I’m so tempted to respond

Every time I get one of those “Nigerian scams” in my inbox, or approximately every other day,  I’m tempted to respond with a disposable email address and string them along for a while – just for kicks and grins.   

I did some searching a year or so ago and found that there are actually internet forums dedicated to not only discussing, but interacting with the senders of these ridiculous emails.  And they are actually pretty amusing and informative if you have some time to waste.

Now, I think the propositions in these emails are ridiculous, between the overly formal language and the broken English, the amazingly unbelievable stories they spin, of course, but I’ve always assumed that these would-be perpetrators of fraud wouldn’t keep sending out bait messages if they didn’t work well enough to be worth their while.  Someone is responding eagerly and they are probably the true reason for the unending silly-sounding foreign offers in my spam folder.

In fact, according to a 2007 article, the scammers actually do extremely well for their efforts:

Americans reported losing an all-time high of $198.4 million to Internet fraud in 2006, up 8 percent from 2005 levels of $183 million and 191 percent from 2004 levels of $68 million.  Law enforcement officials believe that actual losses are higher — many victims don’t report the crimes because they are embarrassed or afraid to do so.

And surprisingly:

“It is amazing the kind of people who fall for this,” said Johannes Ullrich, an Internet fraud expert with the Sans Institute in Bethesda, Md., a computer and Internet security training organization. “It’s not just the bored retiree, but it’s also professional people you would think who would know better. The greed factor turns off their brains.”

Many folks assume this phenomenon is new – or at least dating back within the last ten or fifteen years as more and more people began to use the internet as a routine method of communications, but it dates back much farther than that.  Before the advent of email, offers of riches were sent via fax and before that via Telex.  With a parent who worked in an international industry, I was well aware of these scams long before I was aware of the internet.  They have branched out and become moderately more creative, but it’s really still the same old same old.

Here is some information from the FBI on how to avoid being ripped off if you are in question of the legitimacy of a deal.

So here we go – two came in today.  I really am tempted to respond as a form of amusement for myself:

The first is some sort of sweepstakes that I “won,” excerpted here:

We at STmicroelectronics global office likes to officially congratulate you for the draw that was just held by our company which featured you as the second place winner. Our company holds promotions each year just to promote our global publicity and reputations as we plan to exploit more

corners of the world with our highly valued products line.

This promotion is just one of various ways we are presently using to achieve this global vision of ours. Your email address with MICROS ID (PLD-29103-LGT-901GH-9JL ) was luckily drawn to be this year’s second place winner of a Brand New 2009 BMW x5 car and a cash prize of $485,000 United States Dollars. This money and gift we believe will enable you make some impact in the society and possibly invest in our company in the near future.

You are hereby requested to contact our agent for more details on our promotion in particular before taking further actions to claiming your prize. Ensure you contact Mr A . Cuomo who is our claims official in Europe. United Kingdom and also a Representative whom understand your english and some european languages. See details of him below.

And the second is your more traditional, yet just as poorly worded, financial nonsense:

FROM THE DESK OF MR.SANUSI LAMIDO GOV CENTRALBANKOFNIGERIACBN

Attn:  Beneficiary This Is To Notify You That After Our Meeting Today With The President, Accountant General Of The Federation, Office Of  The Senate House, And House Of Representatives We Came To A Conclusion That We Have To Pay You The Sum Of, $10.7MUSD, As Your Contract Entitlement. The Payment Will Come To You Via Wire Transfer, Which was deposited to Federal Reserve Bank Chicago Branch; Therefore You Are To Re-Confirm The Following Information: 1.Your full name 2.Full address(street address,city, state, zip Postal code and country) 3.Direct Phone 4.Occupation,age and marital status 5.Copy of drivers license for identity.

Yours Sincerely,

MR SANUSI LAMIDO,GOV CBN,

TELEPHONE: +2348029581811‏

Which one to choose?  Both opportunities sound so incredibly enticing….oh, decisions decisions…

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4 Comments

  1. ringered said,

    April 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    hahaa. Let us know how it turns out, could be amusing 🙂
    Nice blog, I love it.
    Cooper,
    http://www.ringered.wordpress.com

    • April 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      Thanks, Cooper – I appreciate the comment. I see your blog is new – keep it up!

  2. me said,

    April 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    maybe you should just e-mail them about your profession 😉 and that might take care of all future e-mails.


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