Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Email Phishing – Scam, or Cry for Help?

I constantly worry about falling victim to an email phishing scam.

If you’re a doctor from Nigeria left with the fortune of a recently deceased patient who had no known relatives, or the cabin boy of a missing, wealthy, childless Senegalese sea captain, and need to find an American bank account to dump some money into, then I’m your man.

A good sob story will always unlock the weakly defended vault of my personal information – bank account, SSN, original copy of birth certificate, etc.

Take, for example, the email I recently received from a fine Ghanian (Ghanese?) gentleman by the name of Mr. Alfred Thompson. Can you help me decide if it’s for real?

“With Confidence Please,

Here is Mr. Alfred Thompson, the current Regional Manager National Investment Bank Ltd, Tema Branch, Accra-Ghana.

Indeed pardon me for not having pleasure of knowing your mindset before making you this offer this is urgent and timely confidential genuine by virtue of its nature. Write your assistance in a transfer of One Million Two Hundred and Seventy Thousand US Dollars into any account of your choice.

This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am Manager made as profit during the last three weeks. My head office here in Accra were not aware of this excess and will never know of it.

Please note that as a staff of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money; thus I am impelled to request for your assistance and partnership to receive this money into your bank account. And as my partner you are entitled to 35% of this total mount, while 65% shall be for me. Please I do need to stress that, it's going to be a bank-to-bank transfer.

Then with due respect I demand your full time co-operation on this transfer project. I will provide you with legal deposited document to up the clam after the official application to the bank demanding for the fund transfer to your designated Bank Account.

Below are the information's I need from you:

Your Full names

Your complete physical address

Your direct telephone

Your Fax number if any

You bank account and branch

Yours Truly,

Name: Mr. Alfred Thompson

Phone: +233248843873”

Sounds perfectly legit to me.

I notice that the author seems rushed – the tone of the message rather desperate, with words like “urgent,” “timely,” and “impelled” strewn haphazardly - and incoherently - across the entire document. Boy, this guy must be under a ton of stress. I feel sorry for him already.

Also, I can see that the email is completely riddled with grammatical errors. Shouldn’t someone with the name “Alfred Thompson” have a slightly better grasp of the English language?

Perhaps. But let’s ignore that for now. This guy clearly needs my help.

How do I respond? I’m anxious to find out more about the requested transaction - $1.27 million into my bank account, of which I can keep 35%!!! That’s awesome!!!

I think.

Although the exact details of this “urgent and timely confidential genuine by virtue of its nature” offer are a bit lacking – and the letter itself makes little to no sense.

But I’m feeling lucky today. Isn’t there a chance this could be for real?

Anybody want some free cash?

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Dennis said...

I would only trust these types of letters from anyone from Nigeria. They seem like trustworthy people.

I've been waiting for that 2 million dollar deposit into my account.

Strangely, I have seen about $2000 missing from the same account.

The Mill said...

Another good point Dennis. I also mostly just trust the Nigerian letters.

And have also lost a great deal of money from various accounts, credit cards and poker websites - that I don't recall ever using. And someone with my name is now on Interpol's most wanted list for crimes throughout Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan - although I've never been to either place.

Oh well. I guess I'll just sit back and wait for my money.