An Old Scam Rears Its Ugly Head Again

I feel intruded upon.  I feel like my time is wasted.  Yet, there are people out there who have fallen for this scam, so I will take the time to put it out there, just in case…

I received two emails today.  Here is the first (don’t spend too much time on it – just skim it):

UK NATIONAL LOTTERY HEADQUARTERS
2 Lansdowne Row, Berkeley Square.
London, W1J 6H,
United Kingdom.

Dear Winner

This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of £1,000,000.00 (British Pounds)  held on the 27th of January 2007, in
London Uk.The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection system (ess) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from which you were selected. your e-mail address emerged as one of two winners in the category “A” with the following winning information:

REF No: UKNL-L/200-26937
BATCH No: 2007MJL-01
TICKET No: 20511465463-7644
SERIAL No: S/N-00168
LUCKY No: 887-13-865-37-10-83

The BRITISH UK. Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board. To begin the processing of your prize, you are to contact our fiduaciary claims department for more infomation as regards procedures to claim your prize.

Mr. Nolan Woods.
Email: (I deleted this so no one could link to the address) 

Tel : + (I deleted these numbers)
       + (I deleted these numbers)
Fax: + (I deleted these numbers)
Contact him by sending him with the underlisted informations;

NAME:
AGE:
SEX:
ADDRESS:
EMAIL:
PHONE:
OCCUPATION:
COMPANY:
COUNTRY:
AMOUNT WON:

Reply to this confidential email account: email:
(I deleted this email)

Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.

Yours faithfully,
Mrs. Caroline Bryan

Online coordinator for UK NATIONAL LOTTERY
Sweepstakes International Program.
NATIONAL LOTTERY.

Here is the second email (again, just skim it):

Dear Friend,

I have not considered this medium to be the best manner to have approached you on this issue being that the internet has been greatly abused over the recent years and is very unsecured for informations of vital importance. I have decided to take the chance seeing that no other means could have been faster and more efficient than the E-mail.

The name is Mr. Henry Coleman and I am the director of foreign operations of my Bank. I have been incharge of this department for six years and to best of my knowleage have discharge my duty with equity. I had a foreign client who is deceased as at this time, but have assets still unclaimed with the bank.

In the process of review of the financial report by my department, I discovered that both of you have a similar last name, hence I contacted you so that I can give you further briefing on my intention and how to disburse the estate he left behind.

I will most welcome your prompt response as that would enable us to start something immediately.

Sincerely,

Henry Coleman.

As I know we’re relatively computer-savvy (we started at least one blog, didn’t we?), to fall for these scams seems to be improbable to me.  Nevertheless, I wanted to do a little bit of research on them since they seem to be popping up more frequently in my inbox, as they may have in yours.

Both of these emails, as well as different versions of them, are referred to as one of the following (from Snopes.com):

  1. Nigerian Scam
  2. Advance Fraud Scheme
  3. 419 Scheme

In spite of the fact that there has been much press exposing this scheme and its initiators, people are still getting duped by it.  Dr. Kevin Pho at “Kevin, M.D. Medical Weblog” writes about doctors getting scammed by the Advanced Fraud Scheme.

The folks over at “BoingBoing” and “TailRank” write about Thomas Katona, a county treasurer in Michigan, who fell for the scam and ended up getting arraigned for embezzlement of funds.

Mail & Guardian Online report of a retired Italian banker who lost over $1 million by participating in this fraud.

And according to Freep.com, the “Nigerian email scam [is] still collecting from its victims.”

The “419 Coalition” has a series of steps to take if you do receive one these emails. 

However, that is not the purpose for this post.  Because these scams have been originating in Nigeria (although other variations of the scam have been popping up in other locations throughout the world), it would be “natural” for people to begin associating Nigerians with “scam.”  Essentially, because of press coverage this topic has received, the risk for “scam profiling” of Nigerians is quite high.  So I wanted to bring attention to the fact that just because there are Nigerians associated with this scam does not mean that all Nigerians endorse it or condone the behavior of the scam artists.  In fact, Nilla, a patriotic Nigerian, says this:

“For all non-Nigerians, scammers are not celebrated in Nigeria, only the scammers celebrate what they’ve achieved.”

As you receive these emails and hear the news reports about the scam artists behind them, let’s remember that a few bad apples do not represent an entire people.  Most Nigerians abide by the law.  Let’s stomp racial profiling to where it belongs – into the pit of hell.

2 comments

  1. Claire says:

    Hear! Hear! I totally agree with you! I, too, received a Nigerian Scam mail and even engaged in IM conversation with the scammer. The guy was a total sleazeball and an obvious liar that I couldn’t stop taunting him and hurling insults at him and his kind. I’ve since blocked this person from my IM list of contacts. However, I couldn’t help feeling some sympathy for Nigerians who were the real victims here. Their reputation are being badly destroyed by these emails.

  2. KWiz says:

    I think it’s important not to give energy to the media reports and such that are coming out about the Nigerian scammers. It’s sort of like the reports that came out about Senator Biden today. It’s my feeling and opinion after watching the news this evening that the media is blowing his comments about Barack Obama out of proportion. It’s a trick; while issues of race and gender do matter in this country, the way the media spins what probably aren’t issues are meant to distract us from what the real issues are. So I think the key is to diffuse the energy and the source of that energy as it springs up around us. The key, as I tell my students, is to learn to think critically about what we hear. I think Americans don’t do this very well sometimes.

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