I received an email that was a little different the other day. It wasn't your typical Nigerian advanced fee scheme, nor was it the Canadian Lottery scam. It was addressed to me, used my name, and included my family name in the content of the message. It really seemed as if this person might have been looking for me.
This email indicated that a person with the same last name as mine had died several years ago and they were looking for heirs. The amount of money mentioned was astronomical, of course. I know it is possible for attorneys to search for heirs to unclaimed fortunes (this actually happened to my cousin last year--no scam!) but there are legitimate ways to check on the information, and answering this email is not one of them. Here's the text of the email I received. If you get a similar one, don't even bother researching it. Either report it to your Internet Service Provider or simply hit the delete key.
Dear Judy Hedding
It is with trust and believe that I write to you. I am Barrister Franklin Ali, a Solicitor at Law. I am the personal attorney to Mr. William Hedding a National of your Country, who used to work with Shell development Company here in Nigeria.
On the 21st of April 2001, my client, his wife and their only daughter were involved in a car accident along sagamu express road Ondo State. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then I have made several inquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.
After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you. I have contacted you to assist in recovering the fund valued at US$15.4Million left behind by my client before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Security Finance Firm in where this huge amount were deposited.
The said Security Finance Company has issued me a notice to provide the Next of Kin or have the account confiscated within the next twenty-one official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now, I seek the consent to present you as the Next of Kin to the deceased since you bear his last names, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.
Therefore, on receipt of your positive response, we shall then discuss the sharing ratio and modalities for transfer. I have all necessary information and legal documents needed to back you up for claim. All I require from you is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
I would be grateful if this mail will be favoured with an early reply via the above email address.
Barrister Franklin Ali (SAN)
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