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'European Financial Surveillance Union' Advance Fee Scam

Message purporting to be from an entity called the "European Financial Surveillance Union" claims that a "payment verdict" has been reached and that funds previously promised to the recipient but never sent will now finally be payed via an immediate cash delivery.

European Financial Surveillance Union Scam

© Craddock

Brief Analysis
The message is not from a genuine financial entity, in Europe or anywhere else. It is an advance fee scam that aims to take even more money from people who have fallen victim to previous scams. Those who fall for the ruse and respond will be asked to send various upfront fees before the funds are transferred. Alas, the funds do not exist. Nor does the financial entity. Any money sent will be pocketed by the criminals operating the scam.

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E17 6HP.


Attention: [Name removed],

We are delighted to have established contact with you this day according to past records and present once as brought to the EUROPEAN FINANCIAL SURVEILLANCE UNION ,regarding your payment/fund transfer which have seen to be in possible for you to receive from Banks and other attempt made which from records you have been dealing with for a very longer time now ,but all to no avail.

Therefore, be informed that your payment has been directed to this Union for immediate CASH DELIVERY to you in your country therefore you should indicate your readiness to receive our AGENT who will be assigned to meet with you for the delivery of your Funds.

Note, that your immediate reply is highly welcome .

Rev.Dr.Alfred Chatter.
European Financial Surveillance

Detailed Analysis
This email, which claims to be from a rather impressive sounding entity named the "European Financial Surveillance Union", claims that a "payment verdict" has been reached and that the recipient is therefore set to receive a previously promised payment that has not been delivered due to banking issues and other hold-ups. The message claims that the funds are ready for immediate cash transfer to the recipient as soon as he or she makes contact with the organization's assigned agent.

A recipient who replied to the initial email to ask what the supposed funds were for and how much money was involved received the following response:
Good thing you responded to this effect. The European Financial Surveillance Union received your payment data file which indicate your ownership of this fund as a result of U.S European joint Inheritance Scheme.

The amount stated in your payment date file is $6.2Million which the European Financial Surveillance Union has been able put every necessary arrangement together for immediate delivery to your address as you will provide. Note, that every legal paper work related to this fund is sure.

However, the emails are certainly not from any legitimate financial entity and are in fact part of an advance fee scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals. A primary target of this tactic are people who have previously fallen victim to advance fee scams. Often, a victim of such a scam has responded to repeated and continually more outrageous requests for advance fees. Victims may become increasingly desperate for the chance to recoup the money they have sent and will continue to send money even after they have been warned that they are involved in a scam.

This escalation of commitment from victims can mean that - against all logic and reason - they may continue to grasp onto the vain hope that the "deal" is genuine and that they will eventually receive the promised funds. This behaviour may be due to an unwillingness to face the fact that they have handed over large portions of their money to criminals along with acute embarrassment at being tricked. Victims may continue to avoid accepting that they have been scammed for months or even years, always holding on to a tiny thread of hope that they will one day receive their payment. This mindset can continue even after the criminals have well and truly absconded with their stolen cash and are no longer responding to the increasingly desperate emails from victims.

Thus, a certain subset of past victims will be especially vulnerable to follow-up scam attempts like the example above. Such a message, especially one claiming to be from what appears to be a financial entity dedicated to the recovery of lost funds, may - at least in the victim's hope-veiled eyes - appear to vindicate his or her past commitment to the original "deal". Because of their desperation and mindset, victims may genuinely believe that the original deal was actually legitimate all along and that the funds were just delayed or tied up in red tape. Thus, they will eagerly respond to the supposed "European Financial Surveillance Union" agent as instructed.

Alas, they will soon be embroiled in a new version of the original scam. The bogus agent will initially ask for a smaller upfront fee from the victim, ostensibly to cover transfer charges or insurance fees. If the victim complies, further requests for money will follow. And so the scam continues much as it did the first time.

Scammers may send hundreds of thousands of identical emails like the example above, so it is quite likely that they will reach at least a few people that have been previously scammed. In other cases, the scammers may specifically target people that they have victimized previously.

It can be easy to conclude that such twice-caught victims deserve what has happenned to them due to their own foolishness. But, human behaviour is often bafflingly complex and it is certainly not always governed by logic and common sense. Moreover, the criminals running such campaigns do not deserve to be paid for their underhand activities even if victims have brought it on themselves by their own foolish behaviour.

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Last updated: May 28, 2013
First published: May 28, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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