Friday, September 19, 2008

Chicken Soup for the Chicken

Last week This American Life aired a story about an internet phenomenon called "scam-baiting". You know those solicitous emails you get out of the blue from some guy who has millions of dollars in some foreign country and he needs you to help him get it to the U.S.? Of course, its all just a clever way to take your money, rape your dog, and sell your children into slavery. Well, these scam-baiters do what their name implies and trick the scammers into doing some interesting and dangerous things...

However, you wont be receiving any e-mails about the Time Travel Fund, all you need be is a curious teenager googling the words "time travel" as was the way I found this, the most beautiful of all scams I've seen to date. It breaks down thus: 1. You give time travel fund 10 bucks, 2. They keep part of your 10 bucks as their fee and put the rest in a savings account to build interest, 3. Sometime in the future after they've made the smallest and largest TVs possible it is likely that the time machine will be invented (which ,aside from immortality, isn't that really the unspoken promise of modern technology), So ....4. They come back and get you and you get to take a sweet vacation in the future where most likely your progeny will try to get in your pants and you'll have to trick them into sleeping with Crispen Glover.

But back to E-mail scammers...

A couple years ago I had a correspondence with an e-mail scammer which I posted to my Myspace Blog.

Here it is in all its hugeness...Don't pretend like you've got something better to do with the next half hour!

Monday, May 29, 2006

From: Mr. Wang.
Hang Seng Bank Ltd
Sai Wan Ho Branch
171 Shaukiwan
Hong Kong.

Let me start by introducing
myself. I am Mr. Peter Lee an Executive Director in the Hang Seng Bank
Ltd, Sai Wan Ho Branch. I have a mutual beneficial business suggestion
for you.

I know that this proposal will absolutely going to be a
great doubt and distrust in your heart in respect of this email,
coupled with the fact that, so many miscreant have taken possession of
the Internet to facilitate their nefarious deeds, thereby making it
extremely difficult for genuine and legitimate business class persons
to get attention and recognition.

There is no way for me to know
whether I will be properly understood, but it is my duty to write and
reach out to you.

Before the U.S and Iraqi war, our client Major Fadi
Basem who was with the Iraqi forces and also a business man made a
numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of
Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars(US$18.5M)
only in my branch. Upon maturity several notice was sent to him, even
during the war Three years ago (2003).Again after the war another
notification was sent and still no response came from him. We later
found out that the Major and his family had been killed during the war
in bomb blast that hit their home.

After further investigation it
was also discovered that Major Fadi Basem did not declare any next of
kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank
deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office
that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. The Eighteen
Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars (US$18.5M) is still
lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it.

bothers me most is that according to the laws of my country at the
expiration four years six months the funds will revert to the ownership
of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds.
Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as
a foreigner to front for me and stand as the next of kin to Major Fadi
Basem so that you will be able to receive his funds.

Please, if you
are capable of standing as the next of Kin to Major Fadi
Basem, you
should indicate through my private email address: (wang_lee_wang@yahoo.
com) so that I will give you more information. Absolute confidentiality
is required from you. Besides, I will use my connection to get some
documents to back up the fund so that the fund can not be questioned by
any authority.

I will give you further details of the transaction
when I receive a positive response from you and also the ration which
the money will be shared between both of us.

Treat as very urgent.

Yours Faithfully,
Mr. Wang Lee


Subject line: very urgent

Dear Mr. Wang

I got your email. I knew something like this was going to happen for me. My fortune cookie today said "you will do well in business". I guess i believe it now. Let me start off by saying that my son was killed in the war to liberate iraq. I have tried to find peace after his death but have found none. I know he died proudly defending his country. So you should forgive me if i dont feel sorry for Major Basim. After my loss I feel inspired to help you, and entitled to a part of that 18.5 million. maybe that will give me closure. I hope to hear from you as to how to proceed further.

God bless,

Michael MarionettaFrom: Wang Peter Lee
>To: mike mccubbins
>Subject: From Mr. Wang.
>Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 02:00:45 -0700 (PDT)
>Dear Mr. Michael.
> I am most grateful for your reply, and I seize this opportunity to thank you.
> I am so sorry for the death of your son for that endless war, it is really hard to endure it easily but let God take control.
> First, I must solicit your confidence in this transaction; this is by virtue of its nature as being utterly CONFIDENTIAL and TOP SECRET. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the transaction.
> Actually this transaction is real, and one hundred percent risk free and does not relate to any breach of law or proceed from drugs. It is a matter of necessity to contact you for this transaction without further investigation about you, as I believe you are a responsible person.
> I and some of my trusted colleagues in the bank now seek for your permission to have you stand as late Major Fadi Basem's next of kin so that the fund, USD$18.5M would be subsequently transferred and paid into your bank account as the beneficiary next of kin.
> All documents and proves to enable you get this fund have been carefully worked out and we are assuring you a 100% risk free involvement. Your share would be 30% of the total amount. 5% has been set aside for expenses, while the rest would be for me and my colleagues for investment purposes in your country or any other country of your choice where the returns on investment will be optimal.
> Below is what I required from you now so that an Attorney will prepare the necessary documents and affidavits which will put you in place as the next of kin.
> 1. Your full name
> 2. Your contact address
> 3. Your most confidential telephone number
> 4. Fax number
> 5. Exclusive e-mail address so that I can forward to you the relevant documents for this transaction.
> With the above details, the Attorney will file in the Federal High court with an appropriate affidavit in order to secure a letter of probate empowering you as the close friends/next of kin/Sole Beneficiary and Trustee/Sole Executor of the Estate of Major Fadi Basem which includes the sum of US$18.5M lying in a dormant account here in our bank.
> Upon the approvals from the Ministry of Justice, the letter of probate will be granted in your favor which will give you the authority to request for the transfer of this money to your account. As soon as our bank receive the documents from the Attorney on your behalf, we will then forward your particulars to our correspondence bank in Europe or America which will now transfer the money to your nominated account.
> All these processes will be accomplished within 10 working days and the fund will be transferred to your account immediately. The very good thing about this transaction is that it will be done in a very proper and legal manner.
> I hope you will not betray me. As for Trust, it is a given thing that trust is earned, it is not given out lightly
> Waiting for your response to enable us commence without delay.
> Be blessed.

Dear Mr. Wang,

Thank you for trusting in me. I have spoken to my wife Rachel about this and she thinks that maybe you are not legitimate. I believe that you are, but i promised her that I would ask you if you could please send to us your address and phone number instead and we will send to you our information or we could just call you and tell you it. My wife and i both think that 30 percent is a fair share. I agree with you too that trust is earned. As for the war in iraq, i will be glad when it is over so that the rest of those boys can come home safe i sometimes regret voting for George W. Bush but as you said it is in the hands of the Almighty now. This is my personal email which my wife cannot access if we can do everything over e-mail then i think that she will not know about it until we get the money. Then she will beleive it is real too.

God bless you,

Michael James Marionetta

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

From: Wang Peter Lee
>To: mike mccubbins
>Subject: From Mr. Wang.
>Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 12:10:03 -0700 (PDT)
>Dear friend Mr. Michael,
> I appreciate your quick response to this proposal; in fact you are showing the needed interest that will see us through this transaction within a short time.
> My real name is Williams Parker a British citizen working with the bank in Hong Kong. The attached is my international passport for your full assurance of my person, but please notes that my person remains unanimous until this deal is over.
> I will be sending the fund deposit certificate which was issued to Major Fadi Basem by our bank when he deposited the fund to you as we progress. As I earlier told you, I and his trusted personal accountant in the bank, and that is why I have full access to all the documents bounding this fund.
> It is right to communicate through telephone but when I thought of this transaction and how to go about it, I have to cut of my private telephone line to avoid eavesdrops of any kind. I am only using the office line which is only during the working hours and it is not right for me to discuss such deal with that line.
> I needed your information so that I will give it to the lawyer who will handle it on our behalf and also to enable me talk to you personal with public phone as that will be safer.
> As you said, to continue most of our correspondence through email is okay with me but please all should remain confidential until we are through which will not be latter that next 2 weeks depends on how fast you are responding to the needs.
> Waiting for your response.
> Remain blessed.
> Mr. Wang.


Dear Mr. Wang,

I convinced my wife to let me tell you the information you need. I hope that i can trust you with it. I believe that God would want us to go through with this we've decided to give much of the money to our church, and use some to build a memorial for our son. Do you have children?Any how here is the information that you need:

Name: Micheal James Marionetta

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C.

Phone ..: 1-606-NOT-REAL

It was fun wasn't it?

That was some great stuff about the nature of trust. You seem to have a pretty firm grasp of the process my "dear friend". Only, why would anyone believe that you would solicite a complete stranger to keep 18 million dollars. Find a way around that and you've got a pretty decent scam. I'm assuming you're actaully from the United States, because only an American could realise how desperately patriotic most of the U.S. is.

It's better off this way, the measly contents of my bank account wouldn't have been worth your time.

Nice work on the passport by the way.

Keep on Griftin'

Mike the MarionetteWednesday, May 31, 2006

Dear Mr. Michael.

No matter what you say or think, I will not fail to thank you for letting me that it is a mistake trying to trust you.

I am happy to know this early that I am in a wrong side.

May the Lord be with you.

Mr. Parker.

mike(to himself):

Oh the bitter taste of this new trust
Sours the simple sweet of my justice
But for being "in a wrong side"
i have miscarried my fortunes

Do humor for the smart pleasures
of letting you your mistakes
so that you may learn
none more than my name is fool

the lord is with the meak we know
for i have secured my own meakness
for my lies i inherit his company
and mistake ascend for condescend

does the keyboard hear what the heart speaks
in this wire does the ghost pace and quicken
on winged feet carries a fools contumely
to break the heart that goes for broke

the end....
Ginko Press, a printing company on the west coast is publishing the above volume. Its an illustrated book of African Scam Emails. I came upon this after reading a comics anthology they publish called Kramer's Ergot.I'm about half through Kramer's Ergot 5 (KE5) and its been holding my frail subconscious hostage for the past week. This company also happens to be in the process of reprinting all of Marshall McLuhan's works including some never in print stuff.

Anyhow i don't really know how to end this blog and its gone on too long already, and I'm gonna be late for work.

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