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Scam Alert: How I Almost Fell for a Million-Dollar

Antonio Piovesan : 9 March 2024 22:22

My name is Elena and I am a 35-year-old housewife. One day, while I was checking my email, I found a mail that caught my attention. The sender introduced himself as Jean-Pierre, a 60-year-old Italian-French man, terminally ill with cancer. He told me that he had no relatives or friends to leave his inheritance to, and that he had chosen me, at random, among the thousands of people he had found on the internet. He offered to donate me 2.5 million dollars, on condition that I used them to help the poor and the needy. He only asked me to reply to his mail to confirm my interest and my honesty.

At first, I thought it was a joke, or a scam. But then I read the mail more carefully, and I saw that it was written in correct Italian, with a very kind and sincere tone. I was moved by the fact that that gentleman, on his deathbed, wanted to do good to the world, and I felt special by the fact that he had chosen me. I thought maybe it was a sign of fate, a unique opportunity in life. So, I decided to reply, telling him that I accepted his offer and that I would use his money to help others.

With a following e-mail, He gave me the instructions to receive the money. He told me to contact his lawyer, who was in charge of his succession, and to send him a copy of my identity document and my bank statement. He also told me not to talk to anyone about this donation, to avoid that someone could hinder it or take advantage of it. He assured me that everything was legal and safe, and that soon I would receive his millions. I followed his directions, and I sent an email to the lawyer, attaching my data. The lawyer replied immediately, confirming that I was the only heir of Jean-Pierre, and that I only had to pay a tax of 5,000 euros to unlock the transfer of funds. He told me that it was a normal practice, and that once I paid the tax, I would receive the 2.5 million dollars within 48 hours. He also gave me the number of a bank account where I had to deposit the sum.

At that point I had doubts. It seemed strange to me that I had to pay such a high tax, and that there were no other guarantees or documents to sign. I tried to ask for explanations to the lawyer, but he answered me in a rude way, telling me that if I did not pay by the next day, he would cancel the donation and give it to someone else. He also told me not to bother Jean-Pierre, who was in the hospital and in critical condition.

I tried to contact Jean-Pierre, but his phone number was no longer active. I tried to look for his name on the internet, but I found no trace of him. I realized that it was all a scam, and that they had fooled me. I felt stupid, and desperate. I had given my personal and banking data to scammers, who could have stolen my savings or my identity. I had believed in a made-up story and hoped for an impossible dream.

I reported the fact to the police, but they told me that it was difficult to track down the perpetrators, who probably were abroad. They also told me that I was not the first victim of this scam, and that there had been many others, all over the world. They advised me to change my phone number and my bank account, and to be more careful in the future.

Lesson Learned

From this experience I learned many things. I learned

  • to be more distrustful and prudent, and not to trust those I do not know,
  • to always verify the sources and the information I receive, and not to be fooled by offers too good to be true,
  • to protect my personal and financial data, and not to disclose them to strangers.


This story was a life lesson for me that I will never forget. It made me realize that life doesn’t give anything away and that the world is full of scammers and deceivers, one must always be vigilant and responsible.

Antonio Piovesan
He graduated in Computer Engineering in 2002 and CISSP certified since 2023, entered the ICT world as an analyst/full stack developer. He continued his education by attending an executive Master in cybersecurity and data protection at 24ORE Business School. He now deals with cybersecurity governance issues in the large-scale retail sector. He has a strong passion for technology, innovation and cybersecurity, promoting the spread of digital risk awareness. He loves reading books on the history of mathematics and is a fan of science fiction literature and film.