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April 25, 2010

A New Nigerian Scam
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:27 PM * 78 comments

New to me, at least. It appears to date back at least as far as 2008. I’ve found examples from as recently as this week.

This one seems to target ESL teachers who post their contact information on jobs boards.

Here’s a typical example:

Dear Teacher,

I am David Adrian from stockholm, Sweden and work as an Engineer at Chevron Oil Lagos, Nigeria. My wife and Kids recently joined me in Nigeria; she is Swedish and can’t speak English. I am seriously seeking for the services of an English Teacher.

I have reviewed you resume online and would like to know if you would be able to come and teach my wife and four kids Eleonora, Britta, Synnove and Arvid English most importantly is my wife; She would be attending an interview at a bank here in Nigeria soon. I want to know if you can come by first week of October 2008 to teach my family English.

I am willing to offer you US$6,500 per month with health insurance and return ticket. I have a twin duplex which I and my family occupy one of them at the moment, and if you accept this offer, you would be staying in the second Duplex. I will pay for a round trip ticket for you if you accept the offer.

Regards
David

The name of the supposed sender varies. Where he comes from varies. (While Sweden is pretty common I’ve seen examples where the sender claims to be from Germany, Russia, or other countries.) The name of the firm that employs him varies, and the supposed sender isn’t always an an engineer with an oil company. Sometimes he’s a medical doctor at a hospital, for example. Sometimes he has two children, sometimes four, and their names vary. What doesn’t change is the salutation, (Dear teacher”) reason the wife needs to learn English (“an interview at a bank here in Nigeria”) and the salary that would be paid: $6,500 per month.

The next step, for those who accept the job offer, seems to be the news that in order to obtain a work permit the would-be teacher must send $500. I don’t know the next stage after that, but I imagine, as with other advance-fee frauds, it’s infinitely expandable, as long as the mark is willing to keep sending money.


Dear Teacher,

I am O*****************, from Russia and work as an Engineer at Total Nigeria. My wife and Kids recently joined me in Nigeria; she is Russian and can’t speak English. I am seriously seeking for the services of an English Teacher.

I have reviewed you resume online and would like to know if you would be able to come and teach my wife and four kids English most importantly is my wife; She would be attending an interview at a bank here in Nigeria soon. I want to know if you can come by first week of May 2010 to teach my family English.

I am willing to offer you US$6,500 per month with health insurance. I have a twin duplex at the staff quarters and we only occupy one of them at the moment so you would be staying in the second Duplex if you accept this offer. I will pay for a round trip ticket for you if you accept the offer.

Regards, O*****************


Dear teacher,

My name is DR Michael ********** i am from Berlin Germany and work as a CHIEF MEDICAL DIRECTOR at ABIA STATE UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL, ABA Nigeria (www.absu-th.com). My wife and Kids recently joined me in Nigeria, she is German and can’t speak English.

I am contacting you because i viewed you resume at www.eslpro.com and would like to know if you would be able to come and teach my wife kelly and my two kids Jasmine and John English, most importantly is my wife; She would be attending an interview at a bank here in Nigeria by December 2008. Therefore, i want you to know if you can come by January or February to teach my family English.

I contacted the local directory of Teachers and found out the salary range of teachers, Therefore i would be willing to offer you US$6,500 per month and also include a health fee of US$700 and vacation fee of US$1000.

I have a twin duplex, Me and my family occupy one of them at the moment, and if you accept this offer, you would be staying in the second Duplex.

I have informed the Hospital where i work, and they would be paying for your relocation cost if you accept the offer.

If you are interested, please send your Full name and contact address, so that i could prepare a contract and inform you about further proceedings in getting into the country to resume Work.

Regards,

DR Michael ************


Dear Teacher,

I am Frederek Sigvard from stockholm, Sweden and work as an Engineer at Chevron Oil Lagos, Nigeria. My wife and Kids recently joined me in Nigeria; she is Swedish and can’t speak English. I am seriously seeking for the services of an English Teacher.

I have reviewed you resume online and would like to know if you would be able to come and teach my wife and four kids Ludvig, Helmer, Synnove and Arvid English most importantly is my wife; She would be attending an interview at a bank here in Nigeria soon. I want to know if you can come by July 2008 to teach my family English.

I am willing to offer you US$6,500 per month with health insurance and return ticket. I have a twin duplex which I and my family occupy one of them at the moment, and if you accept this offer, you would be staying in the second Duplex. I will pay for your airfare cost if you accept the offer.

Regards
Fred (+234 807 287 3226)


Comments on A New Nigerian Scam:
#1 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 01:58 PM:

Pssh. Like there are any Swedes who can't speak English.

#2 ::: green_knight ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:01 PM:

I haven't gotten this one yet, but over the last year or so I noticed that a lot more scams and phishing attempts are using job offers as a hook. Since I advertise on my webpage, _have_ my resume with a number of online sites, have gotten legitimate work through those channels, and am always looking for copy editing work, I can't _not_ look at them.

Most of them appear to want to pay me insane amounts of money for jobs that all appear to somehow involve channelling money through _my personal accounts_ in one way or another [*].


[*] Mostly 'out' one supposes, although a number of them seem to be genuinely looking for money launderers.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:01 PM:

I can see a Russian who might not speak English, but someone from western Europe? Not likely.
And going to Nigeria (where they do speak English as a second or third language, and maybe also French) - I wonder how many takers they get?

#4 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:09 PM:

Heresiarch- There must be some, but the likeliest cohort to find them in is pensioners, and not recent pensioners at that. My aunt is in her 60s and manages English when she must and she's from a small town and seldom leaves Sweden. My grandparents spoke little English, however, so someone in their 80s or 90s might well be monolingual.

But yes, in general, if there are countries less plausible for natives speaking no English, there are not many, and most of those have English as an official language.

#5 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 02:38 PM:

Someone said to me recently that the people making the real money are the ones selling these "make money by scamming using email" packages to desperate Nigerians. True or not, I think of that whenever I see a rash of virtually identical scam emails like this.

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 03:05 PM:

There have been similar scams from people trying to get massage therapists to book a series of appts for someone who's visiting, sending the therapist a bad check/money order, and then asking for a refund before the check actually gets through the system. I haven't been hit with this, but I know people who have.

#7 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 03:22 PM:

My daughter got offered the "I'll hire you to do [job], take your salary out of this money order I'll send you" deal. She was smart enough not to take it.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 03:37 PM:

This is a variant of the fake money order/cheque advance scam. A friend of mine got rooked by it(I think by Russian rather than Nigerian scammers). She was offered a tutoring job, paid an "advance" and told to send a part of it to a designated party as payment for another plausible service. The "advance" cheque turned out to be fake, and she was out a couple of hundred dollars she could ill afford.

#9 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 04:19 PM:

A lot of people in Eastern Europe, including the eastern part of Germany, did not have English as part of their curriculum. I've taught a few (originally East) Germans who had had Russian at school, and as adults -- the ones I've met were in their 40's and 50's -- found English quite a challenge.

#10 ::: Johan Anglemark ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 04:23 PM:

I'd say the cutoff age for Swedes and knowing English is about 70 years old. Until just after the war, German was the second language taught in Swedish schools, English being the third and thus not taught to everyone. Of course there will be individuals below that age whose English is piss-poor, but not many.

#11 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 05:51 PM:

Money laundering scams look like this:
http://krebsonsecurity.com/2010/04/fire-alarm-company-burned-by-e-banking-fraud/

Krebs has documented a large number of these scams that involve fraudulent wire transfers of money to 'mules' who then take a cut and transfer the remainder to the scam artist, usually somewhere in eastern europe.

#12 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 07:05 PM:

I've gotten a few "seeking legal representation" emails lately, which I've been assuming are variations on this general scam, though I don't know how it unfolds from initial contact.

Since I'm not a lawyer, I'm assuming these are being sent out fairly indiscriminately. (I do list some books on law on my online books site, and have some information pages on copyright and related laws, but none of that should lead anyone paying attention to believe that I'm a lawyer.) Has anyone else gotten email like this, or know more about the scheme behind it?

#13 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 07:22 PM:

I'm still waiting for my job offer from the Red-Headed League.

#14 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 07:26 PM:

I've gotten several e-mails offering me a position on some kind of editorial board; they're purporting to come from Elzevier, who, however trashy they might be as a publisher, probably don't send out e-mails to random people offering employment.

#15 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 07:42 PM:

I find it interesting that the "prize" of both the the Spanish-Prisoner-type scams, and the bad-check-advance scams, seems to be shifting from a windfall payout, to a job offer.

#16 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 08:08 PM:

Following up on my previous comment, it turns out there's a whole blog featuring samples of email scams targeting lawyers and the like.

From warnings I've seen on some other sites, it sounds that most of them are indeed of the counterfeit-check variety (they send over a really big cashier's check for a retainer, ask for something to be wired back from the "surplus", and the mark only finds out later that the check was fraudulent, and has to reimburse the bank for the full amount.)

#17 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 08:46 PM:

You'd have to be a very desperate ESL teacher indeed not to notice that those letters don't come from Europeans. The patterns of error aren't even close.

#18 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 08:48 PM:

This scam is not uncommonly aimed at music teachers too, as is the "I'm sending my children to the US and I want you to teach them" scam.

#19 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 09:14 PM:

#17 You'd have to be a very desperate ESL teacher indeed not to notice that those letters don't come from Europeans.

If you want an really good example of that:

Dear teacher

me name is Dr Hans ********* me is from Berlin Germany and me is work in madona teachinghospital. www.madonateachinghospital.gq.nu me is see you cv at www.eslpro.com and me is like it and me is want to know if you is able to come and teach my wife kelly and me two kids.most importantly is me wife she needs to go banking interview here in Nigeria by first week of march next year and me is want you to know if is is to come by january or February to teach me family English sine February this year me family join me me kids are not in school because they is hard to speak English me wife it trying but she need to be teach well well for the interview.

me is offer you US$6,500 per month and me is include health fee of US$700 and vacation fee of US$1000 .

me is get you good house were you is live and me is good family you is like us if you is come stay with us.

me is see you cv already me is just want to know if you is make it now or if you is ready to come immediately me is get you travel paper here and send to you.

so me is which to here from you soon so me is prepare you contract letter and send you so that we is get you papers ready.

cheers

Dr Hans ********

+234805856453

#20 ::: Dos Ocho ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2010, 10:55 PM:

David @ #15

It is interesting... and it seems much more likely to work, too, since it's (somewhat) targeted and a lot more plausible than the "overthrown government official with millions to share" story.

I can see how people might fall for it.

#21 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:23 AM:

Jim @ #19: interesting fact: +234 is indeed in Nigeria, while 805 is a cell phone area code.

(And www.madonateachinghospital.gq.nu does not exist, nor does madonnateachinghospital at the same domain; gq.nu is actually just a placeholder site.)

#22 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:49 AM:

Does anyone get the really, really desperate one-line ones: something like "for share in $10,000,000.00 send name, address , date of birth, bank details....."?

I mean, there's bottom-feeding and then there's bottom-feeding. As above, I wonder if the 'scammer' isn't being scammed by the one selling them the email lists...

#23 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 06:26 AM:

Do anybody know, by the way, how common it is that an expatriate engineer or doctor hires a private tutor for his or her spouse and children? I gather that quite a few expatriates send their children to international schools, but a teacher of their own?

#24 ::: Irene ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 06:37 AM:

Shame you've taken the names out in the Russian one! I'm yet to see a foreigner who gets Russian names right. Could be fun! :-(

What ARE they like, heh?

#25 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 06:54 AM:

heresiarch @ #1:
Pssh. Like there are any Swedes who can't speak English.

YOu would've thought so, but... Some are uncomfortable with it and most under the age of seven do not speak a single word of English.

#26 ::: Dave Lucas ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:56 AM:

Of all Nigerian Scams, this one is the BEST!

#27 ::: Marek ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 09:18 AM:

Irene @24:

When I was studying for my BA in Polish-English translation, my editing teacher held one lesson specifically on differentiating between Polish and English transliterations of Russian names and surnames.

Every language develops their own mode of transliterating Cyrilic and some, like English, are unfortunately ill-equipped to deal with it.

#28 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 09:40 AM:

I can see a Russian who might not speak English, but someone from western Europe? Not likely.

That's an extraordinary generalisation. It's true that most highly educated northern Europeans do speak English, because it's taught in schools. But not everybody is good at languages, not everybody is highly educated and not all countries teach English as a matter of course. If you think you're just going to walk into a supermarket anywhere between the Atlantic and the Oder and chat away to the cashier and the shelf stackers in English so you can do your shopping, I'm afraid you're going to be right out of luck.

#29 ::: Julia S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 11:07 AM:

This just reminds me to encourage everyone to read I Do Not Come to You by Chance, by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. It is one of the best debut novels I have ever read, and it is certainly the best novel about international e-mail scamming I have ever read.

#30 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 12:33 PM:

Johan Anglemark @ #10: I'd say the cutoff age for Swedes and knowing English is about 70 years old. Until just after the war, German was the second language taught in Swedish schools, English being the third and thus not taught to everyone. Of course there will be individuals below that age whose English is piss-poor, but not many.

I know there used to be regional differences at least in Norway. My dad (born 1940) had English at school in Rogaland while my mum (born 1945) didn't have English at school in Trøndelag - she only got it after they moved south.

And it really depends. Nearly everyone understands English, but whether they dare try to speak it is quite another thing. It certainly took me a while to feel comfortable about speaking English when sober. (Stop laughing! I am occasionally sober even on holiday!)

For "most English-speaking place outside the Anglosphere" I nominate Stavanger (the oil capital of Norway), where apparently you don't need to be able to speak Norwegian at all in the service sector.

#31 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 12:47 PM:

Roy @30:
For "most English-speaking place outside the Anglosphere" I nominate Stavanger (the oil capital of Norway), where apparently you don't need to be able to speak Norwegian at all in the service sector.

It's up against stiff competition with Amsterdam, whose city council has recently adopted English as its official second language for official business.

#32 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 12:57 PM:

abi@31: Wow! I know second-hand that English is very commonly spoken there, but having it be an official language for politics, and only the second one at that, does surprise me.

General: Even if you learned English (or some additional language) pretty well in school, depending on how your life has gone, you may have lost most of it through lack of practice. It's easier in the USA of course (my three years of french in gradeschool and four years of german in highschool haven't left me with much, nor did the couple of terms of Russian in college); but one could live in some parts of many European countries and not find much use for languages other than the local if you stayed put, couldn't you? At least, not find much need for English?

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 12:58 PM:

28
My workplace has people from Spain, Russia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Nigeria, Korea, and the Philippines. We've also had people from Vietnam, India, all three Chinas, and Poland.

The people with the biggest problems in English comprehension can be the native speakers.

#34 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:04 PM:

ddb @32:

In the Netherlands at least, most foreign-language content on TV and at the cinema is subtitled.* This means that, even without the pervasiveness of English-language advertisements and slang, people are exposed to a continuous low-level refresher course.

Considering that there is not even a word in the Dutch language for embarrassment†, you can be sure that the locals here get a good deal of language production practice as well.

-----
* aimed at people over the age of literacy; cartoons are dubbed
† this is an urban legend; of course they have the concept. How else to describe otherwise puzzling behavior of foreigners?

#35 ::: saturngrl ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:08 PM:

@#17 and @#19

What a good point. I'm not even trained in ESL, but after only a brief period of copyediting international students' papers I am pretty good at spotting German vs. Chinese vs. Latvian transliteration patterns.

As for the question of Swedes and English, I spent a year in Sweden not too long ago, and it was a pretty safe generalization to assume that everybody under, say, 30 would speak English to me the moment I attempted my garbled Swedish. And I could assume at least basic comprehension if they were under 50 or so. Granted, the fact that I was living in University town might have skewed the demographic a bit, and I didn't travel all over the country for comparisons. (I will note, though, that I was not in or near one of the major port cities where cosmopolitan tourism might increase the need for English.)

My sense, though, was that it was less because of schooling and more because of media. Almost all TV and most movies played in English, with Swedish subtitles (actually, IIRC much of the English TV was without subtitles, and there were only a few channels with Swedish-language programming). I realize that hearing lots of English isn't the same as speaking it, but I do think this makes a difference.

#36 ::: Martyn ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:21 PM:

PJ Evans @ 3, spoken to many French people lately? Many Spaniards or Portuguese or Italians outside the tourist areas? English isn't quite the lingua franca of Europe yet (and I, for one, hope it never is)

#37 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:26 PM:

I had my first session with a group of German secretaries today. They range in age from about 30 to nearly 50, I'd say. All had had English at school, some had Business English during their training courses. However, none have had occasion to seriously use it much at all in the years (decades) since. Now their business landscape is changing, and they are having to manage correspondence and telephone conversations in English.

This is something I encounter repeatedly. The market is large enough that films and TV shows are all dubbed here, which means that the low-level exposure that abi @34 described doesn't happen. People may need some English when they travel, but there are a lot of places in Europe that cater to vacationing Germans by having German-speaking staff -- including Holland.

Shorter me: ddb @32 is right about people not keeping up with English after leaving school.

#38 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:38 PM:

abi@34: Ah, yes, that would certainly help people at retain what English they had learned, and probably pick up more. And then the Internet gives people another need/opportunity to practice. I have even read a few paragraphs of web pages in german this month, with help from web translators (they help me with vocabulary issues a lot).

Martyn@36: I've been somewhat doubtful about the french (for some decades now), so I do get a bit of a kick out of the idea of English being the lingua franca. Which, um, you're sure you don't think it is already? If you had to spend a month being randomly bounced to European locations for 4 hours each, and could only know one language, what one language would you pick?

#39 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 01:50 PM:

Martyn, I may be odd, but I think learning at least one language besides English is a good idea for Americans. (Four years of German, a little French, a little Spanish, a little Mandarin - I can at least make more-or-less correct noises in them, even if I have to read from a tourist lexicon for the wording.)

#40 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:07 PM:

P J Evans@39: Oh, you probably are odd; most of us are, statistically. Anyway I do also think that it's good to learn a language besides your first language; I'm glad I had French in gradeschool, and I chose to take German in highschool. And my German was good enough to exempt me from my college's language reguirement, but I took some Russian in college anyway.

On the other hand, it's a bit bittersweet to know that I've never really used any of them for anything; I was last in a German-speaking country in 1967, before I was in highschool taking German, and three years of gradeschool French really hasn't left much in my head. And I can't understand anything interesting that my Russian-speaking friends are saying to each other (didn't meet them until decades after college).

#41 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 04:23 PM:

ddb, that's about the spot I'm in. (I took a quarter of German and three of Latin in college, along with various computer languages. I am perhaps over-languaged by any standard. And frequently confused in all of them.)

#42 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 05:26 PM:

I took French from 8th grade all the way through 12th and Russian from 11th through 12th. The French has helped me puzzle through Spanish some; the Russian didn't stick at all. Or so I thought, till I was watching CNN Int'l about fifteen years ago and realized I was reading the Russian Cyrillic place name at the bottom of the screen.

#43 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 05:49 PM:

Linkmeister@42: At this point, I've lost the ability to pronounce stuff written in Cyrillic. It's depressing.

#44 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 07:44 PM:

Abi @34: Considering that there is not even a word in the Dutch language for embarrassment.

This, though news, does not surprise me at all.

It is akin to the startling discovery that French has neither word nor concept for "Worldview."

#45 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Mark D.: So what is "mentalité," then?

#46 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Dear Sir,

I have receive your name from a list of names. I know you are busy so no nonsense let us cut the chase. Just send US200$ to my address and we can both get on with our lifes. I have more mails to write. Thank you and bless.

#47 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2010, 11:47 PM:

[stanza below should be at bottom, however the cut and paste is not working properly at the moment on my computer...]

Oh where oh where can your English be?
You stinking scammer get away from me.
I hope that someone shall unfeed your head,
I'll be cheering when I hear that you are dead!

The spam arrives in my Inbox full
I smell the shit of a stinking bull
The subject line it make little sense
Perhap the spammer thinks that I am dense

I go to Properties to Message Source
Look at the raw content that's crap of course
The routing come through ugly domains,
I wish for all of them that none remains.

#48 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 01:06 AM:

I went to a grade school that taught French (my younger brother and sister actually went to French immersion schools -- my parents are Francophiles) and continued taking it through all four years of high school. I had two semesters of German in college, which is a smattering, and two semesters of Japanese, which is less than a smattering. In this century I've studied Classical Latin and Ancient Greek, enough to read texts in those languages if I have a lot of help from online tools. And I've read about two-thirds of a book called Teach Yourself Old English.

I've actually gotten to a point where I can generalize a bit: with the Latin and the French, I can read written Spanish at least somewhat; and I'm now reading the Hugo-nominated novel Julian Comstock, and I was able to puzzle out enough of the brief passage in Dutch to realize that the narrator's sergeant lied horribly to him about its contents. (I actually learned a little Dutch from that: such as je being a second-person pronoun, and zijn being the third person plural of "to be".) So that's fun.

#49 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 02:37 AM:

TexAnne @45:

I sincerely hope that Mark is as serious as I was about the Dutch not having a word for embarrassment. (verlegenheid)

#50 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 02:52 AM:

abi, 49: I've rather lost the ability to tell--you wouldn't believe how many oafs meet me and snigger about how French people surrender easily. So I'm sensitive about urban legends on the subject.

#51 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 03:51 AM:

Talking of which , much discussion at work about how countries cope whose language has no word for Tardis (i.e., how do they talk about sometihng bigger on the inside than on the outside?)

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 06:22 AM:

TexAnne @ 50... you wouldn't believe how many oafs meet me and snigger about how French people surrender easily

Dis-leur d'aller se faire enculer.

#53 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 07:57 AM:

TexAnne #50 I thought that la Garde meurt mais ne se rend pas. Or was that just merde?

#54 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 08:02 AM:

Serge: Sans blague. /nicolas

Fragano: It seems that Waterloo nullifies conquering Europe.

#55 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 08:05 AM:

Abi and TexAnne:

In 2005 my wife and I helped administer a conference in Paris on theology and the arts. The principal speaker was American, and he did a lot of talking about different worldviews. In course of preparing the PowerPoints with a native French translator what I said earlier was revealed: there was no concept of what we mean by "worldview.”

After considerable animated and somewhat dismayed conversation we settled on “vision du monde”, but it was definitely just a placeholder. The point seemed to be not so much “It’s French or nothing,” but rather, “Huh?” They could not even wrap their minds around a different conception of the world.

My French is negligible and I don't know the nuance of mentalité, but I remember discussing it and the French speaker didn't consider it a possibility.

As for the French "surrendering easily" - feh! If you've ever tried to dispute with one....fuhgettaboutit.

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 08:14 AM:

Mark D @ 55... Strange. There was such a thing as "vision du monde" where I come from. Mind you, I grew up in Quebec City's suburb, not in France. I could ask my friend Elisabeth although, while she grew up in France, she was born in Vietnam when it was still a French possession.

#57 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 08:31 AM:

I thought that la Garde meurt mais ne se rend pas.

Nullified by the fact that, less than an hour after that was (supposedly) said, the man who (supposedly) said it did in fact surrender.
See this rather splendid Times correspondence.
http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/miscellaneous/c_cambronne.html

#58 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 08:41 AM:

Mark D.: I can't argue with your personal experience, but I can say that when I learned the word "mentalité," it slotted neatly into the place where I keep the English word "worldview."

#59 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 09:11 AM:

TexAnne and Serge -

The point to us was that such a powerful and flexible intellectual tool was opaque to the French folks we were hanging out with.

For context, it was a 50/50 crowd of native English speakers with good to excellent French, and French speakers vice versa. Discovering the disconnect was very shocking to the Anglophones, and puzzling/frustrating to the French.

#60 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 09:42 AM:

David @ #51:

Oh! You mean a police-box of holding!

#61 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 10:07 AM:

And English, of course, has no equivalent of the Dutch "goedgelovigheid"...

#62 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Or "toekomst muziek", one of my favorites. Even "gezellig" is difficult to translate.

#63 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 10:18 AM:

(Yes, Paul A, I do get it...)

#64 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 10:51 AM:

According to Google Translate*, Icelandic genuinely doesn't have a word for goedgelovigheid. Which explains quite a lot ...

* I know, I know. But my Dutch-speaking office-mate is out today.

#65 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 11:17 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @53:, ajay @57:

As soon as I read "la Garde meurt mais ne se rend pas," I thought of a line from Asterix: "Mais si, elle se rend!" Glad to know it's historically accurate.

#66 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2010, 07:34 PM:

I wouldn't be at all surprised if part of the first scam above was "here's a big cheque for you to buy your round-trip ticket with; please wire the remainder back..."

A friend of mine, who runs a private daycare for young children, has received a couple of similar messages from supposed itinerant church ministers who claimed that they'd be spending a few months in Ottawa. Regardless that she stated up front that she wanted secure payment (e.g. cashier's cheque) for the exact amount up front to reserve a spot, and they agreed, what actually arrived in the mail was a large regular bank cheque with a request that she take out her own fee, buy some airline tickets (IIRC) and mail them to a different address, and then wire back the remainder. And she *still* took some convincing that the whole thing was a scam.

#67 ::: Worldwalker ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2010, 07:36 PM:

I got a laugh out of the supposedly German one by "Hans" because of the capitalization. Or, rather, the lack of it. A German with only a passing familiarity with English won't write in all lower case -- he'll capitalize every noun he could find.

Speakers of Romance languages get noun/modifier order backwards and assign gender to nouns (sometimes with unexpectedly humorous results). Chinese have problems with verb conjugation (I've never been sure if it's because Chinese is an isolating language, or if they just throw up their hands in despair at the mess English makes of its verbs). Germans capitalize nouns and glue adjectives onto them. Russians leave out articles. In short, people tend to follow the structure of their native language when writing a foreign language they don't know well; I'm sure I do the same in my second language. These error-filled letters stand out because they are filled with the wrong errors.

Sadly, this sort of thing isn't obvious to the average monolingual American. I honestly don't know how people fall for these scams, because to me they practically scream "scam!" when I read one. But they do, and a lot of them are people you'd think would be smart enough to know better. Does the sight of dollar signs cause a shutdown in some critical part of the brain? (and could this be somehow fine-tuned to affect slushpile readers?)

#68 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 10:47 AM:

Worldwalker @ #67: Speakers of Romance languages get noun/modifier order backwards and assign gender to nouns (sometimes with unexpectedly humorous results).

You occasionally see someone pluralizing adjectives ("the greens cars"). Writers doing this are invariably Italian, IME.

Germans capitalize nouns and glue adjectives onto them.

The one that screams German-speaker to me is directly translating "seit" into "since", so you get something like "since three years I live in Nigeria" - which is sadly missing from the fake letters. (That German form is a wonderfully unambiguous way to say you're still living there, which is sadly missing from both English and my native Norwegian.)

#69 ::: Liz Ditz ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Here's the one I got, in response to a Craigslist posting:

How are you tutor,this is Benny, pl z i av a child call MAROON.i want you to tutor him.I am from Columbus,Ohio, but currently based in Liverpool,UK with my brother and children,my son will be coming for an holiday in the States,and i want him to be busy throughout.Therefore,i just want to know maybe he can always come to you and teach him great things like you mention.i don't mind any amounts you request for but how well you are .pl z mail me back so i can go ahead with further questions. Thanks

It sounded hinckty, but hey, I need the work, so I emailed him back asking for more details. The boy was older than I work with so I referred him to another tutoring service.

I'm about to email them with a warning.

#70 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 05:30 PM:

abi #62: What is "future music"?

#71 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2010, 05:32 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @ 68: The one that screams German-speaker to me is directly translating "seit" into "since", so you get something like "since three years I live in Nigeria"

Swedish seems to have the same issue:

"Since many years I haven't seen a rifle in your hand."

--ABBA, "Fernando"

#72 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 05:20 PM:

Another scam that is popping up is that of advertising an apartment, or house, for rent through CraigsList, giving an address and an attractive (yet not too lowball) a price.

This is usually aimed at people who are students looking to rent someplace for when they move into the area, so they don't have the opportunity to see the lanflord. Many times a Google StreetView coordinate is given so the prospect can see the exterior, and photos are sent that "show" the interior.

When monies do change hands (usually though snail-mail or services like PayPal) when the rentors go to move in they find that the "landlord" was a scammer and that the property is already rented or is not a rental at all.

The scammer, of course, is long gone, and in some of the cases is not even onshore.

#73 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2010, 08:09 PM:

This thread is mainly linguistic, but the economics of e-mail scamming are worth considering. It isn't just that Nigerians are poor. Nigeria is on the wrong side of the digital divide: Broadband Internet access is disproportionately expensive, hence e-commerce can't take off and some people decide that scams via dial-up e-mail are more profitable. An ambitious enough scammer only needs one person to bite.

In the United States, the digital divide favors the dissemination of political e-mail messages by and to lower-income Republican residents of the poorer red states; many of these people don't have broadband, either. Of course, some of them could afford broadband but don't get it, because everyone knows the Internet is full of pornography.

#74 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2010, 01:56 AM:

Craig R. @ #72 Another scam that is popping up is that of advertising an apartment, or house, for rent through CraigsList, giving an address and an attractive (yet not too lowball) a price.

This has been happening quite a bit in Hawai'i. Some of the ads seem completely laughable to me, as the photos are of interiors that look like they came out of Architectural Digest (and maybe they did), being pitched as great for students. Uh huh. Example: $600/mo Awesome 1 bdrm apartment. Not far from everything. garbage,water,sewer,snow removal and 1 car garage parking included.5 s steel appliances. Central AC New cabinets and countertop, new paint, new carpet throughout. Must see this space!!
For Honolulu, that's about half of what one could expect a 1-br like that to go for - and hey, snow removal included! Don't we all look for that when renting in Honolulu!

I know of people having listed a rental on a reputable real estate site then having scammers do a listing on Craigslist, and winding up having to try to explain to those wanting to rent a lovely home at an unusually low price (because the scammer claims to be a missionary or a minister, and wants to share God's love) that they are being scammed. That's a relatively minor hassle compared to the home owners who discover that their locks have been changed and people they don't know have moved in .

Snip of scammer email correspondence:

Hello Dear,

Sorry for the late response!!!!Calvary greetings to you,also to your house hold..I did get your response concerning the AD I posted on craigslist... .I am the owner of the house you are making enquiry of.I am looking for responsible tenants that he/she is going to take care of the house as if it were your own and he/she will be willing to make the Property clean as we left it.Actually I resided in the house with my family,such as my wife and my only daugther before and presently we had packed due to my transfer from my working place and now situated in the (West Africa Nigeria)and won't be coming to the House until Four years now and that means we are renting the Property for long term and short term lease is also acceptable. and presently my house is still available for rent for $1200 which the deposit is $1000 dollars including the utilities like Heat, A/C in wall/window, Hydro, cable, Garbage Disposal, Fireplace , Fridge, stove, Dishwasher, Dryer, Breakfast Bar, Dining Table and Sofa Set,Refrigerator,Canopied deck overlooking nature.,internet access e..t.c .,it is furnished or if u wish to move in with your furnitures no problem..Moreso Now, i went for a Crusade in West Africa .Pls i want you to note that,i am a kind and honest man and also i spent alot on my property that i want to give you for rent,so i will solicit for your absolute mentenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own,is that taken, it is not the money the main problem but want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad to see it neat when i come for a check up.ido that once in a while...I also want you to let me have trust in you as i always stand on my word.

#75 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 02:21 PM:

MK - (# 74)

That exact kind of scam is why, when we do advertize either of our rental units on Craigslist that the MapQuest marker we put in the ad is to the nearest major intersection, not to the address itself.

Of course, even when the ad text plainly says that the Mapquest link shows the nearest major intersection and *not* the property address (so only people who were going to actually legitimatly show up and look at a rental with intent to rent would be the ones to view it), some people were still calling and saying they couldn't find the property.

#76 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 02:21 PM:

MK - (# 74)

That exact kind of scam is why, when we do advertize either of our rental units on Craigslist that the MapQuest marker we put in the ad is to the nearest major intersection, not to the address itself.

Of course, even when the ad text plainly says that the Mapquest link shows the nearest major intersection and *not* the property address (so only people who were going to actually legitimatly show up and look at a rental with intent to rent would be the ones to view it), some people were still calling and saying they couldn't find the property.

#77 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2010, 09:22 PM:

This "gem" just sneaked past my spam filters -- a more "traditional" scammer, but one who's barely trying. The domain is apparently in China -- does that match the English errors?

[Note: the "From" address was at BTConnect.com, but the "Reply-To" matched the signature.]
---
Subject: Dear Brother/Sister

My name is Lt. Col. Tyler Buckley, an American soldier,am serving in the military of the 1st Armoured Division in Iraq had serious bullet injuring am the hospital $10,000,000.00 Ten Million Dollars safe keeping in bank, as no relative I want you to act as my relative to receive this fund .If you are interested I will forward you all the details.

Yours Sincerely
Lt. Col. Tyler Buckley American Citizen.
Reply lttylerbuckley@ [wduty.com, which WHOIS indicates is in China]

#78 ::: Sean Mager ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 04:13 AM:

All Internet postings for the rental of Unit# 3703, 66th Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 98613 are Nigerian scams. The IP address for the responder to all requests, "Leandro Collado", originates in Lagos, Nigeria. Renters beware...

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