Australians warned about Mandela email scam

Tuesday, 1 July 2003, 1:46 PM EST

Australians have been warned to beware of an email scam by a man claiming to be a lawyer for Nelson Mandela's ex-wife.

The email from a man who calls himself Jeff Maluleke and claims to represent Winnie Mandela, asks recipients to help him move $US22 million ($A33.1 million), which was at risk of being stolen by the government, out of South Africa.

The man claims to have obtained email addresses from the South African Embassy in Australia and asks the recipient for their personal bank details, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said.

The email maintains the money is in cash and that a "reasonable percentage" will be awarded to the recipient once the transaction is complete.

Queensland Fair Trading Minister Merri Rose said the scam was similar to the infamous Nigerian email which also asks people to help move money out of the country in a bid to gain access to their bank accounts.

The scam started in Nigeria but for some time now variations have been sent from other African countries and recently from Iraq.

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