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Sophos Warns of Scam Asking for Puppy Adoption

Security firm Sophos is warning computer users to be wary of a new e-mail scam that tries to extort money by pretending to be a message from a couple inviting anyone to adopt their puppy.

The scam e-mail arrives from a Christian man and his wife who are supposedly on a religious mission in Africa. According to their story, their terrier dog from Yorkshire is unable to adjust to the local climate so they thought to hand it over for adoption.

The e-mail typically has spelling mistakes, which gives enough reason to arouse suspicion. In addition, it provides contact telephone numbers having Nigerian code, also an indication that it likely involves a fraudster.

According to Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant for Sophos, many people are probably aware of scam emails that talk about million dollars inheritance, or a lottery win, but this scam is new that exploits the sentiments of pet lovers. PortalITNews published this on October 11, 2007.

Cluley further says the criminals' fake offer of the puppy dog is a trick to collect information from people who are kind to animals and ready to help them. Those who respond would enable scammers to steal their confidential and other sensitive information, or sting them for money, ultimately ending up the respondents in a woeful condition.

Such tricky e-mails called 419 scams get the name from the Nigerian penal code. They are related to unsolicited e-mails where the writer typically proposes to present a huge amount of money. Once a person falls for the e-mail, the fraudster requests him/her for personal information, whose result may be stolen identities, requests for funds, and financial fraud.

419 e-mail scams come in other forms like a message from a woman claiming to be the widow of the late head of state of Nigeria, message from a person who has been associated to the devastated royal family of Nepal, and message from an African astronaut trapped on the space station 'Mir'.

Earlier in 2007, Sophos related the arrest of an ex-treasurer of Alcona County of Michigan who had allegedly withdrawn $1.2 Million from the county funds to invest in Nigerian scams.

Related article: Spike in Attacks Causes Early Release of Windows Patch

» SPAMfighter News - 10/29/2007

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