Open letters: double feature

>> Friday, February 18, 2011

Attention; customer. Your atm visa card‏


Sent: Tue 2/15/11 8:11 AM

Attention; customer. Your atm visa card

This is to bring to your notice that because of the impossibility of your UN Compensaction Award fund transfer through our Hsbc Online Banking, we have credited your total $5.500.000.00. Legitimate usd into an ATM VISA card, and we have paid the delivery fee of your ATM VISA card to you, we paid it because your ATM VISA card worth of $5.500, 000.00 which we have registered for deliver, has less than seven days to expire in the custody of the TNT COURIER company and when it expires, the money will go into federal government treasury account.

Based on this we decided to help you pay off the money so that your ATM VISA card will not expire, because we trust that when you receive your ATM VISA card, definitely you must pay back and even compensate us for helping you.
Like we stated earlier, the delivery charges has been paid ,therefore the only money you were advice to send to them is their security official keeping fees $125usd only.

Therefore you should contact them with the below contact information;

Company name; TNT Courier customer service.
Logistic Manager: Kessier Nelson,.
Phone: +229-99 85 73 20

Contact them today with your full details information;
Your Full
Your Country;*
Your Residence Home Address;
A Copy of You Identification;
Your Direct Phone ;
Your Cell;

Try to indicate all this codes to them because it will prove that you are the rightful person that own the atm card deposited in their custody.

Shipment Code awb 33xzs,
Atm Card Registered Code No xgt442.
Security Code sctc/2001dhx/567/;
Transaction Code 233/cstc/101/33028/;
Certificate Deposit code; sctc/bun/xxiv/-78/01
Depositor; Ms Anna Luis

This is to avoid wrong delivery, do that urgent to avoid increase of their keeping fees and let us know once you receive your ATM VISA card.

Yours sincerely,
Ms Anna Luis
Customers service
Hsbc Bank

Dear Ms. Luis,

What'd'ya mean, "definitely you must pay back and even compensate us for helping you"? Maybe I don't wanna compensate you. What is this, some kind of shakedown?

Okay, okay, okay--I have to break character here. And probably for the next one, but I'll try to get into some kind of persona for it. But I have to be honest with you, regular readers of Giant Midgets and any first-time visitors: I didn't really have any good material for this one. I just liked the spam itself, which replaced the usual "I am doing you great favor and entrusting you with many bazillions of dollars" with a kind of wheedling, whiny, insistent tone you don't see in very many of these. One has to wonder if this is a new approach and how well it works; "We already helped you, you must pay us back... definitely!"

Obviously, too, there's also the usual run of ESL spelling and grammar errors, some of them amusing. "Compensaction" so ought to be a real word, though I'd ask readers to offer a definition because I'm not sure exactly what it should mean (a portmanteau of "compensation transaction" seems too easy somehow).

Speaking of "too easy": had I stayed in character, I suppose I might have gone onto a rant about bailing out banks and now they're demanding further help or something. That just seems like such low fruit right now. Better, I think, to just allow you to revel in the desperation conveyed in the above plea.

And now this:

From Miss Juliet Conte‏

From Miss Juliet Conte

From: From Miss Juliet Conte (
Sent: Mon 2/14/11 7:56 AM


My name is Miss Juliet Conte , I am 17 years old and The daughter of formerlate Guinea President Lansana Conte,who died on Tuesday, 23th Dec 2008, after a long illness, aged 74 years old. As a matter of fact, I am the only one in the family who knows about the money he deposited in a bank here in Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire, He deposited the sum of ($10.5 Million United States dollars)

My late father handed over the documents of this deposit to me before his untimely death, Now as he is dead, I wish to seek for your partnership to assist me to move this money to your country fore investment.This is 100% risk free and I will give you 30% of the total amount involve.

If you are interested I will send you the full confidential details of the deposit as a good partner that I can trust to assist me. Can I trust you in this transaction? If you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details. This business is risk free hence we can perfect it within few days upon your readiness.

Check the news:

Respectfully, pls email me (

Miss Juliet Conte

Okay, I'm not bothering with a character for this one, either, kids. Sorry if that's disappointing, but I will say that when I got this one, the first idea was to go with a creep--because this one seems to be selling a certain, hrm, shall we say "prurient" angle? "Oh noes, I am a defenseless seventeen year old orphan, save me, Obi-Wan!" or something along those lines.

At any rate, this one stayed in my spambox for the same reason the previous one caught my eye: it's a somewhat different twist on the usual piece from a FBI agent or bank employee or administrator of the UN lottery program or whatever.

I still find myself wondering how often these things work. The investment in sending out bazillions of e-mails to random addresses using a bot is so low that it only takes a couple of suckers to generate a profit, but how many suckers actually bite, one wants to know. One also notes that the profit margins may work differently for e-mails like the first one pointed above, which appears to include (or even primarily consist of) a phishing scam. How much are these names and phone numbers (and perhaps the other information) worth to the scammer, who I assume turns around and sells them for identity fraud and marketing purposes?

Anyway, I wanted to share these, and I'm sorry if this e-mail ended up being less colorful than the usual "open letters" piece. I'll try to come up with something fairly bizarre and ridiculous next time, honest.

On another note, all these musing remind me of an Alfred Hitchcock episode, but I think we'll pop that up tomorrow... at least (sorry!) for American readers (not my fault!).


Warner (aka ntsc) Friday, February 18, 2011 at 9:13:00 AM EST  


It is obvious you have not had dealings with HSBC.

This is the entity that wanted to pull its employees out of the Hong Kong defensive line so they could go back to work.

And as to the second, yes I know somebody whose father sent a fair bit of money to one of these. The man was certain he would get it back from Pubisher's Clearing house because he had heard personally that he might have won.

Phiala Friday, February 18, 2011 at 9:40:00 AM EST  

Here ya go, from the county I grew up in.

"Attorney General Mike Cox has announced the arrest of Thomas Katona, former Treasurer of Alcona County and current resident of Harrisville, Michigan, on nine counts of Embezzlement by a Public Official, each a 10-year felony, and 1 count of Forgery, a 14-year felony, for allegedly embezzling more than $1.2 million in county monies to invest in the Nigerian fraud scam."

It's worth reading the whole thing.

Eric Friday, February 18, 2011 at 9:59:00 AM EST  

Damn, Phiala. The scary thing about that news item is that Alcona County had a treasurer who was so clueless, he got himself in for more than $70k of his own cash an $1.2M of the public's: aside from the obvious scamminess of most of these frauds, at what point does reality thwack you out of a sunk-costs fallacy and you pull the plug, y'know?

I believe the word I'm looking for is the drawn-out regional variant of a stunned epithet: Daaaaa-yum.

Phiala Friday, February 18, 2011 at 10:03:00 AM EST  

Yeah. And he was County Treasurer for a long time. I didn't know him well, but my mother never liked him.

It's a lightly-populated poor rural county, and losing all this money put it into very serious financial problems. (As if being in Michigan weren't a serious financial problem already.)

The scam has even made its Wikipedia page

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