Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Why don't they ever offer more than 25%?

I know it's becoming redundant (all together now: "and repetitive") but I can't help but read these scam fund transfer e-mails. The facts change; the size of the fortune varies -- but 20 or 25% seems to be the going rate for participation in these ventures.
My Dear Friend,

I am interested in a partnership investment programme with your self/corporation.
Clearly they've done their due diligence; they seem to know so much about me.
There is this huge amount of Five million Seven hundred and fifthy thousand U.S dollars($5,750,000.00)which my late father kept in a security/financial company before he was assasinated by unknown persons, during a political crisis in my country. My father deposited it as a family treasure and that was before his death.
As opposed to deposits made after death, as is alleged in some of these....
Now I and mother left Angola to Senegal,through the help of my late father's good friend. Right now we are in refugee camp and we have decided to invest these money in your country or anywhere safe enough outside my country Angola and the whole of Africa for security and political reasons.
Maybe I'm just a spoiled American, but if I had $5.75 million burning a hole in my pocket, I'd find a decent hotel to stay in, not a refugee camp. Couldn't your "father's good friend" direct you to the local Holiday Inn? Is that why you're not looking to him to help direct your investment strategy? Because you think any random stranger with an e-mail address can do better than he could?
We would want you to assist us to transfer this fund to your country for safty and investment purposes on the followings below:

3).Real Estate Business

If you will be able of rendering an assistance to us we will adequately compensate you 25% Of the total fund.

We will arrange all the necessary procedures in ensuring a smooth process for the funds to get to you. We will also appreciate if you contact me once you receive this mail to enable me give you more details.
Such as the your bank's ABA routing number and your account number so that funds can be 'smoothly' wired in. Or out.
This matter requires your urgent attention , confidentiality and discretion no matter what your decision maybe.

Thank you and God bless you.
Your's Sincerely,
Duoala Mbale
These things keep coming, so I have to assume that -- at least sometimes -- they actually work. When? Who's fallen for this? How? If you know of a 'for instance' please leave me a comment.

Monday, June 19, 2006

New Spam Technique?

Maybe I wasn't paying attention before, but this one strikes me as new: I may have received an actual follow-up e-mail to a scam fund-transfer e-mail. Here it is:
Dear friend,

I am pleased to introduce a business opportunity to transfer to your overseas account the sum of ($15;US Dollars) Fifteen Million United States Dollars from one of the Fidelity Finance & Security Company here in Dakar-Senegal.

I am M/s Laura Jones the Auditor General in the Real Estate Finance & Security Company here in Bangkok, Thailand, During the course of our auditing , I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the our custody since 1998 and till date no body has operated or inquired about this fund.

After going through some old files in the records I discovered that the owner of the account died long ago in a plane crash along with his family without leaving [Heir/WILL] hence the funds is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing.

The owner of this account is Engr.Taha Ali William a foreigner, before his death, he was a management consultant and he died since 1992. No other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it the account has no other beneficiary.

Since I hardly know any foreigner,I am only contacting you as a foreigner to stand and apply as his international business partner because this money can not be approved to a local person here as his next of kin.

I need your full co-operation to make this workout fine because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has correct documents concerning this fund, which I will provide to you upon your positive response and once I am convinced of your capability and assurance that you will never never let me down.

At the conclussion of this project ,we may proceed into an investment as equal partners of which you are to guide it pending my resignation which will be in a short while after the transfer if you may wish or we may share it in a ratio of 2.5 for you and 7.5 for me.

Regarding moral justification of the fund ,i wouldn't want you to consider it haramful. If you had been the victim, Certainly you wouldn't be happy having your hard earned fund shared among government as an unclaimed deposit, i believe there are aspects of life we may contribute with this fund to help the less priveledged and the needy in our society .

Furnish me with your direct telephone & Fax number for easy comminucation with you as soon as possible, and finally, please send your response to me at my other email....
Once again, I've left off the return address. But what a letter: It doesn't just appeal to greed. There are appeals to altruism (we may contribute with this fund to help the less priveledged and the needy in our society) as well as xenophobia (The owner of this account is Engr.Taha Ali William a foreigner). I'm not sure how the name "William" got in there, however; last week it was "Al-Akram Bin Abdullah an Iraqi Oil Merchant" who died in the war last year, not in 1992. (Not that I'm being critical, here, but if Taha Ali William died in 1992, who opened his account with Ms. Jones' company in 1998?) And that Laura Jones sure gets around, too: First she was only in Thailand; now she's both in Thailand and "Dakar-Senegal." One could almost wonder if Ms. Jones has two accounts she's trying to be rid of....

I hope she finds a taker for her accounts soon. Laura might think of investing some of her profits in English lessons. From her name we might assume that she was educated in English, but not much of it seems to have 'taken.' At the very least, in her travels she seems to have forgotten most of it....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

AOL may have read my last post...

Because this letter was intercepted by the spam filter:
Dear friend,

Thanks for spending your time to go through this proposal, even though we do not know each other. It would have been more formal for a transaction or business of this magnitude should have commenced properly with a formal meeting between you and us to enable both parties know ourselves, have a fore knowledge of the nature of the business, discuss and acquaint ourselves with the responsibilities and functions of both parties and appropriate shares accordingly.

Let me start by first introducing myself properly to you. I am Professional Financial Advisor on offshore and real estate investment, Portfolio Management with a Private Security & Finance Company Here In Bangkok Thailand. My company work for expatriate community here in Thailand. I came to know of you in my private search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidential transaction, which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account requiring maximum confidence.

The proposition is this: A Foreigner, Late Engineer Al-Akram Bin Abdullah an Iraqi Oil Merchant/Contractor with the Thailand National Petroleum Corporation, lodged the sum of $19.5 Million USD with our company. Upon Maturity, I have sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply, after a month I sent a reminder and finally discovered from his contract employers (TNPC) that Mr. Abdullah died in war in Baghdad last year. Ever since no close relative or family has come forward to claim the money deposited with us. Therefore, my colleague and I, who are the direct fund managers, have decided to move/transfer this fund into a nominated foreign account, for future investment. To this regards, we sincerely request for your immediate assistance and co-operation for our mutual benefit.

1. I will forward to you copies or the deposit certificate and agreement
2. I will issue to you a Transfer Authorization of the Consignment,
3. We shall guide you up in all that we will do in ensuring that we claims this consignment as soon as possible.

You should rest assured that no one will question it because all financial deposit Certificates and transfer authorization pass my desk for final approval. To facilitate a smooth transaction, we have agree on the following : 20% of the money for you as reward, 10% For expenses on hotel , flight tickets and any other, While, 70% shall be for us (I and my colleague)

All these will be worked out as soon as we get your interest and acceptance. Upon the receipt of your mail message, send to me the following: Your private telephone and fax number for easier communication and to enable me fax to you the documents concerning the consignment. This is a sensitive and private business, The knowledge of which should be restricted , therefore do not discuss it with a third party, and bear it mind that these funds is not terrorist or drug money. I am assuring you of a 100% risk free transaction. While awaiting your prompt reply, please contact me on these emails.
I love these letters! But wouldn't you think that these titans of business would be able to construct a proper English sentence?

Oh -- I did not include the return address for you to send your e-mail response. You'll just have to respond to the copy of this letter that's probably in your own spam filter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, eggs, bacon, spam -- and e-mail, too.

I've been on AOL since it was new, through all the years when it's been the "Internet on training wheels." I'm used to it. And my AOL e-mail address is published in enough places that people can find me. Such as clients. I hope.

Since even AOL now offers a spam filter, I assume that everyone who can read this is familiar with what spam filters are and what they do. Or what they're supposed to do.

But here's what my spam filter did yesterday: It intercepted and blocked an order sent by the District Court in one of my cases -- but it passed this e-mail through:
My Dear Friend,

I am Hajjiah. Mariam Abacha, wife to the late Nigerian Head of state, General Sani Abacha who is late now, l am contacting you with the hope that you will be of great assistance to me....
I have moved this e-mail to my spam pile -- but, if you want me to refer this case to you, well, feel free to e-mail me. Who knows where your e-mail will end up?

Hawking says humanity has to move to the stars, not just look

In an AP story posted this morning on Yahoo, super-physicist Stephen Hawking says humanity must expand from Earth in order to insure the survival of the race. A long clip from the article follows:
HONG KONG - The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.

The British astrophysicist told a news conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years.

"We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star's welcome Monday. Tickets for his lecture planned for Wednesday were sold out.

He added that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.

"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

The 64-year-old scientist -- author of the global best seller "A Brief History of Time" -- is wheelchair-bound and communicates with the help of a computer because he suffers from a neurological disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

And, yes, Stephen Hawking is a "super-physicist." We have "supermodels," don't we?

Hawking numbers 'sudden global warming' among the potential events that may wipe out Earth-bound humanity. I have argued global warming may not be caused by humanity -- but that does not mean that it isn't happening. The global climate is always changing -- and we know that it has sometimes changed dramatically, in a relatively short time (without human assistance). Indeed, focusing our efforts at "stopping" global warming -- by curtailing auto emissions or handicapping industry -- may well cripple our global economy... and be about as effective at holding back global climate change as standing on a beach with an umbrella would be at trying to hold back a tsunami. Nature is bigger and stronger than we are. We should diversify, and not limit ourselves to the hope that we can control the heating and air conditioning system on Spaceship Earth.

And for a truly good scare about a bleak human future without space exploration, read Stephen Baxter's Titan. It's a 1997 book, slightly out of date, but all too plausible in its description of the slow strangulation of the space program, the International Space Station, the failure to replace the Shuttle, the abandonment of the once-so-very-real excitement about going into space to live and work. (One plot element I'll question: Why would Evangelical Christians be against the exploration of space? Do they not really believe that God gave them dominion over His creation?)