If it sounds too good to be true… Beware the scammers

This world is a great place with a lot of people who are trying to help out. Many people try to improve things for their friends, families and even complete strangers. However, there are also a few people out there trying to take advantage of you. And I want to make sure you’re not a victim of these kinds of people. So if you receive and email allegedly coming from the UN and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

I have written about fraudulent job offer emails that have been going around for some time here. But since there seems to be a new wave of attempted scams I wanted to briefly touch on this topic again. So if you receive an email like the below – disregard and delete it. It is a fraudulent email and not from a UN organisation. But don’t take my word for it, read the fraud warnings on the UN site here: https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=SCAM

Now let’s have a look at the scam email. The emails tarts as follows:


Your Ref: SNT/ATM/822

Dear Esteemed Beneficiary,

Inline with the United Nations millennium development goal to
eradicate poverty and hunger by the year 2015 i am directed to
inform you that your payment verification and confirmations is
completed, Therefore we are happy to inform you that
arrangements have been concluded to effect your payment as soon
as possible in our bid for transparency.

Already here all alarm bells should ring: From typos to contradictions in the logic of the argument to the “too good to be true” part all classic elements of a scam are present. The mail goes on as follows:

You have been granted the sum of $500,000.00 USD in the United
Nation Development Program UNDP world Aid/support promo, for your
Personal, community and education development and do note that at
least 40% (Percent) of these total fund must be use for such purpose.

The United Nations collects all the email addresses of persons that are active online among the millions that subscribed to the Internet and only five persons every Year are selected as our Beneficiaries through electronic balloting System without the winner applying.

On that note we congratulate you for being one of the beneficiaries.

This is the part where the “too good to be true” part unfolds in it’s entirety. The UN never conducts lotteries, the UN never reaches out to random people and the UN most certainly does not award half a million USD for personal development just like this. In fact, for anyone who ever worked with or for the UN and knows what kind of approval processes behind even the smallest payments for clear and justified development purposes is this section is so far from reality it makes for a good joke.

To file for your claim, you are requested to contact the events Manager/Claims Department,
send your winning Identification Numbers and the following information.

These are your identification numbers:


Yours faithfully,
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

This is the end of the scam email and of course no scam is complete without asking for personal information and private details so this part is expected in any such email.

How to find out if an email is a scam or not:

Before engaging with a sender of an email, ask yourself:

  • Is this email too good to be true? If it seems like it is too good to be true, most often it is.
  • Did you enter into contact with the sender first? If not, why does the person contact you? And no, there is no random contacting of people – the UN’s resources are scarce, they are only used in clearly defined programmes and so they don’t reach out to random people just like that;
  • Is the sender who s/he claims to be? Google the name, research the organisation that is allegedly behind the email. Make sure you verify independently(!) that the sender is legitimate. Don’t just ask in the same email “are you who you say you are?” since any scammer would of course gladly tell you whatever you want to hear. If you don’t find anything on the name, call the switchboard of the organisation and ask if this is a legitimate email.
  • Is the cause in the email legitimate? The UN’s resources are scarce and the UN is under tight scrutiny from member states, the media and the general public. The UN will not engage in random acts that don’t fit into a predefined, coordinated and agreed programme that is designed with extensive consultation of those affected and involved in the project.

With all this, keep in mind that I’m not talking on behalf of the UN. So this post is purely my take on the situation. Again, make sure you read the UN’s fraud warning and think before you act. 

8 responses

  1. Mine is a little differnt here it is.
    Our Ref: FGN/SNT/RAL

    Good Day,
    You have been awarded an ATM CARD containing
    $50,000, USD We will send you
    an International Swift ATM Card that has
    been approved in
    your favour with Card Number:
    5301236451206xxx,with valued sum of
    $50,000, USD.

    Urgent Response E-mail [redacted]
    With your personal informations listed below
    so that he can verify your

    1 Full Names:
    2 Your Country:
    3 Tel:
    4 Age:
    5 Address:
    6 Sex:


  2. I just happened to be a victim of this and i have been conned some money but with much appreciation i thank you.

  3. obs

    Fri 19/08/2016 10:02
    72 KB

    69 KB

    2 attachments (141 KB) Download all Save all to OneDrive – Personal
    Dear Mainuddin Chowdhury,

    This is to inform you that you were among those selected for employment
    after thorough screening of your Resume/CV online. All interested
    candidates are to sign the Letter of Appointment and Employment Agreement,
    a one-page cover letter and also an updated curriculum vitae with three
    professional reference contact details, address to human resource
    coordinator, via eMail: hr@XXXX.org.

    Dr. Maxwel Charlton.
    United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination UNCERD
    25th Floor United Nations Plaza
    New York, NY 10017 USA

  4. I got this
    In my email XXX.XXX@XXX.com
    Dear Customer ,
    to me
    4 hours agoDetails
    National Bank of Kenya.
    Building Harambee Avenue
    P.O Box, 72868 Mombasa road
    Thika Nairobi Kenya.

    Dear Customer ,

    We received your mail regards to your compensation fund of $2.500,000,00usd which is still in Atm Visa Card,we have verified the Atm Visa card this morning and it shows legit in our verification system,meanwhile you are advise to fill our bank form which we will use to create your online account and convert your atm visa card into cash for the online bank to bank wire transfer.

    According to the rules of our bank,you are to pay the sum of $230,00 for open of your online account and converting of your atm visa card into cash before the bank to bank wire transfer.

    Your Full Name :….
    State of Origin:….
    Marital Status:….
    Date of Birth:….
    Indication of Address:….
    Residential Address:….
    ZIP / Postal Code:….
    Office Address:….
    Existing Account:….
    Account Name:….
    Account Number:….
    Bank Name:….
    Zip / Postal Code:….

    The id card attached on this mail is my id,i wait for yours

    Call us with this line for asistance … +XXXXXXXXXX


    Mr.K Uhuru.
    Director of international remittance
    department National Bank Of Kenya.

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