Scammers & Spammers Abound!
I try to be fairly active on Linkedin. I post my WordPress material and connect to everyone I meet. And occasionally I’ll accept strange invitations to connect, under the assumption they are someone from school or someone I don’t remember meeting. Because it is predominantly business-oriented, Linkedin seems like a tame enough format to take small chances to increase my social capital.
So imagine my delight when one “Zaki Siddiqui, a Bank Officer in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates,” reached out to connect and asked for my help. He insisted we conduct all communication via email (his Gmail account) because “this is not something I can share with you on a platform like LinkedIn.” He promised a suspiciously great opportunity and, being a sucker for intrigue, I decided to play along.
I responded to his email with “What’s going on? Do you need my help?”
His reply came very fast. One might say automatedly fast. Actually, one would probably not use that non-word, but one takes one’s meaning, right?
Anyhoo, I was so charmed by his response I’ll just copy it for you. I didn’t shorten any of this or change it. Not even my name. I do have a first name which is easy enough to find on Linkedin. So this fella just decided it wasn’t necessary. Anyway, here:
I must thank you for giving me the audience to explain this important issue to you. Like I told you in my message to you on LinkedIn my name is Mr. Zaki Siddiqui and I am a Bank Officer in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. I contacted you in regards to an opportunity in my office that will be of an immense benefit to both of us. I have been in search of someone with the last name (Long) in your country for this business transaction that I am about to explain to you, so when I saw your contact details online, I was pushed to contact you and see how best we can assist each other. I believe it is the wish of God for me to come across you now.
The full email was quite a bit longer. And you probably already know how it went.
one Peter Long died in an earthquake and there’s no next of kin to claim his 26 million dollar leave-behind.
But now that Mr. Siddiqui is my contact at the bank, we could pull of this scam together and split the 26 mill. Perfect, right?
My response of “yes! Money!” must have been off-putting because I haven’t heard anything else. But traditionally this scam works by me committing a certain amount of money through untraceable prepaid cash cards or by sharing your bank account so they can cover transfer fees and whatever. If you fall for it for a small amount, they will ask for larger and larger amounts until you figure it out or run out of money.
Partners in Crime?
[Above: An example I yanked from a Google image search. Looks like this happens a lot.]
The co-scammer aspect is something I really enjoy about this whole thing. Siddiqui is inviting me to commit fraud with him. So does that justify stealing from me? Because I was willing to commit fraud? Or does it ease his conscience to know he’s frauding a potential frauder? But where does the fraudor end and the fraudee begin? Or does he plan to blackmail me when I figure out his plan? Bizarre. Fascinating!
I wanted to see how far he would go before he figured out I was messing with him. It would have been fun to ride the pony a little further.
According to Scamwatch.gov it’s called the Nigerian scam or Nigerian 419 scam because the first waves of this scam came from Nigeria. But now you can get scammed from anywhere! Hooray technology!
They also say that if you are scammed you should report it to “report-a-scam” but I haven’t bothered ‘cause I got stuff to do.
So be on the lookout for this junk. Linkedin is generally safe from what I can tell, and I was surprised to get this thing. If you do get offered a scam, let me know because … ah, how I love intrigue!
The Nerdy Daddy