Warning: if you find a message in a bottle requesting your help with transferring £4,500,000 out of Nigeria, it may be a scam.
Tom Fenton recently found such a message in a bottle while cycling along the Thames. It was written by Barrister Umsloppogas Adinga:
Dear Friend, I am pleased that this letter has reached you safely. I was given your name as an honourable and upright person to do business with.
Let me introduce myself; I am Umsloppogas Adinga a barrister working in the Nigerian inheritance court and have been assigned to the estate of a Mr Bates who has left an unclaimed estate totalling £4,500,000.
If left, the money would revert to the government and I want to get the money safely to a western bank account. If you will allow me to use your bank account for this purpose, I would be happy to render 10 per cent of the estate to you as a fee for helping me with this transaction.
If you are happy to help me with this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your details so that we can progress this and once you have paid any fees necessary the money can be transferred to your account. May the lord bless our business arrangements.
Yours faithfully, Barrister Adinga (aka Impro)
Fenton says the message "must be a joke." But a police spokeswoman reminded the public to: "Be wary of who you give your personal details to in the street (eg charities, products, competitions etc). Do not sign up for anything until you have researched the company or charity. Never send money to anyone you don't know." [mirror.co.uk