Reasons to be suspicious of surprise inheritances and magic money-cleansing chemicals

Like the common cold, the advance fee fraud (or 419) scammers keep adapting to survive. Here’s a cautionary tale from The Register which seems to involve almost every trick in the scammers’ book:

419ers take Canadian for $150,000

John Rempel of Leamington, Ontario, got an email back in 2007 from “someone claiming to be a lawyer with a client named David Rempel who died in a 2005 bomb attack in London”, the Windsor Star reports. The email claimed the “deceased” had left $12.8m, and since he had no family “wanted to leave the money to a Rempel”.

Rempel, 22, said: “It sounded all good so I called him. He sounded very happy and said God bless you.”

The 419er told Rempel he had to pay $2,500 to transfer the money into his name. He then had to stump for several more documents, some of which cost $5,000. The scammer told Rempel he had to open a bank account in London, with a minimum $5,000 deposit. He said some of the money had been transferred into the account for “safe keeping”.

The scammers then upped the ante, sending an email from a “government department” claiming he owed $250,000 tax on his inheritance. Rempel’s contact assured him he’d “negotiated the fee down to $25,000”.

Rempel decided to travel to London to check that the deal was legit… Once in London, Rempel met “some people” and handed over the $10k. The next day, the 419ers showed their target a suitcase they said contained $10.6m in shrink-wrapped US bills.

Rempel demanded further proof, at which point one scammer extracted a bill and “cleansed” it with a liquid “formula” which “washed off some kind of stamp”. The process converted the cash into “legal tender”, Rempel was told. Rempel said: “I was like holy crap, is that mine?” he said. “They said ‘yes sir, it’s yours.’ It all sounded legit.”

Rempel went back to his hotel room with the magic formula to wait for the 419ers “so they could cleanse all his money”. They, of course, disappeared, later claiming they’d “been held up”. Read full story here…

2 thoughts on “Reasons to be suspicious of surprise inheritances and magic money-cleansing chemicals

  1. Hello, Astro–are you folks okay? We saw you got hit with a bunch of snow, which is way more our normal than yours!

  2. Hi Suzanne – thanks for your concern. Yes, we’ve had a lot of snow but it probably rates as a light dusting on the bottom of the shoes for you folks.

    The problem we have is that we get heavy snow so rarely that it’s not worth making heavy-duty preparations. So, when it does happen, the whole place slows to a halt.

    And then no-one will accept a day or two out of their lives and they start demanding why something isn’t done about it and where is the government and the local council.

    All very silly – and quite cold – but we are well. You’d laugh at us for making such a fuss if you could see it.

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