Recently, FOX 19 Consumer Reporter Tom Sussi received an email promising to make him a very wealthy man.
The email was from Dr. Brand Harry of South Africa. In short, here's what the good doctor writes:
Dr. Harry says he's a bank manager, and desperately needs to find somebody outside of his country to help him stash 126 million dollars. If Sussi allows Dr. Harry to use his bank account, he'll give Sussi 20 percent of the loot!
That's about 25 million!
Again, all Sussi has to do is give Dr. Harry his bank information and account numbers. And within 7 to 9 banking days, Sussi collects 25 million bucks!
Too good to be true? You better believe it. They're called Nigerian Scam Letters. And the U.S. Secret Service says it's a scam that's been around for years. It's also the latest "Tell, Tom" Consumer Alert.
"People are reading the same text that's been around for 20 years," said Secret Service Agent James Emery. "For the most part it's a garden variety scam."
Emery says victims of this scam don't receive a dime. Instead, the cons use their bank information and rob them blind.
This crime originated in Nigeria. But thanks the Internet. "It happens all across the globe," said Emery. "It's happening here in the states."
And sometimes, these crooks steal more than your money. In 1995, for instance, an American was murdered in Nigeria after he went there to seeking his promised fortune.
Emery says it's rare. But responding to these email can lead to deadly consequences.
"There has been cases where people have gone there to meet with the people heading the scheme and not come back," said Emery.