A Fun Look at Scam Emails
I don't often see the scam emails that arrive in my inbox, because Gmail places them automatically in my spam folder, with the message:
Be careful with this message. Similar messages have been used to steal people's personal information. Unless you trust the sender, don't click on links or reply with personal information.
But now and again, when I am bored, I have a look in my spam folder to see what the fraudsters have thought up.
The sad thing is, people do get caught out, time and time again.
These people harvest email addresses, and send out millions of the damn things.
While 99% of us totally ignore them, that 1% that reply make sure the thieves get a good enough return to make their efforts worthwhile.
Not that it takes a lot of effort to type out a poor imitation of an 'official letter' and use an email address to send them out. The copy/paste function comes in very handy.
Let's have a look at the sort of letter they send. They are usually grammatically incorrect with poor spelling, as well as outlining a highly unlikely scenario.
I currently have four such emails in my spam folder. They may be in your inbox, depending on your email provider and the way you account is set up.
Dear Beloved One.... Can I Lay My Trust On You?
Mother Margaret Forest firstname.lastname@example.org:07 (9 hours ago)to undisclosed recipients
Subject: Faith of Donation. From: Mother Margaret Forest (Evangelist) E-mail:(email@example.com)
Greetings In The Name Of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I am Mother Margaret Forest, a widow to late Richard A. Forest, I am 75yrs old, I am now a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast, from all indication my condition is really deteriorating and it's quite obvious that I won't live more than two months, According to my doctors.
This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage.
My late husband killed during the U.S raid against terrorism in Afghanistan, and during the period of our marriage we had a 23 yrs old son who died in an auto crash three years ago.
My late husband was verywealthy and after his death I inherited all his business and wealth. The doctor has advice me that I may not live for more than two months, so I now decided to divide the part of this wealth, to contribute to the development of the church in Africa, America, Asia and also in Europe.
I prayed over it, and I am willing to donate the sum of Five Million United State Dollars (USD$5, 000, 000.00) to the less privileged.
Please I want you to note that this fund is lying in a security company and upon my instruction, my attorney, will file in an application for the transfer of the money in your name.
Lastly, I honestly pray that this money when transferred will be used for the said purpose, because I have come to find out that wealth acquisition without Christ is vanity.
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus the love of God and the fellowship of God be with you and your family? I await your urgent reply. Please kindly get back to me on my private email address (firstname.lastname@example.org ) if you are willing to help for further details and directive.
Yours In Christ, E-mail:email@example.com
The very first line of this email tells me that it came from Australia, so why is the writer rabbling on about the USA?
That asides, it is badly written with capitalization in the middle of sentences and missing commas.
Then again, if you can imagine a little 75 year old nun hunched over a computer keyboard, typing with two fingers, you could forgive the errors.
You may puzzle over anyone entering a convent having already been married and had a child, even if she had to have been 49 when she had him!
She is 'Mother' not 'Sister, so she rose through the ranks pretty quickly.
Her husband was killed in Afghanistan. That war only started in 2001, and he'd have been about 64 years old then, assuming he was the same age as his 'wife'.
Of course, it doesn't actually say he was a soldier, only that "he was killed during a raid". Doesn't say which side he was on.
She then goes on to say that part of what she wants to fund is the church in Europe, among other continents.
I would like to inform her that the church is alive and well and kicking in Europe. What does she think we are...heathens?
And lastly, God forgive her, she is preying on Christians. The whole tone of the email is designed to catch the heart-strings of any passing (and slightly dim) evangelist.
I hope they will consider the points I have made before they reply!
C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S
On 1 October 2012 11:36, GAZPROM OIL COMPANY <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Your funds payment notification of $920,000.00 USD is now ready for claim.Do send your Names,Address and Phone Number to(email@example.com) or call our 24 hours Helpline @ +60.164.802.057 for more information. For: Gazprom Oil Company® Payment Center
Oh golly gosh, an OIL company wrote to me!
I have no idea what they are on about, of course, but no matter, I shall phone them in the morning to find out what they owe me.
Maybe someone there can explain why I am owed $920,000,000. How much is that is UK pounds? I am a millionaire, right?
Oh wait a minute, they asked for my names (plural). If I am owed this money, don't they know my names (plural)? I only have one name :(
Well caught, Gmail!
Someone will phone them all the same. That is the really sad part.
Official Letter from the FBI
Records show that you are among one of the individuals and organizations who are yet to receive their overdue payment.
The attached message contains the complete message. Read and reply.
Thanks and hope to read from you soon.
Ooh I like the look of this one.
Imagine, the FBI contacting me (and no obvious spelling errors so it must be genuine!)
The first spelling error that jumps out at me is Fraud Monetory Unit. It should be of course read Monetary.
According to them, I have been transacting with impostors. Well they might be right if I knew what they meant. I am not 'transacting' with anyone, if there even is such a word, and anyway 'imposters' is spelt with an 'e'.
The spelling mistake with imposters is continued on through the email, which tells me they can't spell.
No official body sends out email with spelling errors.
They have advised me to not to communicate with anyone else online, because there could be more 'impostors'. Wait till I add that to my Twitter feed.
They are going to give me $15,000,000 with a Visa ATM card that pays out $15,000 per day.
I am open mouthed with astonishment.
I have never yet seen a Visa card allow cash withdrawals of more that £500 per day (about $800).
Even when I paid in my lottery win of £150,000,000 I was limited to £500 per day, cash.
See, its not only the scammers who can tell lies!
They go on to tell me that Visa ATM is the safest way of making payments, as over $5 billion was lost on a cheque (singular) last year.
I hope they sacked whoever wrote that cheque.
In the final paragraph they managed to type '100%' twice, so assured they are in the safety of their method of payment.
I find that odd that such a prestigious agency would need to go to such lengths to guarantee me anything!
Since when did the FBI take it upon themselves to protect the citizens of Asia and Europe, as well as the United States of America?
I must have missed that change. I think our government did too. Tsk!
Do US taxpayers know the wide ranging powers of the FBI?
Anyway, according to this email its "for the betterment of the current economic status of the nation and its citizens as he has always believed." Who is 'he'?
I will be pondering over that sentence all night now..
winning 2million Great Britain Pounds
Congratulation for winning 2million Great Britain Pounds.Your email address
was amongst those choosen this quarter and Your Winning Code is 1062.
You are to provide the following information so that we can immediate start the
processing of your winnings.
1. Full Names: 2. Address: 3. Age: 4. Sex: 5. Phone numbers: 6. Fax number: 7.
You are to contact us for claims.
Mrs Rose Grover
(FREE LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL PROMO AWARD 2012)
10 Lowden Road,
London N9 8RN
AGENT Doug Crawford
Oh how wonderful! I always wanted to be 'choosen', and now I am 'choosen'.
The sad thing about this email scam is that many people who receive it will not realise it is a scam, especially those who can't spell.
For the record, the National Lottery in the UK is called 'Lotto' not 'Loto'. Their web address is http://www.national-lottery.co.uk
Claims are not entertained without a valid ticket that you have to buy beforehand, and payments are not allowed to those outwith the UK.
So there will never be a situation where they might email you to tell you of a fantastic win for something you never entered, and anyway, they wouldn't have your email address, even if you had bought a ticket.
They also would not use the cumbersome phrase ' 2million Great Britain Pounds'. They would say £2 million, or maybe £2,000,000, but that is by the by considering they wouldn't be emailing you anyway.
So, who sent that email? Was it "Mrs Rose Grover" (shouldn't that be "rose grower"?) or was it "Agent Doug Crawford" as both have deemed to sign it in their own strange way.