I got this email recently. It is clearly the first step in a potential fraud. It caught my attention because it claimed to represent the interests of Byrraju Ramalinga Raju!
From: Jessica Ferguson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Fri 3/13/2009 7:41 AM
Subject: Executive Placement
This is a Management Placement on behalf of Mr. Byrraju Ramalinga Raju.
Mr. Ramalinga Raju is looking for an experienced business person/company that can profitably invest monies in excess of Thirty Nine Million US Dollars. The sum will be paid from Zurich Bank International Limited, 43-51 Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM99 1ET, British Isles.
Mr. Ramalinga Raju is willing to pay 10% for your role as the beneficiary partner to the funds. Also, a subsequent 10% “Management Commission” will be paid for your advised investment services.
If you prefer to be re-contacted for more express information, please send us your:
 Full Names:
 Contact address:
 Direct Telephone No:
Be advised to visit the following links to be better acquainted with Mr. Ramalinga Raju’s current profile and personality.
We expect your correspondence and our response will be swift. I can be reached on (+447035931859) for details.
Mr. Hock Lai Chan
Chan Law LLC
Bridge House Bridge Street
Isle of Man, IM9 1AX.
Direct Tel No: + (44) 703 593 1859
Fax No: + (44) 700 608 5723
419 email scams thrive on the hopes of gullible people to get their hands on some easy money. They typically mentioned an inheritance or buried treasure. For an advanced fee they promised access to this large sum of money. There were some cases where people ended up going to Nigeria and kidnapped for a ransom.
An email scam works on percentages. Number of email addresses –> number of people who actually get the email –> number of people who open the email –> number of people who read the email –> number of people who believe it –> number of people who respond to the email. I wonder if the Raju connection to potentially large wealth is as widely known. If someone opens the email and sees the Raju name, how many people will actually recognize it? On the other hand, if one does recognize the name, does that increase the credibility of the email? The connection between Raju and ill-gotten wealth might just do it.
I suspect that this email is targeted at Indians. Name recall for Raju will be very high amongst Indians and very low for others. I hope people are careful out there.