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May 07, 2008

The "Fedex" 419er

I hate it when crooks exploit unsuspecting computer users' trust in things like well-perceived brand names to siphon off money and personal information. Imagine such a user seeing the following Subject: line in his or her inbox listing:


That lure immediately plants FedEx in the recipient's mind. It's also certainly enough to get most recipients to open the message. The message reads (some numbers obscured by "#"):

Dear Friend,
I did not hear from you since for your Confirmable check of $1.2m USD,
which i kept for I went and
deposited it with FEDEX EXPRESS,
so contact them.
Email: fedexcouriercompany##@yahoo.co.uk
FAX: +229 99782-####
I paid for the delivering Charges except their Security Keeping
Fee of $185 USD which they said no because they don't know
when you will contact them in case of demurrage.so you
are to pay the $185 as soon as you contact them.
Mr John Mike

Old hands at 419 scams, of course, will instantly recognize the dozens of signals and mistakes that shout this offer's scamminess (if, in fact, they even had to get this far).

Depending on the "freshness" of the email addresses receiving the above missive, it wouldn't surprise me if a comparative email newbie would be taken in by the "fedexcouriercompany" part of the email address—not recognizing a British yahoo email account on its face.

Incidentally, the phone number country code points to Benin (in western Africa for the geographically-impaired). Not coincidentally, FedEx is known there as FedEx Express, so the reference in the message is not a mistake, per se.

Anyone responding to this scam, and willing to wire $185 to the scammer will have taken the bait (cue sound of deep sea fishing line whirring out of the reel as a marlin tries to flee for its life). An endless sequence of demands for wired payments to settle additional fees, taxes, and bribes will ensue.

The sad part is that even if just one recipient wires $185 to this guy and not a penny more, the scammer will have made more than enough to profit from the mailing.

Posted on May 07, 2008 at 04:30 PM