Fraudsters are now taking advantage of the uprisings in the Middle East, posing as high-level government officials to trick victims into handing over their hard-earned cash.
Symantec reported discovering a German-language 419 scam claiming to be from the former Egyptian president’s lawyer. The scammer claimed he needed the recipient’s help to retrieve $2.5 million of the president’s funds, frozen in a bank account in Belgium. The scammer also claims he will pay for assistance.
“The recent uncertainty about Hosni Murabak’s whereabouts and health, as well as reports that many jurisdictions are considering seizing his assets could perhaps lend credibility to this particular 419 scam,” Nick Johnston, Symantec’s senior software engineer, said on the company blog. However, typical for many 419 ploys, the poorly worded message is a good indication that the email is bogus, he pointed out.
A Welsh-language 419 scam was also uncovered by Symantec, The Register reported. Potential victims were contacted by a scammer posing as a widow of a Kuwaiti ambassador for the Ivory Coast with a request to distribute $2.5 million for orphanages and the less privileged. The scammer promised to make the victim the beneficiary of the funds should they accept this request.
“It’s unknown why the scammer would have chosen Welsh when this language is read by a relatively small number of people, but further analysis revealed that the recipient in this case was actually based in Wales,” Sean Butler, Symantec’s senior malware operations engineer, wrote on the company’s official blog. “Moreover, the names of the individuals mentioned in the email have also been tailored to match the name of the recipient, which may be used to catch the recipient off-guard.”