Tuesday, June 02, 2009

How can Nigerian banks possibly have this much money?

I received a letter from the FBI today! It caused me a bit of alarm to see that name hulking in my inbox. Of course, it's not actually from the FBI. It's from internet scammers. Aware that the scheme with the Nigerian prince offering you money has been totally played out and overexposed, they've switched to a new scheme that has more of the trappings of the trusted U.S. government. After all, you ignore communications from the FBI at your own peril!

The new method has a completely different angle, in an effort to stay FRESH and CURRENT. Instead of the old method of a prince saying he's sent money, this brand new email says that the FBI says that a prince has sent the FBI money FOR me. I know, it's like a COMPLETELY different plan of attack, but I think you'll see the similarities in the minutiae.

This email is a big wordy feast of things that guarantee no sensible person would fall for it. The email is addressed from ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONETARY CRIMES DIVISION (FBI). The FBI has no such division, as each of those is big enough to have one (or several) divisions devoted to them.

The return address is
fbi.washingtondcinve@gmail.com. I know lots of people love Gmail, but I promise you that no government office uses a free, ad-supported webmail service for their communications..

The body of the email launches into a confusing description of the route the money took to get the UK, where it's waiting to be claimed. Apparently, the money was sent in such a way that the foreign branch of a bank operated by the FBI (huh?) had to pay money to get the money. So, my Nigerian funds were sent C.O.D. to the UK, and the FBI was kind enough to "cash out" my money for me. I *knew* my taxes were good for something!

The email is rife with acronyms:

FBI = Federal Bureau of Investigation
CBN = Central Bank of Nigera
DIST = Diplomatic Immunity Seal of Transfer
SDTA = Secured Deposit Transfer Account
CHR = Criminal History Record
CJIS = Criminal Justice Information Services

I can only assume this is to make things sound more official. There are also a few misspellings here and there, which don't really make it sound more official. Also, there are random words capitalized in the middle of sentences, which is another strange sign. Plus, the TO: field is empty; my address is not listed.

But the crowning jewel are these two paragraphs. They are comprised of 1) the Stick and 2) the Carrot.

This Condition Is Valid until 19th of JUNE, 2009 after we shall take actions on canceling the payment and then charge you for illegally moving funds out of Nigeria.

Guarantee: funds will be released on confirmation of the document.


So, if I don't move fast, not only do I lose the money, but I get criminally charged for moving the money out of Nigeria! But I shouldn't worry, because as long as my bank information is confirmed, the funds will be released and everyone forgets everything. What illegally moved funds? Who cares, have a nice vacation!

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