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September 13, 2005

Abacha in Iraq
Posted by Teresa at 12:01 PM *

This morning’s mail brought me a brand-new variant on the Nigerian scam:

From: mark edward
Reply-To: sgtmarkedward@oc.oakwood.edu
To: Paula@yahoo.com
Date: Sep 12, 2005 10:28 AM
Subject: FROM: Sgt. Mark Ed

——————————-

FROM: Sgt. Mark Ed

Important Message

To President / Managing Director.

Dear Sir,

My name is Mark Edwards, I am an American soldier serving in the military of the 1st Armoured Division in Iraq, As you know we are being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs. We managed to move funds belonging to Saddam Hussien’s family.

We want to move this money to you, so that you may invest it for us and keep our share in a safety keep. We will take 70%, my partner and I. You take the other 30%. no strings attached, just help us move it out of Iraq, Iraq is a warzone. We plan on using diplomatic courier and shipping the funds out in one silver box, using diplomatic immunity. This Transaction is risk free and has a diplomatic coverage whereby the consignment cannot be checked in port of Entry.

Also, I regret if this email surprises you but rather I just need your kindest of assistance.

Sincerely Yours,

Sgt.Edwards

Isn’t that inventive? It’s the same old underlying form, but it’s had a whole new set of variables plugged in.

This is why it’s so much more apposite to classify scams by their structure, rather than their specific content. It wouldn’t take me long to come up with a half-dozen brand-new variants of my own that never mention the Abacha family, or their vast sum of money (looted from the Nigerian government) that’s currently stashed in a neighboring country, and can easily be rescued with the help of a kindly stranger like you. If I can do that, others can too—as witness here.

Comments on Abacha in Iraq:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 12:41 PM:

Hmm. I wonder if someone's seen Three Kings.

#2 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 12:56 PM:

Astonishing. They didn't misspell "surprises." Yet another signal that they aren't native speakers of American English.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 01:01 PM:

They didn't misspell "surprises," but they did leave out the spaces following punctuation. I corrected that. Couldn't stand not to.

#4 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 01:19 PM:

I've had some intriguing variations. Some of the smarter scammers read the world news closely. One of them right after Arafat's death purported to be from one of his wife's relatives; I've had others "from" Iraq, usually purportedly from senior ex-Baath officials, later from supposedly corrupt officials in the new government.

#5 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 01:28 PM:

I wonder if this is going to work as well as the ones purporting to come from advisors or families of (now deceased) ruling heads. Those, at least, had a weird appeal to snobbery--"Oh, look, the widow of the ruler of some nation I never heard of wants me to help her!"

#6 ::: Steve Thorn ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 01:30 PM:

Teresa, you've hit on a brand new avenue of work. Editing for the 419 crowd! You could ask for 25%-- um, of the 70% (100%) they scam from their victims..!
http://home.rica.net/alphae/419coal/

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 01:34 PM:

Any bets on how long until the first Katrina 419-style emails? On the one hand, with no foreign country to involve, it could be tricky to make it convoluted-sounding enough. On the other hand, never underestimate the ingenuity of a scammer.

#8 ::: Zoe ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 01:42 PM:

Do you think they mean a silver box that's actually made of silver?

That would be very posh, and scare off the vampires.

#9 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 02:08 PM:

keep our share in a safety keep.

Is that more like a border keep or more like a safety dance?

#10 ::: Thom ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 02:24 PM:

On the first of August this year there was one bouncing around from a "Major Gerry Smith" of the "British 7th Infantry Army Division Troops" Last winter there was one around similar to the example above.

As said, both completely new versions, new sets of variables. Even more scary is that I collect the things.

In Jan there were a couple from folks that were "tsunami victims" with similar predicaments. When Arafat died, his "widow" sent one around. These things have neverending entertainment value.

I'm quite surprized there haven't been any that are Katrina related. I suppose they'll show up soon. Argh.

#11 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 02:29 PM:

Hrm. Three Kings was the first thing I thought of too. (I wish more people had seen the movie--it didn't glamourise the first Gulf War much. Although it did let the protaganists get away with filching money that didn't belong to them. And looting. Hrm.)

Alex: I vote for the Safety Dance.

#12 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 02:39 PM:

While worthy in many ways, Three Kings really won my affection by having a captive soldier make an international call for help on a looted cellphone.

What a wonderful "well, yeah, duh of course that would work!" moment.

#13 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 02:42 PM:

Oh, yeah, I forgot about that moment. He can't get through to the military at all, but he can get his wife in Arizona?

#14 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 03:46 PM:

Do US troops really spell "armoured" with a "u"?

#15 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 04:14 PM:

They're actually appealing to a whole pile of things.

Greed, obviously, but there's also the snob appeal as mentioned above, the idea that you are being asked for help by very important but helpless people, and also the lure of the exotic. I noticed that when trying to pastiche the things -- there is no better way of seeing what something actually is than pastiche -- that it's essential to the form that there be just a hint of glamour.

The silver box is the touch that does it for that one.

(Castles in Spain, as Mrs Williams thinks in Post Captain are either very good or very bad, she can't quite remember which.)

#16 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 04:51 PM:

So, is the idea that I hang around the State Department asking if a silver box has shown up? Do I need an American Express card or a black passport or something, or will the password be e-mailed? (I'm guessing it's "Arabian Horse Bleep.")

This is why National ID Cards are so important. They will allow your identity to be used anytime, anywhere, with no red tape.

I would also like to know where Sgt. Williams of the fabled US 1st Armoured ("Monty's Woollies") Division went to elementary school, as I'm sure that his junior-high English teacher, Mrs. Babelphish, would be very proud of him today.

#17 ::: Lizzy Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 04:53 PM:

I love the "one" silver box -- it implies you are the only person receiving this appeal. Lucky you.

I do not understand how these scams get any takers. Ah well. Was it Barnum who said no one ever went broke underestimating the gullibility of the American people? Or something like that....

#18 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 05:10 PM:

"No one ever went broke . . ." was Mencken.

#19 ::: Jasper Janssen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 05:56 PM:

It may reference iraq, but it's still a Nigerian scam to me.

#20 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 06:04 PM:

My associate, Mr Hector Chavez, was in New Orleans, negotiating a deal on behalf og my Columbian employers, when Hurricane Katrina struck. He used that opportunity to divert 27 million dollars to an account at the First Bank of Loiusiana's branch in New Orleans, and was able to text me the account details.

I fear that my friend has been killed in the flooding of that great American city.

Because of the unfortunate combination of US Banking Laws and the disruption arising from the flood, I find I need a trustworthy partner in the USA, to whom I will arrange a computerised bank transfer from the New Orleans bank. The money can then be dispersed by you to several accounts which I shall nominate, less a thirty percent commission which you may retain.

You will understand that my employers would take a very negative view of this process, and so I am taking care not to use my usual email address.

How does that sound as a scenario?

#21 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 07:06 PM:

"Armored" is the standard usage in the US, whereas members of the British Commonwealth (or whatever it's called these days) continue to waste a bit of ink with "armoured." Of course, you didn't need to know that to realize the request for help was bogus.

By the way, the 1st Armored Division (US) was activated in 1940, and adopted the name "Old Ironsides." It's a relatively storied unit -- check out http://www.1ad.army.mil/default.asp for the division's current deployment and a bit o' (very dry) history.

And apologies for the ignorance, but what's a "safety dance," other than something done by men without hats?

#22 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 08:43 PM:

"... on behalf og my Columbian employers..."

"og" - good 'un.

"Columbian" - even better.

It's a winner!

#23 ::: arto ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 08:58 PM:

I once met a wayfaring stranger
From across the sea he did reside
He said a mountain of shillings
To share I am willing
If you, sir, assistance provide

He told, the wayfaring stranger
A tale of a knight sadly slain
Who held a king's ransom
But by some cruel chance come
To bleed from a battle in vain

And so, the wayfaring stranger
Sent word by electrical mail
Of riches left idle
For to get inside'll
Require my banking details

Said I to the wayfaring stranger
Here's the information you seek
But instead of being rich
That damned son of a bitch
Cleaned me out and vanished in a week

So beware the wayfaring stranger
For his story's too good to be true
For he'll bring you no wealth
Though he has some himself
It all comes from suckers like you

#24 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2005, 09:32 PM:

*doffing hat and bowing deeply to Arto*

#25 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 01:52 AM:

I got this one back in March. It was quite a week for fictional characters who needed assistance. Mr. Charlie Brown also experienced difficulties getting stolen money out of the country.

From: Harry Potter [mailto:harrypoter@tsamail.co.za] Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2005 2:37 PM Subject: Your prompt response.


Dear Honourable Friend,

I REGRET ANY INITIAL EMBARRASSMENT MY LETTER MIGHT CAUSE YOU.I DO NOT INTEND TO INVADE YOUR PRIVACY BY THIS MAIL OF WHICH I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE ON THIS MATTER.

I AM CAPTAIN HARRY POTTER OF THE BRITISH 4TH INFANTRY ARMY DIVISION TROOPS.IN RETROSPECT DURING OUR COMBINED FORCES WITH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ARMY TO OUSTER THE BRUTAL REGIME OF SADDAM HUSSEIN IN IRAQ, OF WHICH DURING ONE OF OUR ROUTINE SEARCH OF SADDAM HUSSEIN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE IN BAGDAD SOME OF MY COLLEAGUE AND I FOUND SOME BOXES CONTAINING MILLION OF DOLLARS IN SADDAM HUSSEIN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE TO THE TUNE OF SIXTEEN MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.($16.2M)

AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF THIS BOXES MY COLLEAGUE AND I CAREFULLY REMOVED THE BOXES TO A SAFE LOCATION OF WHICH WE NOW ARRANGED WITH A SECURITY COURIER FIRM WHOM NOW HELPED US IN SHIPPING THE BOXES OUT OF IRAQ TO EUROPE FOR SAFE KEEPING MARKED AS FILM AND FILM MATERIALS OF WHICH I HAVE DOCUMENTS TO THIS EFFECT SHOWING PROOF OF DEPOSIT.

DUE TO THE CURRENT NATURE OF MY JOB IT BECOMES QUITE IMPOSSIBLE FOR MY COLLEAGUE AND I TO CLAIM THIS MONEY,HENCE WE SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE .

I AM THEREFORE ASKING YOU TO PLEASE COME TO OUR AID IN GETTING THIS MONEY OUT FROM THE SECURITY COURIER FIRM FOR US, FOR ONWARD INVESTMENT OF THE MONEY INTO VARIOUS BUSINESS AS ADVISED BY YOU.

I AM CONTACTING YOU IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT WE WILL BE OF GREAT ASSISTANCE TO EACH OTHER.YOU WILL BE ADEQUATELY COMPENSATED FOR THIS. I WOULD ADVISE THAT THIS MATTER BE TREATED IN CONFIDENCE.

PLEASE DO GET IN TOUCH WITH ME ON RECEIPT OF THIS MAIL THROUGH THE SAME EMAIL ADDRESS AND ALSO INCLUDE YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER SO THAT WE CAN AS WELL SPEAK TO EACH OTHER TO FACILITATE QUICK TRANSACTION OF THIS PROJECT.

I LOOK FORWARD TO A MUTUAL BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP.

REGARDS,
CAPTAIN HARRY POTTER


I like the way the money is cleverly disguised as film. That's elegance.

#26 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 02:34 AM:

I'll bet "Weasleyforce" was a great help with the loot.

#27 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 06:24 AM:

Dear Sir,

I have recently come into the de facto possession of a large tract of assorted urban and beach-front real estate which I believe to have significant development potential. Despite my greatest, most persistent, efforts, I have been unable to locate the owners, and so I have taken steps to secure title to the property.

However, I find I need monies, not directly tracable to me, to pay the costs associated with the title transfer. Your name has been recommended to me as a trustworthy partner in this enterprise.

Should you wish to participate, email me at gbush@whitehouse.gov

#28 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 07:12 AM:

Dave, your first one isn't bad, but it has an air of being dangerous, and there aren't enough concrete details to make a clear simple picture in the readers's head. Georgiana, yours lacks a mechanism or circumstance that would keep Harry from securing the money himself.

#29 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 07:33 AM:

Teresa, your knowledge worries me...

#30 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 07:50 AM:

Dave, some of us are simply obsessed with mechanism. We gotta know how the thing works. Without getting too deep in the forensic debridement, there are two mechanisms for separating Mark from Mark's Money: either Mark is convinced to open access to his or her bank account, in which case the account is vacuumed clean, or else Mark is told that some earnest money is necessary to bribe officials, this request being repeated until Mark either gets suspicious or runs out of money to send. (It's quite possible for both these scams to be run on the same mark.)

A couple of years back, the sum cited as the "average" take from a 419 was $60,000. That was in the wake of a California case where the secretary at a law firm, over a period of two years, wired a total of $2 million from the company accounts to Persons Unknown, despite that she did not have authorization to make wire transfers. (She had a friend at the bank, who was technically innocent but extremely stupid.) She was only stopped when she outran receivables and the firm's checks started to bounce.

Ain't it just the cutest li'l ol' abyss you ever looked into?

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 09:01 AM:

Well, I was a farmer.

After a few years selling into a market dominated by the supermarkets, one begins to assume the worst of people.

#32 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 09:43 AM:

Teresa you're right. It's also not as interesting as I remembered it, I thought he found gold but of course cold hard cash is the desired end product so money makes more sense.

I still don't understand who the target audience is supposed to be. Ten-year-old girls who have a crush on Harry and can access their parent's bank accounts online?

How many of these scam emails does the average person get? On a bad day I get five or six. I usually hit delete after I get to the word "surprised" and can tell it's not someone looking for password help.

I got my favorite one already this morning, the gentleman from Dubai whose cancer has "defiled all forms of medicine." That's such an evocative image. I love it.

#33 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 10:33 AM:

I came across this gem in a facsimile reprint of a local history book of the eclectic and anecdotal type that was first published in 1932. It's the story of a letter received in 1900 by a local worthy gentleman living in Charlbury, Oxfordshire, UK.

According to the letter, a Spaniard had apparently been living in the county, made a good sum of money and had then had word that his wife back in Spain had died, their daughter being at boarding school there. Our Spaniard had gone back to Spain to sort out affairs, but before doing so, had buried his savings of £15,000 locally, drawing a map to show exactly where. But on returning to Spain, he had been arrested for taking part in a rebellion some years earlier and was now in prison. According to the letter, as faithfully reproduced, he is dreadfully concerned for his daughter, so if our local worthy will only send money to pay for her passage to England, and undertake to look after her, our Spaniard will send the map showing the location of the buried £15,000, out of which, naturally, our local worthy can recover his outlay and the expenses of looking after the daughter.

Anyway, our local worthy was no fool and handed this letter over to the police who soon established that this was an instance of 'The Spanish Prisoner Fraud' that had been running successfully for some while, with letters sent from several countries.

A friend subsequently googling on this found various sites asserting that The Spanish Prisoner Fraud dates all the way back to 1588, when a poor Englishman was allegedly imprisoned by Philip II of Spain. Presumably on account of having his beard singed and the Armada sunk and such like.

#34 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 11:00 AM:

I've recieved ones in the past referencing corrupt Zimbabwean officials (taking money skimmed off Mugabe's slush fund, need someone to get it out of the country), and ones with white Zimbabwean farmers (need help to get their money out of the country before it gets taken from them). The balance amused me.

(On the other hand, I did check the names on the white-farmer one, just to be sure. I have every respect for my relatives there, but from past experience I suspect they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.)

Stefan, Picus: regarding the "phones home to the US" thing, there is some precedent for this...

Perhaps most compelling is an anecdote from the 1983 US invasion of Grenada. The scene: an Army unit in urgent need of close air support; Navy aircraft fly overhead and the carrier USS Independence looms in the distance. An officer is crouched in the booth of a local payphone, desperately using his personal telephone calling card to make an international call to his divisional headquarters in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The urgent request is eventually routed to the Navy, and then back to the nearby carrier. The reason for this predicament? A lack of common frequencies between Army and Navy radios. (here, though the story varies in details. There's similar anecdotes; one I know of dates back to WWII, though that was a local call)

#35 ::: kanshi_ng ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 11:49 AM:

I'm a regular dealer with these scammers, I work closely with groups such as Artists Against 419 and the South African Police Service through 419legal.org.

The Artists collate a database of fake bank web sites used in these frauds, and do their best to make sure that the hosting companies are made aware of these fakes and shut them down.

419legal is a different entity. Information passed there is used to locate and arrest scammers wherever possible. Naturally, legal niceties dictate that 419legal is only able to deal with ZA based scammers.

For the record, the teams working on both sites have seen millions of scams, often stringing scammers along to see just how the scams work. What we've seen is that very rarely does the victims banking infomration come into play. They may well be asked for it, but that's only window dressing. Electronic transfers leave plenty of trace, the favoured method of cash transfer is something along the lines of Moneygram or Western Union. Occasionally we talk to victims who were taken for money via bank transfer, but the deopsit accounts tend to be located in China or other hard to access countries.

While I'm sure I'm teaching granny to suck eggs, if you want to do something about these scams, there are many many ways to cut them down. Simply forward each one to abuse@ whatever mail provider they use, it should shut down the box, nothing major, but an annoyance for them. You could consider visiting the sites above and helping out with their volunteer efforts if you have time on your hands. Most of all - make some noise, see what your countries police force does with these scams. See where they want them forwarded to. As long as people are silent about them, they'll be of no note. If the internet gets angry, police forces will have to act together aginst them.

#36 ::: Ian Osmond ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2005, 03:17 PM:

Aren't all Nigerian scams considered (simplified) "Spanish Prisoner" variants?

#37 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 07:50 AM:

I wish I'd saved the "plea" I received last week from Arafat's widow. She needed me to handle some $ for her as well. It's odd though, because clearly, despite the subject heading telling me that this was personal and confidential and all, I'm thinking she didn't due due diligence when compiling her list. As I'm Jewish and have tons of family in Israel it seems unlikely that this gambit would work. Of course, I sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time wondering who these scams do work on...

#38 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 12:21 PM:

I got one yesterday purporting to be from someone in Ghana ('Udenno John'? something like that), but their "more secure address" for e-mail was at "yahoo.com.ar". Right.

#39 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 08:13 AM:

I got an email message a couple of years ago that was apparently a spoof of all the "Nigerian scam" messages. Every once in a while, I get something amusing mixed in with the spam...

(begin quote)

Hello,

I'm a time traveler stuck here in 2003. Upon arriving here my dimensional warp generator stopped working. I trusted a company here by the name of LLC Lasers to repair my Generation 3 52 4350A watch unit, and they fled on me. I am going to need a new DWG unit, prefereably the rechargeable AMD wrist watch model with the GRC79 induction motor, four I80200 warp stabilizers, 512GB of SRAM and the menu driven GUI with front panel XID display.

I will take whatever model you have in stock, as long as its received certification for being safe on carbon based life forms.

In terms of payment:
I dont have any Galactic Credits left. Payment can be made in platinum gold or 2003 currency upon safe delivery of unit. Please transport unit in either a brown paper bag or box to below coordinates on Sunday July 27th at (exactly 3:00pm) Eastern Stand Time. If you miss this timeframe please email me.

42.4845467 & Longitude -71.1576157 and the ground is 101.3' above sea level.

Although those coordinates are a secure guarded area, these channels through email are never secure. Unfortunately it is the only form of communication I have right now. There is a good chance that sombody will try to redirect the signal. The unit must be teleported directly in a way
that nobody will be able to interfere with the transference.

After unit has been sent please email me at: info@federalfundingprogram.com
with payment instructions. Do not reply directly back to this email.

Thank You


ore
gmpztui e

#40 ::: Jonathan Edelstein ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 01:08 PM:

Any bets on how long until the first Katrina 419-style emails?

I haven't seen Katrina 419s yet, but the fake-charity appeals started coming two or three days after the storm hit.

At any rate, 419s have been diversifying for years, and they usually follow political crises fairly closely. I got a Yukos 419 this morning, for instance.

#41 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 01:41 PM:

Howdy to you and yours

You are corresponding here with the wife of the former mayor of Gretna, sugah. Recently we was in a situation with the danger of increasing superdomes in our city, leading citizens of Gretna stored their values in a uhaul for later transport to the sum of $5,747,000.00 worth of necklaces, watches, shotguns, and jambalaya. Now due to the consarned yankees and their interbooting ways we may be having an evacutation of the nigra.

Please help me save our values from the nigra by sending me an account for you local bank, credit card number of you and company, and street address other reasonable information so that I and my associates can send to you our values.

Much love in jesus! Hugs and Kisses.

#42 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 09:18 PM:

Lovely, brian!

#43 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2005, 09:42 AM:

Here's one variety I'd like to see:
-------------------------
Dear Senor (NAME),

I apologize for this intrusion, but I have a lucrative business offer.

I am President (NAME) of Colombia.
I have amassed a fortune in abetting the selling of cocaine, money which I plan to secretly transfer to America by using "illegal migrant workers" as couriers. If you are willing to help me bribe the right border officials, we can both strike it rich (...)
--------------------------

Or how about this one:
--------------------------

My Fellow American,
Please allow me a few moments of your time.

I am (NAME), Vice President of the United States of America. I have gathered a large amount of state funds through lucrative state deals with companies in which I am a major shareholder. I have also diverted state money into certain "slush funds", officially earmarked for combating terrorism and yadda yadda.

Now I need the help of one God-fearing, red-blooded American - YOU - to help me transfer these 500 million USD away from the bloodsucking IRS, to a free bank account in the Cayman Islands (...)
---------------------

Just kidding, folks.. ;-P

#44 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2005, 04:18 PM:

I think I've seen the cheney variant before... either that or I wrote a cheney variant about three years ago and sent it to my co-workers. it's hard to remember now.

#45 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2005, 03:22 PM:

What I like is the level of stupidity this one takes for granted.

I'll forget that most of Saddam's money was all found by guys in OIF 1, who all rotated out a year and-a-half ago.

If they can get it into a diplomatic pouch, what the hell do they need anyone else for?

TK

#46 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2005, 03:31 PM:

Picus: I tried to watch it. The camera work was just too much for me.

TK

#47 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2005, 04:32 PM:

Michael:

The email message you got sounds like either a spoof or the latest evolution of the actual "time traveler" spam. There's a story there...

There is this guy out there - people have tracked down his identity but I do not recall his name - who is evidently schizophrenic or otherwise severely delusional, but functional on an everyday basis.

Somehow or other he became convinced by reading SF stories or crackpot webpages and publications that time travel is real, and that all his personal problems can be solved if he can go back in time bodily to some point in his childhood where everything went wrong - perhaps some traumatic event? - and fix it, and then relive his life from childhood normally. He is also convinced that somebody out here, either aliens or time travellers or dimension travellers, has this technology and would sell it to him if he can only contact them, and that the best way to contact them is by spamming everybody begging them to sell him the appropriate time machine components.

He's been spamming out these pleas to millions of people for a number of years now. Over the years more and more annoyed recipients have messed with his head, telling him exactly what made-up technology would work, his pleas have gotten more and more specific as to exactly what he needs. In the meantime as he has all this spamware, he also supports himself by a steady stream of your standard commercial spam and scams.

Usually he doesn't describe himself as a stranded time traveller, or get through a whole email without alluding to the Horrible Things wrong with his life, so I'm not 100% sure this is him.

There are a number of potential SF stories which could be spun from this, but I'm not sure anyone would believe the part of it that's actually true!

#48 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 04:51 PM:

well if you figured time travel was real maybe it would make sense to claim to be a stranded time traveller so that one of the real time travellers would help you.

So what about that one guy who wanted to get back to the future really quick to make the coronation of Queen Jenna Bush?

#49 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 09:50 PM:

The 419 scam stories can't compare to the reality:

Nearly $9 billion US is missing and unaccounted for from the first 8 months of the occupation, under Bremer:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1522983,00.html

That includes at one point several hundred million dollars being kept in cash, US currency, in a locked room - with the key in a backpack on the desk in the room outside.

Since the handover to the appointed Iraq government, at least another $1 or $2 billion US earmarked for weapons and equipment has "disappeared" from the defense agency, which is one of the many reasons Iraq still does not have a functioning army or police.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1573954,00.html
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/printer_091905J.shtml

The garden variety swindlers are nothing to this.

#50 ::: Xopher sees particularly annoying comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Eww.

#51 ::: Alexis Duncan doesn't think it's spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 10:34 PM:

Not directly, anyway; it looks like Richard is asking whether this spam he's received from Mark Edwards could be from the same source as the one in the OP.

#52 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 11:48 PM:

Thank you, Christopher.

Richard, if I've mistaken your intent, write to me and I'll reinstate your comment.

#53 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 06:30 AM:

So what about that one guy who wanted to get back to the future really quick to make the coronation of Queen Jenna Bush?

What? Why would he be in a hurry? He's got a time machine.

#54 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Why would he be in a hurry? He's got a time machine.

He's got a time machine and a finite time to use it before he gets too old. Many of the places you want to go in a time machine do not have modern health care. We can hope he has access to a time in the future when science has figured out how to greatly extend the human life span, and the people at that time are willing to share it with him. But since we're talking about a future that includes Queen Jenna, the chances of such a happy outcome seem pretty slim.

#55 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2007, 05:01 AM:

TomB: That one made me laugh out loud, worrying my coworkers.

#56 ::: Michal ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2007, 04:22 PM:

I got this yesterday :))) really nice try from "US MARINES" in Iraq :D lol...

For instance, i'm selling one car: Nissan Skyline on autoscount24.de and I got a reaply, that Mr. Fletches is interested in buying my car.. after that he spamed me with theese messages :D .. i though he is a regular buyer at first.

Sorry for my eng, I'm from Slovakia, next to Austria (EU).

Hello ,
I want to inform you that i will buy your car but ihave a business proposal for you. I am a captain with the United Nations troop in Iraq,on war against terrorism.Based on the United States legislative and executive decision for withdrawing troops from iraq come this year,i have been deployed to come and work in your country's military base soonest.Our mission is to help beef up terrorist targeted states,mostly the United states and the European Union on the war against terrorism.I will need a car for myself and that is why i contact you. On the other hand i want to inform you that I have in my possession the sum of 16.2million USD. which was recovered from one of our raids on terrorists here in iraq because they keep most of their money at home for evil activities which they normally get through illegal deals on crude oil.

Based on the suffering we undergo here some of us do meet such luck.It happened that i went for this raid with the men in my unit and i decided to take it as my share for my stress here in this evil land filled with suicide bombers.I deposited this money with a red cross agentinforming him that we are making contact for the real owner of the money.It is under my power to approove whoever comes forth for this money. I wish to use this money for charity purposes in Turkey,where we have about 3 million iraqi refugees and Sudan where we have currently the highest numbersof refugees displaced as a result of war.You need to visit such places.I want to invest the money on stockfish from Norway to this refugees because base on my experience on battle ground in this places,they lack a lot of fish and meat to add to their meagre and unpalatable meals which they get in little quantity just to keep them living untill God knows when the problem ends.Instead of allowing this terrorists to get the money and spend it on purchasing arms illegally from Russia and North Korea it is better channeled to saving the world.

I cannot move this money to the United states because i will be in europe for about 3years,so i need someone i could deal with.If you accept,i will transfer the money to europe where you will be the beneficiary because i am a uniformed person and i cannot be parading such an amount so i need to present someone as the beneficiary.I am an American and an intelligence officer at that so i have a 100% authentic means of transferring the money through diplomatic courier service .I just need your acceptance and all is done.

Please if you are interested in this transaction i will give to you the complete details you need for us to carry out this transaction successfully.I decided to find someone that is real and not imaginary and that is why i went to a secured car site where i can be sure that the person is real. I believe i can trust you. where we are now we can only communicate through our military communication facilities which is secured so nobody can monitor our emails,then i can explain in details to you.I will only reach you through email,because our calls might be monitored,I just have to be sure whom i am dealing with. If you are interested please send me your personal mobile number so i can call you for further enquiries when i am out of our military network.I am writing from a fresh email account so if you are not interested do not reply to this email and please delete this message,if no response after 3days i will then search for someone else.I am doing this on trust,you should understand and you should know that as a trained millitary expert i will always play safe in case you are the bad type,but i pray you are not.16.2million USD is a lot of money which is the dream of anyone.

I wait for your contact deatils so we can go on.In less than 7days the money should have been noted on your account and i will come over for my money.I will give to you 20% of the sum and 80% is for my dream.I hope i am been fair on this deal.

Regards,
Capt Peter Fletcher.

#57 ::: Michal ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2007, 04:25 PM:

And a reply to it :DD i was little bit playing with him, i'm doing only car bussines and this reminds me of the old Nigerian scam messages that I was receiving a year ago ;)

Hello,
First,let me make you understand my power in affecting the transfer of this funds.As i have already informed you on how this money is been brought,and i know i have equally informed you on where the money was deposited.I am in command of my unit in Al-Basrah,i give orders,and i am a marine and you know the respect and honour we control.I do not need to give you any further info.i believe you have the mind to understand even when giving a clue.I will prepare all the necessary documents for approval that the money is yours with a diplomat who is a friend but will not know that you are not the actual owner of the said funds because he is a man of decent mind.He will have my approval before he comes for the clearance of the money.

I will be doing myself a great favour to explain in simple terms how this deal is going to be so that if you will not be able to do it,you can forget about it now please.This deal is for real it is no joke and i want you too see for yourself.I do not know you neither do you know me so we cannot possibly talk of trust in this issue now rather, i have arranged everything in a way that you will have your own share of the funds and you will deposit my share for me in a swiss account which i will give to you.The only role i need from you is for me to arrange the consignment in your name so that you will clear the consignment as your own but will then take 20% of the funds to yourself and transfer it to wherever you want and the balance of 80% will be paid to a swiss account which i will give to you.This will be done with the help of the diplomat in europe.

Now i want you to know that,Every week a redcross relief jet flies to europe from Baghdad to go collect reliefs from donors in europe.I have two of my men as security to the airplane.If we come to a concrete agreement,i will contact a diplomat here in Al-basrah whom i have some of my men on guard in his premises to come seal up a consignment which is with the redcross to the beneficiary in europe.Then i must have prepared every document making you the true beneficiary of the funds.
I want you to know that diplomats run a courrier service which is called DIPLOMATIC COURIER SERVICE,this service is meant for transferring hard documents,huge funds and precious stones.they call it consignment.This consignment will be registered under their service and will be carried with their diplomatic immunity to any country where they have diplomatic grounds and then deliver it to the beneficiary of the consignment on the grounds where they maintain diplomatic immunity.
In this case,the deal will go like this,Once i register the consignment in your name,The diplomat will seal it and then will send it to europe after registering it as a diplomatic consignment in a diplomatic box and then transfer it to another diplomat in europe who will pick up the consignment from the airplane and then deliver it to you.The airplane that will be used in this deal is the redcross jet which equally has its own immunity because of the nature of its work.Wherever it lands in europe the diplomat in europe will now go and claim the consignment and then have an appointment when you will come claim your consignment.

As soon as i am through with the diplomat's arrangement here i will get from him the contact of the diplomat that will deliver the consignment to you in europe and forward his contact and phone number to you so you can have an appointment with him to know when you can come claim the consignment.
I want you to know that,there is what is called a diplomatic transfer account.You will inform the diplomat to help you transfer 80% of the funds to a swiss account that i will give to you and you can have your own,if you equally need his help to help you deposit your own share without any problem he will do it,though this will take a lot of charges from the consignment but whatever it is please pay him once you have the consignment and then send my own share to the account i will give to you.Every charges will come from my 80%,i am a man of honour,you can have your 20% for your help,i know that is been very fair,let all charges be from my share.

The only thing needed from you is that you will come with a particular amount which will be disclosed to me once i conclude with the diplomat.this is the fee which you will pay to the diplomat when you get to the office where you will take delivery of the consignment.This fee is what is called handling charges.You will pay for it at the point of delivery because of the vault which the consignment will be lodged.The consignment is lodged in a vault and you will be the only person that will have access to the vault,the fee is for the company that handles the vault.The consignment is bonded and will only be delivered to the owner by the diplomat after the payment of the handling charges by the beneficiary at the point of pick up.Once you get the consignment you can from my own part of the money take back the your expences.
I do not know you and i do not think we equally need to know each other for now,we can only speak of trust and friendship once i discover that my own share is on my swiss account.Then we can really then become very good friends.I know this might come to you as a surprise but i must tell you that with my experience in international politics,i must inform you that 70% of the richest people on earth made their money from such deals and that is why everybody cannot run accounts with so much money in it and not everyone that can own a rich swiss account.Those accounts are made for such deals where nobody will ask you how you made the money,rather they are interested in making it safe for you.That is their banking policy.

I want you to know that i want to deal with someone i do not know because the deal will have no trace.I am a marine so i have to be careful,this is a wicked world,it is possible that you might be a bad person that may want to put me in trouble so i can deny i do not know you,so it is safe not to know you,but if you are good and can have this deal with me and keep it very secret between the both of us,then in one week we are rich.

If you are ready for this deal,you are required by this letter to furnish me with the information below, as I did told the Red Cross officer that we shall be intimating him with the information of the rightful owner of the boxes.

1. Your Full name
2. Your country of origin and Contact address in
your country
3. Your state of residence and origin in your
country
4. A copy of your international passport /driver's
license
5. Your direct telephone number
6.your occupation.

Once i receive this i will prepare every document making you the rightful owner of the consignment immediately and will contact you as soon as i conclude arrangement with the diplomat here.

Get back to me urgently,

Thanks,
Capt Peter Fletcher.

.............isn't that beautiful :DDD .. life is short, don't spend it on bs, better earn it your self ;)

Mike

#58 ::: vesna ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2008, 08:28 AM:

This is an email I received few days ago, but its EXACTLY same story as with Michal. I placed an add for property, house, to be sold in Greece, and I got a reply. Surprisingly, my "buyer" wasnt interested in the house, but he had a business proposal.

Hello

I want to inform you that i will buy your property but i have a business proposal for you.
I am a captain with the United Nations troop in Iraq,on war against terrorism. Based on the United States legislative and executive decision for withdrawing troops from Iraq this year,I have been deployed to come and work in your country's military base soonest.

Our mission is to help beef up terrorist targeted states,mostly the United states and the European Union on the war against terrorism.

On the other hand I want to inform you that I have in my possession the sum of 16.2 million USD. which i got from crude oil deal.

I deposited this money with a red cross agent informing him that we are making contact for the real owner of the money.It is under my power to approove whoever comes forth for this money.

I wish to use this money for charity purposes in Turkey,where we have about 3 million Iraqi refugees and Sudan where we have currently the highest numbers of refugees displaced as a result of war..You need to visit such places.
I want to invest the money on stock fish from Norway to this refugees because base on my experience on battle ground in this places,they lack a lot of fish and meat to add to their meagre and unpalatable meals which they get in little quantity just to keep them living untill God knows when the problem ends.
Instead of allowing this terrorists to get the money and spend it on purchasing arms from Russia, it is better channeled to saving the world..
I cannot move this money to the United states because I will be in europe for about 3years,so I need someone I could trust.If you accept,I will transfer the money to europe where you will be the beneficiary because I am a uniformed person and I cannot be parading such an amount so I need to present someone as the beneficiary.
I am an American and an intelligence officer for that so I have a 100% authentic means of transferring the money through diplomatic courier service .I just need your acceptance and all is done.

Please if you are interested in this transaction I will give to you the complete details you need for us to carry out this transaction successfully.I decided to find someone that is real and not imaginary and that is why I went to a secured house site where I can be sure that the person is real. I believe I can trust you. where we are now we can only communicate through our military communication facilities which is secured so nobody can monitor our emails,then I can explain in details to you.I will only reach you through email,because our calls might be monitored,I just have to be sure whom I am dealing with.

If you are interested please send me your personal mobile number so I can call you for further enquiries when I am out of our military network.I am writing from a fresh email account so if you are not interested do not reply to this email and please delete this message,if no response after 3days I will then search for someone else.I am doing this on trust,you should understand and you should know that as a trained military expert I will always play safe in case you are the bad type,but I pray you are not. 16.2 million USD is a lot of money which is the dream of anyone.

I wait for your contact details so we can go on.In less than 5days the money should have been noted on your account and I will come over for my money.I will give to you 30% of the sum and 70% is for me.I hope I am been fair on this deal.

Regards,
Capt Jerry West

#59 ::: kosta ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2008, 10:41 AM:

helllo everyone,

i recently received an email, similar to the one of Vesna and Michal...Although i think that this might be scam, i also believe there might be a little truth in it. i am ready to make a deal. if anyone has already done it, can you share your experience... any other advice or tips will be helpful.

#60 ::: johnny ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 09:28 PM:

Hi costa,

yes it is possible that some soldier could have bagged a bunch of Saddam's money and is looking for a way to get it into the country. but good luck getting by the CIA and the FBI. They'll be waiting for the "silver box" at "the docks." Hey there's a song!! If your lucks anything like mine, you can't fart without getting caught! :)

#61 ::: Arx ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Today I got this to my personal name from ray.odiernoo@gmx.de

************************
Hello "my real first and second name"

I contact you in response to your advertised property.I am Gen.Ray Odierno,commander of the Multinational Forces currently in Iraq.I contacted you primarily in confidence hoping that you can be a trustworthy person and would also be helpful in a matter like this.I am interested in your property and i will pay for it because i will need it when i am deployed to Europe.

I am the commander in charge of Victory Camp,Baghdad on war against terrorism.Based on the United States legislative and executive decision for withdrawing troops from Iraq come this year,i have been deployed to Joint Multinational Readiness Center(JMRC),Hohenfels(Upper Palatinate) in Bavaria,Germany.Our mission is to help beef up terrorist targeted states,mostly the United states and the European Union.

During my 6 years stay here in Iraq,i was able to make the sum of 16.2million USD.Part of this money came from Oil deals which i got involved in while some part of the money was recovered from one of our raids on terrorists hideouts here in Iraq because they keep most of their money at home for evil activities.

I cannot move this money to the United states because i will be in Europe for about 5 years.Secondly,i am a uniformed person and I cannot be parading such an amount so I need to present someone as the beneficiary.I am an American and an intelligence officer for that so I have a 100% authentic means of transferring the money through diplomatic courier service .I just need your acceptance and all is done..The only way to be safe with this money is to invest it there in Germany considering the fact that i will be there for some time.So i need someone i could deal with.If you accept,i will transfer the money to Europe where you will be the beneficiary.

I decided to find someone that is real and not imaginary and that is why i went to immoScout24 website where i can be sure that the person is real.where we are now we can only communicate through our military communication facilities which is secured so nobody can monitor our emails.If you are interested please send me your personal mobile number so i can call you for further inquiries when i am out of our military network.

You can also send me a confirmation email so that we can move forward with this deal and discuss the percentage that you will be entitled to out of the whole amount after i must have paid for your property.

Regards,
Gen.Ray Odierno
************************
and later this:
************************
Thanks for your swift response to my mail,honestly i hope you will keep our deal as a top secret.I feel relaxed to assure you with the life of my family that you will never regret doing this business with me.I am a married man with two kids and I love my family so much and I will not like to involve myself in anything that will jeopardize any of my effort not to achieve this very great objective.

First,let me make you understand my power in affecting the transfer of this funds.As i have already informed you on how this money is been brought,and i know i have equally informed you on where the money was deposited.I am in command of the Multinational Forces in Iraq,i give orders,and i am a General and you know the respect and honor i control.

I do not need to give you any further information.I believe you have the mind to understand even when giving a clue.I will prepare all the necessary documents for approval that the money is yours with a diplomat who is a friend but will not know that you are not the actual owner of the said funds because he is a man of decent mind.He will have my approval before he comes for the clearance of the money.

I will be doing myself a great favor to explain in simple terms how this deal is going to be so that if you will not be able to do it,you can forget about it now please.This deal is for real it is no joke and i want you to see for yourself.I do not know you neither do you know me so we cannot possibly talk of trust in this issue now rather,i have arranged everything in a way that you will have your own share of the funds and you will keep my share in a very safe place till i come soon.

The only role i need from you is for me to arrange the consignment in your name so that you will clear the consignment as your own but will then take 20% of the funds to yourself and transfer it to wherever you want and the balance of 80% will be kept for me because once you have the box then i will find my way to Germany as soon as possible.

Now i want you to know that,Every week a red cross relief jet flies to Europe from Baghdad to go collect reliefs from donors in Europe.I have two of my men as security to the airplane.If we come to a concrete agreement,i will contact a diplomat here in CAMP FALLUJAH whom i have some of my men on guard in his premises to come seal up a consignment which is with the red cross to the beneficiary in Europe.Then i must have prepared every document making you the true beneficiary of the funds.

I want you to know that diplomats run a courier service which is called DIPLOMATIC COURIER SERVICE,this service is meant for transferring hard documents,huge funds and precious stones.they call it consignment.This consignment will be registered under their service and will be carried with their diplomatic immunity to any country where they have diplomatic grounds and then deliver it to the beneficiary of the consignment on the grounds where they maintain diplomatic immunity.

In this case,the deal will go like this,Once i register the consignment in your name,The diplomat will seal it and then will send it to Europe after registering it as a diplomatic consignment in a diplomatic box and then transfer it to another diplomat in Europe who will pick up the consignment from the airplane and then deliver it to you.The airplane that will be used in this deal is the red cross jet which equally has its own immunity because of the nature of its work.Wherever it lands in Europe the diplomat in Europe will now go and claim the consignment and then have an appointment when you will come claim your consignment.

As soon as i am through with the diplomat's arrangement here i will get from him the contact of the diplomat that will deliver the consignment to you in Europe and forward his contact and phone number to you so you can have an appointment with him to know when you can come claim the consignment.

I want you to know that i want to deal with someone i do not know because the deal will have no trace.I am a marine so i have to be careful,this is a wicked world,it is possible that you might be a bad person that may want to run away with the money,but if you are good and can have this deal with me and keep it very secret between the both of us,then in one week we are done.

If you are ready for this deal,you are required by this letter to furnish me with the information below, as I did told the Red Cross officer that we shall be intimating him with the information of the rightful owner of the boxes.

1. Your Full name

2. Your country of origin and Contact address in
your country

3. A copy or number of your international passport /driver's
license

4. Your direct telephone number

5.your occupation.


Once i receive this i will prepare every document making you the rightful owner of the consignment immediately and will contact you as soon as i conclude arrangement with the diplomat here.


Get back to me urgently,

Gen Ray Odierno
************************
here are parts of the original mail header:

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#62 ::: Chris W. sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 06:07 AM:

#62

#63 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Actually, tyre (if I may address you by your first name on such brief acquaintance) I do have a Facebook fan page. I am, of course, its only member.

I also have an excellent tyre inflator (manufactured by Michelin), which I was, and this will make you laugh, able to lend to a total stranger who came into the Grantley Arms near Ripon, and asked if anybody happened to have such a device. His car had a slow puncture, you see, and he was concerned that he might not be able to drive as far as Harrogate with his front near-side tyre in such a condition. I interrupted the rather expensive, but nontheless delicious chicken and ciabatta with a very tasty salad which I was enjoying, and accompanied him to the car park, where his girl-friend, or perhaps finacée, was waiting in their unfortunately coloured Vauxhall Astra. But here's the coincidence. It was parked right next to my Vectra!

Wasn't that interesting?

Thought not.

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