Help me, Paul Obi, you're my only hope...

>> Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I don't normally open spam, but every now and then something catches my eye for whatever reason. I don't suppose I'm alone in that--Jim Wright even has a recurring spam feature over at Stonekettle Station.

What's interesting about this e-mail that I received from "Regina Dunn" is that it strikes me as a bit threatening for the usual "free money" pitch. There's nothing new about sending somebody an offer of a free ATM card in exchange for all of their personal information under the guise of a "payment notification," but this one actually instructs me to "stop dealing with some non-officials in the bank as this is an illegal act and will have to stop...." Oh gosh! It is? It will? But, but, but, I didn't know. I swear I'll stop! You can't prove anything! You'll never take me alive, Executive Payment Officer!

The request asks me to send details to "Rev Father. [sic] Paul Obi." If you Google "Paul Obi" you'll find that the Reverend Father, insofar as he may or may not actually exist, is a pretty busy fellow--he is, for instance, also the "Head Of Customers Service" [sic] for The Eco Bank Of Nigeria; that, or "Paul Obi" is the African equivalent of "John Smith." If I ever visit Africa, I may have to test that--I could call everybody I meet "Paul Obi" and see if they respond.

From: Mrs. Pamela Johnson
Executive Payment Officer (UN)

Attention: Beneficiary

This is to officially inform you that we have verified your contract / inheritance file presently on my desk, and I found out that you have not received your payment due to your lack of co-operation and not fulfilling the obligations giving to you in respect to your contract / inheritance payment.

Secondly, you are hereby advised to stop dealing with some non-officials in the bank as this is an illegal act and will have to stop if you so wish to receive your payment immediately. After the board meeting held at our headquarters, we have resolved in finding a solution to your problem, and as you may know, we have arranged your payment through our SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTRE in Europe, America and Asia Pacific, which is the instruction given by our president, (GCFR) Federal Republic of Benin although it was agreed that you will pay only $95usd for the delivery of your ATM CARD master card and opening file which is $95usd only to Rev.Father Paul Obi.

This card centre will send you an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw your money in an ATM MACHINE in any part of the world, but the maximum is ($20,000.00) Twenty Thousand Us Dollars per day. So, if you like to receive your fund this way, please do let us know by forwarding the below details to Rev Father. Paul Obi the CARD PAYMENT CENTRE on this


Telephone: +234-703-1248-230

Click on this link to see for yourself (

(1) Your Full Name
(2) Address where you want the payment centre to send your ATM CARD.
(3)Phone And Fax Number
(4) Your Total Fund to be received is US$2.600,000.00

Instead of losing your fund, please indicate to the Card Centre the total sum you are expecting and for your information you have stop any further communication with anybody or office. On this regards, do not hesitate to contact me for more details and direction, and also please do update me with any new development.

Thanks for your co-operation.

From: Mrs. Pamela Johnson
Executive Payment Officer (UN)
United Nation Of Benin Republic..

Note: Because of impostors, we hereby issue you with our code of conduct, which are (209) so you have to indicate this code when contacting this CARD CENTRE.

Regrettably, there are people who fall for this kind of thing, a remarkable confluence of ignorance and wishful thinking. I mean, look at the letter--it basically accuses me of all sorts of things I haven't exactly done, such as dealing with bank officials, not co-operating, signing a contract or having dead relations in... Benin, I guess, though the claim that this is also "United Nations compensation" has one scratching one's head, too. Now, you and I know that all of this is bunk, but you do have to wonder how somebody receives a letter and says, "Well, I don't remember contacting African bank officials, but I must have, so I guess I need to take care of this immediately." Which suggests, I'm afraid, that there's a certain culpability or nefariousness on the part of some victims: it's more likely that some victims of 419 fraud think they're the ones pulling a fast one--"Well, these people think I'm due some money, so who am I to correct them?"

Depressing all around, when you get down to it.


Leanright,  Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 12:10:00 PM EDT  

When you receive your 2.6 million, I would be happy to give you some unsolicited investment advice. :)

Just email me your Social Security number and we'll get the paperwork started.

Nathan Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 1:54:00 PM EDT  

209! 209! 209!.

I'm in compliance. I swear I am.

Send me my money.

And beer.

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