Scammers Prefer Me

The spam blocking where I work is quite efficient.  Even with the recent upsurge of junk emails spewing across the internet, I rarely am troubled by other than all the irrelevent email that is generated internally!

But someway, somehow, I have ended up on an email list that, despite its annoyances, has a certain entertainment value.  Once a week perhaps or once a month I will find a carefully crafted email that has flitted by all the measures in place to block such attempts.  They are different, each one of these messages, but all share the common theme of seeking to separate me from my money and my identity.  It is as if I am on some elite and preferred mark list, as if I am considered a rare ripe fruit ready for the plucking in a variety of well considered ways.  I am almost flattered.

For the very few who may not have heard of these scams, the usual routine is to promise all kinds of money or that you’ve won a lottery, and you just have to send the perpetrators your bank account number or some funds to cover administrative fees.

Here is a typical example: a missive from one Richard Edema with an Italian email address.  The subject line says “Awaiting your kind response.” (Everything is fictional in these things.  Why did they pick a last name that refers to the medical term for swelling?)

I write you from the claims department of BIA Bank here in Lome, the
capital of Togo.We are calling for application from eminently qualified
individuals for appointment as a Trustee, to receive and manage a huge
account which a deceased customer of our bank legitimately Willed to
charity.

Yes, of course.  The Italian connection remains unexplained.  As do my suddenly eminent qualifications.

This bank official asks me to contact him at his very personal email, edema@xxxmyway.com.  (I love that “myway.com.”)  I have been deemed fit to partake of part of this charitable fund along with Mr. Edema, due to my soon-to-be, yet unspecified, efforts on its behalf.  This is a more subtle come-on than others in the series, such as the next…

Mr. Sadiq Alman from, what do you know, another Italian email address warns me that I have not fulfilled the terms of my huge inheritance.  He is the chief auditor to the president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  Uh oh.  (Nigeria: infamous African scam centre.)

To resolve all the problems I’ve apparently caused, Mr. Alman offers to send my very own ATM bank card which I can use to withdraw $1500 US per day, anywhere in the world.  All I have to do is provide a lot of personal details: name (they don’t know my name, oddly enough), address, phone and fax numbers and “a copy of my identification.”

There’s this nice touch (I’m becoming a connoisseur of the form):

THE ATM CARD PAYMENT CENTER HAS BEEN MANDATED TO ISSUE OUT $8,300,000.00 AS PART PAYMENT FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR 2006. ALSO FOR YOUR INFORMATION, YOU HAVE TO STOP ANY FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH ANY OTHER PERSON(S) OR OFFICE(s) TO AVOID ANY HITCHES IN RECEIVING YOUR PAYMENT.NOTE THAT BECAUSE OF IMPOSTORS, WE HEREBY ISSUED YOU OUR CODE OF CONDUCT, WHICH IS (ATM-811) SO YOU HAVE TO INDICATE THIS CODE WHEN CONTACTING THE CARD CENTER BY USING IT AS YOUR SUBJECT.

Not only do they provoke incredulity, but they have to shout.

Here are some inventive excerpts from some of the others I’ve been blessed to receive.  Perhaps they know I write a blog and have intuited my need for material.

From Elf Petroleum Limited at Elf House,1 Plane Tree Crescent Feltham, Middlesex, TW13 7HG, UK, a Mr. Jack Daniels (one of those names again) writes:

METHOD OF APPLICATION
– All interested candidates should reply via mail with an updated Resume (CV
).

I know nothing about the petroleum industry, but apparently I have become qualified as an expert in the field.

From Mr. Godwin Emefiele:

Greetings Friend,

Am an investment banker and i will like to get a partner willing to take part in an investment worth 20M USD, which I have already done all the leg work involved, which will require your time and trust, this should take less than 10 banking days to complete.

From Sarah Alan Rowland:

Dear beloved,

I am the above named person from Malaysia. I am married to Dr. Alan George Rowland who worked with Malaysia embassy in Dubai for nine years and he was also a Reverend, I Sarah has i been in tourism for many years, my husband died in the year 2002. We were married for eleven years without a child.

He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.Before his death we were both born again Christians. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of$13M in a secret place, and My Doctor told me that I would not last for the next three months due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Having known my condition I decided to contact you to make foundation with the funds for the orphanages and widows and to propagate the word of God and to ensure that orphanages are educate.

She doesn’t need any telephone communciation with me due to her health and is waiting to hear from me before she dies.

So far I haven’t received the same scam twice.  I await the next lovingly crafted if somewhat illiterate installment.

[For an amusing consideration of these scams as innovative short fiction, see Douglas Cruickshank’s post on Salon.com: I crave your distinguished indulgence (and all your cash).]

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8 Comments on “Scammers Prefer Me”

  1. sputnki Says:

    I love the word ‘hitches’ in the middle of the ‘legalese’ shout-out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ‘hitches’ used in a disclaimer before, but it belongs there!

    I too seem to be one of the scammer elite. A lot of messages originating from ‘virgillio.com’ or something like that. I don’t know how many times I’ve won the Euromillion lottery. I must be a friggin’ billionaire by now, look out Bill Gates!

    Doug

  2. fencer Says:

    Hi Doug,

    Yes that is pretty funny… that one passed me by… pretty laid back lawyer language.

    I would be deeply annoyed if I got these messages constantly, but they seem to trickle in very intermittently so I have time to be amused by them…

    Regards

  3. tomachfive Says:

    This proved paranoia pays! And they tell me I see shadows shadowing me.

  4. fencer Says:

    Hi tomachfive,

    One possible problem with all the bogus email is how cynical one gets about communication in general. I try not to overdo that…

    And just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after me!

    Regards

  5. qazse Says:

    great post

    If you want more reactions and also see a video of Britney sucking face with Bea Arthur click on this link http://www.qazse.com

  6. fencer Says:

    Hi qazse,

    I clicked on that link and couldn’t find Britney… just some great poetry!

    Regards

  7. melbourne247 Says:

    Fencer,
    Hello (formerly known as bein “passing through little moments”) yes changed a few things but now residing here:
    http://melbourne247.wordpress.com/

    I too have received the “Investment Banker” and continue to wonder why someone who has done all the legwork for 20mUSD would want to share such an investment.

  8. fencer Says:

    Hi melbourne247,

    Nice to hear from you! Quite a different look and feel at your new blog. But what can I call you for short…

    Those come-ons like the “Investment Banker” are so ludicrous that it’s amazing anybody could take them seriously or be fooled by them. But I guess they are…

    Regards


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