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Second-Generation Nigerian Spam:

A message I just found when clearing out my spam folder:

I am Mrs. Susan Walter, I am a US citizen, 39 years Old. I reside here in Houston Texas. My residential address is as follows. 503 Madison Ave. Apt York, Houston Texas, United State.

I am one of those that executed a contract in Nigeria years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over $20,000 trying to get my payment all to no avail.

So I decided to travel down to Nigeria with all my contract documents, And I was directed to meet Barrister Afam Morgan Esq, who is the member of CONTRACT AWARD COMMITTEE, and I contacted him and he explained everything to me.

He said that those contacting us through emails are fake. Then he took me to the paying bank, which is Oceanic Bank of Nigeria Plc, and I am the happiest woman on this earth because I have received my contract funds of $1.Million USD. Moreover, Barrister Afam M Esq, showed me the full information of those that have not received their payment, and I saw your name as the beneficiary, and your email address/Telephone number and your contract amount,This is what you have to do now.

You have to contact him direct on this information below....

You really have to stop your dealing with those contacting you okay, because they will dry you up until you have nothing to eat. The only money I paid was just $420 for IRS permit, which you know, So you have to take note of that.

Thank You and Be Blessed.
Mrs. Susan Walter

Well, now that that's all cleared up, my check is in the mail.

PersonFromPorlock:
If they ever get the grammar and syntax right, I for one will (slightly) regret the passing of the Nigerian English lilt.
9.19.2008 8:57pm
Ilya Somin:
those contacting us through emails are fake

You don't say! I would never have guessed. Shocking!
9.19.2008 8:58pm
Jonathan F.:
Well, now that that's all cleared up, my check is in the mail.

Awesome! Now maybe you can get around to summarizing the results of your query about inventions not known to the ancient Romans but understood by twelve-year-olds today, as you promised us. This is what we've been paying you for up to now.
9.19.2008 9:04pm
CDR D (mail):
I got that one a while back.

I was tempted to open it, because I know a lady with that name.

I didn't bite, though...
9.19.2008 9:08pm
Marvin (mail) (www):
I'm still waiting for Kofi Annan to honor his end of the deal to help him with his 'Oil for Food' cash.
9.19.2008 9:08pm
Realist Liberal:
Am I the only person who immediately went to Google maps to see if that was a real address?

(For those of you who are not nerds like me... no it is not.)
9.19.2008 9:21pm
Crafty Hunter (www):
What especially ticks me off are the slimebags that use a "honesty" approach to being ever more dishonest. You'll see this in PayPal and other scams as well. They are not merely scamming people, they are trying to make people afraid to trust anyone, ever. They should be hanged by the necks until they are dead, dead, dead.

Having said that ... one *really* wonders about the mentality that is so easily suckered by such obvious scams. It makes my teeth hurt just to think on it.
9.19.2008 9:33pm
pete (mail) (www):

Having said that ... one *really* wonders about the mentality that is so easily suckered by such obvious scams. It makes my teeth hurt just to think on it.

There would not be any scammers if the scams did not work. I have had to try to convince more than one person that they did not actually win anything. My favortie was the international microsoft lottery winner who was trying to get help scanning her drivers license and social security card so she could mail them to the lottery officials who had emailed her winning certificate.

In my experience the people who fall for these tend to be not too sharp and not very computer literate, but the guy from the book "the informant" by kurt Eichenwald was vice president of a fortune 500 company and he fell for a pre email fax version of the nigerian scam. Other well educated people have lost tens of thousands of dollars from these scsms.
9.19.2008 9:51pm
Cornellian (mail):
because they will dry you up until you have nothing to eat

It would almost, but not quite make sense if they said "dry you up until you have nothing to drink."
9.19.2008 10:04pm
SMatthewStolte (mail):

Well, now that that's all cleared up, my check is in the mail.

Don't do it, Professor. I have a funny feeling about this e-mail.
9.19.2008 10:08pm
vinnie (mail):
I answer all of my e-mail. I haven't made any money but my male member is now 3 feet long.
9.19.2008 10:11pm
kiniyakki (mail):
Oceanic Bank of Nigeria Plc

Should I book my flight on Oceanic Airlines?
9.19.2008 10:26pm
Benquo (mail) (www):
Yeah, whatever happened to that question about the Romans?
9.19.2008 10:38pm
Cathy the Caterer:
Don't do it, Professor. I have a funny feeling about this e-mail.

Oh come now, this is a hardworking American woman. She is even doing him the favor of warning him about all the scams that are out there. She wouldn't do that if she was planning to scam him herself, that would only raise suspicion.
9.19.2008 11:03pm
Dan the Doorlifter:
Also, I hate the way the IRS requires me to apply for that permit whenever I transfer money from one account to another.
9.19.2008 11:06pm
kiniyakki (mail):
Does anybody know why it is always Nigeria?
9.19.2008 11:28pm
Fredrik Nyman XXX (mail):
I actually got an email from

ROBERT MUELLER III
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FBI
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FBI.WASHINGTON DC.
Email: securitywatch@fedbureauofinvestigation.net

a little earlier today, vouching for the authenticity of a similar letter. So it's all good. Oh, and he said that our dear citizens who must have been informed of a contract payments which was awarded to them from the Central Bank of
Nigeria need to be very careful so that they don't fall
victim to this ugly circumstance. I'm so happy the government is looking out for me at the very highest levels.
9.19.2008 11:37pm
Toby:
SO the new email I got today, in French, announcing the Bill &Melinda Gates international lottery for al lusers of email is probably not legitimaite?

Drat!
9.19.2008 11:38pm
Ella the Ebenist:
Basically, Nigerian criminal gangs have a history of using this method and have well-established "call centers" that churn out new scams.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance-fee_fraud :

"The 419 scam originated in the early 1980s as the oil-based Nigerian economy declined. Several unemployed university students first used this scam as a means of manipulating business visitors interested in shady deals in the Nigerian oil sector before targeting businessmen in the west, and later the wider population. Scammers in the early-to-mid 1990s targeted companies, sending scam messages via letter, fax, or Telex. The spread of email and easy access to email-harvesting software made the cost of sending scam letters through the Internet inexpensive."
9.19.2008 11:40pm
al phillips:
Perhaps Rep. Rangel could be prevailed upon to pass a bill mandating a 300% tax and a 10 yr. prison sentence for all monetary transfers to Nigeria (excepting Angela Jolie and other celebrities who know better than the common ruck).
9.19.2008 11:49pm
Jonathan F.:
SO the new email I got today, in French, announcing the Bill &Melinda Gates international lottery for al lusers of email is probably not legitimaite?

Yes, lusers of email sounds exactly right.
9.19.2008 11:53pm
Asher (mail):
Politico posted this Nigerian scam/request for contributions to Obama today:

From: Sis Marge Kute
Date: September 18, 2008 2:27:52 PM CDT
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: hello

long awaited dream of martin Luther king has finally surfaced in the form of democratic presidential candidate senator barrack obama who will be going head to head with senator john McCain in the upcoming America presidential election it was the dream of my husband of blessed memory that someday a black presidential will surface in the form of an Africa America descendants,

My husband loved martin Luther kings life career as he pressed for equal treatment and improved circumstances for blacks , All his life I loved him for been a great African America that why i am entrusting you with my late husband heritage because I am a sick dying woman whom the doctors has confirmed that I have only one month to live on earth based on the diagnosis they was carried out on me with came out that i am having cancer of the born marrow and I have only one month to live on this earth for that I want to make one last dying wish of my late husband fascination that's why I have instructed my family lawyer to instruct the bank to wire the family heritage into your designated bank account to help promote/support Sen. Barrack Obama campaign to be the next president of America, An africa American What a dream come true .As a proud dying woman whom will rest in the bosom of the lord knowing that the dream has manifested.
Please I need you to use this funds judiciously towards Obama campaign as the lord as directed me to do, I need you to call my lawyer as soon as possible before I join the bosom of the lord

Yours sister in Christ
Sis Marge Kute
9.20.2008 12:05am
Smokey:
So how much did you send, Asher?

Marvin:
I'm still waiting for Kofi Annan to honor his end of the deal to help him with his 'Oil for Food' cash.
Kofi Annan? Honor??

heh.
9.20.2008 12:35am
John Frum:
What especially ticks me off are the slimebags that use a "honesty" approach to being ever more dishonest. You'll see this in PayPal and other scams as well. They are not merely scamming people, they are trying to make people afraid to trust anyone, ever.

Hey, this is a commons-management issue, in a way. Assuming each individual who successfully scams someone erodes the general public's propensity to trust (the common resource scammers all draw on), then, unless scammers can act collectively to regulate usage of the trust commons, they will eventually scam themselves out of business.

Oh, wait. People's capacity to trust barely legible strangers over the internet is apparently infinite. Nevermind.
9.20.2008 1:15am
Soronel Haetir (mail):
In regard to seemingly smart people falling for these, I recall seeing a town treasurer putting a bunch of the town's money into it without telling anyone. It may even have been here onVC, don't recall the source.
9.20.2008 2:11am
autolykos:

Am I the only person who immediately went to Google maps to see if that was a real address?

(For those of you who are not nerds like me... no it is not.)


It look to me like it's a bastardization of a real address in NYC. 503 Madison Avenue would put it smack dab in the middle of midtown.
9.20.2008 2:31am
JohnKT (mail):
Hey, no joke. The NY Times reported yesterday that a thieving stockbroker who stole from customer accounts himself fell for the Nigerian scam. See http://tinyurl.com/4exlll for the story.
9.20.2008 9:04am
Dan Goodman (mail) (www):
"There would not be any scammers if the scams did not work." Actually, there would. People don't do what works; they do what they think works.

I once looked at the Usenet group alt.sex.stories.hetero; about half the entries were ads for gay porn sites. Bars whose customers include a high percentage of offduty cops keep attracting holdup men. Criminals are at least as likely to overestimate returns from business as honest people (and dishonest people who try to stay within the law.)

I doubt that the Nigerian Letter from Pope John Paul II's widow was profitable.
9.20.2008 10:28am
Bill F.:
"I doubt that the Nigerian Letter from Pope John Paul II's widow was profitable."

You vastly underestimate the scammability of the average internet user. Vastly.
9.20.2008 12:57pm
Syd Henderson (mail):

Crafty Hunter (www):
What especially ticks me off are the slimebags that use a "honesty" approach to being ever more dishonest.


With me, it was the one who appealed to me in the the name of Jesus to assist her with this vast fortune.
9.20.2008 2:49pm
theobromophile (www):
You mean that the dying woman's letter is a scam and I shouldn't have tried to get her money so I could donate it to the McCain campaign?!?

As for inventions and ancient Romans... does Leap Day (invented as of 45 BCE - a full 100 years after the 150 BCE cutoff - , to avoid the nonsense of putting in extra months willy-nilly) count?
9.20.2008 3:06pm
Hoosier:
Fredrik Nyman XXX--So the FBI has to use a (dot)net domain? Well, hell. I wonder who the squatters are who got the (dot)gov addresses.

Question: I've seen many of these, including some very funny cases where the players have been played. But they have me wondering: Why are half of the scammers using the name "Morgan"? Is that like the "Joe" of West Africa? Do hookers approach Nigerian soldiers and say "Me love you long time, Morgan"?
9.20.2008 3:17pm
Waldensian (mail):
To fully understand the breadth of the 419 scam problem, and the idiocy of BOTH sides of the equation, one must visit with the "scambaiters" -- the good souls who make it their life's work, or at least their hobby, to "scam the scammers."

Better reserve an hour or two before clicking on this. If you want just the briefest tour of the goodies on display, go here.


I answer all of my e-mail. I haven't made any money but my male member is now 3 feet long.

That is really funny.
9.20.2008 6:58pm
Connie:
Way to remember, Jonathan. I, too, am waiting for Eugene's take on inventions that would have improved the lives of ancient Romans! Maybe if enough of us bug him, he'll get around to it.
9.20.2008 7:06pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
My (basic) understanding of the Roman calander would seem to indicate that they would prefer to stick with a lunar system that was easily manipulated by political forces.
9.20.2008 9:47pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I've gotten some funny ones. The most inventive was the one that claimed to be from a hit man who had a contract on me, but would forget about it if I bid more than his customer had.

I responded that I had rec'd his request for the satisfaction due a gentleman, but from his email he did not appear to be a gentleman. If he could satisfy me on that point, I would certainly name my second. As the challenged party I have choice of weapons, and would choose .45 1911s at 50 yards. Never heard back for some reason.

I responded to others, via a spam-catching email account, with a statement I was certainly interested, but to keep things out of writing they should call me, Jay Edgar Hoover at (FBI's headquarters phone number).

I had to argue a gullible friend out of one of them. She wanted to rent a house in Calif., put up something on Craigslist, and got an answer offering to rent her a house for a very low price; send a certified check and I'll have the keys to you by overnight DHL. She was sure it was real. I pointed out (1) it's from a guy in Nigeria; (2) he claims to have been sent there as a missionary; (3) it's written in the usual florid language; (4) overnight DHL from Nigeria??? She finally accepted that it was a scam, but if I hadn't argued her out of it....
9.20.2008 10:12pm
JC (mail):
And on top of that, there is no such address in Houston. And I'm a native.
9.20.2008 11:41pm
JC (mail):
Oh, and who precisely is MR Susan Walker?
9.20.2008 11:52pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
I am convinced that many people fall for this sort of thing because they don't understand it. They didn't understand the textbooks in high school/college, they can't quite follow the instructions on a 1040 form, and they have real trouble concentrating long enough to grasp the finer points of a typical State of the Union address (and they have never even considered trying to read the EULA or fine print on any product or service.) Being difficult to comprehend has become a mark of legitimacy, and moreover, people have become conditioned to scan the first line or two, decide the thing is "too hard," and look for a way to appease the entity which confuses them (by hitting "okay," or sending the documents requested, or paying a shady guy to fill out the form for them.) Critical analysis isn't even attempted in many of these cases.

There may also be a secondary "what do you mean, the lotto is a tax on stupidity?" issue here, in that people may accept that most of these things are scams, and that you shouldn't let yourself get tricked, but this one seems so sincere/likely to work and if it works for Jim down the street and now he's a millionaire, I'll feel so stupid for having failed to risk such a small amount. Wasn't there a NYTimes article a while back with a guy who had put tens of thousands of dollars into the lotto and was now sad that a guy down the street had won a huge jackpot -- but not so sad that he was going to stop playing? Same problem.

I think this may also explain at least part of the mortgage meltdown, in terms of people who chose to buy a house for $750,000 when they only made $60,000/year. "It's hard, so just say yes" and "I'll feel dumb if the deal gets worse or this works for some other person" are powerful motivators. I think it's probably part of why I agreed to take on student loans when I still didn't know what I wanted to major in, as well.
9.21.2008 10:17am
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
Crafty Hunter: ... one *really* wonders about the mentality that is so easily suckered by such obvious scams. It makes my teeth hurt just to think on it.

As I posted in an earlier thread:
I think it is an example of greed being more powerful than logic/education/common sense/etc.
9.22.2008 6:26pm