At this point we should all be pretty accustomed to emails from people in far-away lands begging us for help with some sort of cryptic financial problem. They generally want help transferring vast sums of money from one bank to another and in exchange for your help, they promise to give you a generous cut.
All they need to get started is a bit of your cash.
This is the scam of our times, and countless Americans have fallen victim to it.
Recently, a MainStreet editor received one of these solicitations. This one from a potentially generous alleged foreigner we will start by calling Mr. S. J. And while our response would normally be to trash the email and alert the spam filter, we’ve decided that in the interest of financial journalism (and a bit of fun) we would respond to our would-be benefactor. It is our hope that these emails will better inform the public as to how these scams generally proceed, though we advise anyone receiving one of these emails to dump it immediately, and under no circumstances should you engage the sender in any type of communication. Got it? No circumstances.
It all started with The Pitch:
The Pitch Analysis: OK, So it seems that this person is not a native English speaker, though we’re a bit surprised to find that he is supposedly from Hong Kong. We’re used to seeing these emails come from a deposed Nigerian oil minister, or from somewhere else in Africa. Then, however, we noticed that the return email address in the email header was different from the one included in the body of the email. The email was sent from the domain itajai.sc.gov.br, which evidently belongs to the Secretariat of Economic Development of the Brazilian city of Itajai. So maybe our scammer is Brazilian?
From: S** J******* (***********@itajai.sc.gov.br)
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 1:40 PM
Subject: My interest to partner with you.
My interest to partner with you.
Reply to: ****@gmail.com
I am S.J., I wish to bring to your notice my interest to partner with you on this great business opportunity that involves the transfer of fund from Hong Kong to your country. I shall furnish you with more details about this operation.