We received an e-mail from Mr. Richard Savimbi on Friday offering us access to an inside transaction which would guarantee us millions in smuggled funds from the cabinet ministry of war-torn Angola.
You see, Mr. Savimbi?s uncle, an Angolan revolutionary, was killed last year. But before his untimely death at the hands of government thugs, $16 million was stashed away in a London account.
This puts us in a unique and opportune position to obtain great wealth, according to the e-mail, and Mr. Savimbi is willing to share 25 percent of the cash with us if we help him move the money electronically so that it?s out of reach of authorities.
He closes the e-mail telling us that we should keep this transaction secret and that he will provide details if we respond positively to his offer.
Anyone familiar with this pitch by Mr. Savimbi, or similar cohorts from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, are aware of what comes next. The person receiving the e-mail is requested to send Mr. Savimbi account numbers from a valid savings or checking account here in the U.S. so he can smuggle the money to a third party ? you. The account must have a minimum balance in order to look like a legitimate transaction, we are told.
Those taking poor Mr. Savimbi up on his offer are rewarded by having their accounts drained and possibly their identity stolen if enough information is e-mailed to him.
The Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger receives dozens of solicitations from the likes of Mr. Savimbi and others like him each week. While the e-mails feature a variety of stories of smuggled African riches from war-torn nations, the scam is usually the same.
All of them end up in the trash or they are read aloud for entertainment purposes.
The Attorney General of Virginia is recommending that Virginians do the same thing when approached by what?s known as the ?Nigerian scams? ? though they also feature other nations.
No spam law in America will prevent these e-mails from accumulating in our mail boxes each morning. Of course, it?s impossible to believe that anyone with common sense would fall for such a ploy, but many people have.
The simple thing to do is simply discard them and go about your business. Virginians are encouraged to call the attorney general?s Computer Crimes Unit at (804) 786-2071 if the scams persist.