Get money the 419 way!

419 my money went to nigeria and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

Every so often, I get an email that genuinely makes me laugh.

Sometimes, they’re the “I just saw an embarrassing picture of you on Twitter! You should check it out” type.

Or the “Easy opportunity! Work from home and earn lots of money!” kind.

Maybe even the “The secret to get any woman to love you!” style.

You know to never open them up.

If you do, you run the risk of infecting your computer with some virus.

That steals all your contacts and republishes the foolishness to your network.

Generally, my spam filters catch them.

But every once in a while one of these wretched emails bypass my spam folder and find their way into gen pop.

Today, one such evader was in my inbox.

It was sent by a “David Ellis”.

I know a “Danny Ellis” and countless Davids.

But no David Ellis.

Still, nothing about the email initially threw me off.

Then, I noted the subject of the email.


In all caps, just like that.

Open attach file, huh?

And then, this most impassioned and persuasive letter:


Just waiting in a trunk for me?

Well hop to it!

If the Head of Inspections Unit United Nations Inspection Agency tells me that, in his estimation, a box with the dimensions W61xH156xD73 (cm) and an effective capacity of 680L contains $4 million, who am I to quibble?

So what if there’s no actual salutation.

I’m often referred to as “Dear”.

Who cares if the email is rife with improper capitalization, punctuation and misspellings.

We can’t all be Rhodes scholars.

It’s immaterial that the Head of Inspections is seeking a bribe in the performance of his duties.

Who couldn’t use a little help in these trying times?

Needless to say, I’ve sent the information he’s requested.

I can’t keep my package waiting in unclaimed consignments at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, now can I?

The reason emails like this make me laugh, is that they are patently unbelievable.

But somehow (lots of greedy) folks have been duped into parting with their cash.

I first heard about scams like this on a flight back from Nigeria in 1997.

I was reading an in-flight mag about folks falling victim to 419 scams.

419 is the police code for confidence scams in Nigeria.

Apparently, some (rich) dude fell victim to a 419-er (one who practices 419ing), who convinced him that if he helped him to clean and transfer a large sum of money from Nigeria to Texas, he would pay a handsome commission.

The money (about $3 million USD) was covered in black oil and needed to be cleaned in order to be released.

All he had to do was to wire $150,000 to an escrow account, which would be held temporarily as collateral.

Another sum, approximately $20,000 would be used to clean the oil from the stash o’ cash.

Once cleaned, $300,000 would be wired into the Texan’s account, along with his $150,000 deposit, and $20,000 cleaning fee.

He sent the money as requested.

And dude ended up losing that $170,000.

Can you believe there was never any dirty money?

Needless to say, a fool and his money are soon parted.

The story went on to describe the countless gullible fools who had been taken in by similar shenanigans.

And I laugh out loud (literally), thinking about that poor ole Texan, whenever I see one of these emails.

What gets me is that it’s 2013, and these emails are still circulating.

Are folks still falling for the okey-doke?

I really hope not.

But if they are, I’ve got a stash of cash which needs cleaning…

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