Each month I receive over 100 emails informing me that I won some online lottery, I am eligible for a donation from a recent winner of EuroMillions, I am eligible for an inheritance, or asked to help someone transferring several million dollars to another country, who belongs to a recently deceased businessman, promising me a compensation of 30-50% of the total sum of money.
In 2009-2013 I answered 1% of these emails, writing a FUNNY reply, quick, informal, fake personal info, deliberately bad grammar, being curious what they answer and to waste scammers’ time.
Funniest SCAM email replies written by me
The scam emails can be easily identified as they contains a person or company name as sender, a subject like “URGENT!“, “Dearest one“, “Your funds“. “Loan offer“, “Business proposal“, “From the desk of…” (see the image at bottom of article), often written with ALL CAPS, while the TO: field is empty or something else than your personal email, the list of emails being added in BCC: field.
Unfortunately, I have answered rude to one serious enquiry, because it looked similar with the SCAM emails.
I am sorry for any possible serious enquiry that I did not answered, but deleted them believing that is a SCAM.
See also: scambaiting fun, 2 times I acted like a potential victim, to waste scammer time and for amusement.
Aisha Gaddafi (May 2012), exchanging 21 emails over 17 days.
Ayesha Gaddafi II (December 2013), exchanged 44 emails over 12 days, stupid scammer owned herself by sending me an obviously-fake ID card and also admitted that there may be scams on internet but still claiming that she is real daughter of Libyan president + funny story invented by me that I robbed a bar to get money and pay her fees.
How the scamming is done
If you are not familiar with 149 Nigerian scams:
These look like a personal email, but actually is mass mail sent to large number of people, 1-to-1 conversations began only after someone replied. The scammer tells you to contact another scammer who is pretending to be employee of a bank, and to get the prize, compensation, donation, loan, etc (usually between 1 to over 20 million dollars), you are told to pay an “advance fee” of several hundred dollars, supposedly shipping cost, insurance, tax, etc. Once the victim send the money, the scammer will ask for another fee of several thousands dollars, and so on, until the victim gets tired of losing money without receiving the promised prize.
For example: scammers claim that cannot send the money overseas due to so-called banking regulations, and offer to open an account at their bank in your name, scammers ask you for a scan of your ID card or passport, plus a tax to open account. Sometimes they told you to travel to Africa and meet them in person, so they can extort money easily, or worse you get kidnaped or killed.
They are cybercriminals using multiple proxies to send emails, making police to lost their track, they ask you to send the fees via MoneyGram or WesternUnion ONLY, money transfer services that allow the receiver to pick the money just with ID card, MCTN and a password provided by sender, without having address recorded, so police can hardly identify them.
If you send scans of ID card or passport to scammers, they may use your identity to pick the money sent by future victims via Western Union, and (I am not sure) open a bank account in your name and use it to commit other crimes, to put police on wrong track and innocent people may be accused by police for being involved in these crimes.
Every time when the major news websites announce that a lottery winner decided to donate a sharepart of the prize, or that a businessman has died in accident, multiple scammers pick their names. For example I have received emails from over 10 different scammers impersonating Dave and Angela Dawes winners of £101m lottery jackpot who announced that are donating a million to 20 friends.
I don’t know how many victims can make these scammers, considering the amount of scam emails that we get nowadays. Any mentally-healthy person, once he/she has “won” more than 2 email lotteries, will become suspicious at any further emails. Even if someone trust the emails, when you go MoneyGram or WesternUnion office, you are asked to who are you sending money and you may be told about possible scam and stopped from sending money.
More recently, due to increased popularity of social media like Facebook, scammers started using Facebook groups to find victims, or send private messages to random people on Facebook.