Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nigerian yachting

From the desk of:
Dr. Gideon Gonad Jr.
Former Finance Minister of Zimbabwe
Plot 745, Ahmadu Bello Way
Lagos Nigeria

Dear Sir.
I am writing to you upon the recommendation of a friend who says you are honest and very trustworthy to assist me in a confidential business transaction. I had accumulated a huge fortune in Zimbabwe dollars due to my former position as finance minister of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately due to politics, very much corruption, and devaluation of my country's currency I find myself now working as an accountant for internet cafes in Lagos Nigeria, trying to give support to my family of 13 children.

The very last thing I have of any valuable is my yacht I purchased from a Somalia government official. It is currently valued at $36,000,000 Grand British pounds.

I am keeping the boat at the Royle Nigerian Yacht Club, but very corupt Nigerian tax official persons are demanding large payments which will be due in ten days.

My friend, here is my propisition to you. I would like to pilot the boat to America with my family to escape the terrible corupt government that threaten my childrens life, and to give them a better life in America. One of my children also has a brain disease of which doctors here say that he can be helped only in America to live.

I know now you are truely a christian person, and here is my proposition to you. I need to buy $2,000 dollars worth of gasoline to drive my boat to Miami. Upon arrivial to Miami, I will sell the boat, and give you 20% ($7,600,000) for your most kind help for my very sick child. To prove I am a honest and god fearing personage, I will send you the title of the boat as a receipt for the money, and will trust god you will hold up to the bargain.

I sincerely trust you to keep the transaction confident, and god bless you for the help. 

Best regards, Robert Gonad Jr.

Please provide me with your most basic contact information so I know how to transfer the boat title.

Your name_______________
Your address_______________
Your phone number______________
Your credit card number__________________
Your social security number____________________
Your checking account number______________________
Your ATM pin number _______________

I learned a lot about the Nigerian 419 scam, I see it regularly in my spam folder. In reality, the largest number of these email originate in the USA. Cormac Herley from Microsoft Research actual wrote a paper about the scam, discussing the mathematics involved. The really short version is the almost laughable language, grammar, and poorly written dialog is by design.

From the spammer's viewpoint, the fact that you might reply at all, means you are in that very small statistical group I will call the very most gullible, and greedy. Since any response will require an expense on the spammers part to complete any transaction, they don't want to go forward with someone who has their wits about them.  Dim watted bulbs only need to apply. And why Nigeria? Can you think of any place more known world wide for corruption, where a variant of the story could very well be true?

Not very many years ago, I was in a meeting with a very high ranking Nigerian military officer. They wanted to buy a piece of robotic equipment to support F-16 fighter aircraft maintenance. The system cost $16M. The military officer's agent postulated a deal in which the Nigerian government would pay twenty million for the system with the provision that we would kick back $4M to them. We couldn't do it. It was, and still is very illegal. Much larger companies with offshore subsidiaries can, and do get around these laws.

The yacht photo is from Wikipedia, and was taken by user Pine.

1 comment:

  1. Well good job keeping it confidential Bill!


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