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Pavarotti e-mail scam targets Bahrain.


FRAUDSTERS claiming to be acting on behalf of the late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti have been targeting people in Bahrain, it has emerged.

They have been sending out e-mails to local account holders saying they have been selected as a beneficiaries of his $31.5 million (BD11.9m) will. The message, which is typed in broken English, requests people submit their personal details in order to collect the cash - a common tactic used by criminals to try and steal someone's identity.

"I must let you know that this transaction is 100 per cent risk free and the nature of your business does not necessarily matter," says the e-mail. "The late Luciano Pavarotti is offering you 30pc of the total sum for your good will and assistance, 65pc is for the charity work and 5pc will be mapped out for any expenses that may be incurred during the course of this transaction.

"Finally, all we demand of you is assurance that you will not sit on this funds when it finally gets to your personal or company's account in your country."

The e-mail is signed by barrister Morris Van Cooper of the Van Cooper Firm in Den Haag, Netherlands - which the GDN could find no record of on the Internet.

It goes on to request personal details from the recipient, including their full name, mobile phone number, age, contact address and occupation.

The world renowned star Pavarotti died of cancer aged 71 in September 2007.

After being notified of the e-mail by the GDN, the Bahrain Internet Society confirmed it was an example of the so-called Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud scam, which attempts to trick people into revealing their personal details.

"Since this scam can come in multiple forms it is hard for the average person to detect it," said the organisation's chairman Ahmed Al Balooshi.

"Optimistic people are more likely to fall victim to these scams and the best way to prevent this is by education and awareness."

Mr Al Balooshi said people often reply to such e-mails because of a curiosity about what would happen next.

"The method varies but the common thing is you will be asked for you bank account, passport and other identity verification," he said.

"This information will be used to withdraw money from your account through identity theft.

"Others will ask for some money as transaction and service fee and once this is received from the victim in hope of getting the alleged amount, the scammers will disappear."

Mr Al Balooshi revealed that victims of such scams lose an average of around BD2,000.

The key advice for e-mail users in Bahrain, he said, was that if an offer seemed too good to be true then it probably was.

"All of these e-mails are related to money laundering, which is a crime that leads to jail and people should just delete these e-mails immediately," he said.

Copyright 2009 Gulf Daily News

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Mar 10, 2009
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