Mrs. Gaddafi offers 40 million dollars for safekeeping

Filed Under: Featured, Spam

Creative Commons photo of Gaddafi courtesy of James GordonImagine my surprise this morning when I received an email from the second wife of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Safia Farkash al-Baraasi!

I suppose I wasn't really surprised, as every time there is a major news event, tragedy or television spectacle, spammers and fraudsters use the topic to social engineer their victims.

The message itself was quite brief:

Subject: From Safia Gaddafi,Please kindly open the attached file for more information

Message: PLEASE OPEN ATTACHMENT FOR MY LETTER TO YOU

Spam from Mrs. Gaddafi

Clearly this message must be legitimate, the from address is mrs.safiagadaffi2 AT gmail.com. Considering Google's position on identity we should automatically grant this message higher priority.

The attached Microsoft Word document follows the tried-and-true formula of Nigerian 419 scams. While the story was well researched, it appears to have been based on news reports from May suggesting Mrs. Gaddafi had 20 tons of gold hidden away.

My favorite part reads "As you may be aware that my husband is presently facing a difficulties in Libya."

Of course, to be of assistance I need to provide Mrs. Gaddafi with my name, address, age, occupation and cell phone number.

Wouldn't it have been easier to just ask Anonymous? They have dumped that very same information on half of the population at this point.

Don't open attachments from unknown people, even if they are famous. The standard logic applies here. No one will email you because they have too much money and need your assistance.

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28 Responses to Mrs. Gaddafi offers 40 million dollars for safekeeping

  1. ME! · 1130 days ago

    I'd be tempted to reply just with one response:

    "The penalty the Gaddafi Family must face for decades of Tyranny is Extinction of the entire family line."

  2. chrissy · 1130 days ago

    ill help out with that 40 million lol

  3. Robert Gracie · 1130 days ago

    yeah right, I know its a scam because the offer is far too good to be true thats how I know its a scam, can Sophos do something on chatbots please they really do get under my skin

  4. guest · 1130 days ago

    .....and This ^^^^^^ is how phishing works.

  5. Kelly · 1129 days ago

    First thing I would question is why she couldn't spell her last name correctly????

    May be why Google didn't flag the email????

    If anyone wants my help for $40 million, prove to me you have the money first.....

    • Henry Page · 1045 days ago

      The correct spelling is actually Al-Qathafi: "First Photo of Seif Al Qathafi After His Capture by Zintan Fighters" http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=1&...

      I am a speaker of N. African Arabic.

      • c. wilson · 1040 days ago

        I am a speaker of southern pig latin

        • c. wilson · 1040 days ago

          how long does it take to be approved???i am nearly 80 yrs old

      • Riccardo · 1038 days ago

        I don't speak any version of Arabic, but given that the language is not primarily written with the Latin alphabet, which incidentally does not have letters representing all the sounds of Arabic, there cannot be a "correct" spelling of any Arabic name using our alphabet. Hence over the decades of Libya's leader's reign, the myriads of spelling of his name in "English." I remember a Saturday Night Live sketch making fun of this dilemma, circa 1980. I am sure that if you are a native speaker (though with a name like "Henry Page," I doubt it) you can attest that even the "Q" sans "u" still doesn't do that sound justice.

  6. Teresa Stokes · 1129 days ago

    Kelly, as the original name is an Arabic lettering, there can be no "correct" spelling in our alphabet. However, Gaddafi IS the generally accepted way of spelling it in English speaking countries, see Wikipedia.

  7. Nigel · 1112 days ago

    Catching up on some NakedSecurity news items I missed over the last few weeks. This one...

    "Clearly this message must be legitimate, the from address is mrs.safiagadaffi2 AT gmail.com. Considering Google's position on identity we should automatically grant this message higher priority."

    ...was hilarious. Thanks for the chuckle, Chet.

    And thanks for NakedSecurity in general. Sophos rocks!

  8. Sib · 1099 days ago

    Actually the correct way of spelling his name is Kadafi as is written on his passport they recently found in his bunker. Being his wife I am sure she would know how it is spelt.

  9. ola · 1099 days ago

    This is very sad!

    Yes, I AM a Nigerian, based in the us.
    Believe it or not I have never scammed anyone (of course I don't expect you to believe me)
    But the bottom line is that these fools out there are just screw*ing the rest of the law abiding ones here.

    It is a shame!

    And you know what?

    The same fraud could even be executed by some other folks who are not Nigerians. But Nigerians have been labeled to be the front runner and there is nothing they can do about it any more.

    • Keith Farrell · 1045 days ago

      considering 99.9% of the 41+9 scams are run by nigerians, what do you expect, you cannot blame everyone for putting all nigerians in the same soup, it is as bad as saying enery white person from South Africa must be a rasist, we are not, I would love to go back, but the farm murders scare me, my one friend was murdered on his fam and when my spouse died I was alone, so I left. I dont put all african people down as farm murders, Im just not waiting around to find urt, same as not all nigerians are crooks, just too many are and your goverment does nothing about it., we need top get rid of the 419 scammers and western union, because they could not operate without western union

      • Tayo · 1010 days ago

        I'm sorry, but your response is ill-informed and mostly ignorant. I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your friend, but don't project your silly generalizations through bad justifications.

        99.9% of 419 scams are NOT run by Nigerians. Research has shown that the medium is highly used by scammers in Russia, Eastern Europe, other West African countries, Mexico, and even those in the US itself. Just because it's named after the law code against it doesn't mean it is purely Nigerian territory.

        99.9%? Ugh. Stfu.

  10. guest · 1047 days ago

    oola.....i wonder why they are 'singled' out ? it surely wouldnt be because they are guilty!!!

  11. C-nati · 1045 days ago

    For 40 million dollars she can stay at my house!!!!!!!!!

    • bryon · 1045 days ago

      for forty million they can stay at your house, you just have to live somewhere other than in my United States of America

  12. ronnjiq · 1044 days ago

    My reply to a 419 initial letter asking for co-operation:
    " Lets cut to the chase: Give me your account # so I can deposit $5000 into it."

  13. Techie · 1037 days ago

    I had this e-mail letter too - I replied by saying that I will forward her letter on to the fraud squad at Scotland Yard - as I am sure they would be very interested in her plight..

    However, I receive similar letters like this at least once or twice a day and they are just playing on the vulnerable.

  14. Abram · 1037 days ago

    How can you justify the label on 160,000,000 people for what less than 100 of them did? How would you feel to be an innocent on the receiving side? It's high-time you stop blaming innocent and noble Nigerians.

  15. Moose · 1037 days ago

    Surely by now she knows her husband is DEAD! Her son will be soon if not already. Why should anybody in the world have pity on her family? Because they were such a merciful and loving leader?

    • Scary News · 1009 days ago

      You are an ijiot. The email is not from the real Mrs Ghadaffi. It is the work of scammers or did you not read the article properly?

      This is not really the place to make a political comment!

  16. Chad · 1014 days ago

    40 million could purchase a really sexy firing squad for ANYONE associated with that family, when I get to hell, I'll personally kick gadhafi in his "nuggets". Peace,love and a happy holiday to all.

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About the author

Chester Wisniewski is a Senior Security Advisor at Sophos Canada. He provides advice and insight into the latest threats for security and IT professionals with the goal of providing clear guidance on complex topics. You can follow Chester on Twitter as @chetwisniewski, on App.net as Chester, Chester Wisniewski on Google Plus or send him an email at chesterw@sophos.com.