Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scam and spoof emails and letters

Below, there's a cut-and-paste of an email that arrived this morning. Apparently, all I need to do is respond to it, and that inheritance I've been waiting for all these years is mine for the taking - a share of a quite tidy sum - a little over 13 million dollars. That'll help pay for the roof repairs.

We are not opening the champagne just yet (although we are celebrating our daughter having just added MRCP to her medical qualifications with a suitably upmarket wine at dinner tonight - a 1996 Chateau Rauzan-Ségla

Before that we are supposed to be joining a protest march in Antibes against the idiotic, botched reorganization of the bus services. Hopefully the electric storm with hailstones will have cleared in the next 45 minutes. (ed. It didn't- apparently a few brave souls - about 30 - braved the elements. Hopefully the protest march will be rescheduled, and us public transport users will cease to be treated like third class citizens.)

Back to that email. If one looks at it closely there are the tell-tale signs of scam, both in what it says, and what it doesn't say. But I'll say nothing more, just on the offchance that the scammers are reading this, and then go back and tweak their flaky missive to make it more credible. But Engr. Horst Schroeder (RIP) writing beneficiaries into his will with their email as the only contact addresses - I ask you !

Here's the offending item below. Does anyone know what happens if one responds ? I suspect it's one of those "419" advance fee scams as I think they are called, most of which originate in West Africa, especially Nigeria. When you respond, they tell you there are one or two legal formalities or glitches that need to be dealt with first, which require, yes you guessed it, the payment of upfront fees - almost certainly in hundreds, or even thousands of US dollars!

Sujet :
Date :
24/03/2007 00:53:18 Paris, Madrid
De :
Répondre à :
Envoyé via Internet (afficher l'en-tête)
MANAGING PARTNER EllIS BRYAN SOLICITORS ENGLAND. NOTIFICATION OF REQUESTOn behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Engr. Horst Schroeder, I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you again by this same email address on the WILL.I wish to notify you that Late Engr. Horst Schroeder made you a beneficiary to his WILL. He left the sum of thirteen million five hundred thousand United States Dollars ($13,500.000.00 USD) to you in the codicil and last testament to his WILL. This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely travelled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were recommended to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good. Engr. Horst Schroeder until his death was a member of theHelicopter Society and the Institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers. He had a very good heart and was a philantropist. His great philanthropy earned him numerous awards during his life time. Late Engr. Horst Schroeder died on the 13th day of December, 2004 at the age of 80 years, and his WILL is now ready for execution.According to him this money is to support your humanitarianactivities and to help the poor and the needy in our society. Please if I reach you this time as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job.( yours,BARR. EllIS BRYAN (ESQ).MANAGING PARTNERS/SOLICITORS ENGLAND.

When you have had time to digest that, I will put up my favourite spoof letter. It's one I confess to having used twice, in both cases when leaving a job, singling out the prat who caused me most grief ........

Here it comes ....

From: Rev. Theodore Godfrey, c/o Alice Farthingdale Rescue Mission, Mile End Rd. Stepney

Dear Mr. ____________

Perhaps you have heard of me and my countrywide campaign in the cause of temperance. Each year, for the past fourteen, I have made a tour of Kent, Surrey and Sussex delivering a series of lectures on the evils of drinking. On these tours I was accompanied by my friend and assistant, James Lindstone. James, a man of good family and excellent background, was a pathetic example of life ruined by excessive indulgence in whisky or gin and women.

James would appear with me at the lectures and sit on the platform, wheezing and staring at the audience through bleary bloodshot eyes, sweating profusely, picking his nose, passing wind and making obscene gestures, while I would point him out as an example of what over-indulgence could do to a person.

Earlier this year, unfortunately, James died. A mutual friend has given me your name and I wonder if you would be available to take James's place on my next tour.

Hopefully yours ..........

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