Foreign Dignitary Scam kicks it old school

Liberia Location
Image via Wikipedia

This arrived at REGIONAL not too long ago, on the fax machine, no less!

(I have kept the haphazard spelling, bizarre grammar and weird spacing as-is, but the original was in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. I’m not posting something in all caps. Just…no.)

From: Charles Taylor (JNR).
Telephone: +255 768 369 224
FAX +27 865 140 721


May I use this opportunity to introduce myself to you my name is Charles Taylor (JNR) I am the son of former president of Liberia. A country in West Africa, my father who is currently being held against his will by the United Nations for alleged offences of war crimes.
He is currently facing court trial in the Hague in Netherlands. My father is a good man who tried to do so much for our people Liberians.
I am contacting you with the believe that we will develop a cordial business relationship which will be beneficial to both of us. My father gave me your contact when I visited him on the 19th of November 2009. He said that he have a lot of confidence and trust in your personality.
My father keep the sum of (one hundred and seventy seven million United States dollars) $177.million USD. In a banks security vault under the name of his friend a foreigner from your country. As the next of kin to the deposit to avoid any trace. This friend of my father died on 25th July 2009 in a motor accident.
My father directed me to use this money for investment purposes specifically in your country.
I promise to give you 30% of the total funds for your assistance and 10% of the profit after tax for five years.

I am currently in a refugee camp here in Tanzania and I have made contact with the bank manager of the bank where my father deposited the funds. I have also inspected the funds and confirm that it is still with them. I will give you all the details on how we will claim these funds on receipt of you response.

I have the whole documents for the deposit. I therefore seek your assistance in transferring this funds out of Tanzania.

Best Regards,

Charles Taylor (JNR)

Note: please send all you’re contact information through my above fax numbers, as soon as I receive your contact informations I will send all the details on how we are going to conclude this transaction.

You see so many of these things coming in via email, it’s almost a treat to get one on the fax machine; it’s like playing the original Doom or drinking one of those Throwback sodas with the real sugar.

Anyway, I’ve only got three things to say about this:

  1. Even if this was real, which it’s not, Charles Taylor is not someone you want to get involved with. Ever.
  2. Chuckie Taylor (son of aforementioned warlord) is currently serving a 97-year prison term in the United States. He’s not in a refugee camp, and he’s certainly not in Tanzania.
  3. How many refugee camps have fax machines, anyway? I guess they’ve upgraded. Weird.

Oh, well. Just another document for the round file.*

* That’s the trash can to you an’ me!

Worst. Scam. Attempt. Ever.

Here’s an attempt at an email scam that nobody should ever fall for. Seriously, it’s like they weren’t even trying:

From: “Mr. R. Jan” <[removed]>
Sent 9/6/2009 3:21:48 PM
To: [removed]

My name is Mr. Jan and I am contacting you from Liberia for
a mutual business relationship and investment.
I have some funds realized through contract brokerage and I
need your cooperation to invest the funds.
The first stage requires transferring the funds to your
account for subsequent investment.
I therefore want you to work with me as a partner.  On
receipt of your response, I will send you full details of
the transaction and more information about myself.  I
am waiting for your prompt response.

I’m not even going to bother picking this thing apart. Yes, it’s a total scam. Yes, you should just delete it. No, it’s not a real investment opportunity.

By the way, you didn’t win the lottery

Here’s a good rule of thumb when deciding how to respond to a potentially fraudulent email message, letter, telephone call or other type of communication: if a stranger walked up to you on the street and said the exact same thing, would you believe them?

For example, you’re walking down the street when a random guy in a shabby gray suit approaches you. He says, “Greetings, I am a foreign dignitary currently in exile and would like to ask for your assistance in transferring my fortune into the United States, totaling 250 million USD. If you help, I will let you keep 25% of that amount. I will need your checking account number to complete this process.”

You’d tell the clown to get lost.

Or perhaps he says, “Congratulations! You have been selected in the Canadian lottery as the top prizewinner! In order to claim your prize of 2.5 million USD, please give me a cashier’s check for $2,945.23 to cover taxes and other fees.”

Unless you’re very gullible, your reaction would be the same.

I know that the economy isn’t good at the moment. You might be facing layoffs, reduction in pay, or worse. Your employer might be going out of business completely. You get an email that promises instant riches and it seems like all your prayers have been answered.

These thieves know that. That’s why they’re in the fraud business to begin with. They’re counting on your sleepless nights of worrying about where you’re going to get the money to make it. And they’re only going to make your situation worse.

You have to keep your guard up. Imagine that offer coming from a stranger on the street, and you will instantly see through it.