Thursday, February 08, 2007

Internet Scams: Alive and well and still going strong!!

I received the following email, from one "Lee David", today. How he got my email address is quite puzzling, considering it's the address I use exclusively for my business. And since I never get spam with hotmail, I was quite surprised that it actually made it through, rather than getting dumped into the bulk folder. But it's a sobering reminder that people are still out there trying to hook potential victims for their 'get-rich-quick schemes', and even after 20 years of being warned about these scams, there are obviously still fools who are duped into falling for them. People have lost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars on these various schemes and you'd be surprised just who gets burned.

Most of these 'advance fee' scams originate in Nigeria and are called "419" fraud (referring to the section of the Nigerian penal code dealing with that issue), but there are many other ways criminals bilk people out of their hard earned cash, including preying on those in search of love. Sadly, people who advertise on dating websites have also been victimized. But it truly amazes me that seemingly intelligent and educated people could believe the following to be true:

From Lee David.
Abidjan cote d' lvoire
My Dearest One,

Permit me to inform you my heart desire for a business relationship with you. I got your contact when I was searching for a foreign partner here in Abidjan republic of Cote D'Ivoire on my search for honest and reliable person. I prayed over it and decided to confide in you because your integrity and educational background. I am Mr Lee David,( 20 years old) , the only son of late Dr and mrs.David My father was a very wealthy Gold/Diamond dealer in Freetown, the economic capital of Sierra Leone. My father was poisoned to death by his close business associates on one of their outings on a business trip. My mother died when I was 15 years old and since then my father took me so special.

Before the death of my father this year on May 19th 2006, in a
privatehospital in Freetown, he secretly called me by his bed side and told methat he has the sum of USD 5.500.000 Five million five hundred thousand dollars (USD 5.500.000) He deposited in suspense account for onward transfer only,He use my name as the next of kin when he deposited the money but before i can have access on the money i most get upto 30yrs.

He warned me that because of envy he was poisoned by his close associates. He also advised me to seek for an honest foreigner in a country of my choice those associates will not hurt me as they have succeeded in poisoning him.Since then It has been difficult to know who is an honest person to assist me in this transaction , and for me to
continue silent over looking for assistance, i decided to make a try from you, i arrived here (ABIDJAN) on the January 10th of 2007 and i don't want to stay long here since i know nobody or continue to pay for hotel bill.

Dear, I honourably seek your assistance in the following ways:
1)To stand as my father foreign partner since my late father deposited it to be cleared by his foreign partner but no name was mentioned.
2)To provide an account where we can transfer this money.
3)To help me arrange for better establishment.
4)To help me come over to your country to further my education.

My intention is not to disturb your Peace,but because l am sincerely in need, And desperately need a solution before my life is wasted because there is war in this country. Among all, the most important thing is for you to be aiding me as parent who will directing all my affair es and doings in your country. Lastly,you will promise me that you will not betray or deny me if this my money gets into your hands or bank and in your country .

Dear, I am ready to offer you 15% of the total money for your help. But if may be you are not in better position to help. Please let me know. So that I can look for another helper. I am with the certificate of deposit upon your demand. Looking forward to your kind reply soonest and may Godbless you.

Sincerely Yours.
Lee David

There are a plethora of websites (scamorama, for one) with information regarding the various scams and even ones like dedicated to baiting the scammers. All these websites post warnings, for those wanting to get involved in baiting, to be very careful as the scammers are criminals and often dangerous. People have actually been murdered pursuing these "419" frauds.

It is recommended that you forward any and all scams (including headers) to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at Or if you'd like to have at it with Lee David his email address is: ( But before you do, make sure you go to one of those websites that explain how to bait, and never, ever give out any personal info, or use an email address other than public ones like hotmail, yahoo or gmail.

Another good source for information on scammers.


Lambent said...

There was good programme on BBC World the other night about these scams.

The investigating journalist made contact with them and played his part so convincingly that he actually got the scammers to send him half the 'advance fee' to open the 'special account' he needed.

Naturally, he took the money and then called the scammers to let them know that they had, for once, been scammed. It was priceless.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately 419 scams and scammers are still going strong.

Luckily there is a group of people out there on the internet putting a damper on their scams!

Check out

These guys get even with these crooks, and sometimes even get them arrested even though they are in Nigeria.

They are also avidly fighting eBay scammers as well, a terrific group there.

FOX Television interviewed them some time back, the video is on youtube:

Last year at one time they got a group of scammers arrested; I think the count was around 50 or so.

There is a lot of funny stuff there too, you have to see what they make these scammers do to get "paid", check out their "mugu museum"

Johhny D

Incognito said...

Lambent and Johnny D:
Still can't figure out why people fall for these scams. Guess the desire to make a quick buck overrides their intuitive and intellectual faculties. Businessmen, church officials, lawyers and others have been bilked. And people have committed suicide after losing their savings. One woman shot and killed her husband.
And how many people don't report it.
Thanks for the info. on you tube, JD. will check it out.
It's great they're being scammed back, Lambent, but unfortunately they'll be back out there doing it to someone else.

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