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419: UK lets the Good Times Roll


Recession? What recession?

According to my colleague Urban Schrott, the UK is awash with so much money that the Prime Minister is mailing Irish citizens to tell them that their Overdue Inheritance payment of £2.5 million is waiting for them. The British Prime Minister, that is.

For the geographically and/or politically challenged, the Republic of Ireland hasn't been part of the UK since 1922, though Northern Island still is. But perhaps Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Éire, was busy that day. Or, since respondents are required to confirm their contact details to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, perhaps this money is only available to foreigners. We citizens of the UK clearly have more than enough already. But no doubt all our US readers will be getting their share of the bounty Real Soon Now.

And who would have guessed that the British Foreign Office works out of a coral atoll in the Indian Ocean – no, not the Pitcairn Islands: I don't mean that Bounty, and that would be the Pacific – with email addresses associated with a web site that lists hotels in London?

Rt Hon William Hague MP.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Email: [email protected] :  [email protected]
Tel:(+44) 701 116 4174

And yes, that's a personal or virtual number: scammers like them because the number doesn't tell you where in the world they are. Probably not Diego Garcia, though.

It's a 419 (Advance Fee Fraud) message, of course. Stripped of the pseudo-governmental flim-flam, the core of the message is that they want you to forward them this:

(1)Full Names:(2)Address:(3)Country:(4)Nationality:(5)Phone#:(6)Age:
(7)Occupation: (8)Post Code:(9)Sex:

A scan copy of your passport or any mode of Identification

Because, of course, that opens the dialogue with them in the course of which they tell you that you can have your money as soon as you pay them a little upfront. And perhaps a little more. And perhaps a little more…

 As Urban says, you're likelier to get a fortune from the lottery or the races than you are from this sort of message. Though not, of course, from the kind of lottery email that 419 scammers are likely to send you, telling you that your email address has won a fortune.

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