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June 21, 2009

419er Chutzpah

The height of criminal impudence is when a crook claims to be saving the impending victim from the very crime about to be committed. For example, malware distributor advertisements display false alerts about one's PC being infected so that the victim will install the real malware in the belief that they're cleaning their machines. And then we have advance-fee scammers (aka 419ers) who use words as their primary weapons, leaving plenty of opportunity for them to practice this type of audacity while twisting the minds of their email recipients.

Arriving today was a missive claiming to come from the United Nations. The message starts off with some impressive-looking images:

Phony United Nations email art

Then comes the message that essentially claims to offer the recipient $650,000 as compensation for having been scammed in any number of ways:

Attn: Sir/Madam,

Note! after series of meeting that lasted for three (3) Months with the secretary General of the UNITED NATION. You fall on the names submitted to receive a United Nation Compensation. This goes to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATION have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$650,000.00 (Six Hundred And Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc.

Your name and email was in the list submitted by our Monitoring Team of Economic and Financial Crime Commission Observers (EFCCO) and this is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed. You are advised to contact Mr. Sam Daws, as he is our appointed person for payment endorsement, contact him immediately for your International Bank Draft of USD$650,000.00 (Six Hundred And Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) This funds are pay-able in handy collection for security purpose, Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your correct mailing address for dully processing of your claims.

Person to Contact: Mr. Sam Daws
Email: samdaws.[removed]@gawab.com
Phone No: +44[removed]
Country: United Kingdom.

Good luck and kind regards,

Mrs. Inga-Britt Ahlenius.

[United Nations Seal image]

Auditor General of Kosovo (United Nation )
Making the world a better place

Although the forged From: address of the email says it's from unitednation.org (a parked domain, and not the official un.org), the gawab.com return address where victims are to begin their path toward financial ruin is a free hosting service in Saudi Arabia. Very run-of-the-mill scam bait tactics there.

419ers have invoked the United Nations frequently before. The U.N. is a good target because it has a feel-good vibe about it in recipients' minds (well, unless you're from North Korea I suppose), and the organization won't bother to pursue these dime store crooks for abusing a good name. But all that this 419er needs is for one sucker to get caught up in wiring money to cover various fees, documents, and taxes in order to free the (non-existent) $650K. A few grand will make the scam pay off and help fund the next round.

Posted on June 21, 2009 at 10:55 PM