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scams 2012

©12 The Media Desk

      Advance Fee Fraud. Cash Advance Scam. The African Bank Transfer Scam.
      Or maybe you're into: Identity Theft. Social Engineering Attacks. Bank Fraud.
      How about a "work at home" scam.
      Or maybe just an upfront offer for you to send them your home address so they can come steal your TV?
      Whatever you call it, it is alive and well and still polluting a mailbox near you.
      Which means that somebody believes that they can get... well, let's look at a couple of examples and see what they are believing:

And remember, if NOBODY responded to these things, the bad guys would quit doing it because they are not in it just for something to do, they are making money off the gullible. And it only takes one hit for them to pay their rent for the month and go through it all again.

All letters presented as received...
...with only minor editing for readability done.

First: Social Engineering Attack - wire fraud variety

To: a Desk
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 01:16:13 -0400

Attention beneficiary, this is to notify you that your diplomat JOHN BENARD has now arrived with your cash consignment box loaded with $usd1.5m at John .F.Kennedy international airport new york city, United State of America from Dr.sanusi lamido the executive governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.Contact your diplomat now with your full Name, home address and also your valid phone number through ( for the release of your fund to you and also to give you more details about your fund.


      OK, going in, 347 is a real working area code in the New York City Area. Also, when the Desk called the number in the email, something claiming to be John Bernard's voice mail DID answer. Fascinating, no? However, the number the Desk reached him from, and which he now has, is a test line with no other function, so his return call, which he made within minutes, was a waste of his cell phone minutes. sorry John
      Apparently the good Mr. Bernard has been sitting at JFK since at least 15 December of 2011 when this email was the "scam of the day" on
      So what would happen if you called and agreed to meet the gentleman? Well. You might end up robbed, kidnapped, raped, murdered, car-jacked... or you might just end up signing some sort of paperwork and giving them some information, and then you might found out later that your bank account and credit rating have been robbed, kidnapped, raped, murdered, car-jacked...
      It is quite likely that the AOL address that sent it was hacked, or perhaps spoofed, or even both. And there is no use writing to the return address's Abuse office because Yahoo as a brand no longer cares what is reported to them on the email side as they focus more on trying to become relevant in the more lucrative 'social network' (read: directed advertising) side.
      The point being that if you get an email from somebody claiming to have anything for you that you've never heard of before.... delete it!

Next: a Work At Home scam, Check Processing division.

From: "Dr Joe-Collins"(
Reply-To: (
To: a Desk
Subject: Re:2-offer
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2012 15:50:28 -0500
I am Dr Joe Collins, Financial Director of WINGAS.

WINGAS deal with oil and gas.It's a work from home position and you are not required to pay any fee before u get started.Your tasks are:
1. Receive payment from Customers inform of checks.
2. Cash Payments at your Bank.
3. Deduct 15% which which is your commission on payment check cashed at the bank.
4. Forward the remaining 85% to the information that will be provided later on via western union money transfer.
#Your full legal name:
#Your full home address including City,State,Zipcode:
#Your age:
#direct contact telephone & Cellphone number
#Bank Name:
Dr Joe-Collins.

      First of all, there is such as thing as WINGAS, they are an oil and natural gas provider in Europe. And they are looking for people to fill several job openings.... people with degrees in engineering, marketing, para-professionals, and so on.... In Germany!
      As far as can be told from their website, a good bit of which is in German, they do not use 'work at home' people on other continents for anything. And they don't appear to even use them in Germany. So if you respond to the offer, you'll probably only find yourself on the hook for some bad checks that you did deposit in your account, not to mention the real funds you forwarded to whoever sent the email, and trust the Desk on this one, WINGAS did NOT send it! How do we know? "" is a broadband provider in several major US cities (not Germany), and a known supplier of a good amount of the spam on the web today. And, even if the fuel company did, why would they use a "hotmail" address for the reply? Amazing what one can see when you open the FULL HEADERS of these things!
      Now, having said that, there are real work at home outfits out there, with real offers. However, they normally do not advertise them with spam emails to half the world at once. If you want a position of this type, call a local employment agency, Do Not Respond to a spam email.

... and now comes: Help Us Steal Your Stuff, also under the Social Engineering heading.

Reply-To: (
From: "Studio Real Estates"(
To: a Desk
Subject: Re:your property
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2012 19:30:01 -0500
Studio Real Estate(SRS) now presents an easy way to buy or sell your property.If you'd like to buy or sell your property please fill in the below details and email us back.Our agent would be in touch with you shortly.
1) Complete Name:
2) Current Address:
3) Phone/Cell:
4) State/City /County Where You're Planning To Buy:
5) Cost Of The Property Should Be Less Than (BUDGET):
6) Any Other Description,Please Fill:

1) Complete Name:
2) Current Address:
3) Phone/Cell:
4) Address Of Your Property Which You're Planning To Sell:
5) Asking Price:
6) Decription Of Your Property: 
7) Any Other Description,Please Fill:
8) Attach Photos If Possible
Thank You,
P.S- Refer your family and friends who intend to buy or sell their property.

      There's several things going on here. The most obvious is a Social Engineering attack to try to glean your home or business address, with a contact number so the bad guys can make sure you're not there when they stop by. The other is a chance to lift a good deal of personal information which makes it easier for them to steal your identity or commit other crimes in your name.
      Advice in this case? If you want to buy or sell property, call a real estate agent in your area. Don't answer a spam email.

And then there is the classic 419 scam letter:
it is long, but it is presented in its entirety as a good bad example of its species

Subject: Possible Achievement ( From Ahmad Hussein Bashar)
To: a Desk
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2012 04:08:26 -0400
Message-Id: (
To whom it may concern.
I am Ahmad Hussein Bashar a native of Hama and a son of one of the leading opposing figure to the government of Bashar al-Assad.I am 19 years of age and an undergraduate in the Damascus University in Damascus.Following the political resentment and uprising in Syria which has inadvertently degenerate into a civil war, the al-Assad regime announced what is tagged the total massacre of his political opponents and who he had called dissidents to his rule in Syria. In this event, the al-Assad government declare the total whip out of the prominent leaders in duraa wherein my father has been one among these leading figure.
On a fateful day while in school, watching the unfolding events going in my country on the television particularly on the Aljazeera i saw a caption on the area around my neighborhood close to my father's house where the pro-Al-Assad forces had surrounded with their weapons of destruction and something struck my mind of my family and immediately i received a message on my phone that the pro-Al-Assad had just struck my neighborhood and that our house was one of the major target by the al-Assad forces and to make the whole world down on me, my father was brutally eliminated from the surface of the earth this ugly events made my mother collapsed seeing her husband swim in an ocean of blood and was rushed to a nearby hospital by a member of the Red Cross but unfortunately she could not live to explain it all as death claimed her away.
The Red Cross team and other people on rescue mission took my two kid sisters away for proper care where i often go to pay them visitation and until i discover how endanger my life could be, that i had to flee away for dear live to a neighboring country specifically Turkey as a refugee. I have been living as a refugee since the whole incidents happened that i could not even go back to my country in search of my sisters who i believed remain as the only family i have on earth. During the lifetime of my late father, he was an industrialist, a businessman and a philanthropist who owned a large steel producing company and other assets measurable in monetary terms.
Prior to his demise, he had a financial portfolio of $35.8 million United States Dollars, which he deposited with a financial firm (UNCLAIMED ASSET/ASSETS RE-UNITED,SWITZERLAND) in Geneva, Switzerland as part of his investment. However, i have always known of this investment abroad since i was 14 years because, my father of a blessed memory had always made it known to me that on my graduation from the university and after my master in my course of study, i will be representing his business interest abroad. How painful is death to have short-lived his dream.
I have made a relentless efforts so far to contact my father's attorney who is in charge of his estate in the person of Sir Abramson Onasis` whose office is in London United Kingdom and Switzerland respectively to know more about my late father's wealth and how i could go about claiming the estate but unfortunately, the attorney brought to my notice that he could only proceed on handling over the estate to me when i have attained the age of 24 or wherein a person of a full contractual capacity is brought in to fulfill the obligation as stated in the will left by my late father. As further explained by the attorney, the person of full contractual capacity could be a relation or a trust.
I have been a person of desperate soul to get rid of my father's estate because the attorney himself is an aged man in his late 70s and am afraid death could visit him at any point in time and this might jeopardize my chance of claiming my father's estate.
At this point i am consciously taking my time to source for a very business minded person, who is also a God fearing and who will create time to rescue me from this dilemma to claim my late father's estate and also a person who will guide me on a flourishing business to invest my own share of the claim. You can get in touch with my late father's lawyer on these email address : ( ) so that he can furnish you with the information to finalize the whole arrangement .
Ahmad Hussein Bashar.
      Yes there is really a person named Ahmad Hussein Bashar. Probably several.
      No, the one that sent this letter is not going to give you anything. But he will, or someone who is playing his aged lawyer, WILL ask you to send them some money to prove your good faith, to bribe an official, to pay for an insured courier to send the check... whatever it takes, so they can send you the funds from the estate. Or they may want your bank information, like the routing and account numbers so they can deposit the funds directly into your account. Or they may want you to fly to godknowswhere to sign some papers to facilitate the transfer.
      And if you do send them their money, or whatever else they ask for?
      Oh well. Sorry about your luck.

And Other Flavors of scams and spams
      And of course the email boxes of the world are still full of Organic Replica Hot Viagra Vacation Coffee Dating Rolex Singles from Canadian Pharmacies where Lonely MILFs are just waiting to give you an Online Degree while wearing Designer Sunglasses that will Add Inches to your.... in a Seized Home from One Dollar on YouSpaceFaceTubePlusMyGBook to Double the Speed on your PC.
      And, of course, NONE of those offers are Legitimate! None of them. Not A One. If you contact them, you Will Get Ripped Off. Maybe not the first time, but eventually, you'll end up with nothing but an empty promise and a hole in your bank account or your credit card where your money used to be.
      Oh, yeah. It is the World Wide Web... the Desk gets Russian spam (the phrase was lifted directly from one- it says something about making money from rich people!), as above. Or would that be 'salo' from Russia?

      Now, if you will pardon the Desk, it has to contact the estate of its dear old long lost uncle who was the mining officer of a well known gemstone company in Angola.

Resources to deal with this mess
outside links will open in new window

Interpol's Cyber Crime Division


Their name is what they do:

"Tips to help you avoid scams and fraud...."

The 419 Coalition Website:

And the Desk's own, now aging but still relevant, resource page:

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