I’m so excited! My first authentic Nigerian scammer!!

Sure I’ve gotten the bulk mail scams from “Mrs. Colonel Akrun Abnor” asking for my help in getting $40,000,000 of her late husband’s money out of the country. But this is the first time it’s been personal.

This scam is different in that the scammer had to do a bit of work first to identify me as a target. It looks like the strategy was to appear as a legitimate reseller with a largish order and when I was looking forward to getting the order, slip in the scam.

They started off asking about distribution terms for our software. It was a bit odd that someone in New Zealand would write a letter where English was clearly not the native language, but it happens. I sent them pdf’s of our terms and price lists. They didn’t appear to actually read the emails I sent and asked for price lists. Now that information is on our website and included in the distribution terms that I sent them. It’s also a bit odd that they want to resell something and they didn’t have a clue about what the list price was. So it started to be a bit odd, but I’ve had real customers to the same thing—usually when one of their customers wants a bunch of software and also wants some of our titles. So I went along and we exchanged a few emails.

Now, several emails later, they placed an order for $2,300 which is fairly large sized for me. They also told me that they needed it quickly. Even though I told them that it would be very expensive, they wanted me to ship to New Zealand with UPS or FedEx. But UPS couldn’t find the address that they gave me for shipping. They hadn’t given me a postal code and when I asked for it and verification of the address, they said their agent in LA (a 4 hour drive away) would pick the software up. However, they used the zip code for Louisiana (LA) instead of Los Angeles.

Up to that point, I figured that they weren’t the best communicators and their knowledge of California geography was sketchy, but I’ve had legitimate orders with almost as much confusion. But their final email makes it an official scam. They want me to assist them in making a purchase from another vendor.

They’re probably targeting small companies, raising your expectations with each email, hoping you’ll feel invested in the process, and wanting the money badly enough to go along with their scheme.


On Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM, Sales Support wrote:

On Jun 19, 2009, at 1:13 PM, Joy Jnr wrote:

On Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 1:45 PM, Sales Support wrote:

On Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 1:59 PM, Joy Jnr wrote:

On Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 2:07 PM, Sales Support wrote:

I know how this scam works using fake cashier’s checks or money orders, but I’m not sure how they do it with credit cards. I’m guessing that the credit card number is stolen but the card isn’t and that I’d get a chargeback when the owner of the card got the bill.

I like the way they try make you feel guilty about not going along with their scheme. Oh and they’ll give me $100 for my trouble. As an aside there are 10 Western Union offices in Wellington, NZ. Up until they asked me to help with purchasing “other items i ordered from different countries” (which makes no sense), they could have been any of a half dozen legitimate customers I’ve had over the years.

I was a bit surprised that I didn’t get at least one more pleading email, but I guess they had other prospects that looked more promising.

And just in time for this post, I got a simple Nigerian scam from the Ivory Coast.

And for something different, a puppy scam. I love the commas instead of periods, the complete lack of paragraphing, and the avoidance of plurals. The way this one works is that you wire money for the puppy and then “unanticipated expenses” delay the shipment and you need to wire just a few dollars more and everything will be OK. The scam continues as long as you send money.

And here’s a new one. The FBI found some of my money! Grammar’s not too bad but clearly not a native speaker. Scammers do seem to have a preference for the phrase “the sum of”. And what’s with the USD? This clearly marks the mail as originating from overseas—not from the FBI.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d be much more likely to believe that some government agency owed me a few hundred dollars and they put it on a debit card than that they owe me the sum of 2.5 million dollars.

And another from New Zealand. I guess the scammers don’t realize that people in New Zealand speak English and their choice of words and punctuation is odd. They do appear to have learned that excessive politeness isn’t a characteristic of English prose.

Update 2009-09-13. The standard scam. I haven’t seen one of these for a while.