A cool $50 million? Don't you believe it
September 16, 2005
Don’t tell anyone else, but there’s a Hungarian engineer somewhere in Iraq who’s looking for someone with whom to split $100,000,000. Yes, one hundred million dollars. In cash. And all you have to do is help him get it out of the London shipping company where he stashed it before being attacked and left for dead by insurgents.
You see, Sandor Gombkoto was working near Beiji when he stumbled upon a secret bunker stuffed with dozens of boxes of hundred dollar bills. He hid the boxes, “told no one except my loyal assistant,” and two days later shipped them to England using a courier service.
Now, for the fortunate “trustworthy” partner who helps Sandor get his money, there’s fifty million bucks waiting to be had.
Or at least, such are the claims in the latest version of a legendary e-mail scam that began in Nigeria and has now worked its way into Iraq. Hundreds of accounts have received the latest e-mail, which officials say is yet another twist on a scam that has been surprisingly successful.
“The letter, while appearing transparent and even ridiculous to most, unfortunately is growing in its effectiveness,” reads a primer on the scams posted by the U.S. Secret Service. “It sets the stage and is the opening round of a two-layered scheme or scheme within a scheme. The fraudster will eventually reach someone who, while skeptical, desperately wants the deal to be genuine.”
Unlikely as it sounds, the Secret Service says similar “4-1-9” scams gross “hundreds of millions of dollars annually and the losses are continuing to escalate. In all likelihood, there are victims who do not report their losses to authorities due to either fear or embarrassment.”
The 4-1-9 scam, also known as Advance Fee Fraud, is named after the section of the Nigerian penal code covering fraud; the Secret Service notes the scams are “often very creative and innovative.”
But it’s hard to believe that someone would fall for something like the following plea, taken from the latest e-mail:
Under the well-known legal principle of “FINDER’S KEEPERS (sic),” Gombkoto writes, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO KEEP THIS MONEY AND I AM WILLING TO SHARE IT WITH YOU 50% EACH WAY!”
Gombkoto did not respond to an e-mail reply Thursday, perhaps because no bank account information was included.