Monday, September 17, 2007

Out of Africa ... and into Iraq, or was that Mauritius?

For sheer inventiveness, you have to hand it to some of the "darker elements" who use the Internet.

Reportedly, the designers of XXX-rated sex and porn sites are amongst the earliest adopters of new web design techniques, putting some more conventional sites to shame.

This also seems to apply to the scamsters behind "419 fraud" -- named after the relevant section in Nigeria's criminal code , this country being the original centre of such activity.

I've kept copies of typical 419 messages going back to 2003, when such frauds really started getting popular. These messages came thick and fast until about 2005, at which point they seemed to die down and other more obtrusive forms of malware took over (spambots, key loggers, and all the rest of it).

Well, it's a case of "down, but not out" it would seem. Some scammers must still be profiting from this old-hat approach, and a message that arrived overnight tickled my fancy enough for me to want to post a copy of it in its entirety, if only as an appreciation of the scammer's black art.

My apologies to the "Mr John England" sending from an anonymous Hotmail address. Strangely, your client IP address tells me that you're probably in Mauritius rather than Iraq. Anyhow, I felt that others might want to know about your kind offer, so here it is verbatim:

Subject: A massage From John. To You.
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2007 15:06:21 -0200

Dear Friend,
With due apologies for interference in your privacy ,my name is John England, an Army contractor attached to the US Army corps of engineers in Iraq. The reason why I am explaining my findings to you are to seek for your assistance to enable you contributes immensely to the actualization of my dream.

on the 30th day of August 2007, I and my group of men under my supervision were alerted on the need of some urgent reconstruction works in Haifa Street, a long thoroughfare of high-rise buildings built and occupied by Saddam Hussein when he was alive here in Baghdad. Immediately we proceeded to the site and as we commence work to our utmost surprise we discovered a huge underground bunker in one of the buildings. Upon investigation of the bunker to our surprise we discovered one very lager box safely hidden and sealed together with numerous other boxes filled with different item, However I was attracted to the large box which was the only sealed box of them all, I told my men to open the box in order to find out the contents and when they were opened to our amazement the boxes contained US Dollars which amounted to $46M after time was taken to count them in bundles and rolls.

I however instructed them to keep this in high secrecy so that we can have the money to our selves, they all agreed to the plan, I wisely took the decision for us to share the money between our selves right there in the room to avoid suspicion in moving the very large box and that led me to having US$10.2 Million (US$10,200,000) as my own share of the money after which I concealed it in one box and decided to get the money out of the country but first I hid the money in a safe and untraceable location.

I am now in desperate need of a Reliable and Trustworthy person like you who would receive, secure and protect these boxes containing the US Dollars for me up on till my assignment elapses here. I cannot leave the boxes here in Iraq like most of my men have foolishly done due to many reasons one of which is because Iraq is getting unsafe and dangerous everyday and a full blown civil war among Shittes and Sunni Iraqis may start any moment. I assure and promise to give you 14% of this fund, however feel free to negotiate what you wish to have as your percentage in this deal.

Please assure me of your keeping this topmost secret within you so that my job would not be jeopardized.

My Sincere regards,
John England.

I'm not sure about your reference to the "very lager box" (presumably it contained some beer), and I don't think that the "Shittes" would be very impressed with your message. Your use of the English language certainly belies your surname, Mr English!

By the way, what's your telephone number and street address in Iraq, or even Mauritius, so that I can contact you by regular mail? And may I have your bank account details too, just your credit card logon and password will be okay? Your 14% offer looks a bit low to me, how high are you prepared to go? You can post all of your replies as comments to this Blogger article.