A Scam for the Truly Naive
As with the rest of you, my day doesn't really begin until I'm imbibing my morning coffee and deleting my overnight scam-spam. The latter is usually an automatic, even montonous procedure:
Mark spam that got past filter. Move to spam folder. Check spam folder for nonspam. Move to inbox. Delete remaining spam.But this morning, I saw in the spam folder an obvious but nevertheless clever scam. Sent to me from 'scam victim', its subject heading shouted:
Attention, Re: SCAM VICTIMS REIMBURSEMENTS SCHEME.I laughed and decided to open it, whereupon I found more 'shouting':
ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSIONI have to admit, that's a scary-sounding crimes commission, what with a motto implicitly promising to go after dead criminals! "No body is above the law." Sheds a whole new light on "Wanted: Dead or Alive." I hope this commission isn't after me!
Motto: No Body is Above the Law
Anyway, there's immediately some more shouting:
FROM THE DESK OF: Chief Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri (AIG rtd.)The EFCC's promise to be at my service is reassuring, as is the following 'information', again shouted out:
ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC)
(WE ARE AT YOUR SERVICE)
RE: FUND ALERT/FINAL NOTICEThe EFCC wants to give me money to the tune of "one-quarter million dollars." Wow. I'm impressed. Like the United Nations was impressed by Doctor Evil's demand for "one million dollars." Ha. Ha. Ha. Listen, EFCC, I want one-hundred billion dollars. Also, I'm not satisfied with the number of exes assigned to me. Why do I have only 5 exes when the EFCC gets 7?
FRAUD VICTIMS/$250,000 BENEFICIARIES.
OUR REF: XXXXXXX
YOUR REF: XXXXX
Attention, Re: SCAM VICTIMS REIMBURSEMENTS SCHEME.
But onward to the letter, which -- having gotten my attention -- stops shouting:
I write to bring to your notice as a delegate from the Nigerian Government Reimbursement Committe under the strict supervision of the United Nations to pay 230 Nigerian 419 scam victims the sum of $250,000 USD (Two Hundred and Fifty Thounsand Dollars) each. You are however listed as one of the beneficiaries for these payments. You are expected to get back to us for your immediate reimbursement.Wait as second. What sort of numerical figure is a "thounsand"? Is that a typo . . . or some sort of dialect? Or perhaps some oblique term from an obscure branch of mathematics? It sounds suspiciously like a fraction to me. Kind of like "one-thousandth" in American English. Is the EFCC offering me twenty-five cents? Talk about small change! Still:
As a result of this laudable recommedations, you are hereby informed that during the last U.N. meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria, it was alarmed so much by the rest of the world on the loss of funds by various foreigners to the scam artists operating in syndicates all over the world today. In other to redeem the good image of our country, the President has ordered the immediate payment of $250,000 USD each via Bank Draft to the affected victims in accordance with the U.N. recommendations. Due to the corrupt .I'm also a bit concerned by the expression "in other to redeem." I'm not familiar with that phrase. Is it an idiom? And the message breaks off rather abruptly with "Due to the corrupt" . . . as though some valuable information were about to be imparted. There's even an empty space before the period. But the letter blithely continues in a following paragraph:
Please, you are hereby advised to fill in the below spaces according to how you have been scammed to avoid mix-upThe EFCC wants my "Full Names"? What does that mean? My full name along with some other full names of mine? Well, my full name is "Horace Jeffery Hodges," but I've been referred to as "Horace Jeffrey Hodges," "Horrace Jeffrey Hodges," and even "Horace Geoffrey Hodges." And sometimes the "s" gets dropped from my surname, leave it the singular "Hodge." Maybe the commission wants all of these. Hmmm . . . the money might begin to add up, after all.
Your Full Names ......................
Your Full Address ....................
Direct Contact Phone Number .......
But how do I "fill in" the space for my passport photograph? I'm supposed to describe it? Okay, it looks like me . . . sort of. Actually, it looks more like what I should look like at my advanced age and state of reprobation. Like that painting in Oscar Wilde's scandalous novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. As David Byrne once said, "Passport photos are what people really look like."
But the letter doesn't stop with a request for that rather personal information. It goes on to tell of the EFCC's efforts to hunt down Nigerian scammers:
Many Banks, Universal firms, Companies and individuals have been in bankrupcy today due to the activities of these hoodlums. However, a thorough investigation have revealed that these people have dropped over 500,000 victims across the world, after collecting their money falsely, many as a result of this have committed suicide, while others are now living in abject poverty. As regards these ongoing developmental strive, we have over 200 suspects at hand, 135 in kirikri prisons. While many are awaiting trial, we are still in search of others, who think they are wise, and hope that you will assist by giving any vital information that could lead to the apprehension of these hoodlums.The scammers "have dropped over 500,000 victims across the world, after collecting their money"? Dropped them? How? From helicopters? Yet, some apparently survived . . . only to commit suicide or live on in abject poverty. These scammers truly are hoodlums. Good to hear that the Nigerian EFCC has 135 of them in . . . "kirikri prisons"? Kirikri, Togo? Why in a neighboring country? But there's more:
You will receive your payment Via bank draft so as to avoid delay. We shall be waiting to hear from you been certain that your response will be that you are satisfied and willing to claim your $250,000 USD (Two Hundred and Fifty Thounsand Dollars) reimbursement funds.Hmmm . . . there's that "thounsand" again, so it can't be a typo. I guess that it really is some obscure mathematical expression. Anyway, if I want my 'thounsands', I have to respond immediately:
You are to respond immdiately and send a confirmation to the belowNo name given, but there is that email. I wouldn't advise anybody to use it, however. Indeed, I would advise expressly against doing so . . . even though the EFCC is expecting a prompt response:
Email: efcccrm58 at gmail.com
Finally, we are expecting to hear from you today unfailingly so as to enable us serve you better .Yada, yada, yada . . . . Well, that provided some unexpected, morning amusement, and I'm now fully awake. These scammers must have realized that people have become aware of the outrageous scams originating in Nigeria, but I have to admire their chutzpah in presenting themselves as officials legally authorized to reimburse people who have already been scammed.
Thank you very much for your anticipated co-operation and understanding.
Chief Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri (AIG rtd.)
Executive Chairman Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC)
But could anyone possiby be so naive as to fall for a meta-scam of this sort?