This time, Joe at Velocity« an older post
a newer one »Martha, don't read this

This is spam


I received an email from an acquaintance of mine. He's one of the first organizers of Bewaro-the-Sombrero, an ultimate (frisbee) hat tournament held at the end of each year for the last 10+ years, usually somewhere close to or in San Mateo. Dave is the person who taught me the term "sucky suck," which I have used for the last 10+ years, and taught my mom to use, too.

I'm including it here because at first, I couldn't be 100% sure the email wasn't a spam email. Dave COULD have been in Africa. He COULD have lost his passport. He COULD need money. The email was sent to an address that I had given to ONLY Dave, so I couldn't be 100% sure the email was spam. The language is weird, though.

I couldn't be 100%, but I could be 97% sure the email was spam. I became 100% sure when I googled for "empowering youth to fight racism" in quotes, and found another email (but only one, oddly enough) posted that had the exact same wording.

So that the next person who googles won't have the same problem I did, here's the email. I'm speculating it's being sent by a virus that sits on the user's computer and looks at old emails, the to: and from:, maybe from gmail? and spams based on previous email headers. Though, other than affecting spam filters, I'm not sure what this message is supposed to accomplish.

The email reads:

Date:   	Wed, 8 Oct 2008 15:20:22 +0100
From:  	 	David W-------------
Subject:  	Please Respond Urgently (I Need Your Help)

How are you doing today?
  I am sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling to Africa for a program
called "Empowering Youths to Fight Racism, HIV/AIDS and Poverty. The
program is taking place in three major countries in Africa which are Ghana,
South Africa and Nigeria . It has been a very sad and bad moment for me, the
present condition I find myself in is very hard for me to explain.
    I am really stranded in Nigeria cos I forgot my little bag  where my money,
passport, documents and other valuable things are kept in the Taxi on my way to
the Hotel where i am lodged, I am facing a hard time here because I have no
money on me. I am now owing a hotel bill of $1,500 and they want me to pay the
bill else they will have to seize my other bag and hand me over to the Hotel
Management., I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you
to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $1000 to feed and
help myself
back home so please can you help me with a sum of $2500 to sort out my problems
here? I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight
situation here.
     I am sending you this e-mail from the hotel's cafe and I only have 10
min to do so, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now
and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home so please let me
know on time so that i can forward you the details you need to transfer the
money through Money Gram or Western Union.

My Regards


Googling a key phrase shows you're 90 percent (or more) smarter than the average recipient of this type of scam. I always do that when people email me virus warnings or dubious appeals. Invariably a quick Google check (or Snopes) reveals that it's a hoax. NPR's going to lose its funding! Little Craig Shergold has cancer and wants you to send him a card!

Glad you didn't fall for it.

Yeah, the 419 Scam, that's what this baby's known as. I have received several of such emails and many variations on the message you got from "Dave". In fact, once on the corner outside of a place where I was teaching EFL (here in Taiwan where I am in residence expat-like from Oregon these many moons) in front of a Starbuck's taking a break and having a coffin nail I was approached by this actual Nigerian guy with stone-cold killer eyes who asked me if I know where he could find an Internet cafe in the neighborhood, which I told him how to find, me thinking, this guy's killed people, and then we commenced to hold a convo, both of us being foreigners and me being the friendly type, and we ended up exchanging cell numbers. Occasiaonally he would call me with a question about Taipei stuff, and then one day he called and asked that we meet at the Starbucks because he wanted to intro me to some money-making scenario. He had a fellow Nigerian buddy with him, and they proceeded to explain how the buddy's uncle or grandfather or something was a finance minister or something in the Congo or somewhere and in some war got murdered and left behind a chest of millions of dollars and these two guys now needed funding to help get that money out of Singapore or somewhere. They were speaking French between one another very excitedly (so maybe they were not really from Nigeria), and it was a good sell, but I just told them where there was an after-hours bar full of drunk foreigners and Taiwanese gangsters where they might better find someone that could help them because I was all tapped out. We parted friends and I never heard from them again.

Anyway, check out this site for more on the infamous Nigerian 419 Scam ---

So, whenever I get an email like this, I just hit delete.

Hope this is informative for anyone that reads it. But I'm curious, whatever happened to Dave?