I view it as my duty to point out the stupidity that serves as the mortar between each brick that forms the wall of a successful Wall Street fraud. My intent is not to ridicule but to warn others who might fall for the same scam. . .
On Monday morning, my email in-box contained an amazing offer - one too good to be true. Upon reading the email, I quickly realized that it would offer me an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how even the most basic, cursory due diligence reveals information that an unwary and gullible public might never discover.
Make no mistake about it: The email is a scam.
The $11 Million Tune
Subject: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
From: Miss Donna Story firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Bill Singer
Date: Sun, Jan 23, 2011 7:31 am
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc
Customers Service Hours / Monday To Saturday
Office Hours Monday To Saturday:
Series of meetings have been held over the past 7 months with the secretary general of the United Nations Organization. This ended 3 days ago. It is obvious that you have not received your fund which is to the tune of Eleven million Dollars due to past corrupt Governmental Officials who almost held the fund to themselves for their selfish reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to swindle your fund which has led to so many losses from your end and unnecessary delay in the receipt of your fund.
The National Central Bureau of Interpol enhanced by the United Nations and Federal Bureau of Investigation have successfully passed a mandate to the current president of Nigeria his Excellency President Good Luck Jonathan to boost the exercise of clearing all foreign debts owed to you and other individuals and organizations who have been found not to have receive their Contract Sum, Lottery/Gambling, Inheritance and the likes.
Now how would you like to receive your payment? because we have two method of payment which is by Check or by ATM card?
ATM Card: We will be issuing you a custom pin based ATM card which you will use to withdraw up to THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS per day from any ATM machine that has the Master Card Logo on it and the card have to be renewed in 4 years time which is 2014. Also with the ATM card you will be able to transfer your funds to your local bank account. The ATM card comes with a handbook or manual to enlighten you about how to use it. Even if you do not have a bank account.
Check: To be deposited in your bank for it to be cleared within three working days.
Your payment would be sent to you via any of your preferred option and would be mailed to you via UPS. Because we have signed a contract with UPS which should expire by the end of January 31 2011 you will only need to pay ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS instead of FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS saving you FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS So if you pay before January 31 2011 you save FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS Take note that anyone asking you for some kind of money above the usual fee is definitely a fraudsters and you will have to stop communication with every other person if you have been in contact with any. Also remember that all you will ever have to spend is ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS nothing more! Nothing less! And we guarantee the receipt of your fund to be successfully delivered to you within the next 24hrs after the receipt of payment has been confirmed.
Below are few list of tracking numbers you can track from UPS website to confirm people like you who have received their payment successfully.
Name : NUNEZ KILOMANTE: UPS Tracking Number: 1ZE1988X2416618206 (www.ups.com)
Name : VIVIAN JAMES: UPS Tracking Number: 1ZE1988X2416618779 (www.ups.com)
Note: Everything has been taken care of by the Federal Government of Nigeria, The United Nation and also the FBI and including taxes, custompaper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS.
Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possession of your ATM CARD, you are hereby advice only to be in contact with Mr. Jay Williams of the ATM CARD CENTRE who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your ATM CARD PAYMENT and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation.
DO NOT SEND MONEY TO ANYONE UNTIL YOU READ THIS: The actual fees for shipping your ATM card is FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS but because UPS have temporarily discontinued the C.O.D which gives you the chance to pay when package is delivered for international shipping We had to sign contract with them for bulk shipping which makes the fees reduce from the actual fee of FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS to ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS nothing more and no hidden fees of any sort!
To effect the release of your fund valued at Eleven million Dollars you are advised to contact our correspondent in Africa the delivery officer MR,JAY WILLIAMS with the information below,
You are adviced to contact him with the informations as stated below:
Your full Name..
Preferred Payment Method ( ATM / Cashier Check )
Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your package is sent within 24 working hours. Because we are so sure of everything we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not receive payment/package within the next 24hrs after you have made the payment for shipping.
Miss Donna Story
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535
3,667 Trips to the ATM
As asinine as the email is, I know from some 30 years on Wall Street's regulatory scene that these scams are incredibly successful. Perhaps the more bizarre the scam, the more some folks think it just might be a real deal - even when commonsense and all the rational powers of the Universe scream out to the contrary. Let me suggest a reply message that I would send to my benefactor:
Dear Ms. Story:
How kind of you to contact me by email concerning my $11 Million windfall. It's nice to learn that you folks in the "Monitory Crimes Division" of the FBI work on Sundays and are so diligent. By the way, what's a "monitory"?
I am certainly outraged by your disclosure that corrupt government officials have wrongfully retained my $11 Million and are trying to swindle me out of that hard-earned money - oh, yeah, that's right, I didn't work for that money, so it's not hard-earned, but, hey, I could really use the cash after having bet the house on the New York Jets this weekend.
I was truly impressed by your advice that a mandate to the current president of Nigeria, his Excellency President Good Luck Jonathan, will boost the exercise of clearing all foreign debts owed to me and others.
That's quite a name the President of Nigeria has. Do you know if he has a favorite for the upcoming Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers? Maybe I can make back some of my Jets losses. I'm just figuring here that a guy with the first name of "Good Luck" may have some betting savvy - of course, I'm not entirely sure about his name. Is his first name "Good Luck" or is his first name "Good" and his middle name "Luck"? Regardless, please ask him to let me know if he's taking the points on the game.
After getting your official FBI email, I went to the most respected and accurate of all sources of information, Wikipedia, and looked up the entry for President Good Luck Jonathan. I apologize for my skepticism but I never heard of him - even with that name! Here are some particularly interesting tidbits that are noted at the end of the Wikipedia listing on President Jonathan:
On 28th June 2010, Jonathan created a Facebook fan page, a way of Socializing and sharing ideas with the people of Nigeria. He makes daily profile updates on Facebook and currently has over 399,701 fans on the Social networking site. On 6th January 2011, he wrote: "I was deeply pained as the leader of this great nation to read the comments of certain persons who yesterday described some Nigerians who happen to be PDP delegates as being "mere". The Almighty who created all Nigerians does not see them as "mere" and neither do I. We are one nation, one people who have value in the eye of true leaders."
According to CNN, Jonathan has more Facebook fans than the combined tally of British Prime Minister David Cameron, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and South African head of state Jacob Zuma. However, fresh updates on his Facbook wall appear to be written by Jonathan himself. He is often regarded as "The Facebook president" by CNN.
World Cup controversy
After the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, in which the Nigerian team failed to advance beyond group stage, Jonathan decreed a ban on international games for the football team. FIFA objected to the president's decision and threatened to evict Nigeria from the association. Subsequently Jonathan lifted the ban.
I have to hand it to President Jonathan, the mere fact that he beat out those Cameron and Zuma guys and Ms. Merkel is really something. Do you know if he's also more popular on Facebook than Lady Gaga? Of course, just being described by CNN as the Facebook President must be quite an honor. Will the President be a guest on Piers Morgan's show soon? If he will be and he's in the United States for that interview, do you think you could impose upon him to bring my $11 Million rather than make me go through that whole ATM thing? I will gladly show the President two forms of photo identification.
Separately, I was wondering if President Jonathan thinks that banning the New York Jets from playing next year would motivate them to win the 2012 Super Bowl? I understand that the President banned the Nigerian football team - only, in the United States we wouldn't call them a "football" team, we'd call them a soccer team, even though our game of football involves using hands to pass and catch the ball, we still call it football, so you might ask President Jonathan to make it clear that he didn't ban the Nigerian soccer team from playing American football because if I can get the New York Jets to schedule a regular season game against the Nigerian soccer team (and I would never, ever refer to any player on that team as a "mere" Nigerian), then maybe the Jets could get a Bye Week during the playoffs with that extra victory, not that I'm saying that the Nigerian football, umm, sorry, Nigerian soccer team would not have a chance at beating the Jets but, you know, I'm just saying that it would be a worthwhile sporting contest. Give it some thought, okay?
Anyway, back to your offer of the $11 Million. I don't want to seem ungrateful or anything but you seem to be proposing that I use some ATM card to withdraw $3,000 a day - which would take some 3,667 trips to the ATM machine to get the full $11 million. That's like one trip a day for ten years. Can't we work something out so that I can cut down on all those trips to the bank?
I don't want you to think I don't appreciate your offer, and I want to personally assure you that I know that that your proposal is bona fide because the full cost for getting the special ATM card is usually $550. How do I know that? Why, you told me that in your email and I accept your honesty. What sealed the deal for me was that you offered an un-asked for $400 discount and are willing to ship me the ATM card for only $150.
By the way, I wanted to give you some friendly advice. Since I'm just a naturally suspicious guy, I checked out one of the names you listed that confirms the honesty of your offer to me of $11 Million. You will likely be shocked - shocked, I say, absolutely shocked - to learn that a Google search of "Nunez Kilomante" reveals that his name is being used as part of an ongoing scam. If you can get in touch with Mr. Kilomante, you should tell him to immediately contact your office at the FBI.
Also, that Jay Williams fellow who you "adviced" me to contact in order to arrange for my payment, it seems that he's being victimized by the same folks who have compromised Mr. Kilomante. I entered Mr. Williams' phone number in Google and came up with a whole bunch of warnings that it's part of a scam. I'm guessing it took me maybe ten seconds to check out both Messrs. Kilomante and Williams, so you shouldn't be worried that it will be a burden upon your FBI office to confirm the same.
One final helpful bit of advicing from me to you. You folks at the FBI's "Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division" might want to change your business cards and letterhead. Perhaps it was a mere oversight but I think that you meant "Monetary" and not "Monitory" - unless you meant that you were "Monitoring" crime but I'm not an English major. I did a Google Search of the "Anti-Terrorist and Monitory Crime Division" and found warnings about scams using that reference going back some four years.
I'm glad that I know how to use Google to check things out quickly because it took me, maybe, thirty-seconds to do the three searches. Good thing for you that I took the time. Now you know to clean up all those mistakes. I mean, obviously, they're mistakes. You and your associates are honest, decent folks just spreading the wealth for the better of humanity.
Finally, here's the deal, I'm a bit strapped for cash right now - you remember that losing New York Jets bet I told you about? I have a better idea. Send me only a mere $5 Million in cash and you keep the other $6 Million. If you don't tell President Good Luck Jonathan, I promise to keep my mouth shut. If it would help, I'll "Friend" the President on Facebook and help drive his numbers even higher.
All my best,
Bill Singer, President of the Inter-naTionally Brotherhood of Unitedstatesian Law Praktitioners in America, lTd, and Chairpeopled Top Leader of the Assoc Iated Organizedation advicing counsell of grouped x-ecutives
Our Motto: [INSERT HERE] We acept all paiyment forms of ATM and cheques. No other advisory from other governmentals is to be considered. Only we real. We promise! Send us your good faith money paid down now.