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Old Widow Fall Victim to E-fraud with Lure of $30 Million Inheritance

A scam e-mail that victimized a pensioner extorted 16,000 pounds out of her savings and almost forced her to re-mortgage her house. The 80-year-old widow, a resident of Bridgend, thought she would receive an inheritance of $30 Million after e-mail informed her as the sole kin of a wealthy businessman who was dead.

The scam appeared sophisticated and well elaborated. The woman had received e-mails telling her that she was found to be a rich businessman's only living relative. The businessman had died in a plane crash in Germany seven years back. The victim was also sent news excerpts from a faked website of BBC News reporting the accident. The e-mail then told her to give the solicitor's fees to process the release of the $30 Million inheritance to her name.

Brackla community officer, Pc Steve Carpenter, said that the lady transacted money five times, each time an amount of 16,000 pounds, in the name of different individuals in London. Money sent in this manner is very difficult to trace. And since she herself withdrew the money, the bank could hardly do anything to get it back. This way, she lost everything, Carpenter explained. Icwales published Carpenter's statement on December 12, 2007.

Lately, the victim's daughter had taught her mother to use a computer thinking it would keep her up-to-date as she was living alone. Soon, the fraudsters started to ask for more remittances so the old lady told them that she would have to re-mortgage the house she owned for which she needed to discuss with her daughter.

Carpenter said he was concerned that other people might fall prey to this scam. The problem is in the very long and time-consuming process of investigation of such crimes.

Further, it is often hard to trace the criminals because of their high professionalism in whatever they do. Currently, this type of scam is the most prevalent crime. Earlier scams used to involve cars and credit cards, now the thefts are electronic, Carpenter said.

Urging users not to trust similar scams, Carpenter advised them to delete any suspicious e-mail they receive. BBC published this on December 12, 2007.

Related article: Old Web Threats Convoluted to Appear Double Dangerous

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