So begins one of many 419 scam emails sent by fraudsters looking to dupe gullible punters into parting with their bank details. It's amazing that anyone falls for it, but people do, and somewhere - well, Nigeria mostly, if the story on the BBC website is to believed - someone is making some money out of it. So are the BBC right or is this an attempt by a Ghanaian BBC journalist, over-excited about his football team's qualification for the World Cup, trying to stir up West African animosities? I'll let you decide that, but my last 3 scam emails have come not from Nigeria but South Africa (one is reprinted below).
But it would be a shame if these 419 scams disappeared, as they make for a good bit of linguistic analysis. Just what is it that doesn't ring true about the one below? Is it the inconsistent punctuation and spelling, the over-familiar salutation "Hello Dear", the semantically nonsensical sign-off "Contact immediately for more information with favorable succinctly your positive response" or the cack-handed explanation of familiar euphemisms "I also discovered that the account holder has long since passedaway (dead) leaving no beneficiary to the account"?
There's got to be a language investigation in there somewhere!
Scambusters article - interesting link to BBC story on people who deliberately wind up 409 scammers.
Recent 419 scam:
From:Mr Davison kas
NO:57 EASTERN CAPE,
My name is Mr Davison kas and I work in the
International operation department in a Local Bank
here in South Africa.
On a routine inspection I discovered a dormant
domiciliary account with a BAL.Of 36,000,000 (Thirty
Six Million USD) on further discreet investigation, I
also discovered that the account holder has long since
passedaway (dead) leaving no beneficiary to the
The bank will approve this money to any foreigner
because the former operator of the a/cis a foreigner
and from Iraq in particular and I am certainly sure
that he is dead, and nobody will come again for the
claim of this money A foreigner can only claim this
money with legal claims to the accountHolder;
therefore I need your cooperation in this transaction.
I will provide the necessary information needed in
order to claim this money, but you will need to open
an account where this can be transferred.If interested
send your private Telephone No. And Fax number
including full details of the account to be used for
the Deposit I wish for utmost onfidentiality in
handling this transaction as my job and the future of
my family would be jeopardized if it were breached.
I want to assure you that the transaction is without
risk if due process is followed accordingly. Finally,
I will give you 25% for your corporation.
Contact immediately for more information with
favorable succinctly your positive response.
Mr Davison kas
EA4C - Language Investigation