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419 Style E-Mail Scammers Solicit Muslims’ Help

A new fake e-mail of the 419-style scam is urging people of the Islamic fraternity to extend their help in getting back the funds of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the man who hit the news headlines recently as he tried to detonate explosive on Northwest Airlines flight on December 25, 2009. ITP.net published this on January 16, 2010.

Purporting to be from Hassan Ali Abdul Mutallab, brother of Umar, the e-mail begins with the sentence "Take my Salaam and respect." Subsequently, Hassan seems to explain that he requires a Muslim sister/brother's assistance to wire funds that Umar deposited in his account.

As with any standard 419 scam, the latest e-mail states that the recipient must collect various fees and charges so as to pay for releasing the transfer of funds that in reality don't exist. However, the fees or charges mentioned keep on escalating till the victim understands that no money could be obtained and he eventually quits.

Says Symantec, a security company, the fraudulent e-mail further contains a PDF attachment that displays the exact text as written in the message body. It seems that the PDF attached had been created with the usual word processing program, with no clue indicating the malicious nature of the PDF.

Remarking about this, Symantec researchers stated that scammers are widely sending their missives through PDF attachments or in any other format that could bypass anti-spam filters. Instances of spam mails in which scammers attach a document containing the same text as in the e-mail's body is something unusual. Generally, when there is any attachment, the e-mail's body just states "See Attachment".

The researchers said that the current e-mail clearly demonstrates 419 scammers' dexterity at utilizing current news stories so that they might reap personal benefits. Scammers, in attempts to churn financial gains, have been exploiting all prominent events like the economic meltdown, Swine flu, 2008 Sichuan earthquake, escalating gas prices, and most lately, the Haitian earthquake. Thus, it's no surprise that the failed Northwest Airlines blast on Christmas Day has been similarly abused to entice potential victims, the researchers added.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 1/25/2010

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