Almost, But Not Quite
Many email scams are easily spotted. In today’s webworld, nearly all scammers are still getting their on-the-job training in. As they work their scams, they learn what works and what doesn’t. Eventually, email scams will mature and it will be harder to spot them. This one is almost convincing, but it’s still not quite right. Let’s see why… scam flags are in bold.
From Mr. Walter Sithole
Dear Sir ,
I am a member of the “Contract Award Committee”, Federal Ministry of Mining and Energy Resources, Republic of South Africa. I and My colleagues are in search of an individual or Company who will assist us to transfer a reasonable amount of Ten Million Six hundred Thousand US Dollars (US$10.6M) and subsequent investment of same in lucrative ventures in your country. You will receive this fund as an applied contractor.
For your support and partnership, please reply for motto negotiates your percentage will be paid when the funds arrive in your bank account. You must however note that this transaction, with regards to our disposition to continue with you, is subject to these terms. Firstly, our conviction of your transparency, Secondly, that you treat this transaction with confidentiality. Finally and above all, that you will provide an account for which you have absolute control. Should you not have an account; our financial services coordinator will direct you to open an online account at the appropriate time.
I am looking forward to doing business with you and do solicit your confidentiality in this transaction, Please email your response to our private mail box for more confidential firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us fax with the above numbers, for us to update you with further details and our plans as to how we intend to actualize this transaction. Also provide us with your telephone and fax number so that we can reach you for further deliberations.
You are invited to Get a Free AOL Email ID. Click here.
We don’t find many glaring errors in this one, but the ones we find pack a knockout punch. The 1st paragraph shows a bit of confusion about when to use upper case letters. The “assist us to transfer” part is also grammatically wrong. But these are mistakes any high school graduate could make in the USA. The really big mistake appears in the 2nd paragraph. What in the world does that 1st sentence even mean? So even if you got through the 1st paragraph with no suspicions, that sentence just clued you in. Interestingly, the only other real error in that paragraph deals with upper cases after a comma which should have been a period. In the last paragraph we see that error repeated, and a badly phrased sentence about the “private email”. Assuming we missed the confusion of the 2nd paragraph, the clincher appears in the signature. Anywhere in the world, I think we are all vain enough to at least get our name right…. not to mention, the AOL link appended to the bottom. I’d bet that the sender didn’t even realize that would be there. Seems to me that a government office would have its own email domain?
The fake Sithole Investment email is an example of how these guys are getting better, incrementally, in their craft. Except for the horrible sentence in the middle of it all, it’s written well enough to generate what I’ll call a “surface appeal”. On the surface, it seems plausible. But scratching just a little at the premise releases the stench of the scam. All you need to realize is that governments engage in overseas investing every day, and they use professionals to “actualize” these transactions. Unless you’re a player in that game, why would they be wanting you to help?
Sometimes, you don’t have to know who They are.
All you have to know is who You are.
I am Jon…well, actually, I am J.O.N.