“Nigerian Prince”: New Variant of Email Scam Emerges

A fresh twist on the famous “Nigerian prince” email scam is circulating, and it’s proving to be quite effective.

If you’re not familiar, the “Nigerian prince” scam has been around for ages. A scammer pretends to be Nigerian royalty and claims they need to move funds out of the country urgently. To avoid suspicion, they randomly select someone to help them. Once the money is transferred and the “prince” is gone, the victim is promised a reward.

This time, as spotted by Proofpoint, the scammer offers a valuable prize: a grand piano, citing unexpected circumstances like a family member’s death. All the victim has to do is cover the shipping costs.

After the victim pays, they never hear from the scammers again. Payments can be made through various platforms, from PayPal to Bitcoin. Proofpoint found a Bitcoin address associated with the scam, containing $900,000.

While this suggests the scam is highly successful, it’s worth noting that transaction volumes are high and prices vary. A large group may be running multiple scams simultaneously and pooling funds into one account.

Since January, over 125,000 piano scam emails have been sent. Ironically, Proofpoint traced the IP address of one scammer to Nigeria.

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