“Advance fee” or “419” scams have been around for years. The scam works via an attempt to contact the victim so they can be gifted an exuberant amount of funds left unclaimed by a deceased individual who has the same last name as the victim or is their long-lost relative. Or in the case of our prince, begging assistance from someone to launder a large amount of money out of the country of origin. The victim, believing the get rich scheme sends off funds in advance payment to “establish” themselves as the relative/partner in question. The victim, of course, gets nothing.
Once email began, these scam letters started reaching out to people digitally. Now, it looks like the vintage snail-mail has made a comeback with a pinch of modern updates. You can see the recent version of it here where the scammer provides an email address for the recipient to contact him.
While the poor grammar and clumsy misspellings are typical warning bells for fraud, there are still some people who fall victim—nameless elderly individuals or those in monetary need. Sending these scams via USPS makes these even more appealing to people. And these letters go out en masse, so if the scammers get even a handful of responses per 1000 letters, they can net some serious reward.
If you receive a letter or e-mail similar to the one above, do NOT reply. Report the letter to the authorities. You can also register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant. If the letter arrives via email, notify your security department immediately. Do not click on any links or respond in any way.