I love getting email. Really, I do. Those little packets of goodness can sometimes lead us on an a once in a lifetime adventure. And so it was for me recently, when I got an email from a Nigerian scammer by the name of Robert S Dewar.
I need to setup a bit of a back-story for this one, so you will understand where I’m coming from and the reasons behind why I sometimes do what I do.
I said I love getting email, that much is only partially true. I love getting spam-email, specifically those ones that are offering you millions of dollars once you give them your credit card details or some such. You know the ones, we all receive them. Well, for me, I can’t get enough of them. The problem is, I think I’ve been put on a block list, because after the adventure I will detail here I haven’t received anymore of these types of emails.
The reason why I love these emails is because I actually reply to them. Every single one of them. Why, you might ask? Well, my thinking is simple (as is so often the case for me). My intention is for the scammers to think they have a potential victim. If I can hold their attention long enough, then perhaps that will give them less time to be scamming other people. It’s a noble thought, and one I will hold one to no matter what anyone says.
Anyway, on with the story of the Nigerian Scammer, Robert S Dewar. Here is the original email I received:
SUBJECT: YOUR COMPENSATION FOR BEING SCAMMED
The British High Commission in Nigeria
We are delegates from the British High Commission to pay identified victims of 419 scam. You are listed and approved for this payment as one of the scammed victims. get back to us as soon as possible for the immediate payment of your compensation funds.
On this faithful recommendations, I want you to know that during the last UN meetings held in Abuja, Nigeria, it was alarmed so much by the rest of the world in the meetings on the lose of funds by various foreigners to the scam artists operating in syndicates all over the world today, in other to retain the good image of the country, the president of the Country in collaboration with the British high commission is now paying 104 victims of this operators.
Due to the corrupt and inefficient banking systems in Nigeria, the payments are to be paid through (Mr. Robert Dewar) British high commission under funding assistance by the Central Bank of Nigeria. According to the number of applicants at hand, 84 proved victims has been paid, half of the victims are from the United States and Asia, we still have more 20 left to be paid the compensations.
Your particulars was mentioned as one of their victims of the operations by one of the syndicates who was arrested, you are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him for any reason for whatsoever, the US secret service is already on trace of the criminal.
You will receive your compensations payments via an ATM cashable at any ATM center around your country. I shall feed you with further modalities as soon as I hear from you.
In reply, provide your:
contact telephone number
Respond with Your Personal information including your phone number and you can also contact my office on: (+2348065434240)
Mr. Robert B Dewar
British High Commission
Now as I said, my intention is always to grab (and then hold) their attention. This was my initial reply (on a Friday afternoon):
This is great news. Thank you so much. Do you know what sort of compensation I am going to receive?
Please call me on (number removed) so we can discuss.
My thanks to you!
The telephone number I gave him was a mobile telephone number that I no longer use, but I wanted to appear genuine so I gave them a nibble. I put the SIM card into a phone, turned the phone on, put it on Silent and then put the phone in my desk drawer at work. Then, I went home.
By Monday morning, I had FORTY-FIVE missed calls from a Private number. FORTY-FIVE. No voicemails, no text messages. Just those missed calls. Do you think they’re keen?
This is where details are sketchy, because there is a week worth of email chatter that has been lost. I must have forgotten to mark the email as Not Spam. However, from memory I was told that I needed to provide DHL account details so that an ATM card could be shipped to me. I remained very positive, willing to do all I could to help but at the same time questioning everything that Robert suggested. I told him that I would not setup a DHL account, as that should not be required to RECEIVE something. He then made his first request for money:
I want you to know that I am only trying to do you a favor by requesting for your DHL Courier mailing fee since you have stated that you do not have a DHL account, that is the only alternative, but if you have a friend who have such permanent account, then you should indicate by sending it to me, my bound is this project is to make sure your atm card arrives your home as soon as you supply me with the delivery requirement, being your delivery address and mailing account or in the absence of that, courier mailing fee which is not more than 195usd for fedex or 205 for dhl. I prefer DHL because they are 100% guarranted and safe and they always make a constant delivery to your country Australia.
Now we’re getting somewhere. First, he is wanting me to setup a shipping account so he can launder money/guns/drugs/whatever and now he wants cash. That’s an easy win for me because I told him to take it out of the 2.5 million that is owed to me Robert had an answer for every question I had, which I found enlightening. Over time, my questions became a little more….strange, which you will see below. For now, he couldn’t take the money out of my compensation as the funds were tied up in the account “issued by oceanic bank”
His tone remained genuine throughout, which is good to know. I have no idea of the education level of these people, nor how many are actually involved. The written English was not perfect, but was good enough to get the point across most times.
Next up was to question the details of the “Oceanic Bank”, because I’d never heard of any such bank here in the Asia-Pacific region. By this stage, it becomes apparent that Robert is getting frustrated with me. He starts to complain about how busy he is all the time, and starts to pressure me to get on with giving him the cash, as you can see in his next email:
My friend, I will advice you to simply cooperate with my directives to enable your delivery to be finalized, delay is dangerous and among all the beneficiaries, non have complained that his or her own atm card has not arrived, this project is not supposed to last up to 72 hours but yours is getting to almost 240 hours, I have a reason for giving you this advice, there is limited time to be spent on this and I might soon face personal issues other than accessing the internet every time to read your emails, I am sorry to say this but I am an adult and sometimes I fund it difficult to face the computer light that is entering my eyes, I have to put on glasses most of the time, lets work with one good friends, I will be the last person that will delay your delivery and at my age I do not think that I will be involve in anything that is not what it is.
Clearly, Robert was tiring of the conversation. I had to get creative or else I’d lose him forever. This was my reply:
I’d really like the address details for the bank. You have been very kind to me so far, I really appreciate it. I have been discussing this with my wife, she has told me that it would be a good idea to setup the DHL account in good faith to you. But, she has also demanded the address of the bank.
Could you be so kind to me, so I do not have to argue with my wife? She is a very strong lady, and carries a large stick. Sometimes she beats me with it and I cry. My children don’t know what to do, I told them I can’t leave because of them.