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Issue 140 - October 2012 (1st Edition) - Page 4

'Letter from Barack Obama' Advance Fee Scam

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Outline
Email purporting to be from none other than US President Barack Obama claims that the recipient will be arrested on money laundering and terrorism charges unless he or she provides a document confirming ownership of a fund from Nigeria.



Brief Analysis
Of course, the email is not from Barack Obama or anyone else acting on the President's behalf. The message is a scam designed to panic more wide-eyed recipients into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





Last updated: September 27, 2012
First published: September 27, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example

From: "Barack Obama" <test@6230.jp>
Subject: Attention

US Flags in Scam Message


Attention:!!!,

Behold, you are reading a letter from your President Barack Obama. Finally, I have received lists of the names of people that are involved in money laundry and terrorism which your name is among the names that was submitted to me and I have ordered to release arrest warrant to the IPA to quickly carry out their duty and make sure that they get you arrested and summon you to the court immediately which they will be on their duty on Thursday morning as assigned since you are trying to play ball with me.

You have failed to comply with them after all the warning and instructions given to you, but since you are also among the terrorist we are facing in the country, I will personal make sure that I wipe away the crime in the state and I promise you that you will definitely pay with your life because I am here to protect the interest of my people and not to put them in shame, you suppose to support this government and not to spoil it.

Since it has been confirmed by Nigerian government that this fund actually belongs to you and here the law demands that it cannot be release to you unless you provide the certificate which is OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE that is what the IPA has been demanding for a very long time now. For your own good, I am giving you last chance today to tell me as the President why you have failed to provide the certificate and why do you fail the IPA that is working under my instruction which you know that once you disobey them you have disobeyed me as well.

Do note that if you failed to get back to this office within 24hours, you will be apprehended and charge to court immediately for involving in money laundry and terrorism and there you will see my face. You will only be free if you get back to my office by promising that you will provide the certificate within 48hours otherwise you will be in soup, BE WARNED!. I will advise you further on what to do once they hear from you in other to resolve this matter amicably. Contact unitedbnkafrica.plc@msn.com

Kindly respond to this message.

From the desk of the President.

Barack Obama.

Barack Obama




Detailed Analysis
This email, which comes complete with US flag pictures and a presidential profile pic, purports to be from none other than United States President, Barack Obama himself. The email claims that the hapless recipient is set to be arrested on "money laundry" and terrorism charges. It explains that the President is personally involved in the case and warns that the recipient may even pay with his life if instructions in the message are not carried out. The message rather vaguely suggests that the recipient has been confirmed by the Nigerian government as the rightful owner of a "fund", but must prove his ownership to avoid arrest and take possession of the money.

"President Obama" warns the recipient that he is really "in soup" but can nevertheless save himself by contacting the President's Office within 24 hours and subsequently providing an OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE for the fund.

But, of course, the email is not really from President Obama or even any of his minions. There is no fund. And the arrest claims in the message are utter nonsense.

In fact, many readers will likely think that this message should not even need to be formally identified as a scam. Certainly, one could be forgiven for thinking its scamosity should be bleedin' obvious to all. Nevertheless, given the regularity in which such amazingly transparent scam attempts are distributed, it seems clear that at least a few people do actually fall for them. This style of advance fee scam is often aimed at people that have been caught out in previous scam attempts. Some previous victims, believing in vain, that they might finally have a chance to get hold of the "fund" that they were promised last time, may actually take the bait as intended. Other wide eyed recipients, panicked by the overtly threatening and authoritative tone of the message, might reply in the belief that they must do so to avoid arrest or other nasty outcomes.

But, victims who do fall for the ruse and reply will soon be asked to send money to the scammers responsible for the message. They will be told that they must send various fees to process the claim to ownership, cover insurance, banking or legal fees or to settle tax requirements. They will be instructed to send these fees via a money transfer system such as Western Union. The scammers will convince them that these fees cannot be deducted from the promised fund for legal reasons and must be paid upfront.

Sadly for our hapless victims, there is no fund. And any money they do send will disappear into the pockets of the scammers. Plus, any personal and financial information they divulge during the scam may later be used to steal their identities.

But, of course the message gets one thinking, what wash cycle would one use when visiting a money laundry? Gentle, presumably! You wouldn't want your money to shrink, fray or fade in the wash would you? Especially of Mr Obama was in the laundry supervising. That would be just too embarrassing! :)

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References

FBI Arrest Warning Advance Fee Scam


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Issue 140 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Miley Cyrus 'Sex Tape' Facebook Scam
  2. AT&T 'Account Limit Exceeded' Phishing Scam
  3. Visa - Mastercard 'Security Incident' Phishing Scam
  4. 'Letter from Barack Obama' Advance Fee Scam
  5. 'Blue Tiger' Picture on Facebook
  6. Better Business Bureau 'Complaint Received' Malware Emails
  7. Facebook Survey Scam - Free £100 ASDA Voucher
  8. Windows Email Security Update Phishing Scam
  9. Gmail 'Free Apple iPad Reward' Survey Scam
  10. 'Personal Assistant' Money Laundering Scam