This time she’s not playing

I was away for a couple of days and upon my return found this in my gmail spam:
Mrs Vivian Douglas <.it>

04:26 (22 hours ago)



I have to inform you again, that we are not playing over this, I know my
reason for the continuous sending of this notification to you, the fact is that
you can’t seem to trust any one again over this payment for what you have been
in cantered in many months ago, but I want you to trust me, I cannot scam you
for $49 it is for bank processing of your payment, the fees of $49 is clearly
written to you before, I did not invent the bill to defraud you of $49 it is an
official bank payment processing fee, and the good part of this, is that you
will never, ever be disturbed again over any kind of payment, this is final,
and the forms from there becomes effective once we submit your payment
application processing fee and pay the form fee of $49 I don’t want you to
loose this fund this time, because you may never get another such good
opportunity, the federal government is keen and very determined to pay your
overdue debts, this is not a fluke, I would not want
you to loose this fund out of ignorance, I will send you all the documents as
soon as bank payment processing fee is paid, you have to trust me, you will get
your fund, find a way to get $49 you will not loose it, instead it will bring
your financial breakthrough, find the money and send it to our bursary. The
reason why am sending you this because I want you to receive your USD1.8M
immediately we are trying to round up for this payment program.

The processing charges which was initially on the high price has been cut down
by the payout bank considering the poor economic situations that make it
difficult for the middle class citizens to meet up with the processing charges
of their entitlement. Upon the confirmation of your processing charges you will
get your $1.8M into
your account within 15hrs.

Here is the payment information through western union money transfer only,
finally my advice to you is not to abandon this transaction because of the
requirement of ($49) send the fee through western union or money gram.

Receivers name:Prince Egbo
Location address:Cotonou Benin Republic
Text Question: When
Answer: Today
Amount required: $49

Sender’s Name:
MTCN Number#:
Sender’s address:

Sender’s full banking details to avoid wrong transfer:

As soon as the payment is received today, you will receive your $1.8M the same
today without any delay.

Yours Faithfully,
Mrs Vivian Douglas

I’ve deleted most of the mail addresses just to keep from running afoul or WordPress policy – again.

This is interesting in many ways. First, despite her assertion she’s been sending me these emails for a while, that is not so, otherwise I would have written of it before. Second, although she is talking about a “prince” in Benin, the email was sent from an Italian (.it) website and the response is to go to a gmail address.

A few more red flags: The addressee has been left blank, as has the “attn” line. If you don’t know my name, why are you contacting me with this offer? And learn to use the correct word. It should be “lose” not “loose”.

Then there’s the information they ask for. What the hell is an “MTCN” number?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you are foolish enough to actually send the forty-nine bucks and the information, you’ll have lost not only the $49, but probably everything else in your bank account. If you receive this email, or anything similar, delete it. Answering it will not result in you becoming a millionaire.

Since it’s Friday, enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


Notes on a phishing expedition

I found the following in my gmail spam this morning and it easily lends itself to explaining some of the telltales it is a scam and/or phishing expedition. I’ve put the areas I wish to discuss in boldface for you.


Mr. Stanley Clarke>

01:48 (9 hours ago)


HSBC Regional Bank FL (HSBC Regional Bank)
Avenue Cotonou , BP 988 Cotonou Benin Republic.
From the desk of, Mr. Stanley Clarke ,
Director Payment Department. Hsbc Bank
of West African(HSBC Regional Bank)
Instant compensation Payment valued at US$7,500.000.00 usd

It is my modest obligation to write you this letter as regards the authorization of your owed payment through our most respected financial institution (HSBC Regional Bank). I am Mr. Stanley Clarke , the chief executive officer, foreign operations department HSBC Regional Bank, the British government in conjunction with U.S government, united nations organization on foreign payment matters has empowered my bank after much consultation and consideration to handle all foreign payments and release them to their appropriate beneficiaries.
Having received these vital payment numbers, you are instantly qualified to receive and confirm your payment with us within the next 48hrs.

Be well informed that we have verified your payment file as directed to us and your name is next on the list of our outstanding fund beneficiaries to receive their payment before the end of this first term of the year 2015. Be advised that because of too many funds beneficiaries due for payment at this first quarter of the year, you are entitled to receive the sum of Seven million Five hundred thousand United State dollars (7,500.000.00 us dollars only) as part payment of your fund.
So you are therefore advise to re-confirm the following Information for immediate payment processing.

1) Your full name:…..
2) Your full address:….
3) Your contact telephone and Fax:…..
4) Your profession:…….
5) Any valid form of your identification/driven license:…

As soon as we receive the above mentioned information, your payment will be processed and released to you without any further delay. Be also informed that You are not allowed to communicate with any other person(s) or office so as to avoid conflict of information, you are required to provide the above information for your transfer to take place through HSBC Regional Bank to your personal bank account.

We look forward to serving you better.

Yours sincerely.

First, I doubt strongly a firm with the global reach of HSBC would be using a gmail address. Email would probably come from their own site. Incidentally, I deleted the sender’s name which was shown as “johnsonmarkso99″ because I’ve had a problem with WordPress not liking too many email addresses in blogs – they take it as spam and shut you down.

Next, Benin Republic. Benin seems to have become the new Nigeria for this type of scam. I’ve also received similar messages from Burkina Faso among others.

Another clue this is a shotgun style scam is that it isn’t addressed to anyone in particular.

US$7,500,000 is a nice amount to offer. Not too large as to seem suspicious, yet not small enough to make people ignore it. However, the way they showed the amount “US$7,500,000.00 usd” is not the way a legitimate banking operation would show any dollar figure.

Dummy, you forgot to change the year to 2016. If you did indeed mean “the year 2015″, you’ve been very lax in performing you duties in advising me.

Now that they’ve dangled the bait in the form of seven-and-a-half mill, they set the hook. Notice the information they ask for, especially the inclusion of a copy of some form of identification. If you were foolish enough to actually send them the requested information, you can not only kiss the 7.5 good-bye, but you’ve given them sufficient information to steal your identity. But of course since you’re one of my followers or readers, you have the smarts not to fall for this.

The fact you are advised not to tell anyone about this is to stop you from going to the authorities once they’ve stolen your name. (Damn!! Since I’m telling you, I guess I’m not getting my money. Oh well.)

There is one more thing that is glaring in its absence. They ask for all kinds of information except for the number of the bank account in which you want the money deposited. Were this legitimate, wouldn’t you think they’d need that information?

These are a few of the things to watch for the next time someone tells you they’ve got millions for you and they are all red flags.

Enjoy your weekend (unless you’re in the northeastern US, in which case, stay safe); don’t take any wooden nickels and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


Yes, I am

I was away for a couple of days and found the following in my gmail spam upon my return:

Mr. Boni Gozie <>

8 Dec (4 days ago)

to ces854

I am writing to confirm the fact if you are (Dead) Or (Alive)? Because Mr. Jude Betsy came to our office stated that you are dead and failure to reply back in the next 24hrs simply means what Mr. Jude Betsy said was right that you are dead. And Mr. Jude Betsy has agreed to pay the needed valued of $105 dollars required for the transfer charge fee of your consignment box, but we have not gotten the fee from him yet as we want to find out if you are dead or not, so if you are still (alive) you are advice in your own best interest to reply back within 24hrs, Regards Mr. Boni Gozie.

Checking the details, I note the actual sender was in Benin. The lack of an actual addressee, combined with the poor English all tell me this is some kind of scam or phishing attempt. The email address “” is also a giveaway. I posted a warning on Facebook last week after I noticed I had received several messages telling me my money was ready to be sent from this same address. All they needed were an amount of money and my personal details.

Obviously I’m not going to respond, but I wonder what they’d do had I responded with the title of this piece, “yes, I am”.

Remember, if you get messages from “” they only want your money and personal details. You’ll get nothing but grief in return.


not their jurisdiction

I’m still in the process of proofreading my friend’s manuscript, so haven’t checked my email and spam much the past two days.  Found this from yesterday sometime:

10 Dec (6 days ago)
to undisclosed recipients

Attn please,

This message is coming to you from FBI office here, We are writing this mail to inform you that your (Inheritance winning awarded funds of $1.5million) has been totally converted into a ATM Master card and it’s to be delivered to your address via courier service, Be inform that the courier delivery company will deliver the card with all the manual and instruction both with PIN code to access the Card upon receipt. It’s the best option to receive this amount since every attempt failed, therefore you will need to contact the Barrister that helped in re-claiming the check back and converted it into an ATM visa card with his address below:

Barrister Necter Polimars
Phone: +229 98651731

Send him your current address where the check should be delivered to and remember to indicate the Reg:code of ATM-0034 to him when making contact with him. Please also choose the courier service you would like to deliver the Card Post office is also working but could take the card much time to get to you.

Please endeavor to inform us once you have received the ATM Card.

Sincere regards
Robert S. Mueller

FBI Monitoring Team Service

Once again, sign number 1 is “undisclosed recipients”.  If it was intended for me, why not just send it to me?   Where do I go next?

Well, the email address of the sender “deneme” is the same address used in the earlier phishing expedition for gmail information – see my posting “This is a fake”.

The telephone number for the “barrister” has a Benin country code, which also seems a little suspicious.  And (and perhaps one of my English readers could advise me) I thought barristers did courtroom work and this should have been from a solicitor.

Now, I know I wrote about an ATM scam a little while ago, although I’m too lazy to look it up, but that originated from some other African nation.  Since the origin and the “barrister” are located somewhere in Africa, Benin apparently, and I’m in Canada, the FBI wouldn’t have any involvement in this anyway unless they were investigating it.  Also note the message merely states “FBI office here”, without specifying where “here” is.  Hell, we have FBI agents at the US Consulate in Toronto (special assignment dealing with gun smuggling).

If you receive this email just delete it.  If the FBI really wants you, they’ll come and get you – same as the RCMP would in Canada – so don’t worry.  It’s just someone trying to steal your identity.


An embarrassment of riches

That title can be taken two ways.  First is the three (!) scam emails I found in my spam today.  I love these as they give me something I can be nasty with when I write my posting.  The second way is the 9.5 million dollars these people are willing to send me in exchange for a modest sum of money and various bits of personal information.

This will be a long posting since I’m going to cover all three in this one blog.

The first one won’t take long. On September 27, in my posting “Now they’re using Benin” I mention the president of Benin, one Dr Yayi Boni had authorized a payment of a million  and a half to me for some reason.  Whatever I’m thinking about this latest version of this message I probably said better in that first posting.

The second one is very interesting.  It doesn’t mention a dollar amount and in fact appears to be some kind of warning.  Here’s the message:

Mr.Ibrahim Lamode <>
19:56 (19 hours ago)
to undisclosed recipients

THE Economic And Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)
15A Awolowo Road
Ikoyi, Lagos
Lagos Nigeria,

From:Mr.Ibrahim Lamode,the chairman of The Economic And Financial
Crime Commission

Your Kind Attention needed:

This is to officially inform you, that it has come to our notice with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you are having an illegal Transaction with some Impostors claiming to be official representatives locally and internationally.

Without taking much of your time, my name is Mr.Ibrahim Lamode , the chairman of the Economic And Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

During our Investigation, we noticed that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your
Contract/Inheritance/ compensation Payment.

Therefore we have contacted the Economic And Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on your behalf, in other to avoid any further complication or deviation of your funds; you are advice to stop all
further contact with this shameless people who are trying to rip out money from you and damage the good name of our country.

Since we the Economic And Financial Crime Commission is fully involved in this transaction, you are assured that this 100% risk free it is our duty to protect the American Citizens and other countries too from being rip off their hard earn money.

You are advice to contact the fadral ministry of fanice (FMF) stating your Contract/Inheritance/ compensation Funds value to them via email, to enable them with the remittance of your funds according to the way you want them to pay you.

Name: Dr .Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


Kindly contact The Federal Ministry Of Finance (FMF) today, and send the below information to them to enable them with the remittance of your funds according to the way you want to receive your funds.

1.Full Name:
2.Home Address:
3.Direct Phone Number:
4.Your Inheritance/compensation sum value:
5.Amount which you lost previously:

Mr.Ibrahim Lamode
EFCC chairman
Federal Republic of Nigeria

I love the line “you are advice to stop all further contact with this shameless people who are trying to rip out money from you and damage the good name of our country.”  Excuse me?  This is coming from Nigeria, the country whose calling code – 419 – has become synonymous with electronic scams.  Obviously the reason you’ve never received the promised millions in the past is you were dealing with scam artists, not authorized government scam artists – er, “agents”.  Yet it is sad how many people will fall for this.  IT’S STILL A SCAM PEOPLE, JUST WORDED A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY. And do not under any circumstances give them your personal information.

Then we have this one, worth $8,000,000 US:

11:11 (3 hours ago)
to undisclosed recipients

Attention: Beneficiary,

I have been informed by the CHEVRON/ LTD to anticipate your message as this office has been assigned to handle the payment of your grant donation prize and also to alert you that your previous mail was received here on this office desk and content clearly documented. I would advise you follow the instructions given to you and your Donation parcel will be sent to you fully sealed within the next 24hours. A cheque has been issued in your name and we have concluded the processing of all documents t hat will facilitate the clearance of the cheque in your Bank.

This documents includes the following:


These documents have been securely sealed and packed for security reasons which makes it impossible for anyone to view it until its been delivered to you. Find below our delivery options which you are required to choose the one that is most convenient to you to enable the delivery of your parcel to the address which is sent by you to this office.

I want you to indicate once more your mode of delivery for the purpose of documentation in the ECOWAS HEAD OFFICE.

DHL Cost of delivery
Mailing: US $100.00
Vat:US $70.00
Insurance:US $200.00

FEDEX Cost of delivery
Mailing:US $100.00
VAT US $50.00
Insurance: US $200.00

Mailing: US$50.00
VAT US$20.00
Insurance: US$200.00

All three options are 24hours delivery after shipment


Due to the diplomatic content of your parcel, it will be illegal to send it without being insured as it will violate the federal delivery rules governing diplomatic parcel delivery. This means payment for the insurance fee must be made before the parcel is sent to avoid risk. This is because of some bad experience we had in the past.

We can not afford to re-issue your cheque if anything goes wrong. In this case payment for the insurance fee is absolutely compulsory, while the mailing fee should be paid to any of the above listed delivery company you choose at the point of delivery. Your prize is protected by a hardcover insurance policy, which makes it impossible to deduct any amount from the money before remittance.

This means that the above insurance charges cannot be deducted from the prize and hence must be provided by you before your parcel is shipped.

This is in accordance with section 13(1)(n) of the international gambling act as adopted in 1993 and amended on 3RD july 1996 by the constitutional assembly. This is to protect recipients and to avoid misappropriation of funds.

You have to contact PAYMENT STAFF AT THE ECOWAS HEAD OFFICE now with your information and choice of delivery company among the list above for the delivery of your package with this information bellow;

OFFICE NUMBER: +234 810 4796 014

1, Full Name………………………
2, Address of Residence:……………..
3, country from:……………………
4, Telephone Number:………………
5, Occupation……………….
6, Age:………………

Kindly give me a call immediately you receive this mail.

As is common recently, the email is sent from China.  And once again “undisclosed recipients” just means they’re hoping someone will bite and for 8 mil, I’m sure someone will.  Again, no reason given for this “grant prize”.  And why, if as claimed, the benefactor is “Chevron/Texaco”, why is a letter from the Nigerian High Court of Justice necessary.  Again, you have to pay the shipping costs of at least $270 and give up all kinds of information.  DON’T DO IT!!  You will be out those shipping fees; will have given up the kind of information that makes identity theft easy, and you ain’t never gonna see the 8 mil.

And that concludes today’s lesson.  Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

(If you really want to part with your money, I understand you can get a real deal on some oceanfront property outside Prince Albert Saskatchewan. [Check your map – Prince Albert is in the middle of the Canadian prairies about 1,000 miles from any salt water]) 🙂


They’re using Benin now

I don’t check my email spam very often, which is why this is now six days out of date.  Not that it mattered, for I had no intention of doing anything about the following message. Well, other than write this posting that is.  Here’s the message:

Mohammed Khan
21 Sep (6 days ago)
to undisclosed recipients

Attention: Dear,

This is instructions by our new President Dr.Boni Yayi to delivery your unclaimed fund of $1.6Million US Dollars to you by ATM CARD and it will come through (DHL) if you are still talking with any one about your unclaimed fund you are advised to stop right now because your fund has being issued by ATM DEBIT CARD and its deposited with (DHL) Courier Company Ltd now.

You are advice to send only (DHL) delivery charges and that is all no more yellow tag paper no more custom clearance again once you paid only (DHL) delivery fee which is $98 we will send out your ATM parcel and email you the tracking number.

If you want to see a proof then type and then track this number (2282232573) (2282232175) (2282232186) (2282232422) and see that this one has being successful delivery to the receiver you are advise to send your delivery charges today through Money Gram or Western Union to this information below and once its received your ATM card will be sent out and the tracking number will be given to you for picking up your package.

Send delivery charges amount $98 to this name and address below and you are rest assured to receive your ATM CARD successfully like every other people.

Receivers name—– Edwin Nonso.
Country————–Benin Republic
Text Question ——Act
Text Answer ——-Urgent

Be inform that if you send your delivery charges today you will receive your tracking number in less than 45 minutes..

Best Regards.

Once again, the first telltale this is a scam is the “undisclosed recipients”.  If it were a serious message, it would have been sent to me personally, and not have used a shotgun approach.

Note that while they say I have an unclaimed fund of $1.6 million US, they make no mention of just how I managed to end up with such a large amount sitting in some African nation.  I suppose they assume I’ll be so overwhelmed by the amount (1.6 mil US is about 1.625 mil Canadian at the moment) that I won’t ask myself how this is possible.

A quick look at Google tells me that the president of the country is indeed Dr Boni Yayi.  However I doubt any amount of searching would then be able to tell me why the head of a country is so interested in shipping money out of the country to somewhere other than Switzerland or the Caymans.

I won’t go into the quality of the English, but if we can, for the moment, accept this came from some government agency (extremely doubtful) they would either speak better English or have access to better translators.

I like the fact they’re only asking for $98 to cover the cost of sending this “ATM CARD” to me by DHL.  However, since the president has ordered this (yeah, right) why wouldn’t they send it to their Canadian Embassy in a diplomatic pouch, then forward it on to me?  Just asking.  Or am I being too logical here?   I am?  Sorry (no I’m not) ☺

I’m afraid I must disappoint both President Yayi and Mr Edwin Nonso, because I’m not biting on your bait.  I have better uses for that ninety-eight dollars – like a pair of red 5 inch stilettos.

To my readers, enjoy your day.  If you’ve received this email, just delete it.  The only people who are going to end up with money are the senders of the email.  And don’t forget to hug an artist – we need love too.