By this time, nearly everyone in North America has received the infamous Nigerian fraud email.
You probably also know that a few hapless schmucks actually fell for it. Like making a rite of internet passage, I finally received the scam email last year too. I was elated to be accepted so warmly into the club. Like a dutiful member, I played along with vigor. What follows is the lively correspondence that I managed to sustain with my personal scammer. Now to keep things straight, my scammer’s email text is in black font, mine is in blue font, and my occasional notes in red. First a little background. For those of you that haven’t received the Nigerian fraud email yet, most likely you either 1) don’t have email 2) aren’t connected to the internet If these are the case, don’t fret! Because you’re probably not reading this right now anyway. For the rest of you that have gotten it, but would like a refresher, the Secret Service (of all people) refer to it as an Advance Fee Fraud, and have issued an advisory. Without further ado, the scam:
From: “estrada loi”
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 15:27:27 +0800
Subject: ESTRADA FAMILY
Dear Sir My name is LOI C.ESTRADA,The wife of Mr. JOSEPH ESTRADA, the former President of Philippines located in the South East Asia. My husband was recently impeached from office by a backed uprising of mass demonstrators and the Senate. My husband is presently in jail and facing trial on charges of corruption, embezzlement, and the mysterious charge of plunder which might lead to death sentence. The present government is forcing my husband out of Manila to avoid demonstration by his supporter. During my husband’s regime as president of Philippine, I realized some reasonable amount of money from various deals that I successfully executed. I have plans to invest this money for my children’s future on real estate and industrial production. My husband is not aware of this because I wish to do it secretly for now. Before my husband was impeached, I secretly siphoned the sum of $30,000,000 million USD (Thirty million United states dollars) out of Philippines and deposited the money with a security firm that transports valuable goods and consignments through diplomatic means. I am contacting you because I want you to go to the security company and claim the money on my behalf since I have declared that the consignment belong to my foreign business partner. You shall also be required to assist me in investment in your country. I hope to trust you as a God fearing person who will not sit on this money when you claim it, rather assist me properly, I expect you to declare what percentage of the total money you will take for your assistance. When I receive your positive response I will let you know where the security company is and the payment pin code to claim the money which is very important. For now, let all our communication is by e-mail because my line are right now connected to the Philippines Telecommunication Network services. Please also send me your telephone and fax number. I will ask my son contact you to give you more details on after i have received a responce from you. Thank you and God bless you and family.
MRS LOI C ESTRADA
To: “estrada loi”
Date: Mon 17, 2003 10:16 AM
Subject: Re: ESTRADA FAMILY
Dear Mrs. Loi Estrada, It was so good to hear from you this weekend, what a pleasant surprise! I am very sorry for your family crisis. I myself have done some jail time, but that was years ago during what my country called the “Prohibition.” But rest assured, I’m now a committed teetotaler as well as a God-fearing citizen.
My goodness, that’s a lot of money you have! Now you asked about my declaration of my fee. What sounds reasonable to you, as I’m a complete dolt when it comes to financial matters? For this reason, I am very eager to get involved with this opportunity. Please tell me how to proceed!
Yours, Mr. & Mrs. Rob
(There is currently no Mrs. Rob, by the way)
From: “estrada loi”
Date: March 18, 2003 12:03:01 AM CST
To: “Rob” Subject: Re: ESTRADA FAMILY
Dear Sir, I received your email which was a response to my mother’s mail and I wish to thank you immensely for your kind interest to co-operate with my family on this transaction and your willingness and support to assist us in this transaction. Please, find hereunder the details of the transaction for better understanding. This transaction is real, and one hundred percent risk free and does not relate to any breach of law or proceed from drugs. It is a matter of necessity for us to contact you for this transaction. It is therefore necessary that you tell me a little about yourself. I hope you would not betray me. As for Trust, it is a given thing that trust is earned, it is not given out lightly; however, because I need a foreigner in this transaction, I must give you my trust; it is worth 20% of this money. I believe that this will keep you from refusing to give my family’s own share of the money if the transaction is completed. All you need to do is just is your cooperation to agree to travel to Amsterdam, The Netherlands to secure this funds from the Security company where it is been kept for safe custody in Amsterdam in a very proper and legal manner. I request your assistance as a Foreigner to provide me with this help. On completion of this transaction, you will be required to hold this fund in your account until I come over to your country for the sharing of the money. Before we can commence, I would like you to make available to me your private telephone and fax number, and also a proof of your identification which would serve as a guarantee that the funds will be safe in your custody. Also you will need to send me a letter declaring Confidentiality & Non Disclosure of our dealings, thereafter I can ask my attorney to commence documentation passing beneficiary of the funds to you Please confirm your willingness by providing all the requested information above. All modalities for the successful completion of this transaction have been mapped out provided that you maintain absolute confidentiality and keep to my instructions, I shall give to you from time to time for a successful completion. Once I clarify your willingness to proceed with the transaction, then I shall ask my attorney to send you all the documents that will enable your secure the funds. Please, be informed that presently I do not deem it fit for us to communicate via public telecommunication system that is public telephone as authorities from my country can tapped into our telephone discussion. But we can communicate via my confidential satelite phone number +871762923050. Please send all your further correspondence to the following email address. firstname.lastname@example.org Yours sincerely Jude Daniel Estrada
To: “estrada loi”
Date: Tue 18, 2003 10:16 AM Subject:
Re: ESTRADA FAMILY
Dear Jude Daniel Estrada,
I have received your email with information. I must say, that I am not a lawyer and that I didn’t understand it all. But I believe you are asking for my phone number and identification. What sort of ID would you like? Drivers license? Because I must confess that I haven’t driven a car in many years.
Also, please note that Robert is my husband and he is very over-protective of my personal affairs, not to mention quite insanely jealous. He would be livid if he discovered our secret correspondence. Have you ever heard of Harry Thaw and Evelyn Nesbit? My husband and I share a similar relationship. From now on, let us resume our dialog on my personal email, which is:
email@example.com (Notice the goofy address? More on that later…)
I’m not sure I will be up to traveling to Amsterdam, though I was quite a world traveling in my youth. Perhaps, I could have my son go in my stead? Oh, my how exciting! This is all quite an experience, I must say. About my telephone number — good sir, we do not use a telephone, and I don’t intend to start using one now! And what is a fax number? Is that like social security? I am very suspicious of the government.
Anxiously yours, Myla Baker
Subject: Reply asap
Date: March 18, 2003 7:28:59 PM CST
Hi Baker, Thank you for your prompt response to my mail. Could you please send your international passport as this is the only security that my money will be safe in your care.. I await your prompt response for us to proceed. Regards, Jude Daniel Estrada.
Date: Wed 19, 2003 11:57 AM
Subject: Re: Reply asapHey Jude.
I have enlisted the help of my good son Throckmorton, who is quite adept at computers. I don’t really understand these infernal machines. They misbehave constantly. Throck has somehow gotten my passport into my computer so that I can now send it to you. Amazing, this new technology. This is a long way from the Pony Express, isn’t it?! Now, I must inform you that Throck has demanded a cut of our “business” as payment for his services. That little bastard wants 15%! So, please be aware that my fees are going up.
Throck has attached my passport to this email. Now, I think it is only fair that you do the same for me. Please send me your passport so that I know you are who you say you are. I’ve been reading about people who are falling for pranks and Ponzi schemes. I know that you are not one of them, but Throckmorton says that you might be. I told him to mind his own damn business and that he will believe me once he gets the money in Amsterdam. Just between you and me, be careful of Throck. He gets ideas into his fool head like his father does sometimes. For my fake passport, I Googled up a perfect candidate — one Ms. Myla Baker, circa 1928.
From: jude estrada To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: March 19, 2003 3:10:25 PM CST Subject: Response Dear Myla Baker, Find attached to this mail is my international passport. I will await your response. Regards, Jude Daniel Estrada
Can anyone else see the obvious photoshopping of his passport? I mean, the audacity this person has to send me a fake passport?! Oh, that’s right. I did the same thing. The real burning question I have is whether or not Mr. “Estrada” truly believes that I’m 90-something old woman!
At this point, I let him sweat a little. He soon sent me another email:
Subject: Urgent Date: March 20, 2003 5:29:11 PM CST
Hello Ma’am, I hope you have received the copy of my international passport as a proof of my identity. I want to reassure you that this transaction is real and not a hoax. Obviously, he believes I’m a gullible octogenarian!
All your doubts will be put to rest as soon as you get to Holland to see and receive the funds. Adequate arrangements has been put in place for your security and that of the funds. Please send all your further correspondence to the following email address as my former email address is experiencing some technical problems.
email@example.com (Ahh, another switch-a-roo!)
Your prompt respose and cooperation shall be highly appreciated. Thank you and God bless. Regards, Jude Daniel Estrada.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Wed 19, 2003 11:57 AM
Subject: Re: Urgent
My goodness, you are a very handsome man. If I were a young woman, I would be chasing you down. Please do not contact my jealous husband, as he will be infuriated that we are conversing. Are you happily married? What do you think of older women?
Throckmorton is getting suspicious of you. He says that you shouldn’t be changing email addresses so often. I told him that he is being a worry-wart. Do you know that American expression?
Throck wants proof of your claims. Can you provide this?
Date: March 20, 2003 2:14:05 AM CST
Dear Baker, How are you doing? I hope you are well? I want you to make arrangement to travel as soon as possible to Amsterdam to receive the funds from the security company so as to enable us conclude this transaction as soon as possible. I assure you with my life that you have nothing to loose instead we shall be richer and happier upon successful completion of this transaction..Adequate arrangements has been put in place to ensure your security throughout your stay in Amsterdam. I wish to inform you that the funds are presently kept in a security company in Holland. The said funds belong to the Joseph Estrada family the former president of the Phillipines.That is why we are asking for your assistance to represent our interest to receive the funds from the security company in Holland because of the predicapment we are facing in my country. Find below this internet link so that you will understand what we are facing in my country, http://www.inq7.net/met/2002/may/23/met_1-1.htm http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2002/aug/13/top_stories/20020813top4.html This your assistance is worth 20% of the total funds which is US$6,000,000.00. All your doubts shall be put to rest as soon as you travel to see and receive the funds in Holland. All necessary arrangements has been put in place for your security and that of the funds for your short stay in Holland. Please scan and resend via email the picture page of your international passport as a security that our money will be safe in your care as the one you earlier sent do not reflect your picture page. This will also enable me send you the power of attorney that will enable the security company in Holland release the funds to you. I await you prompt response for us to proceed.
Regards, Jude Daniel Estrada.
At this point, I was running out of energy, though apparently my personal scammer was not. So I gave up and nailed the coffin shut. I contacted the abuse services on all his email accounts. The final word:
Subject: A Response From Yahoo! Mail Abuse (KMM70071953V82922L0KM)
Date: March 20, 2003 11:55:42 AM CST
To: “Rob” Reply-To: email@example.com
Thank you very much for reporting this incident to Yahoo! This is an automatic response to let you know that we have received your report regarding a Terms of Service (TOS) Violation or Network Abuse issue involving a Yahoo! member, and are taking the necessary steps to resolve the situation. Since the current volume of mail prohibits a personal reply to all reports, unless additional information is required, this may be the only response you will receive.
Regards, Yahoo! Customer Care ~~~~~
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: ESTRADA
Date: March 19, 2003 11:30:35 AM CST
Thank you for reporting the unsolicited email you received. All our spammers now reported also via http://www.anti-spam.outblaze.com Regards, firstname.lastname@example.org For more fun scam correspondence, see this excellent site on Nigerian Scams. Some amusing spam maps.