Monday, November 01, 2010

Internet Scam

I'm sure you've seen variations of the Nigerian Scam, aka the 419 Scam. The essence of the con is that if you'll help this person transfer their money, which is in the millions, out of the country and into the U.S. (or wherever you live), they'll cut you in for a big chunk of it.

The stories get quite creative as to which relative of the writer the money belongs to, how they were stuck in prison or died, and that the fortune will be snagged by the authorities if they don't act now. Like all the best cons, what they ask you to do is not legal, and by entering into it, you are less likely to report it, since you've made yourself complicit in a shady deal.

My favorite lampoon of this is done in a Star Wars style -- if you'll help this poor person smuggle her money off Coruscant, you'll pick up a few million credits for your aid. Long live the Alliance ...

But it's no laughing matter -- they've been running this game since at least the 1920's, and since there's a sucker born every minute -- people are still falling for it, and more since the internet opened up the pool.

They are easy enough to recognize -- words are often misspelled,  the language runs to the ornate, and the grammar is mangled. (One guy I know, who knows that Nigerians tend to be superstitious, sends the emailer a curse in return. Check it out.)

Here's one I haven't seen before, thought it's been around a while, arrived in today's mail: Got to give the guy credit for balls (Italic bold emphasis is mine):

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division (No such division.)
FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Redundant)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001


This is an official advice (what is an official advice?) from the FBI foreign Remittance / telegraph department. (telegraph department. Really?) It has come to our notice that the C.B.N Bank Nigeria district has released 5,300,000.00 US dollars into Bank of America in your name as the beneficiary by inheritance means. (beneficiary by inheritance means?)

The Bank in Africa knowing fully well that they do not have enough facilities to effect this payment from the united kingdom (caps?) into your account, Used what we know as a secret FBI Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer Certificate (DIST CERTIFICATE) to transfer these fund via wire transfer.
(Uh huh. Gobbledegook.)

They are still waiting for confirmation from you on the already transferred funds which was made in direct transfer so that they can do final crediting to your account. (Subject-verb agreement? And they are going to be waiting a while -- I hope they aren't holding their breath.)

Secret diplomatic payment is not made unless the funds are related to terrorist activities.
(Uh huh. Really?) That is why your payment has been made in secret transfer. If your transaction is legit (legit?) and you are not a terrorist. Then why did you not receive the money directly into your account? This is a pure coded means of payment? (It is? A pure coded means?) Most Records we have had with this method of payment in the past has always been related to terrorist acts, (Most has always?) We do not want you to get into trouble as soon as these funds reflect into your account in the U.S.A, so it is our duty as a world wide commission to correct this little problem before this fund will be credited into your personal account. (Anything in this graph work for you? Anything? Not me.)

Due to the increased difficulty and unnecessary security by the American authorities when funds enter from outside of Europe, and the Middle East, The F.B.I Bank Commission for Europe has stopped the transfer on its way to deliver payment of $5,300,000.00 to debit your reserve account and pay you through a secured diplomatic transit account (S.D.T.A). We govern and oversee funds transfer for the World Bank and the rest of the world. (Um, no you don't, even if you were the FBI. And the rest is just ... sad.)

We advice (we advice?) you contact us immediately as the funds have been Stopped and are being held in our custody, until you can be able (until you can be able?) to provide us with a Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer Certificate (DIST CERTIFICATE) within 3 days from the world local bank that authorize (more subject-verb problems.) the transfer in order to certify to us that the funds you are about to receive from Nigeria are anti-terrorist/drug free (terrorist and drug free funds. Non-fattening, too?) or we shall have cause to cross and impound ( cross and impound?) the Payment, (and the sentence runs on ...) we shall release the funds immediately we receive this legal documents. (DIST CERTIFICATE). You will be directed where and how to get the document if it is not in your possession. (Oh, I bet. And I'm sure there will be a small fee for this. Or access to my bank account.)

Guarantee: Funds will be released on confirmation of the document, (carrot) But If you fail to provide the Documents to us, we will charge you guilty with the FBI and take our proper action against you for not proving to us the legitimate of the fund you are about to receive. (Stick. And what a shame the FBI can't hire somebody who can speak English, isn't it?)

These Condition Is Valid until 20th November 2010 after which we shall take actions on canceling the payment and then charge you for illegally moving funds out of Nigeria. (Yeah. I'm shaking in my boots here. These conditions is valid? My second grade teacher would have stuck me in the corner with a dunce cap on if I'd said something that stupid.)

Yours in Service
Robert Mueller, III
FBI Director"


steve-vh said...

Every list something on Craigslist? You'll immediately get all manner of scam emails. Never list your phone number, they'll ask for it anyway. I always ask the emailer for theirs first, I'll call them so to speak. and meet somewhere nuetral, not near the state line pal. best one so far was the one wanting to know why I was selling HIS car with HIS pictures? See here's my listing "link", Nice one pal.

there's another version where they send you a check drawn on a legitimate bank in your name for small business startups. But if you deposit it, you're on the hook for all sorts of costs.

Jim said...

Wow! Director Mueller has nothing better to do than handle this important matter... Yeah, right.

All of these are variants of classic scams. The latest run of email scams ("I'm stranded in...") are just variants of the old Spanish Prisoner, for example.

I realize I'm talking to those who don't need to be told -- but if the deal is too good to be true, there's a damn good chance it isn't true!


J.D. Ray said...

You should write back and say:

"Oh, Mr. Muller, thank you for calling this matter to my attention. My nephew works in the same office as you, and I just called him to tell him about this wonderful news. As chance would have it, he's working on some sort of case involving Nigeria, and seemed to take a special interest in your e-mail. I'm sure you'll be hearing from him shortly!

Thank you again. You're such a helpful man."