In the latest e-mail, scamsters have used RBI governor Dr D Subbarao’s name to offer fifty-fifty share in a Rs5.8 crore deal
Are you among the many who have the privilege of receiving an email from D Subbarao, governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)? And if you have, have you been stumped at him offering you a life-changing deal and Rs5.8 crore to booty, so long as you keep the deal a secret?
Well, if you have, we hope you find it sufficiently outrageous to ignore it. Yes, the RBI governor is the latest victim of the notorious "Nigerian scam" (which is no longer about widows of Nigerian dictators seeking help in taking their ill-gotten wealth out of the country in return for a share in profit) and it indicates that the scamsters are getting cheekier, or managing to find a lot of gullible people in India.
The mail, purportedly by Dr Subbarao reads: "I wish to contact you for an urgent business which I know you will keep the secret for the best of us". As is typical of these scam emails, it says that the money belonging to a dead person (Ben Morris, who died six years ago while returning to his home country-Canada) "is about to be confiscated by the present Indian government" since there is no claimant.
What the scamsters want is your bank details so that the so-called "governor" credits your account with the booty, to be split 50:50, after costs. If you are tempted and respond to the email, you will find a series of costs that will keep mounting so long as you are gullible enough to keep paying.
More dangerously, look at the information that the imposter seeks from the victim: Full name; address with city and state; phone/fax/mobile; company name with designation and address; bank name with address, your bank account number with swift code/routing number; profession, age and marital status and finally, copy of your international passport/driver's license.
If nothing else, these details are always useful to fraudsters involved in identity theft.
The central bank has often always been a victim of such e-mails using its name to offer unclaimed lottery funds, but this is probably the first time that an email has gone out in the name of the governor himself. (Read, "RBI offering unclaimed funds through lottery? Beware, scamsters are on the prowl again".) In the earlier such e-mails, the fraudsters have impeccably cloned RBI's website and had asked for bank details. But this time they have directly targeted its governor, by creating an e-mail id in his email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the e-mail, Dr Subbarao is negotiating a deal to get 5.8 crore, rupee or dollar or any other unknown currency, and you could also get equal share in the bargain. For this all he requires is your personal and bank details to transfer the money, which will be equally divided between both the parties. To make it realistic, e-mail superficially mentions that, "since I am the governor in charge here I cannot use my name or my relatives account to transfer the money…"
The scam e-mail further says that, "Please note that you will stand as the full owner of the money during the transfer of the money because I will not be among the transfer team, so you are the one to speak with the head of the transfer team who may be on phone during the time of the transfer. Any money you spend during the transfer will be removed from the money while we share the rest 50-50."
The scamsters are always on the prowl for newer ways to trap the gullible. Soon after the Satyam scam, there was a similar mail in the name of Mrs Ramalinga Raju. Later, after the Galleon group founder Raj Rajaratnam was arrested in the US, a similar fraudulent email was circulating in the name of his wife, Asha Rajaratnam.
Identity theft and email scams are rampant around the world and apparently find plenty of easy targets, so watch out.