Madiba used in scam

2014-01-02 00:00

MERE weeks after Nelson Mandela was buried, fraudsters had already set up a scam to try and capitalise on the icon’s good name.

Scam e-mails are circulating claiming that the recipients have been written into Mandela’s will. The e-mail comes from a Peter S. Limo, who claims to be an attorney based in the UK.

Limo claims that he has been “vested with the authority” to execute Mandela’s last will and testament and that the recipient has received 15% of Mandela’s estates in the UK which totals £3,5 million (R60,4 million). To gain access to the money, recipients must give Limo their personal information.

The e-mail starts with a message from Limo stating, “I send this e-mail to inform you that late Mr. Nelson Mandela’s wrote your name in his ‘WILL’. This is very confidential and needs to be treated privately because of the present conflict in the family.” There is an attached PDF document with a picture of a man who is supposed to be Limo, a practice number and a reference. The grammar in the document is not very good.

The e-mail comes from ramzyjerry518 @outlook.com.

According to other media, a similar scam is also going around using the name “Mrs Sarah Mandela”, who purports to be Mandela’s granddaughter. The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the police have urged the public to ignore these e-mails.

Another recent scam to hit KZN is an international ploy dubbed the tech support phone scam.

Luke Bodmann from Pietermaritzburg received a phone call from someone claiming to be from a foreign company working for Windows. They said they had noticed Bodmann’s computers were sending error messages.

“The man stated he wanted to fix the problem for us as part of Windows customer care. I was sceptical and … listened to what he wanted me to do. He asked me to open my command prompt and type in ‘eventvwr’,” said Bodmann.

Bodmann instead googled what “eventvwr” meant, which confirmed that the phone call was a scam.

After Bodmann told the man off, the persistent fraudster still tried the scam on him four more times.

A Pietermaritzburg woman was also repeatedly called by people presenting the same scam. “They spoke with accents that sounded Indian. When I said I did not want to do what they said the man who phoned got angry and used vulgar language against me. The next day a woman phoned saying the same thing.”

Bodmann decided to contact The Witness to warn other people about the scam.

“If I ran the “eventvwr” on my computer the bloke could access all my personal information on my computer or install spyware. This is happening in Pietermaritzburg and I can imagine how many people will be caught out by this, especially people like my mom, who would follow it step by step as it seemed legit and they phoned her personally,” said Bodmann.

Hope a reason we believe scams

LAST year The Witness reported on a variety of scams, including a fake a doctor who extorted money from women over Facebook, and a traditional healer who asked for money to help get a better life.

There are various types of scams across various mediums, and there are many people who fall victim to them.

Pietermaritzburg psychologist Clive Willows said that hope may one of the many possible reasons for people who believe scams.

“People are forever hopeful. When they are told they are going to receive something like money they hope it’s going to be true. Emotions take over cognitive reasoning. People wish the scam were true, therefore they go for it,” said Willows.

According to a study done by Professor Mark Freiermuth from the Gunma Prefectural Women’s University in Japan, fraudsters go after two types of people when conducting a scam: the gullible and greedy or gullible and charitable.

The study states, “The scammer’s main objective is to engage the mark (victim) because contact is essential, but the mark will not be moved if no solidarity is established. Trust is the key. Second, but nonetheless important, is the mark’s interest in securing millions.”

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