Tag Archives: advance fee fraud

Government of Nigeria “tortures” 419 Scammers – If Only!

imageI’m not advocating the torture of cyber criminals and spam scam artists, although ….

This morning, when I received an email (ostensibly), from The Federal Government of Nigeria (The Advance Fee Fraud section), in which it was made clear that – “some scam Syndicates were apprehended in Lagos, Nigeria few days ago and after several interrogations and tortures, (my) details were among those mentioned by some of the scam Syndicates as one of the victims of their operations” , it momentarily entered my mind that torture might be an appropriate penalty. Especially for those involved in this latest “wolf in sheep’s clothing” scam.

I’ve covered the wolf in sheep’s clothing scam here a number of times, including

1051 Site Dr. Brea, CA – Not An Address You Want To Go To!

A Helpful Spam Scammer – A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

This particular spam scam is highly instructive, and it illustrates the lengths to which these crooks will go to entrap the unwary and gullible. Unfortunately, the description “unwary and gullible”, is easily applied to substantial numbers of Internet users.

As an experienced and cautious Internet user, it’s safe to say that you will not be deceived by this type of clumsy attempt to defraud but, you might be surprised how often reasonably intelligent people are. So, be kind to your friends, relatives, and associates, particularly those who are new Internet users, and let them know that there is an epidemic of this types of scam on the Internet. In doing so, you help raise the level of protection for all of us.

For reference, I’ve included the full text of this “torturous” email, which contains the usual spelling, grammar, punctuation, and layout errors.


The Federal Government of Nigeria through provisions in Section 419 of the
Criminal Code came up with punitive measures to deter and punish
offenders.The Advance Fee Fraud section deal mainly with cases of advance
fee fraud(commonly called 419) such as obtaining by false pretence through
different fraudulent schemes e.g. contract scam, credit card scam,
inheritance scam, job scam, loan scam, lottery scam, “wash wash” scam (money
washing scam), marriage scam. Immigration scam, counterfeiting and religious
scam. It also investigates cyber crime cases.
This is to officially announce to you that some scam Syndicates were
apprehended in Lagos, Nigeria few days ago and after several interrogations
and tortures your details were among those mentioned by some of the scam
Syndicates as one of the victims of their operations.
After proper investigations and research at Western Union Money Transfer and
Money Gram office to know if you have truly sent money to the scam
Syndicates through Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram, your name was
found in Western Union Money Transfer database amongst those that have sent
money through Western Union Money Transfer to Nigeria and this proves that
you have truly been swindled by those unscrupulous persons by sending money
to them in the course of getting one fund or the other that is not real,
right now we are working hand in hand with Western Union and Interpol to
track every fraudsters down, do not respond to their e-mails, letters and
phone calls any longer they are scammers and you should be very careful to
avoid being a victim to fraudsters any longer because they have nothing to
offer you but to rip-off what you have worked hard to earn.
In this regard a meeting was held between the Board of Directors of The
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and as a consequence of our
investigations it was agreed that the sum of Two hundred thousand US Dollars
(US$200,000) should be transferred to you out of the funds that Federal
Government of Nigeria has set aside as a compensation to everyone who have
by one way or the other sent money to fraudsters in Nigeria.
We have deposited your fund at Western Union Money Transfer agent location
EMS Post office Lagos, Nigeria. We have submitted your details to them so
that your fund can be transferred to you.
Contact the Western Union agent office through the email address stated
below inform them about this notification letter and the transfer of your
Yours sincerely,
Sarah White (Miss)
Assistant Investigation Officer.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
15A Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Please note that some fraudsters are claiming to be Directors or staff of
The Ecomomic and Financial Crimes Commission have recently been sending
phony e-mails/letters and also calling unsuspecting persons, with intent to
defraud them. It is important to note that these fraudsters are criminals
engaged in Advanced Fee Fraud known in Nigeria as 419. Every day, people
throughout the world are falling victim to scams of one kind or another. But
remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam. In the
circumstance, we unreservedly advice you to dissociate yourselve from all
correspondence and transactions entered into based on evidently fraudulent
and fictitious claims.

“This e-Mail may contain proprietary and confidential information and is sent for the
intended recipient(s) only. If, by an addressing or transmission error, this mail has been
misdirected to you, you are requested to delete this mail immediately. You are also
hereby notified that any use, any form of reproduction, dissemination, copying,
disclosure, modification, distribution and/or publication of this e-mail message, contents
or its attachment(s), other than by its intended recipient(s), is strictly prohibited. Any
opinions expressed in this email are those of the individual and not necessarily of the
organization. Before opening attachment(s), please scan for viruses.”
All business handled under Standard Trading Conditions. Copy available on request.

Just to be clear, as a strong supporter of Amnesty International, any references I made to torture were for effect, only.

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Filed under 419 Scam, Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Email, email scams, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, spam, Windows Tips and Tools

If it’s in the News – Watch for an Email Scam

image If an event is newsworthy, you can be sure cybercriminals are exploiting it to their own advantage. Cybercriminals have jumped (as expected), on the earthquake tragedy in Haiti, and are already exploiting this sad event.

Cybercriminals are experts at exploiting our curiosity surrounding current events, and by focusing on this aspect of social engineering, they are increasingly creating opportunities designed to drop malicious code on our computers. Most of this activity is designed to separate unwitting victims from their money.

Cybercriminals can be much more direct though (without attempting to compromise your computer), in their attempts to separate you from your money.

Even though the the majority of seasoned computer users (I suspect), are familiar with the infamous “419” or advance fee fraud scam, in which the victim is encouraged to sent money to the scammer, with the promise they will realize a significant gain, this type of scam is every bit as popular as ever.

Earlier today, Symantec Hosted Services alerted me to a new “419” scam they have just become aware of. An email claiming to be from Hassan Ali Abdul Mutallab, the brother of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, who allegedly attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day, is the scam vehicle .


The scammer, supposedly Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s brother, claims he is looking for a “Muslim brother/sister” to help retrieve funds belonging to the alleged bomber. But, as Symantec  stated in their alert, “before the non-existent money can be released, various increasingly inventive fees and charges have to be paid. These fees continue until the victim of the scam eventually realizes that they have no chance of getting any money, and gives up. Victims are often too embarrassed to contact police, and the scammers continue”.

Every day, I receive 10/15 of this type of scam in my “Honey Pot” email account. Here’s just one example from today.

Honey pot

How gullible can people be? When Michael Jackson died, I wrote a piece entitled “Hey Sucker – Read This! Michael Jackson’s Not Dead!”, simply as a test of “curiosity exploitation”.

The results that followed were astonishing – within days, this article was getting 1,000’s of daily hits. Even today, this nonsensical article continues to get hits. Talk about gullible people!

Save yourself from being victimized by scareware, or other malware, and review the following actions you can take to protect your Internet connected computer system:

    • When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click
    • Install an Internet Browser add-on such as WOT (my personal favorite), which provides detailed test results on a site’s safety; protecting you from security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, and online scams.
    • Don’t open unknown email attachments
    • Don’t run programs of unknown origin
    • Disable hidden filename extensions
    • Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
    • Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
    • Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible
    • Disable scripting features in email programs
    • Make regular backups of critical data
    • Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
    • Turn off file and printer sharing on your computer.
    • Install a personal firewall on your computer.
    • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.
    • Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments.

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    Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, email scams, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools