About three years ago I created a hotmail email address to use when I opened up my home based counseling business. I later opened that business and gave out the address on business cards around the area. I placed an ad with the address in the local phone book produced by the towns tourist bureau twice but the business only lasted seven short months.
When I was attacked by five youths in my home I closed the business, left town, and that was the end of my need for a business email address. Hotmail is free so I kept the address but I stopped using it so, in time, no further emails came there.
Every few months, however, someone would send me an email asking me to go into business with them to help them get hold of vast sums of deceased estate money. As the time passed I got curious about where these people were getting the address from so I searched the net and found out the company I did my business training with had listed my email address, along with the addresses of all the other businesses they had helped start, on their website.
Since that was the only place this email address was available I assumed the addresses on that website were being “harvested”, or collected by robot email address collectors, and that was where the occasional scammer was getting it from.
Recently I went looking for a good online game to play. I am cautious and wary so I moved on without trying if a site required me to download anything or give them my details but one site, Dragon’s Kingdom (link deleted as it no longer works), offered to let me have a look around the game for just the cost of an email address and a few minutes of my time.
I gave in to temptation and joined up. I decided to give my unused business email address to see if joining this site would have any negative consequences. I gave a different email address to the other game website, the one I am currently playing at, for the same reason but no junk email has been coming to that address.
It would seem Dragon’s Kingdom is either selling email addresses or their database has been accessed because a sudden flood of scam emails started coming as soon as I gave them that email address.
The first thing that happened after signing up with dragonkingdom is I began to get a steady stream of “phishing” emails. These were authentic looking emails from various banks telling me of various problems with my bank accounts that I should sort out asap and giving me a handy link to click on to rescue my accounts.
I had no problems labeling the emails from banks I have not done business with as scams and ignoring those but it was a little more difficult to ignore ones from banks I do, or have done, business with. They looked like the real thing but I am aware of these scams so I did ignore them and there were no problems with my banking.
Phishing emails are designed to panic you into clicking on the link which will take you to an authentic looking logon page where you enter your account details and passwords and the scammers collect them.
This is week two and the scammers appear to have given up trying to get me to click on the links in the phishing emails and are trying another scam. I have had five different types of scam emails in just one week!
I am going to post them here for two reasons. The first is to let people see what this kind of scam email looks like so they will recognise them as scams when, or if, they get them.
The second reason is somewhat less noble. I want to put the scammers email addresses on the internet so email harvesting bots can collect them and send spam email to THEM so here they are!
SCAM NUMBER ONE
Here is the first one I received. Mr Johnson has, apparently, looked at a homepage and found some products he is interested in buying from me. Since this site is the only website I have, and I am selling nothing here, the lies are crystal clear. If, however, I did happen to be selling something here I might not be so quick to dismiss this email!
From : Sam Johnson Ltd
Sent : Tuesday, 7 August 2007 9:03:32 AM
Subject : PRODUCT ENQUIRY.
Nice contacting you today.
I’m Samuel Johnson and i own a store in UK.
I just took my time to previewed your homepage and i’ve found some interesting products which i’ll like to include in my company.
But, i’ll like to know if i can order from you and if you could ship to my branch in Nigeria. Also, advise if you accept either visa credit card or master credit card for your
payment. Then i can inform you about products list. Moreso, inform me if you can ship via DHL or UPS to Nigeria.
I await your news and hope to have business relationship.
The aim of this scam is to order products and either use stolen credit cards to pay for them or send a falsified cheque valued at more than the cost of the order and get “change” for it. The scammer, if all goes well, gets your products and the change before the bank gets back to you to tell you the credit cards were stolen or the cheque they cleared was, in fact, a clever forgery.
SCAM NUMBER TWO
Here’s a new twist on an old scam. This time they have not waited for me to contact them and agree to help them sneak money out of their country, they are pretending to be advising me by mistake, lucky me! All I have to do is pretend to be the person they think they have a deal with and I am going to get a CRATE filled with money! Imagine how much money must be involved to make up 220 kilograms of weight?!
From : okongwu bright
Sent : Saturday, 11 August 2007 3:32:07 AM
To : email@example.com
Subject : SHIPMENT OF YOUR CONSIGNMENT
From : Mr, Bright Okongwu
Head, Banking Operations,
Pacific Int’l Bank Limited.
Plot 84/88, Ajose Adeogun Street ,
Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria .
Sequel to the secretive arrangement in regards of the shipment of your contract sum, I wish to inform you that all necessary modalities have been automatically concluded and have left Nigeria to London via your Country today by Express Cargo Flight.
Note carefully the content of the crate is “MONEY” but I did not disclose it to the Courier Services as Money, rather I informed them that the crate contain Vital “DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS” belonging to my client (that? you) .Furthermore,the weight of the consignment is 220kg but I manage to pay120kg,which cost US$15,600.00. On no account should you disclose the content of the crate with the Diplomatic Courier Services for fear of betrayal.
So do not allow them to know that the content is money. In the meantime, contact the DiplomaticCourier Services on there contact information Name: Barry Williams Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:44-77-849451644, to know the actual situation with the consignment and also give them your address where the consignment will be delivered and then get back to me as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, I will be coming over to your country immediately the consignment arrives in your Country for my 10% share. Congrats and remain blessed.
Mr, Bright Okongwu
What will happen, if I let greed blind me to the obvious clues in this, is that I will be contacted and told there is 100kg weight shipping that has not been paid for. I will be asked to pay that 100kg charge when the crate arrives. The charge will probably amount to roughly 10 grand US and, after I pay it, I will be given a crate filled with 220 kg of junk!
SCAM NUMBER THREE
Another common scam is to use real news items to invent a scenario where people are asked to rush to the rescue of a victim of political turmoil. In return for rescuing the victim they will get access to all the considerable wealth that rightfully belongs to the victim and is being unfairly kept from them.
Imagine how much I would be drooling if I were the kind of person who was attracted to the idea of getting not only money but custody of an underage and helpless young girl?
From : dorris gomo
Sent : Sunday, 12 August 2007 12:01:05 AM
Subject : please this is me Miss Dorris
please this is me Miss Dorris
Please I want to start my apologizing for coming into life like this,but please bear with me as my situation is very serious and iam in dare need of your urgent help.
My name is Dorris Gomo,iam the only daughter of the late assacinated senator Edwin Gomo of zimbabwe but pressentlly i am in abidjan, capital city of ivoiry coast in west africa,I fled my country zimbabwe after the political crisis that resulted in the death of my father in the year 2000 started again this year in my country and my uncle who has been looking after me has just been assasinated this time,iam now left with no family member to care for me.Please i want you to assist me withraw and transfer my dad money into your account in your country and also take me and out of here that had made me orphan and I don’t feel safe here anymore.
Why i contacted you was that i went to the bank to widthraw this money since my late father use my name as the next of kin to the deposit but i was told by the bank that my late father made an agreement with them that i have to get to the age of 25yrs before i can make claim of the money or alternativlly i should provide a guardain who can make the claim on my behalf and that was why i contacted you.
NB:please these bbcnews websites to confirm my mail
NB:please contact me via the below mail address for security reason
or please call guest house number,ask of Dorris from zimbabwe +225 08 54 94 24
j’ai su a tort pour te contacter par ce moyens mais c’est parceque je suis desparate et mon itat est frustetent, c’est pourquoi j’emploie ce moyen. Je suis Dorris Gomo, je suis la seul fille de assacini sinateur Edwin Gomo de Zimbabwe ,pressentmet suis en abidjan, ville capitale de ctte divoire en Afrique occidentale, je suis ici il ya qulque jour maintenant.je veux que vous m’aidiez retirer et transfirer mon argent en votre compte dans votre pays et me prendre hors d’ici qui m’a rendus orphelin.
La reason pour la quel je suis entre en contacte avec toi est que je suis aller a la banque pour retirer cet argent parce que mon phre a utilisi mon nom au tant que beneficiere des le diptt mais qand je suis aller a la bank pour retirer des argent la banque ma dit que mon phre a fait un accord avec eux que je dois obtenir l’bge de 25ans avant que je peux faire la riclamation de l’argent ou alternativement je devrais fournir un guardain qui peut faire la riclamation a mon nom et c’est pourquoi je te contacti
NB:Tu peut voir plus de nouvelles au sujet de la situation dans mon pays dans les sites de bbc ci-dessous
contactez-moi par la address :email@example.com
ou apelez le numero de hotel et demadez apris Dorris de zimbabwe +225 08 54 94 24
Doris, it seems, is willing to put herself and her inheritance into the hands of someone she not only does not know the name of but who may speak either English OR French!
The scam here involves paying a never-ending stream of bribes, fees, charges and so on to get the corrupt officials to release the money to the rightful owner. This is a very old scam. Only the name of the “political victim” changes. In its most lethal form this scam ends up with the target being lured to Nigeria in person where they have been kidnapped or held to ransom and, in some cases, even been murdered.
SCAM NUMBER FOUR
This one is a new one on me but who in their right mind is going to ask a complete stranger to help them handle 25 million dollars?
From : GRISTMILL INVESTMENT CO.
Sent : Monday, 13 August 2007 10:10:13 PM
Subject : Ref:2007 Investment Project In Your Country.
Ref:2007 Investment Project In Your Country.
We of the Gristmill Inv.Company are brokering an Investment deal in your country on behalf of a client. This deal will involve the eventual investment of USD25M. (Twenty Five Million Dollars) in your country.
We are by this letter offering you our partnership, so as to allow us have you as representative and manager of invested funds in your country within the time frame of the investment/partnership scheme.
Since we can not determine if this email is still functional and also your willingness, we have kept this proposal brief.
If you are Interested in this offer of partnership, please respond and give us your full contact details plus company profile, and in response we will send you an elaborate proposal and details of this offer.
Your expedient response will be appreciated.
Public Relations Officer,
Gristmill Investment Co.
The main aim of this scam seems to be to get the details of me and my company so they can create something that will appeal to me and help them relieve me of as much money or goods as they can manage. Alternatively, they may be planning to use my ID and business details to scam others leaving me as the only person police can access.
SCAM NUMBER FIVE
Once again, a new variant of an old scam. The scam involves a wide range of stories but all of them come down to the same thing – you have to pay out your own money to get the promised riches.
Reply-To : firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent : Tuesday, 14 August 2007 6:02:02 AM
To : undisclosed-recipients:
Subject : Re: INVESTMENT ASSISTANCE
Good day to you, please contact me back for an important business discussion.
Barr. Mrs. Rieko Fukami (ESQ)
From the look of those last two emails it seems the scammers are waking up to the fact that people have been warned against their usual sales pitches. They are saving their breath and just targeting people whose curiosity might lead them to reply.
Here’s the bottom line!
These scammers are people who prey on the greedy, the gullible, the desperate and those who dream of getting something for nothing!
They are the ONLY people who ever really DO get something for nothing!
Don’t let them get it from you!