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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I get scam mail

Some of these "Nigerian scams" are hilarious. Does anyone ever fall for them?
Head, Planning, Research and
Review Department of ICPC.

Dear Sir/Madam.

This is to inform you that the united state government authority (USA) in collaboration with the Nigerian government and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been alleged to monitor all transaction. I am here by instructing you to stop whatever transactions you are having in regards of your fund.

This information is reaching you because from our investigation we discovered you have been involved in a transaction with an internet fraudster. Note we have deposited a check of Eight hundred thousand dollars through the appointed bank for easy transfer of your fund, (Barclays Bank London or Citi Bank of London) will remit this to you as soon as possible with the sum of Eight hundred thousand dollars (US$800,000.00) for your compensation to avoid giving our country bad name.

All that is required from you is to send your current home address, your full name and your phone number for effective communication.

Hon. Jerry Ego.
Head, Planning, Research and
Review Department of ICPC.


Kassul said...

Apparently enough people do :\
And it's basically a free scam to operate, harvesting e-mail addresses and sending out spam like this is incredibly cheap to do, in multiple senses of the phrase.

People in Nigeria don't want to send you loads of money people!
Pyramind schemes are unsustainable and fall apart really rapidly!
Neither Microsoft nor Google are tracking e-mail patterns and are going to reward you for forwarding this chain letter on.

Just... Stop. Please.

Greg Egan said...

Far, far more annoying than anything by email are the scammers from India who keep ringing me up (5 times already, so either they have very poor record-keeping or there are multiple franchises doing the same thing independently) telling me they are from the "Computer Maintenance Centre" and that there have been "reports of viruses in your area".

A friend of a friend with more patience than I have played along with whole thing -- where they get you to load some malware onto your computer -- but pretended to be having trouble downloading the thing. He put the scammer on speakerphone and entertained his whole family for about half an hour, as the guy earnestly tried to help him through the difficulty.

But apparently quite a lot of elderly people in Australia have fallen for this one over the last year or so, and I'm not surprised (or at all disdainful towards the victims). A lot of people simply don't have a clear enough notion of the issues to understand immediately why a phone call like this is preposterous -- and if you buy a computer from someone like Dell, there are often various kinds of follow-up calls for which a call like this might be mistaken.

Jenny Blackford said...

A year or so back I did a full check over a not-so-young friend's machine after those bastards had scammed her, Greg. The machine was open to remote operation, so I locked it down, but to my great relief the two programs they got her to download were useless but harmless freeware, which I got rid of. No infection anywhere.
But then they called her again recently, and *almost* convinced her again (but not quite). I've told her to refer the bastards to me next time they call. Grrr.

Russell Blackford said...

I've been trying to put myself in the place of the sort of person who actually would be taken in by the scam letter that I posted.

It's a bit hard for me to get a clear idea, but perhaps someone whose own English is not good, if they're from a country where it is not the primary language, and who has only basic access to technology (and so is naive about it, and perhaps about government administration as well)?

I really don't know who falls for this sort of scam - I mean one that is so illiterate and full of mistakes, etc., as the one in the original post. Does anyone know anything about that?

Svlad Cjelli said...

You don't even have to write all kinds of spam anymore. Of course the automated kind ENGLISH the very half ampersand. Tonight at deliverance of aichmophobic bliss of Royal Society cataclysm! Full allegory

Rik Gern said...

Apparently, falling for some of those scams can get ugly and dangerous...