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Weird Email

Rachel writes, 17 Oct 2002

Has anybody ever received this kinda e-mail? For the past few months, I've been receiving ones like it once a week. It really bugs me. And I don't know how to unsubscribe from it. Any idea?

The weird mail is as follows:

Dear Sir,

I am pleased to inform you that you should not be worried or suprised recieving this mail.

I am assuring you that if you take instruction and do the right thing everything will be okay.

I am Barrister Peter Briggs an attorney to engineer Bill Sean who is a staff of mobile oil producing blast in the Niger delta here in Nigeria, see (blaza http/

It was on Thursday July 13 2000, 16:07 GMT oil fire erupts killing engineer Bill Sean. Until his death he had close to US$37.2M (Thirty Seven Million Two Hundred United State Dollars)in security company in Holland. The security company now expects next of kin as beneficiary. But I have the power of attorney to administer his estate.

He had along side, landed properties and other valuebles I can not disclose now, kept as treasure with the security company. But the above fund is what I now want your permision to have stand as next of kin to the late client.

All documents and proves to enable you get this fund are with me and if you show interest I shall forward the certificate of ownership to you. Then you shall subsequently contact the Holland security company where Mr. Steve Martins will be willing to talk with you on phone as soon as possible.

Therefore I want you to call me on my private telephone number : 234-80-23469540 to enable me discuss in details and also send to me your private telephone and fax numbers as you where introduced to me through the Nigeria chamber of commerce foreign trade division,but I did not disclose the nature of this business to them.

please note that this is deal and should be kept secret.

Best Regards

Barrister. Peter Briggs. Tel: 234-80-23469540.

17 Oct 2002 From: Vance

On this topic, I remembered reading an article on arrests made of perpetrators of the letters that Rachel has received, and so I did a Google search on 'nigeria scam arrest'.

This gave me several leads, among them this CNN article

I am further concerned that spammers such as these might be using our community building websites as resources for email addresses. Therefore, I am in the process of suppressing email addresses on such lists at my sites, starting with the Webheads students list at

When we started our community 4 years ago we felt safe being open about who we are. Now it seems we must take care not to present spammers with opportunities to exploit our openness. I don't think it hurts to have your email address sitting on a web page somewhere, but LISTS of email addresses appear to be potential targets, so I am taking the steps just mentioned.

If anyone has any concerns about whatever we've placed on the Internet, just write me about it and I'll address your concerns.

Meanwhile, please be careful of spam email. I delete mine without opening it. It does seem a fact of life though.

All the best,


John writes, 17 Oct 2002

In fact, responding to it just lets the sender know your email address is active - Then he will simply send more and more junk mail.

The first time I received a similar message, I forwarded it to the FBI (U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation) just in case it was something they could handle. I don't know how much this helped, but these days I just delete anything like it.

John (Dr. Cat)

17 Oct 2002 From: Michael

Maggi and I were talking about this the other day. She and I have both written to these scammers and received very polite letters in reply saying they are honest and authentic.

The person who wrote back to me actually accused me, in very polite English, of being very rude to doubt his word!

- Michael C.

From James

17 Oct 2002

Anyone who's ever been bothered by the 'Nigerian letter' might find this article amusing ...

Best wishes


Maggi writes, 17 Oct 2002

Regarding those letters from Nigeria they have been arround for years but there have been a recent surge lately. I suspect because enough people fall for it. Even the FBI is on it but with no luck. Best thing like Vance said, is just delete and forget it. If you answer then they know the address is active.

Europe has just passed legislation for opt-in and some countries have steep fines. Some states in the US have done this but it is still opt-out generally. This means you will get spam saying you asked for whatever it is. You can unsubscribe and be removed from their list.


from Dave Kees

18 Oct 2002

This kind of mail has been around for a long time. If you know that it is a scam then it is quite comical.

At this website you can find a huge collection of these kinds of letters along with the replies of people who play a 'game' with them.

These people who play a game with them feel they are doing a public service by keeping these scammers busy and causing them frustration in the end. Hopefully, the scammers will eventually give up on this kind of business.

Some are just very business-like. They could be a good source of practice for business English in negotiating, making appointments, making arrangements, etc. Some people write the scammers pretending to be very rich and wanting to help in this business deal. Of course, the problem is that these guys are criminals.

Some are very funny. One who wrote the scammers called himself Ilichy and pretends he is in Prague and that his English is very poor. When he writes the scammer he uses a kind of crazy English:

"Please to phone me on 02 46 000 35 for all discussing, as this business seem too fine to not be doing. Fax all good on 02 46 000 36. If not here then ask for close frien Larjz Arsz who can take message, get detail make for onwards."

Eventually 'Ilichy' got the scammer to spend almost three days at the airport in Lagos waiting for his mother-in-law to come with $10,000. Of course, there was no $10,000, no mother-in-law and there's not even an Ilichy.

In the past when I wrote them I have used a 'babble' program to scramble English text into a sort of almost comprehendable communication to make them spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. This is a small exerpt:

"This was a man who didn’t like to be — someone who is swayed by the average person but instead taken from somewhere else to the outrage along with all the things I judge are done by people just like me. So till the birth of peace on earth That only love can bring I'll help it grow by loving everything."

It seems like it is saying something but it just doesn't quite make sense. Ha!

Generally the people who write the scammer try to get him frustrated trying to meet them in an airport or at a hotel somewhere and making excuses why he missed the meeting. The most elusive goal is to get the scammer to send some money to them like $3-5.

I used to get these things from so many people and they didn't stop coming. It made me feel so frustrated. But then I learned how some people made a game out of it so I started playing. But I'll agree with Vance and say it's probably best to just delete these things.

Play it safe!

Best wishes,

Dave Kees Guangzhou, China

Subject: Re: [efiwebheads] weird mail

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 11:42:13 +0200

From: Zaheer ul-haq

<> Hi h r u? i hope u will fine there i m also fine here ok <> now tell me through mail how u feel abt the concept <> of life & reality of life <> take care pay my regards to your family members & the people that r in your surrouding at this time it is very enjoyable if u say my regades to them ok take care 4 your health <> <>

18 Oct 2002, from: Vance again

This URL had me in stitches (that means I laughed so hard I needed stitches to hold my stomach in? Or maybe this refers to what our Brit friends refer to as a 'stitch' whereas we Yanks call it a 'cramp' - what you get in your stomach from running too hard, or laughing too hard, to get back to the present case).

And to Rachel, a teacher in possession of emails she does not want. Here is a cloud with a silver lining.

It seems to me that those emails, which your students must be receiving (everyone in the world is receiving them) can be turned into an amusing and constructive lesson in conjunction with the tongue-in-cheek article that James referred us to.

If you can't beat em, join em.

Let us know if you (or any of you) are able use this silver lining.


Here's more about how another class dealt with email of the type discussed in previous emails on this topic ...

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002
From: Subject:
Re: Spam

Since you were interested in knowing how the students dealt with the fantastic offer from the distinguished Mr Isaac, Let me tell you briefly about it. First the students got the gist of the meaning of the very complex letter. Then they split into 3 groups: One pretending to be Mr Benoît Candide, asking for many details and tthrilled with the idea of getting the luck of his life because he was a bit short of money.

The second, interested but wondering how Mr Isaac would manage to prove he was of German descent because he was actually of Portuguese origin. And many technical questions such as how he could make sure the transaction was 100% risk free and the like. They practised asking questions.

The last group sent a revolted mail accusing Mr Issac of abusing of people's credulity and need for money (or greed,). They practised structures and i must say they did enjoy themselves! After a few mail , unfortunately, or fortunately should i say, the addres of the distinguished mr Issac vanished in the limbo of the Internet.



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Last updated: October 24, 2002