You may be familiar with 419 (alias Nigerian) scam emails. Fake lottery notifications, investment opportunities or advanced fee frauds are all examples of 419 scams, named after the Nigerian criminal code used to prosecute apprehended fraudsters.
You may be surprised to learn that 419 scams still arrive by postal mail. A colleague recently shared a recent 419 scam he received by postal mail. This particular letter is most likely a lure for an advanced fee fraud. In a scam of this kind, the scammer tries to convince a victim to contact him via email or phone. He will continue the deception and attempt to convince the victim to assist in a funds transfer. At some point, scammer hopes to persuade the victim to pay an advanced fee to facilitate the transfer. By doing so, the scammer promises that the victim will earn a much larger payment when the transfer is concluded. The scammer will then take the victim's payment and run.
This letter contains many of the classic 419 persuasion techniques: a plea for help from an expatriate of an African nation who needs *you* to assist him with an investment of millions of US dollars which of course must be handled immediately and confidentially. Casual searches on information contained in the letter may not be enough to debunk the correspondence as a scam: according to this news source, former Ambassador to India, General Kayumba Nyamwasa, was in fact shot and critically wounded in Johannesburg, South Africa. The lesson here is that scammers anticipate skepticism and include partial truths to convert skeptics.
Other searches reveal that Rosette's email account (partially obscured) is assigned from a legitimate US business based in New York City; oddly, neither the company nor any connection to tne Nyamwasa family are mentioned. The investigator who had this email account terminated confirmed that connections to check this mailbox came from South Africa. The telephone number country code (+27) is South Africa.
So what are you to believe if you receive correspondences like this via email or postal delivery? Nothing. Instead, report any correspondence you suspect to be a scam.