419 advance fee fraudsters have broadened their range of targets by sending out scam emails in German and Welsh over recent days.
Instead of emails in English purporting to come from Mrs Miriam Abachi, a long staple of such scams, one batch intercepted by Symantec last week posed as messages from the lawyer of recently deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Prospective marks were promised a cut in the share of funds supposedly held in a Belgian bank account in exchange for their help, the German language email claims. Victims would, of course, be encouraged to cough up an escalating quantity of fees up front in the hopes of getting their hands on this non-existent booty.
Disappointingly, the Lads from Lagos have made little or no effort in learning German language skills in constructing the scam. "As usual for many 419 scams, the message is poorly constructed, and has probably been automatically translated to German," Symantec reports.
A second run of scam emails, also blocked by Symantec this week, targets the niche market of Welsh language speakers. The scammers poses as a widow of a Kuwaiti ambassador for the Ivory Coast who happens to have $2.5m in a trust fund that she wants help in distributing to orphanages and the less privileged. The recipient is asked for help, in exchange for a cut. Symantec reckons the scammer chose Welsh to catch potential recipients off-guard, but frankly the whole scenario is so manifestly implausible we can't see anyone getting fooled for a minute.* ®
*Although, as someone fell for this incredibly transparent scam, we may have to eat our words...