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This is a real story.

About 6 months ago, someone asked me to help her to solve her financial problem. I didn't know about her at all. At that time, I replied as ... Sorry, I want to help you but I can't .... She asked me to help her again, but I declined again.

She is an USA Air Force Officer.

Yesterday, I received a beautiful letter from her.

Hello my dear friend

It is my pleasure to reach you after our successful attempt on the transaction. Well, i just want to use this medium to thank you very much for your earlier assistance in the past to help me in receiving the fund, I am obliged to inform you that i have succeeded in transferring the fund with the help of a new partner from Canada. everything was perfectly done because we stroke a deal with one of the Lady accountant who works with the Federal Ministry of Finance, and she rendered tremendous help to us.

You have to contact [SomeOne] to send you the ATM visa card i kept for your compensation, the amount on the ATM is Nine hundred and fifty thousand united state dollars ( $950,000 USD ) and your pin code is (XXXX) thank you for all your effort and how you tried to help me, i believe this money will solve some of your financial problem,

If you cannot travel to meet [SomeOne] in Senegal you can send him your personal contact address where to post the Atm card to you through dhl or ups, remember that i had giving him instruction to release the ATM for you once you been in contact with him. once you received the Atm remember to inform me so we can share the joy together,

His name: someone

Email: [removed]

Phone Number: [removed]

Sincerely, Sgt Dr xxx xxxx

Is this possible?

I can't understand current situation?

How can I handle this situation?

  • 13
    If you cannot travel to meet [SomeOne] in Senegal If that's not a giant red flag, I don't know what is. – Machavity Feb 20 '20 at 13:58
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    You'd think a "USA Air Force Officer" would have better command of the English language ... – brhans Feb 20 '20 at 14:13
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    Why in the world would some random internet stranger want to give you a huge chunk of money? – RonJohn Feb 20 '20 at 15:30
  • @brhans but if OP is not a native speaker of English (it's quite possible he's a Christian Indian) then he might not notice the absurdly horrible grammar. – RonJohn Feb 20 '20 at 15:31
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    Someone with an advanced degree (Dr.) would not be a sergeant in the US Air Force. They'd be a commissioned officer like a captain or maybe a lieutenant or a higher rank. A sergeant is a non-commissioned officer. – mkennedy Feb 20 '20 at 16:50
8

You asked three specific questions:

Is this possible?

Basically, no. This is literally not possible. The highest-limit prepaid debit cards in existence in the US right now have limits around $15,000. It is, quite literally, not possible to get a prepaid card for $950,000. For that amount of money, you're very deep into the territory of running afoul of money laundering regulations, and it's simply not possible to send a stranger a debit card with $950,000 on it without a significant amount of overhead involved.

It's important to point out that most scammers will use deliberately absurd circumstances in their hooks. They're hoping to catch gullible people, because it's easier to string someone along when they're gullible. A skeptical person (someone not likely to fall for a scam) would see this email and instantly recognize that it seems fishy. So, good for you that you've paused and asked the question instead of just falling for the scam.

I can't understand current situation?

The scammer is trying to fool you into believing that they are gifting you a large amount of money. Once you believe that, they will contact you again and the real scam will start. There are many forms for the actual scam, but they all involve the same eventual result: the scammer gets money from you. This may play out in many different ways, and it's important to not get tricked into comparing your situation to a specific "known scam" because scammers evolve over time, so you may actually be presented with a different trick than the ones you read about on the internet. But, for the sake of example, the next steps often involve things like the following:

  • The scammer will employ someone to show up at your door with a uniform and a fancy looking envelope containing the supposed debit card. There may actually be a debit card in the envelope, and they may actually show it to you. However, the delivery guy will tell you that you need to pay him a few hundred dollars to cover the cost of the delivery. This is enticing because he will literally be standing there with "your" debit card in his fancy envelope! So you may be fooled into paying him, only to later find out that the debit card is fake.
  • As a variation of that, the scammer may ask you for money to pay for the delivery, upfront. Then you send the money and they disappear.
  • The scammer will send you a real, live prepaid debit card, but then they will tell you they "accidentally" put too much money on it, and you need to give them some of the money back. They may instruct you to pay them via electronic transfer (usually a means that's not reversible) or they may even tell you to do something like buy an iPhone and mail it to someone. These transactions may not actually involve any financial loss on your part, and they may actually complete successfully (which sometimes tricks people into thinking the scam was legitimate), but you've just been used as a money mule to help a criminal launder money. Then you go to get "your share" of the money off the card, and either it fails or there never was any more money on it in the first place.
  • The scammer will trick you into attaching the card to some other financial account you have. They may ask you to register it with your PayPal account, or do something else that links it to your finances. Then, they use that as a back door to steal your money.
  • The scammer will trick you into giving them personal information about yourself at various points in this process. They may even be blatant and ask for your online banking user name and password, or your social security number. Then, they steal your information, or they use your account to help them scam other people.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how the scam works, because this is quite obviously a scam.

How can I handle this situation?

You should cease all contact with the scammer. If you've already given them any information about yourself (your real name, address, account numbers, social security number, the name of your bank, etc) you should take appropriate action. Change passwords, freeze your credit report, and/or contact your bank as appropriate.

The Federal government maintains a website with information on how to report scams. If you believe you have already been scammed, you should look at that website and report the scam as appropriate. I'm mentioning this because the email you received makes it sound like there was a "prior" transaction.

Also, be ready to receive more random messages from other random people in the future. Scammers keep lists of potential targets. Because you've engaged in conversation with this scammer, you're almost certainly on someone's list. You may be subject to other scam attempts in the future as a result.

Even if you believe you have not had any actual financial loss as a result of this, it's important to be diligent in what you do next, because you may still be at risk in the future as a result of talking with this person.

7

This is a typical advanced fee scam.

If you don't believe it, you can always do a search and check around on how the standard scam template email looks like.

5

Signs it's a scam:

1) They've never met you and yet trust you to handle nearly a million US dollars worth of their funds. I don't know about you, but if I had that money, I would not be trusting a random stranger. I could afford to use a trustworthy bank who would lose a lot more than a million dollars if they stole it and got caught. If it seems to be too good to be true and it's through an e-mail, then it's a scam.

2) Doesn't seem to know what an ATM card is. An ATM card does not have money on it. Instead, it connects to a bank account and the money is in the account. Again, if the guy has a million dollars to transfer, he should know this.

3) Language. Even if they didn't speak English themselves, with a million dollars they could afford to have their correspondence proof read.

  • This person doesn't capitalize their I's. They capitalize inconsistently (ATM and Atm).
  • They use the wrong word (stroke instead of struck) They have horrible grammar, to the point where they mix up past and persent tenses in a single sentence and mix up plurals and singulars.
  • They call someone a "Lady accountant" (triple flag for giving too many details about what sound like illegal deals with someone without the authority to make them, capitalizing lady and specifying the gender of the accountant).
  • They phrase things weirdly ("My dear friend" is outdated by about a century, "Hello" in front of it is really weird, "You have to contact" instead of "Please contact" is rude, "Personal contact address" is the wrong phrase).
  • They use too many words ("Earlier in the past" is a ridiculous thing to say in the context, you'd either say earlier or in the past.)
2

This is a common scam, dont call for it.

  • Who is this scam necessary for? – David Nicholas Feb 20 '20 at 14:16
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    @DavidNicholas Whatever happens next, they will try to steal your money and personal information. Don't bother understanding how or why. They are scamming you. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Feb 20 '20 at 14:52
  • @DavidNicholas Getting you this money will turn out to require $500 to bribe a bank employee, $500 to bribe customs, $2,000 to pay a lawyer for the paperwork, $1,000 for a courier... by then, you realize you've been scammed. – ceejayoz Feb 20 '20 at 19:34

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