Nigerian e-mail scam takes a new twist

A new version of the now-famous Nigerian e-mail scam is circulating around the Internet.

 According to a Monday blog post on Sophos’ Web site, the new spam campaign has many characteristics of similar attempts to extract financial information from unsuspecting users that have been tried in the past:The e-mail claims to come from an executive at an African bank (this time in the Republic of Benin in West Africa); it asks for “urgent assistance in transferring the sum of million to your account within 14 banking days,” and offers contact information.

The idea behind this scam, as with ones like it in the past, is that someone, somewhere will be gullible enough to actually e-mail their personal information and bank details to the contact name listed. Instead, of course, the spammer collects the information and either sells it to criminals or uses it himself to commit financial fraud.

In the current campaign the spammer has mixed it up a bit; according to Sophos the entire e-mail message is found in the “from” line of the e-mail. The message portion of the e-mail is blank.

It’s hard to imagine that formatting an e-mail in such an unusual way would actually work, but stranger things have happened

While Sophos says its antispam technology blocks this variant of Nigerian spam, the company nonetheless “encourages vigilance and urges common sense.”

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