back to article Son of 419 victim contacts El Reg

It's sad to report that amid all the merriment to be had at the expense of Nigerian 419 fraudsters and their improbable tales of MARIAM ABACHA, Congolese banks stuffed with illicit loot and other entertaining yarns concerning riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice, there are all too real people ready and willing to believe …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    ahem

    And there I was looking for the bit where he was asking you for a mere 5k to help him out. I'm totally jaded :(

    Sad indeed.

  2. Tom
    Happy

    Am I the only one

    who read this as nothing more than a subtle variation on the ol' 419 scam. How much did you send him?

  3. Chris Walker
    Paris Hilton

    Colour me cynical...

    But this just strikes me as 419+

    Nobody really believes they're due to receive a suit case full of Nigerian cash from the long lost estate of [suitably Nigerian name]... well, not unless you're really, really, really STUPID.

    So I wouldn't be surprised if this was the next reworking of the great 419 game; play on people's humanity. Stop the suicide. Help raise funds so he can pay back the cheques.

    Paris. Because she really IS that stupid.

  4. caffeine addict Silver badge

    419er

    So... how many of us read that and assumed that the writer and his "dad" were the scammers? Me? A cynic?

  5. Daniel Wilkie
    Unhappy

    @Dave

    I too was looking for the "All we need is for you to lend us x" and now I don't know what to think and feel kind of guilty and kind of amused at the same time. I'm such a bad person :(

  6. Stephen

    mmm for real or secondary 419

    Is this a regular reader/commenter. I hate to be negative in this time of regret/upset but It would be nice to know...

  7. Iain

    Not the only ones

    Gotta agree with the posters above - this sounds like a 419 to me too.

  8. Jonathan McCulloch
    Paris Hilton

    You can't cheat an honest man

    There's a lot to be said for this maxim. I'm in marketing (spare me the vitriol, please), and I'm heartily sick of the "Success Peddlers" and their wares. You know the stuff I mean -- buy this $97 downloadable ebook and you can make millions practically overnight, live in some exotic location in a mansion, drive fast cars and have pina-colada served to you poolside by even faster women who have improbably large breasts and flexible legs, to boot.

    What's the difference?

    Nada.

    In both cases you've got someone wanting to make something for nothing.

    What they're both selling is hope -- and it's hope sold by appealing to greed.

    Paris? Because she lives the lifestyle the Success Peddlers promise.

    -- Jon

  9. Jack Harrer
    Happy

    Re: Colour me cynical...

    //But this just strikes me as 419+

    Rather 2.0 like Web 2.0 - more colourful but the same crap underneath...

  10. Geoff Johnson

    Sorry cant advise.

    "...we dont have any other way except to suicide. could you please suggest us what step we have to take now..."

    People get into trouble in the UK for giving advice on how to commit suicide.

  11. Iain Purdie

    I confess...

    ...the poor English also led me to believe it was a scam. Perhaps it is. But a preacher? Hang on...

    *looks up Bible online*

    *checks "sins"*

    Yup. Greed is definitely still in there.

  12. Mark Allen

    Which country?

    IMHO this is clearly is a 419+

    Surely, if you had sent $50000 dollars to someone, you would know which country that was in. South Africa or Gambia? There is a rather large distance between these two countries.

    If it's real... then a Preacher has learnt about the cost of greed. Should be a few sermons to be made from that.

  13. Diane Miller

    @Chris Walker

    In my heart of hearts, I agree with you that only the deeply stupid fall for 419 scams. Nonetheless, the fact that these scams are *still* going on just proves that there are a very large number of deeply stupid people in the world. The Internet turns us into one large village, with an enormous number of village idiots.

  14. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    thats a 419er and I claim my prize

    1: "pay them back 4 times greater they lend" - is not grammatically correct. Dead givaway examples numbers 2 - 9 also exist but I'll let you look for them yourselves. I've got far more interesting things to look at.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Remember me of...

    ... send me money or this bunny will die :-)

  17. Internet ToughGuy

    What did you expect

    The only good things about 419 scams is that they target the greedy. This guy obviously thought he could get paid a hundredfold for nothing, and got caught. I'm sorry his family feel so bad about it, but if you win a lottery you never entered, or try to assist someone doing something you know to be dodgy, then you can't really expect sympathy when it bites you.

  18. Edwin

    Credibility

    I too, would like to see some El Reg comment on the credibility of this email. On the one hand, nobody's asked for cash (yet). On the other hand, what better way of obtaining cash from churches than by bemoaning the fact that some rascal has stolen from their brethren...

  19. Mike Crawshaw
    Dead Vulture

    I'm not so sure... @ cynics

    I don't actually think that this is a "419 mark II".

    It's been sent to an online IT rag - not individuals. Not the best move if you're wanting gullible types, but a reasonable move if you want advice, especially considering the number of associated topics El Reg has covered over the years.

    It doesn't ask for money - just advice.

    It includes contact details.

    I reckon it's either genuine, or a publicity hoax ("let's see if they'll fall for this, ho ho"), but it doesn't come over as a "please send me money" type. Assuming it's been reproduced in full...

    Assuming it's genuine, the guy's dad has been an idiot. But remember that thousands of people fell for this scam in *this* country, where we have ready access to information about the scam in question, and scams in general - in India that's not as much the case, and the money involved is worth a lot more than it is here - so the dad would have been less aware of the dangers than a comparable person here, and the rewards would have seemed greater.

    Sad. If it's genuine and not a variation on "for every time you forward this email some poor child in Botswana will receive 0.001p". Which is possible.

    Dead Vulture cos I know if I'd lent somebody £thousands and found out they'd pissed it away on some scam, they'd be ending up in a similar state!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People do get taken in

    I always wonder how much money a 419 scammer actually makes in a year, how many people do get taken in and what % of the income is taxable.

    Of course naturally, after being scammed for alot of money your first reaction is to send a bulk email to everybody in your address book.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Group gullibility

    In some ways, the lenders are as guilty of blind greed as the borrower. Or of a reprehensible excess of trust. Did they ask what yer man wanted the money for? Could none of them see that the whole escapade was as likely to result in profits for all as for a bear to turn R.C. and the Pope to be videoed taking a dump in the woods?

    And if they didn't, that's their own fault. They gambled and lost.

  22. Stewart Rice

    @Mike Crawshaw

    I doubt it was sent only to El Reg. What's more likely is that even El Reg is not immune from bulk spam, since they give their email addresses out freely (and rightly so, given the market they cater to).

    In the extremely unlikely event that this email IS genuine, then El Reg did the right thing. Else they might be forced to scam some of us to recoup the money they sent out to the unfortunate moron and his son (who appears to be trying to recoup his losses from a 419 by perpertrating a 419 - recursive loop anyone).

    Of course, there's always the distinct possibility that one of those scam-baiting websites has actually paid off, and instead of replying to a 419, they passed on the address of another 419er and let them duke it out...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Googling text suggests not a scam

    Googling some unique text from the message suggests it is either not a scam (or a scam in its very early stages.)

  24. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Pirate

    greed?

    How many people 'invested' in this?

    Did none of them just stop for a moment and think? It would appear that they have all been a wee bit greedy in believing that there was loads of money for nothing. It isn't just the father who is to blame (if, that is, it isn't a double 419 scam)

  25. Rob
    Happy

    yep

    either a 419 or really rather funny, seriously, who believes this crap, actually my mate fell for something considerably less serious, but just as blatently obvious, he was selling a phone on ebay and received an email from someone saying 'cancel the auction and we'll settle outside, this is normal ebay procedure' the idiot did just that

    then he received an email which looked like it was from paypal, saying 'give us a tracking number to show its been posted and we'll release the funds'

    being the utterly IT illiterate nonce-face he is, he didn't pay any attention to the actual address/server the message was from, and instead just looked at what was in the header / what the sender filled their name in as (i assume everyone on here knows the difference)

    as soon as i looked at it i was like 'well thats not from pay pal you fool'

    long story short, he sent his phone to NIGERIA!! before he'd received any money, obviously ebay didn't give a frig as they didn't sell it over ebay, I thought the whole thing was hilarious

  26. Garry Mills

    Millions

    It was all going so well until "receive millions" in return

    If it's too good... etc...

  27. Rik Ryder
    Jobs Halo

    a 419er who is the victim of his own 419 scam?!?

    lol, a 419 scam where the 419er is playing the victim of a 419 scam... i've heard it all now! what's next? a referral to the 419eater dot com website? Now, where did I leave my cheque book??

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No sympathy.

    Neither his greed nor his stupidity should be rewarded - or given any sympathy.

    People that rely on get-rich-quick schemes are simply greedy and lazy.

    People that also believe any old shit that gets emailed/posted to them is simply stupid.

    They only good thing will be if they do all commit suicide it will make a nice entry for the Darwin Awards.

  29. frymaster

    @Jonathan McCulloch

    Oh, I bet there are _lots_ of techniques for cheating honest men... it's just no-one's ever had to develop them, and the alternative is easier!

    These kind of scams trade off a certain arrogance towards countries seen as "backwards" - that with a small injection of bribe money you can embezzle millions. The question is whether the supply of arrogant greedy predjudiced people is going down or not - I wouldn't have thought so.

    It _must_ still be working, else why would people still do it? My mate got one through the post last year, another mate's dad got one the year before - unlike with the email spam version, this must cost real money to send. I know someone who had an aquaintance caught out by one of these about 15-20 years ago (ie before they were well known.) He failed to convince her that it was a scam. At least these days it doesn't take much research to find that out.

  30. Niall

    Who wanted to be a millionaire

    You've been conned out of a significant amount of money and are feeling suicidal do you contact:

    A) The Police.

    B) The Samaritans.

    C) El Reg

    D) 419Eater.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Sell your dad Darwin award....

    I might sounds harsh but... sell your dad Darwin award as he has a very good chance to get it! (Ok, he's not dead yet but one of the people hoping to multiply by 4 their money in a few weeks will probably take care of that!).

  32. david g
    Paris Hilton

    Sceptical......

    Show us the headers !

    Paris - something to do with suckers.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Next Letter?

    Wonder what that will start like? please let us know how many emails you get before you get the inevitable "can we have".

    419.1 definitely.

    To the people greedy and stupid enough to fall for them - its a simple Darwinian process. Sympathy? Yeah right.

    Paris - because I am really surprised that she hasn't answered every single 419'er with a cheque....

  34. Steve
    Thumb Down

    @ Slaine

    "1: "pay them back 4 times greater they lend" - is not grammatically correct. Dead givaway "

    That doesn't differentiate him from the average schoolchild - or the average plod, unfortunately.

    I still say it's dodgy though - why is he writing to El Reg? If he reads the site, he would know that there is bugger all that can be done by Vulture Central.

    If he doesn't read the site, why would he be mailing you? Random techno-illiterate scam victims write to consumer watchdogs and high-profile mainstream media. They are not going to write to a site whose mainstream image appears to be that of a Hardcore Lesbian Techno-filth news journal.

    I don't even know what Hardcore Lesbian Techno-filth would entail, but now I've thought of the name, I want some!

  35. bobbles31
    Coat

    Fool and his money @Not so sure

    All the best scams don't start out looking like scams. If they did look like scams then they wouldn't be very good ones would they?

    There are probably a million ways that this could go but I'll give you an example:

    "You should go to the police."

    "But my Dad borrowed money from the police, fortuantely, only a small amount from them so they are not too upset at the moment. They only lent us $500. Perhaps if you could lend us that much we could pay them off and they would be willing to help us."

    And so the conversation and the extraction of the fools money begins.

    Mines the one with "CYNIC" in big white letters on the back.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Shut up you heartless gits.

    This man has not asked for money. This man is not going to get any money. If it was a scam, it has failed.

    But it may not be, in which case you're being really effing ignorant.

    And please give the "bad English = 419" a rest. It may be escaping of your notice, but they are speaking of very different English in India. The English appears to me to be from an Indo-European speaker, and has particular hallmark of North India, such as the phrase "the people who lent him money are not beleiving".

    All in all, it's a genuine enough looking email to get my sympathy, and I wish that the legal system could do more to stop these lamentable cases.

  37. Spleen

    Should be pointed out

    That 419s, unlike gambling and self-help books, are not merely a tax on the greedy and stupid. Numerous people have been killed by 419 scammers. Financial losses you can at least recover from, death you can't.

    Re Mike Crawshaw: I don't buy that people in developing countries are more susceptible to 419s than we are. They may not have heard about 419s specifically, but anyone who lives in anything more sophisticated than a sustenance agriculture economy should have learnt some variation of "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" by the time they reached adulthood.

  38. Chris Walker

    Lack of suspicion detected!

    "It's been sent to an online IT rag - not individuals"

    The miracle, nay wonders, of BCC.

    Mine's the one with "Paranoia Rules!" picked out in sequens.

  39. Neil

    Interesting.

    Personally I think this is another 419 scam however it raises an interesting point. Considering people are not sure about the legitimacy, and therefore more likely to fall for this kind of scam as it's playing on empathy as opposed to greed, perhaps that shows the general population in a positive light. The 419er on the other hand is shown to be stooping to new lows.

  40. John Moppett
    Black Helicopters

    Well..............

    AS a Christian I might JUST have swallowed this, until he said his Dad is a preacher. Having had a £1k+ E-Bay scam tried on me, by someone whose excuse was that he was a missionary, so had to go abroad, I vote 419!

  41. david

    Dear Sir,

    I am truly sorry to hear of your father's plight. The 419 scammers rely on the greed of stupid people and we are determined to bring them to book. Luckily I might be able to help because I have access to certain funds.

    I am the Overseas account manager of the Barclys bank of abidjan and the deposied government deposited several gazillon pounds with us. The account is now frozen and I need help of a receiving bank and a donation to pay for the lawyers to release the funds.

    Please send whatever cash you can to help support the campaign. Just 20,000GBP retain a lawyer for almost a month. I will DEFINITELY send you half a gazillion pounds when we have this sorted out

    As a show of good faith I am sending you some points to help you deal with scammers in the future:

    * If it seems too good to be true it probably is

    * Don't send money in response to dodgy emails

    * Don't be stupid

    * Keep your greed under control

    Please print this off and paste it to the cover of your chequebook for future reference.

    Signed

    Mr Odinga Oginga

    Pastor of the Church of Tough Love

    and Overseas account manager of Barclys bank, Abidjan

    (well it worked once (twice if you count the visit to Gambia) and 20k would buy me my new motorbike)

  42. Jamie
    Linux

    I have to agree with the first comment

    I was reading through and expecting by the end to see a plea for a small donation of some sort, say 1000-5000 USD.

    The one thing about all these scams is they always play on peoples greed.

  43. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Pirate

    re:should be pointed out

    I don't buy it either considering where the scam originated from. Meanwhile, in a town near you, there are people buying 'perfume' from a man on the street. Yup, we're so much harder to catch out than those from 'developing countries'.

    Right- who fell for the 'buy to let' scam? Those Nigerians have a long way to go before they catch up with the finance companies.

  44. Harvey Trowell
    Thumb Up

    Nice one Lester

    "all too real"

  45. Stephen

    @ Crawshaw

    I'd like to go with you but...

    While he doesn't openly ask for money, it seems very 'beggy'. If it was a genuine reg reader (e.g the reg confirmed the user had an account and been reading the reg and commenting for many years then I'd probably be compelled to donate a little to help him out. Therefore... 419 suspicions my friend.

  46. robert cooke
    Thumb Down

    @ Mike Crawshaw

    "It's been sent to an online IT rag"

    IT RAG? please, a little more respect for El Reg.

  47. steogede

    The real giveaway

    Clearly a scam, but then I am sure Lester realised that. No preacher in India has access to $7,000 much less $70,000.

  48. GX5000
    Gates Horns

    WoW

    I'm so glad I wasn't the only one...

    We are a nice informed bunch aren't we now...

    Or are we so jaded ?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Spleen

    Reference needed. As far as I know, 419 scammers haven't killed anyone. Sure some greedy people with criminal tendancies (after all, why else would you want to assist someone stealing from a bank) may have commited suicide to escape the shame but they were killed by their own greed not by the scammer.

  50. Fifi le flea
    Pirate

    @Niall

    >A) The Police.

    What would Sting do about it?

    obviously the answer is D) 419eater.

    I agree with the above that any response to this email would be a plea for funds to assist with further heart wrenching "children in peril" crap.

    Jolly Roger - cos the 419eater rules!

  51. Steve Martins
    Paris Hilton

    real? you'd have to be very VERY STUPID...

    ... and as Einstein said... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

    so yes, quite possibly real!

  52. Joe
    Pirate

    Son of 419

    A 'preacher' with children, eh? Not catholic then. My advice is he should either shave his head and go live as a buddhist monk in some (very) out of the way place, having offered his family and their descendants up for eternal bondage in payment of this debt and gross insult to his friends or do the honourable and more immediately satisfying thing and commit seppuku along with his entire household.so he can rid the world of his protracted stupidity and spare it any further embarrassment for his slur on humankind's claim in being an intelligent species.

  53. J
    Stop

    No sympathy here either

    Sympathy? No way. If this is indeed true...

    First, he is a preacher, therefore he is a scammer himself.

    Second, he is stupid and greedy, so he deserves what he got (that does not excuse the scammers, of course, who should rot in jail). Maybe the friends who lent him the money are too, but who knows what he told them he needed the money for?

    As most pointed out, I also felt like I was reading a 419 attempt and waiting for the punchline (which didn't come), but who knows.

    Remember that former Ronald Reagan's neurosurgeon has been reported to have sent a huge amount of money to such a scam, so those who say "backwater countries and ignorant people" etc. can stop and... Oh, wait... :-D

    And to those who are saying "Darwin Awards": you haven't got a clue yet, have you? He's *already reproduced*, too late!

  54. BitBotherer
    Pirate

    419er

    I think the correct term is 'Reverse Nigerian'

  55. Chris Bradshaw
    Boffin

    Take the clues given

    A preacher? In India. OK, it is possible, but not that likely.

    Post-dated cheques? When I was in India (admittedly a while ago) it was pretty much a cash economy. Any Indian readers out there care to comment??

    Gambia vs. South Africa - that's a pretty big mistake.

    Grammatical mistakes are understandable, nobody is pretending to be a native English speaker here.

    Suicide is (as I understand it) a common option for low-income Indian farmers with high debts. Is it a solution for someone who has Internet access and the possibility to raise $70k? And would it be the whole family, as seems to be the threat here?? Again, a comment from an Indian reader would be welcome.

    My gut feeling (and my hope) is 419+..

  56. Elrond Hubbard

    Mr Anonymous Coward

    >> As far as I know, 419 scammers haven't killed anyone.

    Killed:

    George Makronalli

    Jean Pierre Li Shing Tat

    Kidnapped:

    Danut Mircea Tetrescu

    Josef Raca

    Kensuke Matsumoto

    ...and others.

  57. Jón Frímann Jónsson
    Alert

    A variation of a older type of scam

    This is a variation of an older type of scam.

    See here for greater details.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud#Fraud_recovery_scams

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Spleen

    Developing countries ARE more susceptible, because people learn through experience and half these folk have only just got email. Think about it.

    My evidence? Exhibit A, the bankrupting of an entire country (Albania) via a simple pyramid scheme - the kind that hasn't had traction in the west for, oooh, 15 years? To give you some idea of the scale of this one, "the nominal value of the pyramid schemes' liabilities amounted to almost half of the country's GDP".

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2000/03/jarvis.htm

  59. Anonymous John

    I'm not convinced it's genuine either.

    The sender referred to it as a 419 scam. So he/she googled the subject and knows their father is stuffed..

    So what does he expect El Reg to suggest?

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Re: @ Spleen

    How about

    http://www.state.gov/www/regions/africa/naffpub.pdf

    (Page 8)

    After all if you can't trust the US gov...

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Looks fake - and I'll tell you why

    In India, foreign exchange transactions by individuals, though much easier than they used to be 10 years ago, are still rather heavily regulated. Simply put, individuals in India cannot convert the rupee equivalent of 50K dollars and wire it outside the country without violating FEMA (foreign exchange management act)

    Not that this doesn't happen. In fact, if you get me drunk enough, I can point out a few ways to to do so myself. However, anyone who is smart enough to figure out these loopholes, and well versed in the ways of forex banking, will not fall for a 419.

  62. Alex
    Alert

    Oh my god...

    I just read this article... Now I want to kill myself. Please don't send any money... you couldn't afford it.

  63. Hans Mustermann

    It's a funny world

    Well, it's a funny world. I'd _love_ to think that noone is as stupid as to still fall for a 419, or pyramid schemes, or stock spam, etc. The fact is, people do.

    I personally know someone who nearly fell victim to a pyramid scheme. I mean, you'd think anyone understand exponents and why they don't work, right? And in this case it was a smart person (or someone I had previously considered smart) _and_ who usually was the one convincing gullible people to buy snake oil they don't need. But raise the greed bar high enough, and it basically outright shut down her brains. There was no talking her out of "but I could win millions if I get into it _now_!!!" She understood exponents all right, but essentially greed was enough to make her live in a wishful-thinking reality-distortion bubble in which she can get her share before someone else gets the shaft.

    I personally know two people who got into the dot-com scam very late, in 1999, when the bubble was already deflating fast. Eventually the "but if we just make a useless site and have an IPO, people will give us hundreds of millions for nothing" clouded their judgment, and they made a company with that as their _sole_ business plan. They'll have an IPO and people will give them millions. What next? They didn't know. Unlike the average dot-commer, though, these guys hadn't even figured out the part where they just sell their shares and retire with a ton of unearned money. They dumped so much of their own money into building that scam, that they actually made such a loss that... well, let's say both still take the bus to work because they can't afford a car.

    Or if I'm allowed to use stuff from the news, you only need to look eastwards, towards Eastern Europe. Almost all the countries there were swept by a wave of scams after communism went away. IIRC in the 90's there were some pretty nasty riots in Albania, for example, because a signifficant proportion of the population had impoverished themselves by taking part in some brain-dead pyramid schemes. Apparently with the government's blessing, given enough bribes, which is why the rioting against the government followed.

    Incidentally that also provides IMHO enough of the counter-example to the "but noone in India has that much money" posts. Some people do. Some people (even in the West) went and mortgaged their house, or embezzled money from work, or dealt with some nasty loan sharks to pursue the elusive goal of getting some millions for nothing. I have no trouble believing that the same would happen in India too.

    This guy in India probably went to a dozen different loan sharks (I don't think any bank would ask for 4x the loan as payment, for a short term loan), each thinking that he's the only one lending him money, and thus that he's probably within how much he can pay. (By selling his house, car, etc.) And now he probably can't pay them _all_, and, well, unless he kills himself, any one of them will be perfectly happy to assist him.

    The funny thing is that in the above Eastern European example, I think that the poorest countries got hit the worst. I guess it's easier to shrug off the temptation of a few million, when you're already living a good life as a middle class western guy/gal. But for some of those people, the money can make a difference between complete poverty and (by their standards and perceptions) a life of luxury. They'll get their greed triggered by a lot lesser sums.

    Well, I guess probably the best way to summarise the already huge post is: think Hanlon's Razor. Never attribute to malice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    Some people are genuinely that stupid.

    And no, I don't propose to save them from their own stupidity.

  64. Terry Bernstein
    Paris Hilton

    An IT Rag?

    OMG. I thought El-Reg was a Paris Hilton fan rag!

    Paris, because El-Reg is, well, er i thought.. erm...ah..Oh well.

    Sigh

    BTW I vote scam

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It feels fake

    Assuming that when the writer says "dollars" s/he means USD, then 70K USD is about 3 million INR (or 30 lakh to use the Indian way of counting). It would have to on hell of a charasmatic priest who could borrow that sort of money!

    To put it into perspective - for that money you could buy a decent sized house outside the major cities.

    While Indian foreign exchange regulations are much more relaxed than they used to be I suspect this is not the sort of money an individual can simply wire out without having to answer some fairly serious questions from the Income Tax department.

    If it wasn't sent via above the board channels then I expect the 70K USD would have been even more expensive.

  66. Jonathan McCulloch
    Stop

    @Spleen

    You said "That 419s, unlike gambling and self-help books, are not merely a tax on the greedy and stupid. Numerous people have been killed by 419 scammers. Financial losses you can at least recover from, death you can't."

    You reckon "self-help" can't be fatal? I'll raise you one "alternative medicine" and a "faith healer", and throw in a homeopath for good measure.

    People have died earlier than they needed to because they have gone for quack remedies in self-help books. Not every self-help book, guru, programme and seminar is some fairly harmless wanker like the idiots who came out with The Secret.

    -- Jon

  67. heystoopid
    Coat

    Sad or is it just another scam variation?

    Sad , if 0.0015 % truth exists in that particular email , it goes to show that no amount of education will protect them from their own self greed like the woman in the land of the paranoid who shot her sleeping husband in the back with a shotgun at under five feet (nasty big holes they make at that range) , there after told even bigger lies as the dead victims cannot defend themselves in the media or in a court of law from slander and libel and then the suckers fell for that fishy tale , hook line and sinker inclusive !

    If false with the odds running at 99.985% in favour of that option , what can one say other then a fool and his money are soon parted !

    Or perhaps you should alternatively run a back scam like those tricksters do on another 419 web site !

    Choices and options make life interesting to say the least or does one need a flame resistant coat !

  68. Crash Override
    IT Angle

    Darwin Awards

    Just a small point, the Darwin Award is given to someone who removes themselves from the gene pool without having procreated, so the kid's father wouldn't be eligible, however, he may be eligible for an honorable mention.

    Definitely sounds like a scam though.

  69. Hans Mustermann
    Coat

    @Anonymous John

    "So what does he expect El Reg to suggest?"

    Maybe something along the lines of: well, mate, this might be a good time to shake his hand, tell him how much you love him, forgive and forget, etc. That way you won't end up feeling as guilty after he's gone ;)

    Also realize that he _is_ an idiot, he should have known better (including that there's a reason why "greed" made it into the top 7 deadly sins), and that he got shafted by his own greed.

    And _probably_ he had the intention to shaft someone else in their moment of misfortune. How many of those falling for 419 scams actually plan to give the 100 million to the widow/heir of the late Nigerian banker/minister/whatever, once it's transferred "through" their account? I'll take a bet that the reason this scam works is that most people don't think "well, it's only neighbourly and christian to help the widow in her hour of need", but rather the dishonest, "muahaha, if she's so stupid as to transfer that money to me, let's see her try to get even a cent back." That's what gets them so in a hurry to pay any ridiculous fee, get loans they can't pay, etc: the prospect of shafting someone else out of a heck of a lot of money.

    What really damns them, and why I don't have even a tiny iota of compassion for them, isn't their stupidity, but rather their own dishonesty. They're not simply stupid victims, they're stupid crooks. They rank up there with the guys that went and tried to rob a bank with a ransom note written on the back of a check they had signed.

    But anyway, he _is_ an adult, makes his own decisions, and should know that sometimes others _can_ bail you out of anything you blindly run into. If he runs into traffic, he should expect that he might run over. If he plays golf in a thunderstorm, he might find out that Zeus and Thor have a name for that metal club: target. And if he borrows 10 times more money than he can give back, well, he can expect to be screwed. And sometimes neither his friends, nor his family can save him, and we perfect strangers on an IT site will just have a hearty laugh at his expense. That's life. He should have used his head _before_ doing something stupid, really.

    Accept that. He made his decisions, he gets to live or die with the results. If the decision is to commit suicide, well, the same applies.

  70. Jean Stone

    Probable scam

    My inbox has got plenty of mails that don't aim for the Greedy lobe of the brain. In the wake of any disaster that gets major press you can find examples either from an alleged survivor wanting help or from an aid organization whose business plan is to email random strangers and ask them for support. Scammers are willing to abuse the empathy of individuals as well as stupidity. If there isn't an email in my box within the week purporting to be from Burma or China I will be very surprised. Needless to say, I remain extremely suspicious of this email even if it doesn't immediately ask for money.

  71. Jon Tocker

    Definitely got to be a scam variant.

    That's the bait, the hook comes later once correspondence has been entered into. I've encountered a few 419 scams that don't immediately launch into "I've got ONE MILLION US DOLLARS to get rid of" in the first email. They become "penpals" first, establish dialogue, then "confide" in you about their vast piles of cash and their problem of how to get to it....

    This variant is obviously looking for sympathetic types whose willingness to help is evidence by their replying to the letter. Later will come "could you please send me a few thousand dollars to pay this one man who is very angry, I don't want my dad to commit suicide..."

    bobbles31: "Mines the one with "CYNIC" in big white letters on the back."

    Then you must try harder, I don't need anything written on my jacket for people to know I'm a cynic.

    david: Go for it, getting yourself a new motorcycle is a worthy cause.

  72. Aubry Thonon

    Reverse 419?

    Does this make it a 914 scam? (and do I get credited for the term?)

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC

    "I might sounds harsh but... sell your dad Darwin award as he has a very good chance to get it!"

    I might sounds harsh (...?!?) but... if your dad is a dad, he's already ineligible for the Darwin award. Think about it for a minute.

  74. Luke Quarrie
    Thumb Down

    beleiving

    is spelt wrong, lots of gramatical errors. this is a hoax

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    More scammy than...

    a very scammy scammer.

    [apols to Baldrick]

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Reg readership IQs?

    Did the IQ's of the Reg readership suddenly drop? I am truly shocked that people are even consitering the posability of this being a true story. The ranting of amanfromMars would be preferable to debating the facts or even lambasting this fictional father that got suckered in.

    I must admit when I first read the headline I cringed a bit that they would put a story like that in bootnotes. I skimmed past it, read one or two other stories, and when I came to the headline again it dawned on me it was going to be a spin off of a 419. The article and the email bore that out. It is clearly tongue in cheek.

    I don't know, maybe these comments are also being tongue in cheek and I'm the one missing it.

    Paris, because even she ... er ... um ... I mean ...

    ... amanfromMars, because even he would know better.

    P.S. What ever happened to the amanfromMars icon?

  77. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    @ Steve mostly - but in the best possible taste

    Well Steve - my guess is they don't read the site - otherwise their grammar and spelling would have improved. As for sending to this site - presumably it's one of those "all in my address book" mailings, unless of course some ducky at Vulture Central has been dipping fingers were only pointy sticks should be.

    Did you spot the other 8 errors? One or two is one thing - we all typo from time to time, but when the ratio rises to over one per line ... naaaaaaa.

    Hardcore Lesbian Techo Filth = digital photographs of muddy females in dungarees (so no-one at El Reg then); probably better off searching for "politicians" - better chance of seeing something REALLY kinky.

    ["Heartless Gits" by AC]: yes, and no. I applaud the triumph of hope over reason but if all the signs say "warning", then I would suggest "beware". Shame you posted as Anon though, I've got some wonderful scams (ooops, sorry - "once in a lifetime offers") to be send for your compashonate soul of caring.

    914? cool - and those of us in "the know" can refer to it as "a porsche"

    And the ubiquitous icon of the unassuming Paris, clearly because El Reg is moral vacuum of Techno-Lesbian pr0n filth addicts. "Cover me in ice cream and bite ma bum, I love it"; [Billy Connolly]

  78. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Breathe FM

    Billions of people all around the world listen to Breathe FM; last time it went off of the air millions suffocated.

    BREATH in......BREATH out...... BREATH in.......... BREATH out.........

    Somewhere in the middle of this strenuous, mental activity, they manage to send all their money to Nigeria.

    Paris, who now listens to KEEPYOURCLOTHESONANDTHATCOCKOUTOFYOURMOUTHINESPECIALLYINFRONTOFACAMERA FM on a semi regular basis.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    419 and 914 are both...

    Numberwang

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Plenty of takers

    Whether or not this guy is genuine - and as one comment says it certainly has the right linguistic ring - there are in my experience plenty of takers in India. The village I lived in for several years was comfortably off in terms of land ownership but generally cash poor. The people were what you would call "canny" with money; not tight, but certainly well versed in and wary of local scams.

    As the internet became more widely available the villages email addresses began to attract the inevitable pleas from the Lads from Lagos, or often as not Jakarta. I was amazed that so many people - often well educated - would start to slaver with avarice as they waved printouts and explained to me how they'd won the lottery or been offered the opportunity of a lifetime that would net enough cash to buy the village next door.

    The most surprising thing was how hard it was to dissuade them - even showing a dozen near identical emails from apparently different people failed to scratch the enthusiasm of one guy, whose money was only saved by the quaint Indian habit of getting his father to approve the sale of land to pay for the advance fee. Pops was thankfully wiser than his offspring.

    One or two others were sufficiently convinced to call the phone numbers given to get further details, but were stymied in their attempts to give their money away by the labyrinthine twists of Indian banking law. If it had happened now, it would probably be far easier.

    The fact is that although most of these people were well off in assets they have a tough life of gruelling physical labour and long hours working those assets to feed the family. The idea of escaping that and a rather touching belief that the scammers "wouldn't be allowed to do that if it wasn't legal" made them suspend the disbelief that would cut in sharply someone had been hawking a more familiar and localised scam.

    In a period of five years at least three people killed themselves over the 'shame' of money problems, leaving their families comprehensively screwed, so the email certainly has the ring of truth.

    Irrespective of whether it's an attempt (a pretty poor one) as a scam, this story will exist for real somewhere in rural India. Those jeering from the sidelines on here while forensically dissecting the story and smugly congratulating themselves on their own cleverness, might reflect (I really doubt) that not everyone has their vast worldy-wise experience to draw on when presented with a scam email - some of those I mention have never been more than 10 miles from their village, and greed and gullibility are hardly unique to India. No one's asking you to fork out, so why not give your well atrophied sense of humanity a rare workout? You would be the same street-smart types, I imagine, who would see the myriad finger-free beggars in Delhi as just another scam whose perpetrators head off to a luxury flat in the Merc after a hard day waving the stumps at passing tourists. You remind me why I gave the UK the big finger.

    @Chris Bradshaw:

    >"A preacher? In India. OK, it is possible, but not that likely."

    Quite possible, especially in Karnatake, Kerala, Calcutta and parts of Tamil Nadu and even tribal Orissa. Apart from a long history of Christian in some places (it arrived in India in AD 70) conversion is a popular way of trying to dodge the caste system for Dalits, although it often doesnt work out. Conversion is banned in some states because it became too popular for some militant Hindus.

    >"Post-dated cheques? When I was in India (admittedly a while ago) it was pretty much a cash economy."

    Plenty of people, including most of the ones I refer to, have bank accounts, although mainly of the passbook variety where the bank has to raise a cheque on their behalf

    >"Is it a solution for someone who has Internet access and the possibility to raise $70k?"

    Again, many of those I mention will have wholly family owned land valued higher than this. Fortunately Father is God in such matters. Internet access is cheap and widely available these days, not just for the well off, and shame based suicide in India doesn't respect (current or recent) net worth.

    Devil Bill, cos scamming the masses isn't reserved for 419ers

  81. michael
    Coat

    @pepol who do not think it is a scam

    are you for real!!

    corse it is a scam it praticley has scam as the header

    it could not be more of a scam if it arived in your inbox dresed in a scam outfix driving a scam singing "scam scam scam"!

    every time I go on line read my mail (both e and snail) or walk down the street I see scams the world is full or them and this is one

    yer it is the one worn by the life long cynic

  82. Dave Driver

    Gullible Reg readers?

    Are the readership of El Reg having a bad day? It seems that a number of commentators believe that the writer has been scammed. This is highly unlikely. It is obviously either another scam, or someone having a laugh.

  83. Spleen

    Re: 17:53

    "Developing countries ARE more susceptible, because people learn through experience and half these folk have only just got email. Think about it."

    Read again. People in developing countries are new to email but are not new to scams. The moment you set up a market you have people selling clapped out livestock as if they were healthy, or fake jewellery, or a piglet in a sack that turns out to be a cat (a popular enough scam that it gave us the phrase 'to let the cat out of the bag'). Anyone should have learnt to recognise a scam by the time they grow up, and "I've got thousands of pounds worth of free money to give you for trivial effort" is a clearly recognisable scam.

  84. Mike Crawshaw
    Black Helicopters

    @ Various Respondents.... Bloody Hell....

    Stewart Rice: nope, probably not sent to just El Reg. But the fact that it was sent to El Reg, which any casual Google-Friend can see is an IT-thing, would make it a less-than-desirable target for this sort of scam, but a reasonable choice for someone wanting advice on an internet-based scam that they've been hit by. As an AC posted shortly after you, who searched details of the message, it indicates that it's not a bulk-mailer, you know how fast they turn up on search engines. Yes, it is possible it's a brand new one, which got bulk-mailed out yesterday, and hasn't made it onto the "scam lists" yet, and they just happened to send to El Reg first, but I doubt it - the odds against make it unlikely.

    Bobbles31: most 419-type scams launch pretty quickly into the "offer". This one doesn't make any attempt to garner cash. Yeah, it might be a targetted attempt to establish rapport prior to asking for money, but usually, especially if a bulk-mailer sent to many addresses, the offer is immediately "on the table", to minimise time wasted. You don't want to establish a rapport with 50 people before finding out that 49 say "F*@K OFF!!" as soon as you mention money, because it's more time-consuming than making the offer to 1000 people, of whom 10 might respond with interest, making them worth spending the time on.

    Spleen: we have a lot of information in mainstream media about scams like this, and people STILL get taken in. Be it 419s, lottery scams, buy-to-let "clubs", timeshare, whatever. TV, radio, effectively unfettered internet, print media etc all flood with information about these all the time. Hell, there was a documentary on about the Buy To Let clubs last night. In India, where this guy is located, that level of media isn't present yet. So, if in this or any other developed country, where people fall for this sort of thing all the time, can we really expect someone else in a country where this isn't the case to be equally informed?

    Robert Cooke: I use the term "IT Rag" in an affectionate way. No other IT publication uses the Eee girl photo quite as much, which means that El Reg has a special place in my heart.

    I'm not saying it's genuine, though I reckon there's a possibility that this is the case, **based on what El Reg published** - if there's a rider at the bottom with details of who to make the cheque payable to, then ok, scam! However, as long as they're not asking for money, I'm content to give the benefit of the doubt. No, I won't be sending El Reg cash to forward on to him...

    People everywhere fall for scams like 419, and some get themselves into a lot of trouble. Same with lottery wins (tbh, I find people falling for that one even more stupid - how the hell did I win the Canadian Lottery when I live in England and never bought a ticket, exactly???), pyramid schemes, blah blah blah. They all offer something substantial for comparatively little, and people delude themselves into thinking that the risk (if they even consider it) is worth the potential gain. Yes, because they're greedy, dishonest idiots, but that's by the by. Enough people fall for these things to make it worthwhile for the scammers to continue. Until that is no longer the case, it will continue.

    It's 920am, and I already need a drink...!! Helicopters, cos it seems like hiding in my bunker might be a good idea...

  85. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Gullible Reg readers?

    Gosh you're a mean-spirited lot of know-alls. You know perfectly well that even if this particular missive isn't kosher (and I love how many 'well OBViously's are being thrown around), there are plenty of real people who *have* been taken in by this and are suffering for it. They may deserve it for their idiocy, yeah, but they may also deserve a shred of pity.

    No? Ah, well, just be grateful you're not that desperate. No? Well... peh.

  86. Matthew

    Sounds like lots of you didn't read the message in full.

    Possibilities:

    1. It's a scam too.

    El Reg seem to be giving the author the benefit of the doubt however. That, to me, adds at least some credibility.

    2. It's genuine.

    The writer of the message clearly states that it was his *father* who was scammed. I think that there should therefore be some leeway granted in the description of amounts and circumstances. If I fell victim to a scam I'd be so embarrassed I wouldn't want to describe the gory details with all of the specifics spelt out. It is also likely that the writer is significantly younger than El Reg's readership and may even still be in school. I made a few spelling and grammatical errors when I was learning...

    We are all mostly world-weary and cynical about these things because we've seen so many scam messages and are generally immune to them. But let me ask the cynics this: if it is a genuine request for help would you *really* gladly let this guy's father top himself for being greedy and/or stupid? Have your parents never made a silly mistake? Would you not do anything you could to try and help them out of the hole they'd dug themselves into?

  87. Hans Mustermann
    Dead Vulture

    @Sarah Bee

    With all due respect, Sarah, as I was saying, these people are usually taken in by their own greed _and_ dishonesty. They're the guys who were planning to get the hundreds of millions transferred into their bank account, and then thumb their nose at the widow or heir of the late Nigerian banker/minister/don. They're not stupid victims, they're stupid would-be crooks.

    I know that these emails aren't real, but they didn't. They genuinely believed that there is a widow or heir or whatever in need of help, and decided to rob them in their hour of need. I can't express in words the kind of contempt that I feel for that kind of scum.

    Do I have even a shred of pity for them? No, not really. I don't feel any pity for the wannabe robber who showed his ID when robbing a liquour store either. Like the robber, they freaking deserve it. If not for being stupid, for trying to be crooks.

    "Ah, well, just be grateful you're not that desperate."

    You mean be grateful that I'm not simultaneously (A) stupid, and (B) a dishonest prick? Well, I guess I'll give my parents thanks for the education, then :P

  88. Tim Nicholls

    Erm...

    "...even if this particular missive isn't kosher..."

    halal?

  89. Walter McCann
    Happy

    Gullible Reg Readers

    Sorry Sarah,

    Greed should never ever deserves pity. (it is one of the seven deadly sins you know!!!!)

    As for the email, it is rather amusing - I loved the bit about being a preacher (they always are - men of God etc). He did forget to mention that his Dad wanted the money to help the little orphans that he feeds every day!!!!!!

    So, you can all send me €10 euros and I will help him out :) - that would be at least €800 already......

    Advice to Scammer:

    1) India is a big place with 1,000,000,000 people - why not move or hide???

    2) Rob a bank

    3) raid the church collection plate?

    4) Declare divine inspiration and tell all parishioners that God is telling them to raise atleast $50,000 "for the poor Orphans" (which would be partially true of his Dad topped himself!!)

    5) Sell the computer he used to send the email to El reg.

    :-) Bank details for all donations to follow....

  90. Stuart Cherrington
    Paris Hilton

    @Slaine Re: Porsche

    That's genius mate, I think you should be entering a new Wikipedia article right now!

    Paris - cause she's got nice bumpers on her porsche.

  91. Spleen

    @Mike

    "Spleen: we have a lot of information in mainstream media about scams like this, and people STILL get taken in. Be it 419s, lottery scams, buy-to-let "clubs", timeshare, whatever. TV, radio, effectively unfettered internet, print media etc all flood with information about these all the time. Hell, there was a documentary on about the Buy To Let clubs last night. In India, where this guy is located, that level of media isn't present yet. So, if in this or any other developed country, where people fall for this sort of thing all the time, can we really expect someone else in a country where this isn't the case to be equally informed?"

    That's pretty much my point. Whether a country has been exposed to 419s or not is more or less irrelevant, scams in general are universal, and so are suckers.

    What this means is that if you fall for a scam, you don't get any sympathy just because you come from a particular country. People from countries new to email don't get sympathy for falling for email scams. Even if they've never read an article specifically about email scams. Someone from the West who travels to China and encounters a wizened old man who tells them about this amazing secret Oriental art that can heal all their woes, doesn't get any sympathy when they fork over several hundred dollars for a bottle of cat urine. Even if they've never read an article about how this particular treatment is bogus.

  92. RMartin

    Experience suggests

    For the record, I run a public consumer advice web site on Internet threats, and every month we receive several hundred emails from potential 419 victims, even though that is not our primary focus. Most of them write to us because they are already suspicious, and in some cases it is quite startling how far along the process they have been led before this happens. In a few cases actual fraud has occured, sometimes on a quite staggering scale, so the email sent to the Reg strikes me as being an all too genuine cry for help.

    I have dealt with cases where victims have been strung along for over a year, with a steady drip-drip of "fees" and "taxes" that can add up to tens of thousands of pounds. There is a clear psychological phenomenon at work here, and once a victim has been persuaded to part with a small amount of money, they become emotionally invested in the scam being the real deal, as to believe otherwise can be painful.

    To write such people off as being simple-minded and greedy is foolish, as the scammers are using very similar techniques to those commonly used by marketing people to convince YOU to buy the latest useless gizmo at outrageous prices. Or aren't you a typical Reg reader?

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    That reminds me

    I leant £45,000 to a nun the other day, and she died before she could pay me back.

    Can you each help me out a bit?

    Just send payapl payments to me on 419-Income@airegin.com

    Thanks!

  94. michael

    theres may have been a fraud

    but the NEXT one might be for real

    http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/216.html

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Hans Mustermann et al

    "With all due respect, Sarah, as I was saying, these people are usually taken in by their own greed _and_ dishonesty. They're the guys who were planning to get the hundreds of millions transferred into their bank account, and then thumb their nose at the widow or heir of the late Nigerian banker/minister/don. They're not stupid victims, they're stupid would-be crooks."

    Wait, stop.

    Imagine for a second that you are not some backroom IT geek. Imagine that you are an upstanding member of society, known throughout your region as a pious and trustworthy man. You pride yourself on your integrity. One morning, you sit down at a computer and receive an email starting:

    "I was given your name by an acquaintance as a man of the utmost integrity."

    You think "ah, he really does know me, for I am a man of the utmost integrity". You can see why the sender is worried: anyone else would take the money and run; "but," you think, "this man was wise and sent his message to the most respected man in Chandrapoorabad. I will help this man."

    So not all the people taken in by these scams are necessarily greedy or dishonest. It is possible to be taken in on the grounds of excessive honesty.

  96. Hans Mustermann
    Thumb Down

    @Anonymous Coward

    While that may be a theoretical possibility, I have trouble seeing many people of outstanding honesty and integrity going too far down the path of _that_ particular scam. It almost invariably boils down to details along the lines of "see, if we gave just one more bribe, we could embezzle millions." Even the very starting premise of that scam is that of, basically, "help me bypass the law and launder some money through a foreign account." That's invariably what the starting email asks you to do.

    In this case, well, I don't know the Indian law, but a bunch of other posters have pointed out that he _had_ to break or circumvent Indian laws too, to get that much money transferred abroad. Not entirely "lawful good", if you know what I mean.

    I'm sorry, but anyone taking part in that... I don't know if they pride themselves in their honesty and integrity, but they prove amply that they didn't have either.

  97. Doug Glass

    Sheep

    Concerning something exceedingly stupid a mutual acquaintance once did, a friend commented, "If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough". Good people have been getting fleeced since time Immemorial because they just don't think straight or they are so emotional about the subject they can't think straight or they're just plain greedy.

    I do feel sorry for those people who get duped, but if it looks to good to be true, it usually is. I got the email and simply deleted it.

    It's a hard lesson to learn, but those who lose in these schemes do so of their own free will. And you can bet the bad guys will always prey on those who are willing to give away their money and possessions.

    Do I believe the bad guys should therefore be allowed to continue just because people are so dumb? Absolutely not. When caught I think they should be castrated to prevent further pollution of the human gene pool.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Hans

    Agree with you Hans, there is no limit to greed, both individual and corporate, The lust for money and power blinds both to reality.

    Oh and I agree with Doug, but not just for 419ers, sterilisation for every crime. If our Liberals don't want to jail them or shoot them then let's cut the criminal gene right out of the pool.

  99. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Hans

    Hmm, sterilisation for every crime. What could possibly go wrong?

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Hans Mustermann

    Hans, if you get your moral philosophy from books published by Wizards of the Coast, it's hardly worth arguing with you. Real people don't have character sheets.

    (Same AC)

  101. Charlie

    Darwin

    "Just a small point, the Darwin Award is given to someone who removes themselves from the gene pool without having procreated, so the kid's father wouldn't be eligible, however, he may be eligible for an honorable mention."

    Can you not be made eligible again if you kill yourself, and all your children do the same, as appears to be the threat here.

  102. Spleen

    Re: AC

    In your scenario, your pillar of the community might be taken in by "you were recommended to us" but the alarm bells will start ringing the moment he reads "there's two million dollars in it for you if you perform this trivially simple transaction which requires no hard work or highly-valued qualities".

    You say I'm known as a trustworthy man. How have I earned trust? By avoiding criminal and immoral activity. How to I avoid criminal and immoral activity? For starters, by knowing what criminal and immoral activity is. So it is inconceivable that I could have gained this reputation and yet the sentence "you can have something for nothing" would not start every alarm bell ringing in my trustworthy head. You really cannot cheat an honest man.

    People who go around being honest and friendly but without exercising any judgement don't become known as the upstanding, trustworthy, pillar of the community to whom people go to when they need advice or help. They become known as the village halfwit.

    The opening sentence is not trying to convince the subject that the writer knows them personally, it's trying to flatter them. If it was being honest it would open "you were recommended to us as a dissatisfied below-average individual with entitlement issues".

    To reiterate, IT literacy has nothing to do with this, so the fact that we're an IT-literate demographic is irrelevant. The scam could work and has worked just as well if done by post or by a man in the street approaching you in a public place.

    I've never played a Wizards of the Coast game, so feel free to reply to me with an actual answer instead of patronising nerd jokes.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Of course it's not real...

    Bloody hell!!

    Why are there so many of you even half wondering if this is real?

    Maybe this type of scam will actually work, idiots all of you.

  104. Mike Crawshaw
    Coat

    @ Spleen

    OK, so it took a while to see your reply to my reply to your reply. Or whatever the hell it was...

    The point you make is different to the point I made.

    The difference is in the type of scam they've been exposed to in the past - they've mainly been exposed to face-to-face, physical artefact scams. You'd be very unlikely to get them to buy a cow/pig at a market that isn't what it seems, for example - because they have experience of that kinda thing. But the magical world of moving numbers around is a different matter entirely.

    Also, many, especially older, people still subscribe to the belief that "if it's written down, it must be kosher" - and this puts them off-guard. "If it wasn't ok, they wouldn't be able to put it in writing", kinda thing. They think that because it's in writing, they're somehow protected against it ripping them off!

    Yeah, the guy was probably thinking he could maybe make ££££ without much effort by "cheating the system", and he was incredibly stupid for doing so. Not disputing that. But being stupid isn't (yet) a crime. And y'never know. If it's genuine, and he's a preacher, maybe he was going to use the millions to run an orphanage? *koff*

    Oh, and it *is* possible to cheat an honest man. e.g. There's not much dishonest about believing in new age medicines etc, and buying a bottle of cat urine from a quack doctor who claims it will cure Condition X. Gullible, yes. But not dishonest.

    Now it's pub o'clock at last. Hurrah! Grabbing coat, the one with Geniune Calvin Klein aftershave at £1.50 a bottle in the pockets...

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Fools

    The only way to get money for nothing is with a government job

  106. Bunny
    Thumb Down

    A world of cynics

    India is known to have some of the poorest individuals in the world. People send their sons and daughters away to sell organs so they can gain money. Many of the black market organ killings in the United States happen because families from Africa and South/South-East Asia send their family members off to "earn money" any way they can.

    In that respect the fact that this man got taken in doesn't surprise me in the least.

    Now, given all this I was expecting the letter to end with "if you could only send me x amount of dollars.." and was surprised when it didn't.

    And as for you people criticizing the English? Guess what, for non-English speakers, English is rated as the hardest world language to learn because there are so many exceptions to rules and hard conjugations. Try writing a pleading letter in Japanese. Go ahead, make it flawless. Unless you've lived there (and even then) it may be a bit of a daunting task.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    One easy rule for life

    If it's unsolicited, be it a phone call, an email, a letter or a caller at your door, DO NOT RESPOND.

    Ever.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I was also decieved by the story but...

    Dear sir,

    I was also very impressed in my internautical naivety of that time by those stories about a large loot from Zaire (now D.R. Congo) by former dictator Mobutu and family. For some days or weeks I also believed in them. But instead of falling to my greed (and the scam), I painfully searched for some D.R. Congo official email adress (quite hard in those times of civil war - but I finally found one at their embassy in South Africa) and sent them a copy in the hope they could recover the stolen millions and use them for the benefit of the people.

    The Congo authorities never replied to my disinterested piece of "information" though. I guess they were better informed and had a good laugh at my mail.

    Yours sincerely,

    Luis

    PS - This is a real (admittedly quite silly) story.

    PS2 - Morals: greed + naivety = disaster. You need something more than mere greed to make millions (at least a couple of neurones).

  109. heystoopid
    Alien

    Psst !

    Psst! , all this talk of the 419 scams reminded me of one we are living in one now except we call it "Democracy" !

    For after all we always re-elect the same dead brained incompetents who play us like a harp for ever demanding even more money in the form of taxes to feed their greedy pigopoulos friends with more outrageous schemes they claim will protect us or create an idyllic society from the mysterious never ending improbable threats(sound familiar now) . Create stupid laws design to enrich their mates fat back pockets and when that doesn't work come back with same lame excuse every time for even larger wads of cash to think of an even more improbable answer to that which they do not want !

    So effectively we are already living in one big huge 419 scam as we speak (ever notice taxes especially indirect ones never decrease whilst income tax appear to go down they go up at the same time ?)and have been brainwashed subtly by those in power to accept these so called get rich schemes by stealth !

    Perhaps the reason why so many greedy and gullible people fall for these so called dead get a brain scams is the simple fact they are trying to bite the hand they hate called the local politician !

  110. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    Ultimate Scam = VAT - it's just a constant little drip and we're all hooked in.

    RMartin, of the many replies I think yours is probably the most informed and eloquent so with respect, I'll address only yours.

    Paragraph1: I applaud your position of social support and ask - does the language always come out the same? I have cobbled together smatterings of French to survive on the continent in the past and almost got smacked for it, I have had greater success talking in English but simplifying and juggling the grammar to suit. But then what of "babelfish" or even just sending a message to someone to have it proof read prior to posting? what of spellchecker? The consistent "misspellings" makes it appear that there is a "professional scammers dictionary, thesaurus and grammer switch". The email sent to EL-Vulture is most *certainly* a cry for help, no one disputes that, but the question is, "is it genuine". From your experience of emails from people who really have been scammed (presuming they are all genuine), are these typos, misspells and grammar cockups consistent with your own experiences?

    Paragraph2: see title.

    Paragraph3: Icon - because it's not just grammar where you can get a c***u* mmm... ;o)

  111. Steven Pepperell

    MONETA SVPERVACANEA, MAGISTER

    -- Spare Change, Guv'?

  112. Matthew
    Paris Hilton

    Poor guy!

    where can we send our donations??!!

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