Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adventures with an African scammer - Part 1

I shared this experience with a few of my friends, and they insisted that I turn this into a full-blown media event. So, this is "part one" of a long, interesting, emotional story, filled with romance, violence, corruption, greed and lust. And a lot of exceptionally good humour, even if I may say so myself.

One thing is for sure - all of this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The contents in the emails quoted in this story are exactly how they were sent and received. Later on you'll understand why I make this claim.

I have always wanted to try out one of these schemes. They call it scam-baiting. You take on one of these unscrupulous scammers, turn vigilante, and take them for a ride. The vigilante spirit has always been part of my make-up.

You know what I’m talking about: These emails you recieve out of the blue, claiming that you can “enlarge your member and impress the ladies”, or that you have won the Canadian lottery. Or your great-grandmother on your father’s side had just died and left behind an inheritance of US $60 million..

My first customer was someone of Asian origin, although I suspected that he was actually someone from Nigeria or one of those god-forsaken places in Northern Africa. His first email was as follows:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your prompt response to my mail. I must assure you that this transaction is 100% risk free to you before and after it is been completed.

All I require from you is your maximum co-operation to enable this transaction sail through,the total amount is in united state dollar. I contacted you purely based on the fact that your last name tallies with that of my late client, [at this point, he actually forgot to fill in the name of the so-called client, and abandoned the poor comma at the end of the sentence]

Concerning the legal aspects of this inheritance claim,you have nothing to worry about.With all my years of experience as a legal practitioner,I can authoritatively and confidently assure you that all aspects of this transaction are totally safe before and after the transaction is completed and has no hazards whatsoever.

I was the legal representative/adviser of the deceased, and according to law,this entails that I am mandated to take care of all legal aspects of his business even though he is no longer alive. Based on facts available to me,my deceased client,had no next of kin to inherit the money he left behind.The bank is asking for the next of kin of my late client for claims otherwise the money will be confiscated.

But due to the fact that i am the only one who is aware that my client had no next of kin, I decided to carry out a research to find someone with similar last name as my late client,this is actually my reason for contacting you.
[All righty then, just tell me who this client actually was?]

This transaction is expected to be completed in the next 10 banking working days with your full cooperation .Therefore a high level of seriousness and trust is required from you to enable us proceed on this transaction.

It is pertinent to equally let you know that all legal angles has been carefully examined before I contacted you,so that both parties can be legally protected.

You must not entertain any fear [bwahahaha], as this transaction is going to be legally documented in your name at the Malaysia high court. All the formal documentation of this fund in your name will be done with the court here in Malaysia where this fund is lodged.

Upon your favorable response, I will send to you,my international id card other related documents backing this transaction. High degree of trust is required from you to enable us sail through this transaction ,this will be completed in the next few banking days with your co-operation and carefully following my advice and instructions.

I am prepared to offer you 40% of the total funds for your assistance input to claim and keeping this money safe in your Country 60% will be for me.

However, if you are ready to do this business with me,I advice you to call me any time of the day my phone is a call forwarded line, you can call on:011-60-142-672-398 or 60-142-672-398 for proper briefing on this transaction.

Best regards
Chong Wong.

I replied to him:

Dear Chong,

Thank you for sharing this deal with me.

Please send me the ID and other proofs before I continue. You know, we can never be too careful these days. Just the other day someone tried to fool me into giving away me credit card details. I cannot fall for that again, that person stole more than $15000 from me that time, and I still cannot find him. [This is what we call “luring him in” - I just need to mention loads of money that I threw away a while ago, because I'm so gullible]

I did not know that I had family in Malaysia. My uncle had some relatives who moved to Usbekistan long ago, maybe they ended up there. What was the name of my beloved namesake? Maybe i can find out what side of the family he was from.

Be quick to repsond, I am very anxious about this transaction.


I called myself Filemon Hadsome Kamagabe, and I even boasted a real genuine Gmail account with that same name.

My new friend Chong answered as follows:

I must assure you that this transaction is 100% risk free to you before and after it is been completed .All I require from you is your maximum co-operation to enable this transaction sail through,the total amount is in united state dollar.

You must be able to keep this transaction very confidential till the total fund is transfer to your account and any body who have access to the attach documents that might be forwarded to you in nearest future will automatically have access to the fund.
[Oops- then I probably shouldn't post it on my blog?]

To guarantee this payment or transaction to you i have decided to attach my personal i.d card ,upon receive of the below information i will forward to you my late client death certificate. [I'm still wondering who this "client" was?]

Once i receive all the below information's from you via email attachment,l will send you a detail email on the next stage of this transaction.

1.A copy of your driver's license or international passport.
2.Your contact phone number/fax
3.Your contact address.

Best regards

Chong Wong.

ChamberBlock A4, Level 1

Federal Government Administrative Centre
62612 WP Putrajaya,
Phone No:+60-142-672-398

He was nice enough to send me his ID. I really trust this guy now:

No one would guess this was a fake, would they?

In turn, I sent Mr Wong a fake "Filemon" ID:

Nice piece of artwork, isn’t it?

I googled real hard, and found a place in South Africa where you could phone some friendly girls and have an expensive chat. They are called Lusty Lines Ladies. The fax number I issued, was that of the AWB head office in Ventersdorp, South Africa. For those of you unfamiliar with the AWB, it’s a right-wing racist group in South Africa, similar to the KKK.

Dear Chong,

Please, my eyes are not good, and i have been trying to look at these documents but somethigns they are confusing me. Your name is Chong Wong, which is very short name, but the signatiure on your card seems to be very long one and is starting with S and H and ending with ff. But, it is hard to read clearly. Maybe you could send better ressolution picture of the ID. [I may have pushed a little too hard on these obvious facts...]

Just to be on the careful side, I must be protecting my inheritance here. If you could please send me your barrister qualification, the one that is proof of your being a lawyer, I would be pleased. Just to make sure, I am being very cautioous, as I am not wanting to be dealing with someone who is not truly an attorney. If you are attorney, I know I can trust, becasue you are worthy of being man of the law.

I am sending you my ID card for your perusal and approval.

Thank you.
My telephone number is +27 (72) 075 6701,
and my cell phone number +27(82) 897 1018
Fax number +27 (86)559 6205

Address for posting:
Filemon Kamugabe
AWB HK Equality Commission
PO Box 274
Ventersdorp, 2710
South Africa

I never heard from Chong again. Maybe he dialled the number, and didn’t like the stuff he was hearing. Or maybe he enjoyed the chat so much, he forgot all about Filemon Hadsome Kamagabe. All this while the dollars ticked off at an enormous pace...

Anyway, I had a few candidates like this one, but none of them really took the bait. Apart from a few scary fake IDs and soppy stories with bad grammar, I had not yet achieved what I had set out to do.

I also realised that it might be a bad idea to send around fake ID’s of "Filemon", as my fakes seem to be of a much better quality than any of the stuff these scumbags could come up with. I wouldn’t want them to seduce other people on the internet with a fake ID of FHK...

I thought about my strategy, and finally decided that this Filemon character is too much African, and this could be the reason for the failure of my experiment. When someone sees an African name like that, he would immediately assume that this person is also a scammer, or this person does not really have enough money to launder away.

What I needed was a good, English name, a name that sounds like this guy could be a gullible white idiot with lots of money.

This is how Mr. Chester Williams was born. A complete new identity, with email address, telephone numbers belonging to the AWB, and the AWB’s postal address just in case.

I can just imagine a guy with a Nigerian accent calling the AWB and demanding to speak to Chester Williams who owes him money - what a scream.

Chester’s new friend was called Kelvin Kwame. Or John Paul Emeka. Or maybe something else - who really knows?

In the next episode I will tell you more about Kelvin - a truly African character.

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