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The All-New Exxon Oil (Nigerian Prince) Scam
Thread poster: Woodstock

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:17
German to English
+ ...
Oct 30, 2014

I just got this in my inbox this morning, and would not have posted it if it were not taking this particular scam scheme to a whole new level in terms of language sophistication (except for the sender's two different "identities": Dr. Michael Morgan and then in the body Dr. Adams Andersen!). If these guys can do it, a day may come when other scam letters targeting language professionals are not in broken, horrible English... I also plan to forward this to the German authorities responsible for dealing with online fraud, and suggest others do the same in their country for any scam attempt. These are generally not from petty con men or otherwise harmless individuals out to make a fast buck, but organized criminal gangs (see Wikipedia and other sources on "Nigerian scam" or similar key words - there are lots of them!). The more they are reported to official channels, the better the chances the perpetrators can be caught and brought to justice, or at least stopped until the next scam scheme comes along.

PS: This was not sent via Proz

So, for your "amusement" and edification I present: the all-new Exxon Oil scam...

From: Dr. Michael A Morgan
Esso UK Limited,
registered in England under company number 1589650
ExxonMobil House, Ermyn Way Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 8UX England

I am Dr. Adams Andersen, an Engineer with Exxon Mobil in London http://www.exxonmobil.co.uk). I got your contact address from an associate working with the British Export Promotion Council. Before i continue, let me stress that i am NOT contacting you for financial assistance.

I and my colleagues are officials in charge of offshore remittance in this establishment. We are seeking your assistance to move of GBP35,000,000.00 ...THIRTY FIVE MILLION POUNDS STERLING... to your account/country for further private investment.

Please note that the nature of your job/business does not matter and you will be better informed when I hear from you. This amount accrued from an over-invoiced contract amount for the construction of an Oil Refinery Sub-stations in east London in 2005 to expatriate companies. The contract was originally valued for One Hundred and Twenty Seven Million Pounds Sterling (Ј127,000,000.00), but we manipulated the figure to read One Hundred and Sixty Million Pounds Sterling GBP162,000,000.00 The extra GBP35,000,000.00 is what we want to move to your account for our own personal use.

This contract has been completely executed and the original contractors have been paid their entire contract sum. We have agreed to remunerate you with 30% because it is impossible for us to claim the amount here in London without foreign collaboration. 10% has been mapped out for any miscellaneous expenses incurred by either party during this business such as taxation in your country upon arrival of the funds into your account, and 60% for my colleagues and myself.

All modalities to move this money have been worked out. This transaction is 100% risk free but requires 100 percent confidentiality. This is a golden opportunity, which must not be allowed to slip out of any careless acts and utterances. We chose you for this transaction because we believe that good friendship can be discovered and businesses such as this cannot be realized without trust. You can be rest assured that your security has been considered before you were contacted.

I will let you have the details in my next message, but in summary, the fund would be moved to you from the financial institution where it is presently deposited as soon as you agree to participate and receive this funds on our behalf.

Upon the receipt of this message, feel free to send to me the following to enable us start the process:
Your Full Name, Your Complete Address, Your Telephone, and Your Profession

Thanks and best regards in anticipation of your response. Only email me back at my direct email from prompt response and process if interested. Email is: qhs55@live.com

Best Regards
Dr. Michael A Morgan
Direct Email: qhs55@live.com


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:17
German to Swedish
+ ...
I am X Oct 30, 2014

Messages that start with "I am X" are scams.
The rule never fails.

Saying "I am X" and then signing with another name takes the "self selection of stupid recipients" principle to a new level.


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Michael Grant
Japan
Local time: 12:17
Japanese to English
UGH! Oct 30, 2014

Second sentence out of the gate:

"Before i continue, let me stress that i am NOT contacting you for financial assistance."

LOL!!! That's right where I stop reading!

MLG4035


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Ordinary run-of-the-mill scam Oct 30, 2014

Sorry to disappoint you, but it is very unlikely that any European authorities can do anything whether you report this or not. These criminals hide behind several layers of false identities, and only local authorities in Nigeria, or wherever they are, have any authority to prosecute.

The language may not be broken, but apart from that, the e-mail has all the usual hallmarks of a scam:
- trying to impress ("Dr.", "British Export Promotion Council" ...),
- large sums of money,
- bogus formalities ("registered in England under company number 1589650
ExxonMobil House, Ermyn Way Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 8UX England",
- avoiding to be specific (" I got your contact address from an associate"),
- ridiculous story (trying to move money via an unknown third party's personal bank account).
etc.

Rather than reading every variation of such scams, we need to be able to quickly spot scams based on the methods used. It's usually fairly obvious. I don't see anything new in this.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 05:17
English to Czech
+ ...
419 Eater is my favourite Oct 30, 2014

For some people, scambaiting is a nice pastime: 419 Eater Website.

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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dr.A.A. Oct 30, 2014

What Dr. A.A. does not know is that nobody today reads emails of such length, no matter what the content.

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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 05:17
English to Czech
+ ...
Not true Oct 30, 2014

Merab Dekano wrote:

What Dr. A.A. does not know is that nobody today reads emails of such length, no matter what the content.


Not so long ago, in 2006 I think, a UK report stated that these scams cost UK's economy nearly GBP 150 million annualy. And that's just the UK.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Stunning Oct 30, 2014

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Not so long ago, in 2006 I think, a UK report stated that these scams cost UK's economy nearly GBP 150 million annualy. And that's just the UK.


Incredible. This calls for more action on the part of the Authorities (if they still want to be written with capital letter).


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 05:17
English to Czech
+ ...
Not so easy Oct 30, 2014

There is very little national governments can do about it, and governments in African countries, where most of these scams come from, just don't seem to care a bit.

Anyway, these scammers are dangerous criminals and I'm afraid they will always find a „mugu“ to send them money.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Story with my PayPal account Oct 30, 2014

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

There is very little national governments can do about it, and governments in African countries, where most of these scams come from, just don't seem to care a bit.

Anyway, these scammers are dangerous criminals and I'm afraid they will always find a „mugu“ to send them money.


What is, in fact, even more incredible is that private financial institutions care more about it than public authorities.

Back then when I created my first Paypal account here in Belgium, I was contacted may be ten, may be twenty times, by PayPal personnel, by email, on the phone, etc. During the last phone conversation, the PayPal lady was insisting I came from Nigeria. Not that I had anything against the otherwise to me completely unknown country, but I finally got upset and I think I even was quite rude to the person on the other side of the receiver (reached my limit).

I had to send formal letter of complaint. They answered back I had to submit copies of my electricity, gas and water bills. I did, and eventually they acceded to my opening of the account with them.

I, in Belgium, they, in Luxembourg, and the sun shining in Nigeria, several thousand miles away.

I still have not managed to love them, mainly due to high cost on receiving payments.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:17
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Too many translators still fall victim even to to 'ordinary, run-of-the mill' scams Oct 30, 2014

Thomas Frost wrote:

Sorry to disappoint you, but it is very unlikely that any European authorities can do anything whether you report this or not. These criminals hide behind several layers of false identities, and only local authorities in Nigeria, or wherever they are, have any authority to prosecute.
...


Disappoint me? Why? It's good to know you are so well-informed about scams, but there are many, many others who are not. Obviously, this post was intended to draw the attention of people who are not so aware of this problem, unlike you. If you read through the forums here, you will come across many cases of translators being defrauded of their hard-earned money - maybe not by this particular scam, but by others, so it happens all too often. It never hurts to post reminders of the "bad apples" out in cyberspace and warning people to be cautious in their online dealings, even in our profession.

Perhaps the authorities cannot do much, but do you think it's a better idea to just ignore these scammers and hope that they will just go away quietly some day? I am under no illusions about what can or cannot be done, but to me it makes more sense to do SOMETHING rather than nothing.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
That's not what I meant Oct 30, 2014

Woodstock wrote:
Perhaps the authorities cannot do much, but do you think it's a better idea to just ignore these scammers and hope that they will just go away quietly some day? I am under no illusions about what can or cannot be done, but to me it makes more sense to do SOMETHING rather than nothing.


What I meant to suggest (and what I said) was that it is more effective for potential victims to learn the hallmarks of scams rather than focusing on single examples, and I listed a few of these hallmarks. As translators, we even have particular linguistic capabilities that should make it easier for us than for people in general to make a bell ring when the 'tone', 'voice' or composition of an e-mail is suspect.

But no, I have no better idea than ignoring scammers, because European authorities are just about powerless, not least because these crimes are usually committed outside their jurisdictions, and it is virtually impossible to identify the criminals. When you know that nothing will or can happen by reporting these scam e-mails, you can conclude that it would be nothing but a waste of your time and the authorities' time, meaning they will get less time to investigate other things they maybe can do something about. Even when such crimes are committed in the same country as you, it can be impossible to catch the criminals, because they can use pre-paid, anonymous calling cards and Internet cafés. I even tried once, in France; I had the IP address which pointed to a part of a French city, but nothing came out of filing a detailed crime report. That was a chargeback scam via Paypal where you are paid, deliver the service, and then have the money taken back ten days later because the card was stolen, cloned, or whatever.

The only thing you can realistically do is to ignore these e-mails and to alert others about new methods spotted. However, promising x million dollars is nothing new, and a very simple rule applies: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I may sound cynical, but if the purpose is to avoid being scammed, then the best way is to become familiar with the criminals' methods.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
I'm thinking of Oct 30, 2014

setting up a linguistic consultancy to help Nigerian spammers write grammatically correct and convincing letters.

Payment strictly in advance


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:17
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly! Oct 30, 2014

philgoddard wrote:

setting up a linguistic consultancy to help Nigerian spammers write grammatically correct and convincing letters.

Payment strictly in advance


You have discovered the perfect niche market that will make your fortune! Good luck to you.


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airmailrpl  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:17
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Payment strictly in advance Nov 1, 2014

>Payment strictly in advance

They will pay you with a check in an amount much above the amount you are charging and then ask you to remit the difference to their account - and then their check will bounce !!


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The All-New Exxon Oil (Nigerian Prince) Scam

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