Apparently the Nigerian spammers who have been submitting bogus loan advertisements and fake anti-fraud notices in the comment section of this site are not taking much time to read through the English Usage section. One of their latest emails that I received earlier this month reveals that the English skills of Nigerian spammers have fallen to new lows with the first three sentences of their message all containing noticeable errors. It is becoming increasingly difficult to sympathize with victims of these types of scams because it would require a seriously malfunctioning brain to believe that such a message actually originated from a legitimate “anti-fraud unit.” Nevertheless, if you are looking for a good laugh while practicing your proofreading skills, see how many English usage errors you can find in the text below.
The Internet has been growing rapidly since it was first opened up for access and use by the general public. It did not take long for commercial entities to begin establishing themselves and for individuals to begin using the Internet as a business portal and an opportunity to make money online. But we know that the more such opportunities have developed, the methods for scamming unsuspecting customers have developed as well. We can see that there are many ways to make money online legally, just as there are other ways to scam those who are ignorant, gullible, or impatient and quickly separate them from their money.
If we’re talking about making money online scams, it is good to know that there are several different types of such programs that lure people who have a “get rich quick” mentality into joining but then turn into scams at some point in the future when the programs run out of funds. These are programs that are already proven to make people lose money over and over again, by simply launching their fake services and running away with the customers’ money. Here are three of the most popular programs that have been used by Internet scammers in recent years and are now beginning to decline in popularity.
Being scammed in any form can leave victims with a distinct sense of loss. You can lose money, opportunities, and perhaps even a previously optimistic outlook on life in general. Lots of scammers ply their nefarious trades right now on the Internet, and it can be difficult to recognize them. Both individuals and dubious companies make promises to their customers but do not always fulfill them. People end up being tricked by these scammers when they take the money and run away without providing the advertised product or service.
Our latest spam warning focuses on an email that has been making the rounds over the past few months and has become known as the Central Bank of Nigeria scam. This is really just another version of the old 419 advance fee fraud trick, but it follows a recently popular pattern that I like to call the “fake scambuster” tactic. The basic idea is for the spammer-scammers to pose as some type of authority figures (in this case as officers under the authority of an “executive governor” of an apparently legitimate bank, with assistance from the Nigerian government) and make it look like they are trying to protect you from the “real” scammers, implying that the sender of the message is somehow more legitimate and trustworthy.
This week’s Spam and Scam award goes to a spammer who is using the name of the DHL shipping company to entice gullible respondents into giving away their contact information. Judging by the poor grammar and ridiculous claims, you would need to be very gullible indeed to fall for this one. This time we have a mysterious package that secretly contains 3.5 million dollars and is supposed to be transported to you by DHL because of “there better service.” In the previous version of this 419 operation, the Nigerian scammers were pretending to be from the FedEx courier company and were apparently successful in collecting some money according to at least two of the comments on my previous post. Meanwhile, if you have received any questionable DHL-related emails similar to the one below, you can tell us about your experience with these in the comment section.
Today I received a fresh Spam email on a topic that I do not recall covering here yet — the inheritance swindle, also known as the “long lost uncle” scam. This one uses an interesting mixture of curiosity, urgency, and greed in an attempt to lure recipients into replying to the message and contacting the spammer. Although I am not sure exactly what the follow-up message says, my guess is that it’s probably an advance fee fraud type of deal where you will be required to pay some kind of deposit in order to release the funds.
It seems that our illustrious spammers from Nigeria are at it again. This time they have constructed a rather elaborate story which has them posing as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States with the interest of facilitating a “contract payment” for over $15 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria. I was actually somewhat impressed with the level of detail present in this particular flavor of Spam; they really seem to have put some thought into this one. The sender was even nice enough to put the word “Spam” enclosed in brackets as the first word of the message title, letting me know immediately that it might be fodder for my next post. In the end, however, their curious writing style and grammatical mistakes give them away as obvious scammers. As usual, I have published the message text below for your reading pleasure.
Today I received two copies of what seems to be the latest spam-and-scam operation from the colorful folks of Nigeria. This one is a little more direct than most of the previous 419 letters; they actually state an advance fee of $175 up front in order to take delivery of a fake bank draft of $500,000 from the Fedex Courier Company conveniently located in “West Africa Nigeria”. Usually the original email simply says that you have won a prize of some sort, after which you can find out what the “release fee” is by replying to the message.
Of course, as with other flavors of spam, it’s not a good idea to actually send them money unless you’re looking for a relatively unusual way of contributing to African economic development. Meanwhile, here is the actual text of the latest message. Judging by the rather poor quality of English usage on display, it seems that our intrepid scammers might be able to increase their cash flow somewhat by investing a small portion of their ill-gotten gains into a good proofreading service.
Although the ultimate goal is usually to make money, there are actually many different flavors of Spam even within the inedible email category. As part of our ongoing public service to potential victims of spammers and scammers, I have published below a few of the recent Spam emails that I have received over the past couple of weeks, including the names of the senders and subject lines. If you recognize any of these as something that you have received recently and are wondering if they might be legitimate, you can rest assured that they are scams and that you will not need to worry about going to Western Union to collect your bogus lottery winnings from the King of Nigeria.
About one week ago, I was interrupted while preparing an article for publication here by someone on Yahoo Messenger who was selling press release submission services. Interestingly, this did not start out as a typical sales pitch; a person who was posting under the username of “sagar.best” apparently recognized me from the DigitalPoint forums and wanted me to post in his/her thread where the services were being offered. The advantage of this is that the thread would be “bumped” to the top of the relevant forum section and attract more viewers.
Out of curiosity, I asked this “Sagar” what he/she wanted me to post and the reply was something like “just request some samples of my work and make it look like you’re interested.” Normally I would have ignored the person after this because it was clear by this point that we were dealing with one of those quasi-spammers who tries to get people to post positive or neutral reviews in forum threads so that their business looks more legitimate. I have run into these types of people many times before and even managed to get scammed by one of them who was offering article writing services and had what appeared to be high quality samples. After making payment, I discovered much to my chagrin that the articles delivered to me afterward were actually poorly plagiarized garbage that was nowhere near the quality of the samples.
Today’s article by G. Keith Evans (username Aerosly) is another example of a customer complaint, this time regarding the alleged questionable marketing practices of an automotive repair shop called Just Brakes which is located in the Orlando, Florida area. Just Brakes is accused of ripping off customers with the classic “bait and switch” technique, a deceptive type of upsell in which the seller lures the potential customer with a relatively low price, then pressures him or her into purchasing additional products or services that were not part of the original offer.
Scummy Marketing Practices: Just Brakes
The radio advertisements sound simple and straightforward enough: at Just Brakes, disk pads and brake shoes can be fitted to almost any car or light truck for under a hundred dollars. “Why do you do it, Just Brakes?” asks a female voice on the radio; the response is the brake service giant’s catchy jingle, “Because at Just Brakes, we really do care.”