Serial fraudsters seem to be getting more and more creative, stealing their fake narratives straight from the headlines of international news stories.
This time, they’re brazenly using the names of military personnel—that they find in news articles– in hopes that someone will fall for their scheme and send them money.
You may already be familiar with some version of this scam known as a ‘419’. It typically involves promising the victim a share of a large sum of money, which the fraudster requires a small up-front payment to obtain.
In an email sent to one South Florida company, the impostor writes, “A few days ago, my colleagues and I intercepted a radical Taliban courier responsible for the transportation of huge amount of funds and on this unfortunate incident, we rounded up a total of $11.5 Million US Dollars. After detailed discussion with my platoon, we came to a conclusion that if the funds are handed over to the Afghan Police, there is the possibility that the funds will be confiscated for their personal consumption. Therefore, it was my duty to find a partner whom will receive this fund for the benefit of us all.”
The email is signed by Lieutenant Andrew Ferrara, who says he is “presently on active duty in Afghanistan”and links to an article about Andrew that was published by the Huffington Post. The article from November 2011, is about 2nd Lt. Andrew Ferrara, of Torrance, California following in the footsteps of his fallen brother in the treacherous mountains of Afghanistan.
The article states that Andrew was hoping that his deployment in the treacherous Kunar province would forge a bond with his brother. His brother, Matthew Ferrara, died on November 9, 2007, just miles from where Andrew was based in 2011.
The scam artist, using Andrew’s identity, asks the email recipient for their personal contact information, so that the funds can be divided into “three equal parts” and sent directly to them.
These scams which have flooded inboxes of individuals and companies for years – are otherwise known as “419” scams – the number referring to the section of the criminal code dealing with fraud in Nigeria, a country where many of these email scams originate.