Untold Bounty

During the past few months, one of Lunghu’s slumbering email accounts has been receiving repeated exhortations to participate in a classic Internet scheme that  –in this day and age–  seems like a nostalgic throwback to the dawning infancy of the worldwideweb:  the good ol’ Nigerian banking scam.  Updated for the 21st Century, the word ‘Nigeria’ never appears anywhere in these emails … but two of them boldly claim to originate in nearby Ivory Coast and Ghana.  Perhaps they’re counting on the fact that most Americans’ grasp of global geography is pitifully weak.

  • >> I am checking for a honest and good heated person to partner with me and help me secure my family belongings because we are about to move out of Syria to a safer place and invest there.  I am not one of those internet fraudster I am an Islamic woman a single mother of two children.  I am looking for good investor to partner with me because I want to build up my investment outside Syria because Syria is not a safe place any more. Please you can send your reply in Arabic if you are from the arab world, I send this message in English because I do not know who this message will be delivered to.
  • >> I am a banker by profession from Ghana in West Africa and I have the opportunity of transferring the leftover funds ($17.5 million) of one of my bank clients who died along with his entire family on Monday, 31 July, 2000, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK in a plane crash.
  • >> I am Miss.  Rose Richard, 21 years old, I am the only child of late Mr & Mrs. Yve Richard.  I inherited Six Million, Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($6,400,000.00) here in my name … and I will require your assistance in receiving the transfer of my inherited money in your local account for investment purposes.  Please i am an orphan and i need your assistance to transfer my inherited money to your country and also your assistance to secure a nice school for me in your country where I will continue my education.
  • >> It is with trust and sincerity that I approach you for assistance to transfer some funds into your bank account. Please do accept my apology if my mail infringes on your personal ethics. My name is Franc N Dumala,  a Private Lawyer based here in Johannesburg South Africa.  Honestly it will be my humble pleasure if we can work together.  PLEASE VIEW ATTACHMENT FOR DETAILS

Still, Lunghu has to wonder:  why is a 21-year-old orphan from Abidjan using email accounts furnished by a South Korean internet portal?  And why is an attorney “based in Johannesburg South Africa” using Israeli email providers?  And how is it that a young Syrian mother of two children came to be using a German email account to request help in fleeing her war-torn country?  It’s [slightly] more understandable that the “Director of Auditing and Accounting” at a Ghanaian bank would have both gmail and rocketmail accounts, but why use one account to invite a reply to the other?

Worst of all, the [alleged] amounts of money involved haven’t really kept pace with inflation.  Seventeen point five million dollars here, 6.4 million dollars there, and unspecified details in a “text file” attachment that Lunghu ain’t about to touch with a 3 meter pole.  If you want to nudge greed over the hurdle of skeptical prudence, you’re gonna have to tack on a few more zeros to the left of the decimal point.

Some of these solicitations aren’t actually old-school attempts to defraud.  At least one is probably a phishing expedition, in which the file attachment contains a malware payload.  Others may just be projects to build a “sucker list” of email addresses and cellphone numbers for onward sale to other scammers.  Or maybe it’s all merely research for a Stanford University PhD thesis.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter.  Until Lunghu begins seeing these solicitations updated to include a reference to the passenger manifest of MH370, he’s not going to begin planning construction of his palatial vacation home on Kerguelen Island.



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