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just brew it!
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419 scams

Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:29 am

Actually got one via snail mail yesterday, a variation on the "a distant relative of yours just died and we are looking for next-of-kin to inherit his fortune" scam.

It's fairly well-done for a scam; the boilerplate has been personalized with my name, and a plausible name for a distant relative. The UK bank the letter (with a UK postmark) purports to come from actually exists; if you pull up the address in Google Street View they really do have an office there, and the return phone number is a UK number. The letter is also well written, without the grammatical errors you often see in scam e-mails.

OTOH, it's not on official bank letterhead, and the e-mail address isn't at the bank's domain, it is at "accountant.com", which is apparently an e-mail domain commonly used by 419 scammers.

I can understand the economics of spewing out e-mails by the thousands to try and scam people, but physical mail-merged letters? I guess there are a lot of gullible people in the world. Maybe it has gotten too difficult to get these sorts of things past modern spam filters, so they need to resort to physical mail?
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
whm1974
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Re: 419 scams

Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:52 am

Thanks for mentioning this JBI. Scams that are well planned and executed are actually quite easy to fall for if one isn't careful.
 
The Egg
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:09 am

While part of me laughs, if they're willing to pay almost a half-dollar postage for each physical letter (or more, if it's originating from the UK), they must be seeing a shockingly high success rate.  Not only are people more likely to trust something they receive in the mail (for good reason), but they're also reaching an untapped and lucrative portion of the elderly population which doesn't use computers, and thus hasn't been previously exposed to this sort of thing.
 
just brew it!
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:19 am

The Egg wrote:
While part of me laughs, if they're willing to pay almost a half-dollar postage for each physical letter (or more, if it's originating from the UK), they must be seeing a shockingly high success rate.  Not only are people more likely to trust something they receive in the mail (for good reason), but they're also reaching an untapped and lucrative portion of the elderly population which doesn't use computers, and thus hasn't been previously exposed to this sort of thing.

There's probably something to that, but what percentage of people in modern western societies don't have e-mail these days? It has to be pretty small. My father is well into his 80s and he knows how to use e-mail. (My MIL didn't, but she passed over a decade ago and would be nearly 100 if she was still alive today.)
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
The Egg
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:35 am

just brew it! wrote:
The Egg wrote:
While part of me laughs, if they're willing to pay almost a half-dollar postage for each physical letter (or more, if it's originating from the UK), they must be seeing a shockingly high success rate.  Not only are people more likely to trust something they receive in the mail (for good reason), but they're also reaching an untapped and lucrative portion of the elderly population which doesn't use computers, and thus hasn't been previously exposed to this sort of thing.

There's probably something to that, but what percentage of people in modern western societies don't have e-mail these days? It has to be pretty small. My father is well into his 80s and he knows how to use e-mail. (My MIL didn't, but she passed over a decade ago and would be nearly 100 if she was still alive today.)

There's more than you think.  I live in an "older town", and deal with the public on semi-fair occasion.  I'd say that the vast majority over 80 don't have computer skills (many will pass having never owned one), while most aged 70 or younger are in good shape.  Of course there's a significant amount of leeway in through there, as I'm only talking about the majority (I work with a few people in their 40's and 50's who don't own computers and have zero computer skills (construction industry)).
 
Kougar
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:33 am

Nasty.

The Egg wrote:
While part of me laughs, if they're willing to pay almost a half-dollar postage for each physical letter (or more, if it's originating from the UK), they must be seeing a shockingly high success rate.  Not only are people more likely to trust something they receive in the mail (for good reason), but they're also reaching an untapped and lucrative portion of the elderly population which doesn't use computers, and thus hasn't been previously exposed to this sort of thing.


People may pay half a dollar, but bulk rate shipping starts at half that. Anyone can ship bulk rate if they can survive researching the fine print and codes, and meet the 500 unit minimum. Sounds like they can just raid a municipal database for names and addresses, then have a bot slightly modify names, mass print, and voila. Am sure the elderly are particularly susceptible because they have distant relatives passing on almost routinely.
 
paultherope
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:41 am

I get the domain name scam letters that ask for hundreds of dollars. Clearly enough people pay these for it to be worthwhile.

My favourite 419 was the one with the African Astronaut:-

Subject: Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home
Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager
National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)
Plot 555
Misau Street
PMB 437
Garki, Abuja, FCT NIGERIA

Dear Mr. Sir,
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE-STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.
In the 14-years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $ 3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.
Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount to your account or subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/ or operating foreign accounts in our names.
Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20 percent of the transferred sum, while 10 percent shall be set aside for incidental expenses (internal and external) between the parties in the course of the transaction. You will be mandated to remit the balance 70 percent to other accounts in due course.
Kindly expedite action as we are behind schedule to enable us include downpayment in this financial quarter.
Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-2220 only.
Yours Sincerely, Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager
tip@nasrda.gov.ng

http://www.nasrda.gov.ng/
 
just brew it!
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:45 am

W.
T.
F.
:o
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
whm1974
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:53 am

just brew it! wrote:
W.
T.
F.
:o

I wonder if anyone has really fallen for that one?
 
sluggo
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Re: 419 scams

Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:03 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Actually got one via snail mail yesterday, a variation on the "a distant relative of yours just died and we are looking for next-of-kin to inherit his fortune" scam.

It's fairly well-done for a scam; the boilerplate has been personalized with my name, and a plausible name for a distant relative. The UK bank the letter (with a UK postmark) purports to come from actually exists; if you pull up the address in Google Street View they really do have an office there, and the return phone number is a UK number. The letter is also well written, without the grammatical errors you often see in scam e-mails.

OTOH, it's not on official bank letterhead, and the e-mail address isn't at the bank's domain, it is at "accountant.com", which is apparently an e-mail domain commonly used by 419 scammers.

I can understand the economics of spewing out e-mails by the thousands to try and scam people, but physical mail-merged letters? I guess there are a lot of gullible people in the world. Maybe it has gotten too difficult to get these sorts of things past modern spam filters, so they need to resort to physical mail?

I got the same one. My reaction was also "Somebody paid postage from the UK to send me this crap?".  The language was pretty good, but the entire letter was tilted about 5 degrees to the the right, as if it had been put into a copier at an angle.
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action - Goethe

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