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July 11, 2009

A Tall 419 Tale, Including Kitchen Sink

A few weeks ago, I posted about a 419 email that claimed to come from the United Nations aiming to compensate anyone who had been scammed. Arriving today was a variation of that one that not only invokes the United Nations, but even the U.K. Prime Minister. The email's author claims to work for the British Government. If only "she" could write in better English.

Before I get to the message body, check out this forged From: field:

From: "Foreigners Fund Release Dept." <Fundrelease@ffrd.org>

Twenty seconds of due diligence with a web browser (to check the domain record, and then the web site) revealed that despite the sender's claim, the ffrd.org domain does not stand for "Foreigners Fund Release Dept." Instead that domain has belonged to a non-profit organization called Fund for Reconciliation and Development since 2001. While I don't know much about the non-profit (and can't vouch for it), I don't for an instant believe it was anything but a coincidental victim of a 419er who exercised a bit of creativity.

(The email message originated from central Nigeria and was relayed through a government-owned (but otherwise pwned) mail server in Ecuador. Aren't the Intertubes great?)

Now onto the main act, the message body:



I am Mrs. Helen Robinson the foreign verification and payment sectary to
British Government and the Chairman House committee Payment and
verification on
foreign contractors and Foreign Affairs office of the British Prime Minister.

He told me to Contact all the Foreigners that are waiting for their Payment,
with regards to series of petition we receiving from unpaid (Foreign
contractors, Inheritance next of kin and Uk National lotto beneficiaries that
originated from America, Europe, Asia, and on how especially Africa government
usually don't pay them their contract funds, and other Debts owned them by the

Based on this fact the British/African Government made thorough
investigation to
ascertain the cause and find out that there are some officials that cooperate
with outsiders to extort money from foreigners.

So the United Nations then held a meeting and made a resolution that all
foreigners contractors and those that are waiting their Bank draft payment and
ATM Payment to be paid by Cash through Online Banking system cheque/
delivery which is the fastest and reliable way of receiving payment,
in other to
beat those fraudsters in Africa that export money from Foreigners without
releasing their Fund to them.

Be informed that all the Bank Drafts, ATM, and other Fund that was on hold by
Customs, Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and others asking for one charges and
another from Africa, Europe, America has been re-called back,
converted to Cash
payment system and channeled to Northern Bank Ltd UK, to pay through their
secure and most trusted online banking system.

You should then stop any further communication regards to your fund with any
office in Africa, United Kingdom, America or Europe.

A soon as you received this e-mail, you are to re-confirm your current full
contact information as shown below to the right payment release Chairman House
committee Payment and verification on foreign contractors and Foreign Affairs

Beneficiary Full Name:______________________________
Tel No:______________________________________
Fax No:______________________________________
Zip Code:____________________________________
Mode OF Payment: Bank transfer or cheque/Cash Diplomatic delivery (please
select one).

His contact Address
His Name; Dr. Brian Anderson
E-mail Address; [removed]@live.com

Best Regards,

Mrs. Helen Robinson verification and foreign payment sectary
to the British Government and The Chairman House committee
Payment and verification on Contracts and Foreign Affairs
Office to the Prime Minister.

What's odd about this 419 appeal is that there is no promise of a specific amount of money. In fact, if a U.S. recipient has never conducted business outside of the States, this whole message would turn into a giant question mark. I think the real intended targets for this type of letter are those who previously fell (even part way) for a 419 scam. They might believe they could get their money back — heck, they thought they could pick up millions from another preposterous story. The email address list of those who have taken 419er bait must be worth a fortune to the 419 criminal class. But I guess there are also countless others who have been scammed via eBay or other ecommerce transactions — those who wired "excess payments" or Fedexed fraudulently-paid goods to Africa.

In the rush to submit their claims, they'll fail to recognize that the reply email address isn't to the domain whence the message claims to have originated. Rather, it's to a place where anyone can sign up for a virtually anonymous free email account. How classy and official-looking!

Posted on July 11, 2009 at 09:16 AM