Filed Under: Spam

Scam, spelt on keyboard. Image from ShutterstockNaked Security reader Mark has been in touch, forwarding us a spam email that he received.

Here's what Mark said:

"I got this email this morning in my junk mail and I thought it was interesting because

a) it plays on the fact that people are now familiar with the idea that they might be scammed

and b) they're advocating that you contact somebody from the UN via his... err.. Chinese Yahoo! address. You probably see a million like this but jeeeeeez."

Personally, I'm surprised that Mark didn't comment on the arresting subject line used by the scammers. It would certainly make many folks stop for a second, and maybe click to read more.

419 scam

It's true that more and more email scams appear to reference the commonly encountered scourge of bogus lottery emails, fictional inheritances and other advance fee frauds that are frequently filed under the title "Letters from Nigeria".

If something sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is - even if the people trying to dupe you are themselves warning about online scammers!

Although you may not be duped by such messages, it's perfectly possible that you know someone elderly or vulnerable who might be. Always be on the lookout on their behalf, as a surprising number of easily exploited people have become financial victims in the past.

Scam spelt out on keyboard image from Shutterstock.

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13 Responses to "STOP CONTACTING THOSE B*!%£RDS"

  1. Dorothy · 928 days ago

    Why do you always equate "elderly" with "easily duped"? The people I know of who have fallen for these scams tend to be former students of mine in their early twenties who were looking for an excuse not to get a job or people in their thirties dealing with unemployment. The older people that I know online have been using email for years and are more savvy about it than the average bear. I think it was someone in her seventies who first showed me how to mouse over a link to see where it really went.

  2. Mary Blumreich · 928 days ago

    I am officially elderly and I laugh at the wording and utter stupidity of these e-mails. How anyone can be taken in by this junk is beyond me.

  3. Guest · 927 days ago

    My mom would fall for it in a heartbeat, she even has them calling her at home. She won't listen to anyone, even the police. It's a freaking nightmare with no end in sight.

  4. Freida Gray · 927 days ago

    It actually sounds pretty dangerous & impossible for anyone who lost $10,000 to have to go to Nigeria (of all places) to get $8.5million in compensation from a "Nigerian scam ". Although an $8.5million payout on an expense of $10,000 is the kind of thing you can only wish were true.

  5. Wendy · 927 days ago

    I had an email like that some time ago. I had to laugh at it. They will do anything to get you in.

    It is not just the elderly who are taken in by these scams. Younger people get taken in also as it plays on their greed.

  6. Ocean Midge · 927 days ago

    That kind of email is known as a "dollar chop" in scammer parlance. They're trying to snatch a "mugu" or victim from another scamming group, hence the insistence that they cease contact with whoever they're currently in touch with. Unfortunately the emails are quite clever in that they cause likely (gullible) victims to self-select: see "Why do Nigerian Scammers say they are from Nigeria?" http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/167719/WhyFrom...

    • 2072 · 925 days ago

      Thanks for the link to "Why do Nigerian scammers say they are from Nigeria?" , that was a very interesting read. Those scammers are not that stupid after all, this is a very clever way to select the most gullible individuals who have the less probability to detect or suspect they are being abused and therefore will convert into a profit...

      The best way to damage their business is to play with them... I've often dreamed of building a bot who would communicate with them just to waste their time. The IA behind this wouldn't be easy to get though!

  7. MikeP_UK · 927 days ago

    You only have to look at the misuse of English wording and grammar. It is clearly not that of someone who normally uses English, either the UK or US version (they are different).
    Just look at how they describe where they are living! US citizens would talk of Washington State and they would be very unlikely to 'reside' either. Loads of other mistakes as well.
    To see through these scams simply read the prose and compare it with normal parlance.

  8. David Brooks · 927 days ago

    Maybe it's just the "elderly" in Graham's family? LOL...over here...it seems that being naive and being "Duped" flows genetically through most age groups.

  9. Alyce · 927 days ago

    "SIGH!" I get a DAILY dose of these in my spam folder, at least 3 or 4 a day, and they are very annoying to have to delete every time I check my e-mail. I am 58 and never THOUGHT to fall for any of them but my husband often shows me one in his e-mail and asks if I think THIS one is legit. No, dear, they are ALL bogus, if you didn't enter a contest you didn't win, you have NO relatives that left you money, and nobody is dying and wants you to distribute their millions to charity for which you will get paid. Just look at the "from" e-mail address. I would LOVE to be able to stop these, at one time I reported every one to an anti-phishing site.

  10. Fredrik Wahlgren · 927 days ago

    It can be quite funny to reply and pretend that you have fallen for the scam. You can create accounts for this purpose. Unfortunately, it seems as if I have been blcklisted as I don't get these mails anymore. Mostly because I teased them from my real account. So much that i got replies. I got a very angry reply where the sender called me a "mugu", nigerian slang meaning a fool. Maybe. I should call myself gimu, the antithesis of a mugu

  11. Nigel · 926 days ago

    I don't think that people who fall for such scams are necessarily greedy. Maybe they're just needy. In any case, they evidently haven't learned that there's no free lunch.

    Actually, I'd expect people who are in their senior years to have been around long enough to have learned that lesson. Alas, age often brings dementia, which comes on in degrees. Some stay sharp until the end, but many others begin to lose their ability to pay attention to details much sooner.

    But it only applies to those to whom it applies. Far from being a derogatory, Graham's invocation to guard the best interests of those who genuinely ARE vulnerable is kindly advice. It seems unlikely that such scams will end anytime soon.

  12. Magnus · 925 days ago

    The only way to stop spam and Nigeria letters is to do quite the opposite of what we are doing now. If 1% of those who got a scam email answered "Yes that is interesting, contact me" the scammers would have a full mailbox within minutes and wouldn't even know where to begin.

    If 1% clicked on the link in the spam mail, the website would soon be overloaded. Webhotels would be quick to take down hacked webpages and website who promote themselfs with spam. If the webserver could take the load, the web site would soon reach the allowed amount of traffic.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https://grahamcluley.com, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley