The success of a BBC television show gave cybercriminals ideas for a 419 scam that has the potential to fill their pockets with money from unsuspecting Internet users who are duped into thinking that they may be the recipients of a fortune.
from Sophos came across one of these email scams that relies on the reputations of Heir Hunters
to gain the trust of recipients.
After introducing themselves and presenting a story about how they tracked the user down, the crooks try to convince him/her to hand over some sensitive information.
“We came across your profile and email while searching through genealogy database,” reads the most interesting part of the email.
“We will be glad if you can get back to us with your full name, date of birth, address and your direct number if it corresponds to the information we have in our data base in order to enable us carry out necessary verification processes and to get your claim across to you without any delay.”
As most similar scams, at first they only request names, addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers, but once they see that the potential victim complies, they step it up and eventually ask for bank account numbers and other, even more sensitive data.
After learning of this malicious campaign, BBC even issued a warning
to let everyone know that they’re not responsible for sending the emails.
Users are advised never to reply to these or similar types of emails. 419 scams are certainly not uncommon, but it’s clear that they still record a high rate of success, otherwise fraudsters wouldn’t bother sending them.
As we’ve learned not long ago, these scams don’t just harm our bank accounts, but they can also become physical. A man and his daughter traveled from South Korea to Africa after replying to such an email and they were both kidnapped
and held for ransom.