This Email Brought To You By the Number 419

The other day I got a fraudulent e-mail that was clearly a variation of the Nigerian Credit Scam and its cousin The Spanish Prisoner that relies on the feelings of compassion that I would have for a good friend were he in this fix rather than offering me some sort of reward. The message that was sent to me actually referenced some of my real personal history and a real person with whom I was once very close: my first companion (IE my trainer) in the mission field.

I’m sure that they made this with a mail merge using a database they had obtained of people that served in my mission, where they served and who their companions were. Charming, really, in all of its foul, cruel and sneaky way. Fortunately I have an IQ higher than that of a canteloupe (even though they are arguably one of the more intelligent members of the plant kingdom), and also know quite well that the supposed prisoner has had no correspondence with me in almost a decade and that, if he were in this fix, there’s no way that my e-mail address would be the one that he’d dive for (he probably doesn’t even know what it is). The last time I tried to contact him something like 8 years ago, I learned that he had moved without leaving any forwarding information. Also, while he was a bit of a snowboard bum, his mastery of English was certainly better than what the fraudster demonstrates here. I love that they try to whip The Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants out to guilt trip me too.

Anyhow, for your edification, I here provide the precise text of the e-mail that I received, though any name that appeared in the e-mail has been deleted and replaced with a more appropriate one.

Dear [Mark],

 This is [Spanish Prisoner], hope you remembered,thank Heavens!! I got your contact.Truly God forgets not His own.How grateful I am to God for answering my prayers.I have been on a volunteer mission for a Local NGO here in Nigeria West Africa and have been through a great deal of bad times.We were kidnapped,robbed and dispossessed of all our belongings.I lost my credit card,diary everything except my laptop and my travel passport to militants of the Niger Delta.
Dear,please do me a favor,I haven’t got any dime on me and every minute here is like Hell.You are the only person I could lay my hand on now for assistance ‘cos all email and phone contacts of all my relations are in the lost diary.Could you please send me some money so that I can get the Hell out of here before they kill me.Please don’t let me down for you are the only hope I have.The words of the Lord to Joseph Smith in D&C 122:4-9 strengthens me and I know that King Benjamin’s words in Mosiah 2:17 will touch you to help me.Please send the fund through Moneygram transfer with the detail for easy receipt.Hope to hear from you today ‘cos am in a terrible situation!!.
God Bless you,

[Spanish Prisoner]

Cottage of Hope Orphanage.
#127 Bedwell Street,Yenegoa,Bayelsa


What an abhorrent trick to play on people. This left me more than a little bemused, needless to say. I do miss my old friend.



5 Responses to “This Email Brought To You By the Number 419”

  1. meta4life Says:

    It really is amazing, how innovative humanity can be when it’s trying to scam someone….

  2. uhlrik Says:

    It is. I’ll give them this: at least they bothered to personalize the message a bit. The Nigerian scan usually doesn’t bother.

  3. lucretiasheart Says:

    They took his passport, but left him his laptop?

    Yeah– right! =^P That’s not even slightly believable!

  4. uhlrik Says:

    Naturally, he just happened to have my e-mail address on hand but not his laptop. Uh huh.

  5. lucretiasheart Says:

    *palm face*

    That’s not even a good lie. *shakes head in disbelief*

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