This beneficiary scam is a phishing scam that is too strange to be true, but that does not stop scammers from trying.

Image provided to Identity Theft Resource Center

Who Is It Targeting: Email users

What Is It: Beneficiary scam that claims to be money from the World Bank

What Are They After: As phishing scams go, they run the spectrum from believable all the way down to somewhat unrealistic. Believable scams include things like “there’s a problem with your account” messages from recognized companies, or “send me those important passwords” messages that appear to come from your boss.

Emails like “I’m a Nigerian prince and I need your help moving my money out of the country” are an example of ones that might be considered less believable. In the beneficiary scam, the president of the World Bank is supposedly informing you that the money you have waited for has finally been released. All you have to do is turn over your identifying information and pay a high but fake transaction fee.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • No one will ever contact you without prior notice and give you a lot of money
  • Important transactions would happen with a mailed letter to provide a paper trail
  • These messages play off people’s greed, so never accept payments or funds that are not rightfully yours

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at 888.400.5530. For the latest scams, sign-up for our TMI (Too Much Information) Weekly newsletter.


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