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November 19, 2006

A 419 Lure Without the Sob Story

Most advance-fee scams (a.k.a. 419 scams) begin with an unsolicited email message that goes into a long story about somebody in the process of dying or already dead. The recipient is asked to assist in getting a huge wad o' cash out of an African country or bank vault by pretending to be a relative or business associate. Blah, blah, blah.

I just saw a 419 message that does away with all the storytelling:

Dear friend
I am very happy to inform you about my success in getting that fund Now, I want you to contact my secretary on the information below.
NAME; Mr. jackson Moses Telephone Number:[removed, but with a Benin country code]
EMAIL: [removed]@yahoo.fr
Ask him to send you the total sum of 800,000.00)Eight hundred thousand dollars in a bank draft, which I kept for your compensation.

Barr Victor

I guess I'm supposed to think there has been some mistake and this guy thinks he owes me eight hundred grand. Being a supposedly greedy American (don't get me wrong, there are plenty of them), I'll look the other way while I try collect these undeserved funds (and find out it will cost me thousands in up-front fees and taxes to never receive a dime).

I'm not one for the Government getting in the way of private endeavors, but maybe the Feds should collect the phone numbers and email addresses for each new incoming 419 message. Each time a gullible American tries to contact the criminal, his or her email message or phone call gets diverted to an Idiot Holding Pen. That could prove to be more effective in preventing Bad Stuff to Americans than all the airline passenger screening taking place.

Posted on November 19, 2006 at 11:46 AM