debatable. Nigerian Prince scams in particular are widely known so most people will have heard of them. But since no records of victims or payments made are kept, it’s difficult to gauge the numbers. But considering that they’ve been around for so long, they’re at least somewhat profitable.
What should you do if you receive a 419 scam email?
If you ever receive an email (or a physical letter) claiming that you have inherited money (or can get it in any other way) from some unknown person, ignore it. Every single email and letter promising thousands or even millions of dollars is a scam. Always follow the golden rule “if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is”.
If you have fallen for the Beneficiary/Inheritance email scam or any other 419 scams, it’s worth contacting your local law enforcement if you paid money. If you did not send scammers any money, the police are unlikely to do anything but if your money was stolen, they will at least let you file a report. The chances of getting your money back are not great but it’s still worth filing a report.
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