Despite spam filters, I’ve been getting a load of dodgy emails recently. I’m winning at least two lotteries a week and also being offered huge sums by total strangers for reasons I never bother reading before I delete the email. And now I’ve heard from ISIG, Internet Scam Investigation Group. I just had to share this tremendous 140-word sentence with you!

The first time we contacted you was on July 26th on the discovery of the below information regarding the ugly experience you have and still going through from scammers, you simply ignored our notice and we are coming again to advice you it has been re confirmed to this office that some group of impostors are currently ripping you off claiming they are Banks, Delivery Company ,EFCC Nigeria, IMF, FBI, Western Union, Money gram, Diplomat Agents and others especially in Nigeria and  Benin Republic and you have being their victim paying money after money for ending acquiring of documents, certificates, these fees and another surely and it is very sad to know you have not find out that these people are all criminals who feeds on your back pocket, how long do you intend to keep sending these people money?

This has come from Detective Akomay in Nigeria. The FBI gives the following advice on its internet fraud site here regarding suspect emails from this part of the world.

Tips for Avoiding the Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud:

  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.
  • Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.
  • Guard your account information carefully.

There’s another useful site about current scams here.

Scams are usually fairly easy to spot but a few are quite sophisticated, and I’m talking about the ones that look as though they’ve come from PayPal or your bank. Be cautious. If you’re in any doubt at all, don’t reply to an email and most certainly don’t send any personal details in reply. The fact that there is so much scamming going on shows that people are still be taken in by them, despite most of us being aware that they’re out there and thinking that we’re pretty clued up.

The French for scam is une arnaque or une escroquerie. (And la Scam is also the Société civile des auteurs multimedia – see if you don’t believe me!) This French site warns you about current Internet arnaques. The crime of escroquerie is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of €375,000 so it’s taken very seriously here.

And rightly so. Scams can be very serious, even though we tend to think of them as silly. The Scotsman newspaper recently reported that 150 UK citizens had been tricked out of €13.5 million by Internet scams. And back in 2003 a Prague man who lost his life savings stormed into the Nigerian Embassy and shot the consul. So although I’m entertained the message I got from ‘Detective Akomay’, there is a very dark side to it too. Someone is trying to part me from large sums of money.

Let’s make sure it’s not me or you that they get it from.

UPDATE 20th August: And just got this one this morning. I think the real giveaway is in the dumb mistake. She  means ‘defied’ not ‘defiled’, surely!

My name is Christy Walton, a widow and businesswoman, an American Citizen.
I have recently been diagnosed with Colorectal cancer and a rare Heart
Disease, which has defiled all medical treatment. Expert diagnosis has
shown that I have few months to live.