Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Redford and Newman Never Swindled People This Way

Once upon a time, two con men named Gondorff and Hooker engineered a con to take a nasty piece of work crime boss for everything they could get. One setup, hook, tale, wire, and shut out later, they had the mark right where they wanted him, and swindled the bastard for all they could get.

Those were the days. Now con artists have moved off in another direction.

Internet scammers, the modern day scourge of technology. And like the cockroaches they are, if one of them is around, you can count on there being more.

Over at his blog, Mike Saxton regularly rakes them over the coals. There are common threads to the typical internet scammer messages, of course. Mistakes in grammar or punctuation. Sob stories to gain your sympathy. The promise of huge amounts of money. You can find his blog right here for more examples.

For the most part, my junk filters in email work just fine. Usually they catch the typical sort of junk we all get. Ads for whatever product or service some babbling chimp (oh, sorry, marketing executive) thinks we need. In the last few weeks, however, I've been getting some classic internet scam emails. One of them even borrowed the identity of an actual British lord. I wonder how His Lordship feels about identity theft.

The following message is one ludicrous example:

Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:47:56 -0700



Greetings,I am Mrs .Stella Samuel. an aging widow suffering from long time illness. i am currently admitted in a hospital here in Abidjan cote d' Ivore, from all indication my conditions is really deterioration and it is quite obvious that I won live more than months, according to my doctor, I have some funds I inherited from my late loving husband. Engr Samuel Martin,

 the sum of USD .($7.900.000.00) dollars
(Seven Million,  Nine Hundred Thousand US Dollars) in a prime bank in Abidjan.

and I need a honest and God fearing person who have the feelings of human that can use this funds for God's work and 30% out of the total funds will be for your compasation for doing this work of God.

my late husband died after five years,and during the period of our marriage we could 't produce any child. and after my husband death I inherited all his business and wealth. So i saw your email from internet and decided to contact you.  Please if you would be able to use these funds for the Lord's work kindly reply to me.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and your family's Amen.

Your Sister In The Lord.

MRS .Stella  Samuel.

Classic signs of the typical Scammeritis Annoyingus species there, ladies and gentlemen. Deplorable grammar skills. The sob story. The promise of big bucks. She's even trying to appeal to religious sensibilities. Hey, for all she knows, I might worship Odin!

Almighty Odin, smite down this pestilence....

She, he, or they would like to have the suckers who buy this believe that she's a decripit African lady on her deathbed, who just happens to have millions of dollars she inherited from her dead husband (whose surname doesn't even match hers, to boot) in an African bank. How many African engineers do you know who have millions of dollars? Discounting the ones who engineer weapons? Exactly. 

This is the image the scammers want you to associate with this sob story.

In fact, this is probably what she really looks like.

Of course, there are inevitably people who are gullible enough to fall for this. If only one in a hundred people who get this respond, that's enough. The scammer at the other end of the email will have their hooks in the mark, and soon enough, will have bled every bit of money they can get out of the gullible fool.

If internet scammers had been around in the days of Exodus, all it would have taken was one plague of them on Egypt. The Pharoah would have called Moses in. "Moses, take your people and leave! Go! And if you don't mind, will you drop some Nigerian scammers into the Red Sea while you're going?"


  1. God's probably going to smite that one!

    Remember that "girl" on WD who was hitting on all the guys? I wonder how many of them fell for the innocent face in that clip-art photo?

    This is not only a funny blog, it's informative. Well done!

  2. It's like the ladies from 1-(900) call them and they sound so sexy...but probably have 10 kids, live in squallor and have a 2-pack-a-day cigarette habit...

    I don't get emails like this, and if I do, I delete them without looking at them...however, I'd still like to know why they think I need my penis enlarged...

    Great blog!

  3. It just amazes me how many people will buy into that story. Short of running them off the road at a busy intersection, how do you get rid of them?

  4. Beth, what are you doing calling 900 numbers?
    Never mind- great post William.
    Maybe that's Beth in the pink tee-shirt...hmmm...

  5. Perfect! I love this. I cannot count how many times I get these. I even got one on Facebook. I kept getting one addressed from: Head of the FBI. Please open. Yea, right, that's official sounding.

  6. Modern bad guys have taken the art out of Con Artist. Let Odin loose upon them!

  7. Funny, because I was just wondering this morning if people still fall for those internet scams. I guess they do!

  8. @Norma: ah, yes, Kate Desmond. Still planning on using the idea down the line for a Somali weapons dealer. Which, for all we know, might be the sort of person who started that particular scam.

    @Beth: it's a mystery!

    @Karla: we can set them adrift on an icefloe.

    @Eve: It might be!

  9. @Donna: The head of the FBI might have something to say about that...

    @Mike: yes, they are.

    @Lynn: Odin's busy these days, but he'll take a message.

    @Talli: Yes, they still have plenty of marks!


Comments and opinions always welcome. If you're a spammer, your messages aren't going to last long here, even if they do make it past the spam filters. Keep it up with the spam, and I'll send Dick Cheney after you.