Valley of Ridiculous Spam Friday

It is unwise to linger overlong on doorsteps in these troubled times, so let’s just get to the spam, already…

Date: Saturday, July 10, 2010 9:36 PM

You have been awarded the sum of E1,625,000.00GBP in the MICROSOFT EMAIL PROMOTION AWARD 2010.Cont Mr Mark Anderson with your names,address,phone and Country to Email: or call +4470-4573-9535 for moreinformation on this award.

If there really was a lottery of this type based in the United Kingdom (.uk), why would the email have been sent from the University of Florida (, and ask you to reply to a Chinese address (.cn)?

Of course, we both know this is a scam, you and me, so we’ll just move on, now, won’t we?

From: Mr. Albert Harry <>
Date: Monday, May 24, 2010 12:41 AM
Subject: I Need Your Corporate Business Assistance!

Dear Sir/Madam,

It’s my great pleasure to seek your help and genuine co-operation to our mutual benefit and I believe that you will not betray me with the trust and confidence i’m about to bestow on you. I am Mr.Albert Harry, procurement manager to SJCM Solid Minerals England (UK). My GM normally send me to Malaysia to purchase a product called Borax Oil Lq, which is use in the purification/cleansing of Gold and Precious Stones Borax Oil Lq is very cheap in Asia Malaysia compare to US and Europe,per carton of the product cost $6,500 USD to $7,000 USD. While in Asia Malaysia it only cost $2,000 USD. per carton and  you will supply to my company at the rate of $3,500 USD Per carton.

Now,I am expecting a promotion to become a branch manager and my GM is mandating a person to represent the company. I do not want my colleague to know the source/actual cost prize of Borax Oil Lq in Malaysia which is $2,000 USD, this is why i am contacting you.I propose the percentage ratio sharing made i.e. $1,500 USD per cartons. 85% for you and 15% for me. Upon your devoted seriousness and willingness to handle this business without betraying me.

I will pass you the contact details of the Malaysian Supplier. You are to act as the main supplier of the Borax Oil Lq in Malaysia to my Company, and you will buy the product from the Malaysian supplier at $2,000 USD.per carton with your capital and re-sell to my Company representative at $3,500 USD.

If you wish to take up this offer, kindly mail me at your earliest time I will furnished you with the next level of proceedings/contact details of the Malaysian distributor as well as that of my company directors to give a quotation.

Please If this business proposition offends your moral and ethic values, do accept my sincere apology.

Best Regards
Mr. Albert Harry

You know what? It does offend me, Mr. Albert Harry, and I don’t accept your apology. Once again, the “” domain shows up.

From: Sr. Douglas Gregg <>
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010 11:35 AM
To: [removed]
Subject: Your Advise Needed Urgently

I am Sr. Douglas Gregg,

I’m writing to inform you my desire for you to assist me contact a Cooperate Fiduciary Company in United-State, to assist me receive a shipment it contain funds ($31.9Million) in a shipment package.

It was shipped via a Shipping company based in Bern Switzerland to their affiliate vault in (US).

Please email me for more detail.

Awaiting your urgent response.

Sr. Douglas Gregg.

So now you’re trying to get me to believe a bog box o’ cash is waiting for me somewhere? I’m trying to figure out what the setup here is, but I have no doubt it would involve wiring money to Sr. Douglas.

What the heck does the “Sr.” mean when it comes before a name, anyway? Is it supposed to be “Sir?” I’ve never seen that before. I wasn’t aware of the need to abbreviate a three-letter word. I mean, it’s already pretty brief. I like how it’s part of the email address, too.

This concludes our latest batch of emails you should ignore. Not just these specific messages, but anything that looks even a little bit like them.

Ridiculous Spam Friday Goes to Eleven

Today’s collection of ludicrous spam emails is one louder, innit?*

From: Kim Farah
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 5:58 AM
To: none
Subject: Your Email Has Been Chosen

Good day,
I am Mr. Kelvin Barry, Director Of Operations, of Euro Million Lottery Company, United Kingdom. I am soliciting your sincere Co-operation for a swift transfer of £4,528,000 GBP which would be allocated to your E-mail address as the winner in our ballot draws. If you are willing to Co-operation with me in this project and you will be having 60% of the total funds while I would have 40%.All you need to do is that, you register online with Euro Million Lottery Company and as a result of my position in the company I would make it possible that your E-mail address would be drawn as the winner of the above stated amount.You would agree with me that naturally, everybody would like to play a lottery if they are assured of winning. Thus I am assuring you today that you would be a winner with my influence. Please do not take this for granted as this is a one in a life time opportunity, as we both stand to collectively gain from this at the success of the transaction. Should you be willing to Co-operation with me in this transaction please do get in contact me, so that I inform you on how to go about the registration process. Reply To this E-mail:
Best regards,
Mr. Kelvin Barry,
Director Of Operations.
Euro Million Lottery, UK

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

This is one of the most typical spam messages I’ve ever seen. It has it all:

  • Disagreement between the name in the “from” line and the name given in the message? Check.
  • Disagreement between the email address in the “from” field ( domain) and the one given in the message? Check.
  • Lottery winners chosen by email address? Check.
  • The implication that you’re doing something not quite legal (so don’t tell anyone)? Check.
  • The offer to share the prize money? Check.
  • An email address with a Hong Kong country code? Check.
  • Bad English? Check.
  • A fake lottery based in the United Kingdom? Check.

It’s like an exhibit from the Antique Spam Museum, if there were such a thing. Let’s move on, shall we?

From: James Labonte <>
Date: Friday, June 18, 2010 6:50 AM
To: none
Subject: Business Proposal..

Dear friend,
Sorry to bother you, I know we haven’t spoken before but I’m currently looking for someone trustworthy to work with me on a profitable project.
My name is James Labonte, I’m originally from South Africa but now living here in London.  I moved here to work with WESTBRIDGE FINANCE & LOGISTICS as a Senior Account Manager in the audit department. Note, WESTBRIDGE FINANCE & LOGISTICS is a Finance and Security Company, they are incharge of funds of individual and co-operate bodies who do not want to disclose there wealth.And they are also a security firm as well.
The reason for my email is that myself and a colleague recently discovered an Offshore account which was opened with a large sum of money in 2004, since then there has been no activity on the account and all the contact details we have for the customer appear to be out of date, with the interest which has built up over the last few years, the balance of the account is now £17.9m.
Only me and a friend of mine, one of our audit managers know about this account and we decided to keep it to ourselves while we investigated it. It turns out that the account is in the name of a foreigner who has died.  We have no details of heirs or next of kin so the money will just end up being sucked up by the security company .

As we are the only two people at the bank with access to this information and we have decided to keep it that way and claim the money for ourselves using a third party who will take the place of the deceased next of kin…. and that’s where you come in to it, of course if you are interested, We’ll do all the paper work for you and we’re pretty sure the process will be 100% risk free for the three of us. We’re able to produce any documents that will be required.
Obviously we’d be looking to take a cut of the funds ourselves, so we propose 70/30, I and my colleague will take 35% of the funds each leaving you with a very generous 30%.

Again, sorry for intruding in your email, if you are interested then get back to us with this email address
James Labonte

More sender/reply-to email address discrepancies, although they did have the brilliant idea of making the sender’s name the same in both places.

This is a case of “Even If It Was Real, You Wouldn’t Want In On It.” These guys are going to embezzle millions of dollars? First, why would they choose you out of six billion people to share it with? Second, why would you want to be a part of a crime of this magnitude?

Of course, it’s not real, so you don’t have to worry about that. All you would have to worry about is how you’d replace the thousands of dollars you lost when you wired it to these clowns.


From: Jiang Jianmin <>
Date: Saturday, May 01, 2010 2:02 AM
To: none
Subject: Very Important

Good Day,
I have a secured business proposal of $28,272,000.00.Contact me via my private email( interested.
Mr Jiang Jianmin.

You’re not even trying, are you, Mr. Jiang?

I’ve noticed a pattern—spam and scam messages always seem to start off with “good day” or “dear friend.” I don’t think I’ve ever received a legitimate email message with either of those salutations, and I know for a fact I’ve never sent one.

* If you haven’t seen This is Spinal Tap, this is…you know what? Just go watch This is Spinal Tap. Today if possible.

Make-a-Wish Foundation Scam

I just learned about this one from ABC News, by way of Scam Victims United: apparently someone has been calling people telling them they’ve won a sweepstakes sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which turns out to be another case of advance fee fraud. Victims report having lost thousands of dollars to this scheme.

Three observations about this scam:

  1. I’ve never heard of a charity running any kind of sweepstakes. I’m not saying it never happens, but usually these organizations ask you for money; they don’t hand it out to random people.
  2. You have to enter a sweepstakes, drawing, raffle or lottery in order to win a sweepstakes, drawing, raffle or lottery. When it comes to rules that define how the physical universe operates, this one is right up there with relativity and Newton’s laws.
  3. I really can’t think of a sleazier way to run a scam than by using the Make-a-Wish Foundation name. These crooks really are just the worst type of people.

Once again, the old common-sense maxim applies: if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Also, if you’ve really won something, never pay in advance to claim your prize. That’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Ridiculous Spam Friday X: The New Beginning

Advance fee fraud:

From: Mr Robert Ehis <>
Date: Monday, May 17, 2010 5:13 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Inheritance.

Please confirm if you are interseted in the Inheritance. If yes, contact me through email by sending your Telephone number, full name, occupation, age, nationality and full address.

The phrase “if you are interested in the Inheritance” is sort of cute, though.

Second-best all-time “cheap knock-off watch” spam I’ve ever received:

From: Octavio Orozco <>
Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010 11:25 AM
To: [correct address]
Subject: Look like your favorite actor. Purchase Swiss replica watches at our site. You will become rich fast if you will save you money with us.

The more original details your wear the better your look as a whole is. The cheapest prices for and Rolex, Gucci, Omega etc. watches are presented at our site.
Enter fast

Yes, that really was the subject line. Bit long, isn’t it?

For one thing, my favorite actors aren’t really people I’d want to look like. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to look like me, either. For another, how am I going to become rich by buying a fake Rolex? “Enter fast” was linked to a website based in Russia.

This one has to be from the same people. All-time best “cheap knock-off watch” spam I have ever seen:

From: Rodrigo Shannon <>
Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 3:22 PM
To: [correct address]
Subject: Our watch will look great even on any loser.

Expensive clothing and expensive watch are the main accessories of any man. Get the original copy of the Swiss watch at our site and enjoy other’s people attention!
Click at the moment

Loser? Who you callin’ a loser, man? Is this really supposed to entice me?

And it’s not just any copy, folks, it’s the original copy. Very postmodern of them, isn’t it? “Click at the moment” linked to yet another site based in Russia.

Fraud Prevention Templates: “You’ve Won”

Here’s a nice rule of thumb that applies to email:

If it contains the phrase “you’ve won,” it’s probably a scam.

I’ve never seen an email from a stranger with those words that wasn’t some goofball scheme.

Now, if you’ve actually entered a legitimate drawing and know that they might contact you via email, this doesn’t apply. But those out-of-the-blue messages informing you of the untold riches awaiting you?


It sort of reminds me of those old letters that said, “You may have already won some fabulous prizes.” The prizes were always listed as one of the following:

  • One million dollars
  • A brand new car
  • A “diamond-style” ring

Gee, I wonder which one of those I’ll actually have a shot at. A diamond-style ring? What exactly is a diamond-style ring? (I’m sort of lifting material from some guy I saw on Evening at the Improv 20 years ago, but at least I’m admitting it.)

However, those schemes were usually just ploys to get you to subscribe to a magazine you didn’t want. The “you’ve won” emails are usually the setup for an advance fee scam that could end up costing you thousands. Personally, I’d much rather end up with twelve unread issues of Cat Fancy.

Ridiculous Spam Friday IX: The Reckoning.

Sometimes I think I could go all the way to “Ridiculous Spam Friday, Part Infinity” and never run out of examples.

Here’s a pretty standard advance fee fraud message:

From: Jiang Jianmin <>
Date: Saturday, May 01, 2010 2:02 AM
To: none
Subject: Very Important*

Good Day,

I have a secured business proposal of $28,272,000.00.Contact me via my private
email( interested.

Mr Jiang Jianmin.

I’ve noticed the “business proposal” scam messages never go into much detail. It’s a different approach than the lottery, inheritance or soldier versions, who often practically write you a novel.

From: Twitter Support <>
Date: Monday, April 26, 2010 2:20 PM
To: [correct address]
Subject: Twit 32-37

You have 2 information message(s)

The Twitter Team

Please do not reply to this message; it was sent from an unmonitored email address. This message is a service email related to your use of Twitter. For general inquiries or to request support with your Twitter account, please visit us at Twitter Support.

This one was sneaky. It looked exactly like a message that might come from Twitter. The link on “Twitter Support” even took you to the real page. However, the link for the “information message(s)” was disguised—it led to a website in Croatia (.hr). Eastern Europe is a hotbed of this type of stuff these days.

From: Reward-Aisle <>
Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:07 PM
To: [correct address]
Subject: Take Our TV Survey. Get a $250 Card.

Are you going to watch the reality mom take the dance floor?         
Let us know if you?re over Kate Gosselin or excited for her Dancing With the Stars(R) debut. Then get a $250 Visa(R) gift card FREE, details apply.         
Reward-Aisle?s Gift Program is not endorsed, sponsored by or affiliated with Visa, Visa International Service Association, Dancing with the Stars, ABC, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., or any other merchants listed above. Such terms are registered trademarks of their respective owners.     
This promotion is conducted exclusively by Reward-Aisle. Participation terms and conditions apply. To receive the promotional gift, you must: 1) register with valid contact information; 2) complete the user survey; 3) complete the required number of Silver, Gold and Platinum sponsor offers. Available offers will vary and some may require a purchase to qualify. Please refer to the ?Program Requirements? link on the web site for details. Unless otherwise indicated, eligibility is restricted to US residents, 18 and over. Void where prohibited.      
UNSUBSCRIBE | | Reward-Aisle | P.O. Box 24017, Dartmouth NS B3A4T4    
To remove yourself from this list,
click here
or write to us at:
PO Box 7775
San Francisco, CA 94120

I don’t know if this is a scam, a setup for drive-by downloads, or just some really bad advertising. And I don’t care, because it’s complete garbage.

When you get a message like this, the only action to take is to delete it. You don’t even want to use that link to remove yourself from their list, because these people don’t need to know that your address works.

Ridiculous Spam Friday Takes Manhattan.

Welcome to Part VIII of our little series on absolutely ludicrous spam emails. At risk of sounding like Joe Hollywood here, let’s cut to the chase

From: Tyler <>
Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:16 PM
To: [correct address]
Subject: Called Home

We called the number on file yesterday and did not receive an answer.

We are using the email on file to send you the same Free sample offer. Please take the trial we are presenting
and let us know how it works for you.

Thank you.

I checked it out. This “” is a known spam domain. Russia has become a hotbed of this sort of activity, to the point that I sort of wonder why they didn’t try to disguise the link. Of course, you don’t really need to know that to figure out that you shouldn’t trust this garbage, because it’s a link in an email from a stranger. Never click on those, okay?

Date: Sunday, April 11, 2010 5:16 AM

Barristers’ Chambers:
Address: 33 Bedford Row
London WC1R 4JH, England


On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Ng Teng Fong. I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter was returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you again by this same email address on the WILL. I wish to notify you that late Ng Teng Fong made you a beneficiary in his WILL. He left the sum of(USD$21, 100,000.00) to you in the Codicil and last testament to his WILL. Late Ng Teng Fong died on the 23rd of Jan. 2008 and his WILL is now ready for execution after 2 years of thorough investigation of the whereabouts of all his beneficiaries.

According to him, this money is to support your humanitarian/medical activities and to help the poor and the needy in our society. Please if I reach you as I hope, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job.
I hope to hear from you in no distant time.

I await your prompt response and please keep this very discrete and to yourself until the transfer of the funds to you is finalized.

Yours in Service,

Dean Harry Esq.
Principal Partner.
Partners: Aidan Walsh Esq. Markus Wolfgang, John Marvey Esq. Jerry Smith Esq.


And a London-based law firm has an email address based in China (.cn) why?

Just another variant on the old advance fee fraud. Plus, while I’m no expert on my lineage, I do know that it’s Prussian/German on one side and English by way of France on the other, and I’m fairly certain I’m not a descendent of anyone named “Ng Teng Fong.”

Cool, irrelevant fact about my lineage: apparently the French/English side included some actual highwaymen several hundred years ago. See? I’m making good…descended from robbers, now educating you on how to avoid being robbed. Anyway, delete this junk.

From: Contest Department <>
Date: Monday, March 15, 2010 10:27 AM
To: [correct address]
Subject: Official $50,000 Sweepstakes Entry

You could be our next $50,000 Winner!      

Think you’ve got answers to the big questions of the day? Play Predicto!

Text your vote on the latest hot topics and earn points for BIG PRIZES, like Xbox 360s, Nintento Wiis, iPods, and a monthly $500 Giveaway.      

Plus, every vote gets you a chance to win our $50,000 Grand Prize!      

Go below:      
If you no longer wish to receive emails from PredictoMobile, please write to Park 80 West, Plaza II, Suite 200, Saddle Brook, NJ 07663      

or click here to unsubscribe:     

To remove yourself from this list,
click here
or write to us at:
PO Box 7775
San Francisco, CA 94120

I can’t even speculate what this one is all about. I do know I wouldn’t touch any of those links with a ten-foot pole, including the “unsubscribe” link; just what I need—to confirm that my email address is valid to these spammers.

Sure, I’ll “play Predicto.” PREDICTION: If you click these links and try to follow the instructions to enter the sweepstakes, you’ll end up losing money somehow.

Is that how you play?

Fraud Prevention Templates: Nigeria.

Before I get to today’s fraud prevention rule-of-thumb, I want to make it clear that I am in no way disparaging the people or the culture of Nigeria.

I mean, King Sunny Adé and Ebenezer Obey come from Nigeria, and their music totally owns.

However, it’s also a fact that a certain type of scam originated in Nigeria, and is even named after a section of their criminal code (the illustrious Nigerian 419 Scam). So here’s our rule:

If you get an email or a letter that has anything at all to do with Nigeria and money, it is fraudulent.

This includes phone numbers, websites and email addresses, too; if the message includes a really long phone number that starts with the International Dialing Code “234” or a web/email address ending in “.ng,” it’s a scam.

Of course, since almost all of these scams involve strangers offering you large sums of money, if you’ve already read certain other Fraud Prevention Template articles, you won’t even need to know what country code top-level domain Nigerian URLs have.

Naturally, there are plenty of 419 scams that don’t involve Nigeria at all. This is just one quick litmus test.

Ridiculous Spam Friday VII: The New Blood.

Yes, I’m repurposing titles from the Friday the 13th film franchise for these, in case you were wondering.

First contestant:

From: Laboratorio de Genetica Molecular <>
Date: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 6:06 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Matter That Needs Your Attention!!!

Good day,

This is a personal email directed to you for your consideration alone, I request that it remain and be treated as such only. Please bear with me for now and do not ask my name. I am a banker with HSBC here in Malaysia

I have an interesting business proposal for you that will be of immense benefit to both of us. Although this may be hard for you to believe, we stand to gain 7.2 million USD between us in a matter of days. Please grant me the benefit of doubt and hear me out. I need you to signify your interest by replying to this email..

Most importantly, I will need you to promise to keep whatever you learn from me between us even if you decide not to go along with me. I will make more details available to you on receipt of a positive response from you.

When I first saw “Laboratorio de Genetica Molecular” I thought it said “Banco del Mutuo Soccorso” and thought, “Cool! I got an email from the best Italian progressive rock band ever (with the possible exception of Goblin)!”

Then I read it again.

Notice the request for secrecy in the last paragraph. That’s a classic ploy; “don’t tell anyone about this, because they might tell you it’s a scam.”

But what I’m really in love with is the line, “Please, bear with me for now and do not ask my name.” What are you, the Man From U.N.C.L.E.? Nothing says “trust me” like “I’m not telling you my name.”

By the way, if this guy is from Malaysia, why is his email address from Brazil (.br)? File this one under “advance fee fraud.”

Second contestant:

From: Apple AppStore <>
Date: Friday, April 09, 2010 4:45 PM
To: [correct address]
Subject: 883.19284 Apple App-Store Confirm Order

Apple Store
Call 1-800-MY-APPLE

Order Status

You can also contact Apple Store Customer Service or visit online for more information.

Visit the Apple Online Store to purchase Apple hardware, software, and third-party accessories.
Copyright 2010 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.

I don’t think it’s actually called the “AppStore,” is it?

The words “Order Status” linked to I’m pretty sure a real email from Apple would like to—oh, I don’t know…maybe APPLE? Once again, that “.br” domain name comes into play. The plot thickens. I’m not 100% sure what the “payload” of this spam is, but I’m guessing it’s a malware site.

Final contestant:

Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 6:45 AM
To: none

Dear Western Union Customer,

You have been awarded with the sum of $50,000 USD by our office, as one of our customers who use Western Union in their daily business transaction.

This award has been selected through the internet, where your e-mail address indicated and notified. Please provide MR.stephen pagerwith the following listed below so that your fund will be remited to you

through Western Union.

1. Name:______
2. Address________
3. Country:_______
4. Phone Number____
5. Occupation:________
6. Sex:_________________
7. Age___________________

Tel: +234 8021-468-331

As soon as these details are received and verified, your fund will be transferred to you. Thank you, for using western union.

Le sigh. Really?

What I absolutely love about this message is the lines after “Name” and the other information. Like you’re going to print this out and fill in the blanks in pen and then…well, I’m not sure. Phone it in? Email a piece of paper?

Let’s get this straight: Western Union does not just give money to random people, whether they use the service regularly or not. I have never used Western Union at all, nor have I used “WESTER UNION,” whatever that is.

Also, I’m pretty sure Western Union isn’t based in China (.cn), and I bet you can’t guess what country that phone number is from.

It’s Nigeria.

That makes this message the setup for a Nigerian 419 scam.

Credit card fee scams.

I haven’t encountered any anecdotes of this scam “in the wild,” but I’m sure it’s happening somewhere.

You may have noticed it’s a bit tricky to get a credit card lately. That’s because everybody went nuts for a few years—lenders were putting plastic into literally every hand that reached for it, and consumers spent, spent, spent like…I won’t say “drunken sailors” because that would be offensive to drunken sailors. It was way worse than that.

Anyway, this whole mess came crashing down on our collective head a couple years ago, and lenders stopped lending irresponsibly. Actually, some of them nearly stopped lending altogether, which was yet another rookie mistake, in my opinion.

At any rate, since there’s nothing that can’t be turned into a scam, the following scenario emerged.

You get an offer for a credit card with a high spending limit, even though your credit score is lower than your shoe size. However, you have to pay a processing fee up front, usually around $100. You send in your payment, and the card never arrives. It’s an incredibly simple scam: promise something, collect payment, never deliver.

By the way, in applying for this card, you’ve also just given your personal information to people (you will soon realize) you can’t trust. Bad scene.

Now, there are legitimate credit cards with annual fees. However, none of them ever require you to pay in advance of getting the card. Don’t fall for this setup.

Besides, if you’re already in credit trouble, what you don’t need is a new credit card with a $7,500 limit. Even if the offer was real, which it’s not, you’d be inviting more trouble into your life.

I heard about this scam from It looks like an informative site, although I haven’t looked around too much on it yet. Check it out, you might find something interesting.