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We've all had them; emails from some pseudo-legal representative in West Africa, willing to share millions with you for a small handling fee. Normally such emails are junked, but I was bored recently and decided to toy with one for a while.

What follows is a complete and unedited history of our conversations, together with the relevant images and attachments.

Throughout, the scammer's emails are listed in red, my responses to him are in green, my comments about the scam-bait are in bold and each set of email then response is divided by a spacer bar to make it easier to keep track of where you are.

 

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From: Barrister Williams Agudo
Subject: CONTACT MY SECETARY IMMEDIATELY

Att;My Dear,

I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds transffered under the cooperation of a new partner from paraguay. Presently i'm in paraguay for investment projects with my own share of the total sum.meanwhile,i didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assit me in transffering those funds despite that it failed us somehow.

Now contact my secretary in BENIN his name is EMMAUNEL RAPHEAL ,

ask him to send you the total $7.2 MillionsUSD (SEVEV MILLION TWO HUNDERN THUSAND US DOLLARS ) certified bank draft which i raised in your favour for your compensation for all the past efforts and attempts to assist me in this matter.i appreciated your efforts at that time very much.so feel free and get intouched with my secretary EMMAUNEL RAPHEAL and give him youraddress
where to send the draft to you.

Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share the joy after all the sufferness at that time.in the moment, i'm very busy here because of the investment projects which me and the new partner are having at hand, finally,remember that i had forwarded instruction to the secretary on your behalf to receive that money,so feel free to get intouch with EMMAUNEL RAPHEAL without any delay.
best regard
BARRISTER WILLIAMS AGUDO

 
What a fantastic offer, especially for the struggling special interest church I decide I'm going to be representing during this reverse-scam. I decide to use donation supply as a hook for my greedy little fish. Hopefully they'll be so desperate to receive the donation they won't mind joining the church; after an appropriately silly application process, of course...
 
From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Re: CONTACT MY SECETARY IMMEDIATELY

My Dear Sir,

I don't know how you got my email address because I don't send out very many emails, but I'm sorry that I think you have the wrong person. I haven't done any business in which I am owed any money, and don't think we have ever met! It's not my money, but I hope you find the right person for it and they do good with it.

Actually, it is interesting you mention Paraguay. I am first minister with the Church of the Psychedelic Manatee, who carry out humanitarian and aid works throughout the world.

Normally we send donations of $28,500 (twenty eight thousand five hundred dollars) to people who can carry the word of the Church to the masses.
I mention it because the first donation we ever sent was to Father Bill Hicks in central Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. He used the money to build our first Church of the Psychedelic Manatee in the Americas (picture attached), which we think is an excellent use of the funds, and shows a dedicated and human spirit.


church x[Our church. 10 mins with Photoshop and Google Images]

Unfortunately the Church has hit upon slightly poor times in recent years, such that we are now only able to make one donation a year instead of five. Since you mention Benin, perhaps you might know of a deserving cause in the country that we can consider donating to? We are keen to send funds to create a Church somewhere in Africa.

Anyway, you don't want to listen to me rambling on. I wish you the very best of luck in finding the person whose money that is. They are very lucky indeed!

Farewell, and may you be blessed in all your dealings.


Rev. Timothy Leary

logo xxx[The church logo. Another 10 minute Photoshop job]
 
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It doesn't take long before the 'secretary' gets back to the good Reverend...
 

From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: YOUR URGENTLY RESPONDING NEEDED BECAUSE THE FUND BELONG TO YOU.

Dear Timothy Leary,
I received your mail and understand that you are instructed by my boss to contact me regarding the draft he wrote on your name before his travel to south america. well this money is in bank draft i will mail it to you and you cash it from your bank.
Therefore all i required from you is the cost of mailing the draft to you via diplomatic courier services and send your address where to deliver the draft in person .contact me email to discus on how to receive the mailing cost to enable me send the draft to you as soon as possible.

waiting to hear from you.

thanks,

Secretary Emmanuel Rapheal

 
They didn't take the donation bait, but seem set on trying their scam. Time to try one more cast of the line. Even if it doesn't work, the refusal at this stage to accept any money should convince them the Reverend is an honest man...
 

From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Bless you

My Dear Emmanuel,

God bless you and thank you for your email, but as I said before I think you have the wrong person. I am not owed any money.

Again, we carry out good works across the world, and are looking for a charity or company in Africa who we can donate money to to ensure the word of the Church is spread. If you know of such a charity or company, please let us know the details so we can speak with them.

I wish you the very best of luck in finding whoever this money belongs to.


Kindest regards,


Rev. Timothy Leary

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A few days later, Emmanuel tries his hand again...
 

From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: Re: Bless you

Dear Rev. Timothy Leary,
Thanks for your email, I have invesgate the bank draft and it is payable under your name. Maybe you have forgot my boss because it have been a very long time he trying to transfer the fund but they just got it transfer last week.

This fund belong to you and he normal instruct me to mail it once you contact me so try and invesgate on your side if you can remember it.

Waiting for your immediately respond.

thanks
Emmanuel

 
Still no dice on the donation hook so it's time to change tactic. The Reverend thinks he may be owed money after all...
 

From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Re: Re: Bless you

Dear Emmanuel,

I have looked into my files here at the Church and think I may have found the answer. Our founder and benefactor, Colonel Sanders, used to employ a great many people in South America in his large factories there, and it seems as though he might have been involved in the business dealings you mention.

Can you please check your files and confirm if the name Colonel Sanders is registered for this money? If it is, then the money certainly does belong to the Church of the Psychedelic Manatee, and we will be happy to enter into negotiations with you to secure the transfer of funds. Obviously we cannot consider this unless it can be confirmed by you that the Colonel is on your records, otherwise we might be claiming money that is not ours.
I know the Colonel used to be photographed on his business deals, so we include a picture of our beloved founder for identification purposes if you happen to have his photo on record.


cs
Our Founder, Colonel Sanders

Please confirm that Colonel Sanders is on your records as the person who is owed this money. If he is, then please tell us how we can begin the transfer of the funds to the Church, as we are keen to give more donations to worthwhile and humanitarian causes throughout the world, and this money will really help us achieve our goal.


Kindest Regards,


Rev. Timothy Leary

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Two days go by. Have I lost Emmanuel? Has he rumbled me? Apparently not, as a day later this drops into my inbox...
 

From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: MONEY IS YOURS RESPONND PLEASE

Dear Rev. Timothy Leary,
I receive your email, I have check our file again and the name on the bank draft is your name, I find the Founder Colonel Sanders instruct our Boss to use your name as your a trust someone. Infact i thanks you for your understanding as you know that money is not everything, i much thanks you once more because of way your question me about this fund because if i make any mistake on delivering of this fund i will hold responsible so the fund belong to your people.

Because of the amount on this bank draft i will like bank to transfer this fund to your people to aviod losting of the fund, If this idea is ok with you than your reqire to email me the banking information where the fund will transfer to.
Even i find this pic you sent to me in our office when i was invesgate but the name in this bank draft is your full name TIMOTHY LEARY.


Please i will need your urgently respond because you know the value of this bank draft as i will not bear to pay if i lost the fund.

Thanks

Secretary
Emmanuel Rephael

 
So, it looks like the good Colonel Sanders was responsible for setting up the funds. This is good news for the church. The kindly churchman routine has done its work. Now it's time to get serious with Emmanuel...
 

From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Re: MONEY IS YOURS RESPONND PLEASE

Dear Emmanuel,

I thank God that you are so honest in your dealings, and that you have been kind enough to look into your files. I believe that Colonel Sanders was probably the person who first arranged this deal, and am very happy to hear it is in my name. This is most wonderful news as it means the Church can get much-needed funds to support our work throughout the world.

Unfortunately, there is a problem which makes my heart very sad. As you know, the Church of the Psychedelic Manatee is a registered charity based in the United Kingdom. UK rules are very strict on charities receiving money. In the UK it is illegal for a charity to receive such a large payment, and an individual cannot receive it without paying over half of it in capital gains tax.
However, I think I have a solution to our problem. The Church is a registered religious charity, who can legally receive donations of any size from people of the Church.

If you were to become part of the Church of the Psychedelic Manatee we would be able to legally accept the entire funds from you without the UK government touching any of it!

Please get back to me soon to confirm that you are willing to be initiated into our Church so we can give you our bank details and claim this money.


Rev. Timothy Leary

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Emmanuel is getting impatient...
 
From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: WHAT IS WAITING DELAY?

Rev. Timothy Leary,
I will contact you tomorrow after i check with the bank which can transfer this fund, But you can email me your banking detail to enable me register the transfer once i confirm from bank. Because of time i for check the bank now but they have close for the day so wait till tomorrow. Just send the banking detail as i know that they may have some back up douctment before transffering of the fund, My Boss transfered about 86millions last week so your transfer will not be a probelm to them.

thanks
Emmanuel
 
Time to press my point...
 

From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Re: WHAT IS WAITING DELAY?

Emmanuel,

We cannot give you bank details until you join the Church. It is illegal in the UK to receive funds unless they come from a member of our flock, so you MUST be a member of the Church before we are allowed to give you our details. Please let me know that you wish to be a member and I will arrange to send you the forms by email.

I hope we can soon welcome you to our Church and receive the funds.


Rev. Timothy Leary

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Emmanuel finally agrees to join the Church (hallelujah!). He also now feels I'm sufficiently duped enough to tell me about hidden 'fees' that will need to be paid in order to release the money...
 
From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: FEES

Dear Rev. Timothy Leary,
I receive your email, I will stand as the member of your church till you receive the fund into your account. I just coming back from the bank and they promise to transfer the total fund into your account in uk and you will receive it within 24hars.

They charge 3800.00usd for the transfer charge and they also reqire Durg Clearance certificate which will back you to receive he fund in yourown bank. If you didn't have the certificate you reqire to send sum of 2600.00usd to obtain the certificate here.

And they also demand for a contact phone number for immediate contact.

Send the banking detail and contact telephone number to ebanle me register the transfer today.

Waiting to hear from you.
thanks
Emmanuel
 
The Reverend is happy to meet these fees; after all, the Church of the Psychedelic Manatee is about to get 7.2 million! But first we need to get Emmanuel signed up so we can avoid those pesky UK laws on donations...
 

From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Re: FEES

Mr Dear Emmanuel,

Please be patient! In the UK, Monday is the start of our business week, and I am very busy with Church affairs until about 5pm when I knock off with a charming little choir boy from pew 6. I cannot check the Church emails before 6pm here on a weekday, but I have now read your email and happy that you are eager to do business with us.

I have now had the chance to speak to the committee about your application, and they have agreed in full that you seem a most honest and trustworthy person and that you would be an asset to our Church, not to mention the money that has been arranged for us by our most glorious founder, Colonel Sanders.

As I mentioned in my last email, we are only allow to give money out or accept money from members of our Church. Please find an application form attached to this email.

I especially must draw your attention to clause C. I'm afraid that Colonel Sanders was a very wary fellow who found it difficult to trust people, so ALL our new members MUST include a photograph of themselves with their application form. The photograph must be of you, holding up a sign that says "All glory to the Church of the Psychedelic Manatee" on it. We CANNOT accept membership without this photograph, so please hurry so we can give you our bank details and transfer the money soon.

Please print out the attached form and fill in the section at the bottom. I'm afraid our FAX machine here has been broken ever since Squirrel Nutkin chewed some of the wires, but you can make matters faster by scanning your signed form and sending it back by email, together with your photograph.

Once we get your application form and identifying photograph we can enroll you immediately. Then we will be very happy to supply you with all our banking details so these funds can be transferred.



Kind Regards,


Rev. Timothy Leary

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I attach this form to the email for Emmanuel to fill in (note the Registered Charity and VAT numbers at the bottom of the form. The Latin motto on the form means 'to cheat the cheater').

 
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Four days go by. I amuse myself by running traces on the IP address he's been sending his emails from. Emmanuel is based in the town of Porto-Novo on Benin/Nigerian border. He is connecting via ADSL through the Benin ISP, 'Office Des Poste Et Telecommunications'. I store all these details to surprise him with later, but for the moment Emmanuel has sent another email to explain why he hasn't supplied the completed application form...
 
From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: Re: Re: FEES

Dear Rev. Timothy Leary,
How are you? I receive your email and our scaning michine have a probelm for that i'm unable to forward you the information needed.

Is it any other way i can send you the information? Get back to me because you know that this is bank draft it not suppose to delay here much as i didn't know the expaired date of it.

Waiting for your immediately respond.

thanks
Emmanuel Rapheal
Secretary
 
Disaster! But the Reverend is having none of it...
 
From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Re: Re: Re: FEES

Dear Emmanuel,

It is so good to hear from you my brother. You don't mind if I call you my brother, do you? Good, I feel as though we are brothers already.

I'm sorry to hear of your scanner's problem, but I'm afraid the rules of the church are very strict, and we don't have a FAX here due to the destruction caused by Squirrel Nutkin and his fuzzy brethren.

We are very keen to do this soon, so please try.

God bless,


Rev. Timothy Leary

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Damn that Reverend insisting on the application. Maybe we can continue to string him along...
 
From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: FUNDS ARE WAITING

Dear Rev. Timothy Leary,

I still try if we can buy another scaning michine tomorrow once i get it the information will be forward to you so that i will becoming your full memeber.

Thanks
Emmanuel Rapheal
Secretary
 
I sense Emmanuel is getting annoyed, so time to dangle that carrot a little more...
 
From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Re: FUNDS ARE WAITING

Dear Emmanuel,

Thank you so so for trying my brother. We look forward to receiving your scans soon and doing business with you. Yesterday I spoke with the committee who sent Mrs Miggins down to the local post office branch to make a withdrawal from our account. I am happy to say that despite a dodgy hip and having to pass through an area known for its roaming gangs of drunken MPs, she succeeded.

We have the full $6,400 ($3,800 transfer fee and $2,600 clearance certificate fee) ready for you here. Will make make arrangements to send it to you as soon as we receive your application form and photograph.


Rev. Timothy Leary

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A week later Emmanuel is back, and this time he's armed with a new scanner!
 
From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: Re: Re: FUNDS ARE WAITING

Dear Rev. Timothy Leary,
I have got the scaning michine, Hope you have seen the application to join the church. You can send your banking information today together with the reqire fee to enable me register your transfer by tomorrow.

Send the money vas western union with the name of our messenger and address below.
JOSEPH NKACHIKWULU xxxxxx[This is probably the real name of the scammer]
COTONOU
BENIN
Please remember your promise which you mention that you will send some gift to me when you receive your fund into your account as you understand that i have a church which i'm worshiping but since is thesame God i will also join yourown chuch as it will help you to cash your fund in your country.

This is my pic.

emm xxx[If that's Emmanuel, then I'm Timothy Leary]

Emmanuel Raphael
Secretary of Barrister Willaims John Agudo

Make sure you send the information now because i have already inform the bank Director Mr Mohamedi Musa regarding your transfer.

thanks
Emmanuel Raphael
Secretary
 
Emmanuel has attached this document to his email. We're halfway there, but the photo problem needs addressing. Emmanuel, being the sharpest of tacks, left the metadata on his photo; the same metadata that told me where he got the photo, who it is of, and when he copied it. Time to rumble Emmanuel on his photo...
 
From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Your Application

Dear Emmanuel,

Thank you very much for sending us your application form, it is excellent and valid for entry to the Church. But I am sorry there are two problems with your photograph:

1) You have not sent us the proper identity photograph. As we said in our email, and written in the agreement you have signed, you MUST supply a photograph of yourself holding up a sign which says ALL GLORY TO THE CHURCH OF THE PSYCHEDELIC MANATEE on it. You MUST do this to become a full member so we can give you our bank details.

2) You have accidentally sent us the wrong photo! That is not you. That is our good friend Ernest Ndukwe, Managing Director of General Telecoms Ltd. We hope this is a mistake and that you are not trying to get out of your responsibilities to the Church, you naughty rascal!

As soon as we get your true picture with you holding up the sign we mention we will be able to confirm your application. Once this happens we will immediately wire $6,400 to your messenger in Benin.


Rev. Timothy Leary

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Bingo! Emmanuel comes back to me a day later with the required identity photograph, plus a novel explaination as to why his last photograph was in fact a stolen image of a prominent African businessman...
 

From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: Re: Your Application

Dear Rev. Timothy Leary,
I send you my pic before but it got mixed up on internet with another email after I send to you. I send to you again my pic for joining church and to get transfer fees tht you promise to make.

Pleae transfer fee soon as fund must be made today from our office to get to you. Send the money vas western union with the name of our messenger and address below.
JOSEPH NKACHIKWULU
COTONOU
BENIN

This is my pic.

photo He's missed out the definite article, misspelled 'psychedelic' and has pluralized the manatee, but all in all he's made a valiant effort. 7/10 Emmanuel!

 

Emmanuel Raphael
Secretary of Barrister Willaims John Agudo

Make sure you send the information now because i have already inform the bank Director Mr Mohamedi Musa regarding your transfer.

thanks
Emmanuel Raphael
Secretary
 
The good Reverend has got what he wants, time to come clean with Emmanuel...
 

From: Rev. Timothy Leary
Subject: Your Scam

Dear 'Emmanuel',

Thanks you very much for your picture, it is just what I wanted from you. However, I'm afraid I have some bad news.

I am not the Reverend Timothy Leary, in fact there is no such Reverend, and I am not the kindly vicar who has any funds for you..
Nor is there such a thing as the Church of the Psychedelic Manatee (we can't believe you were stupid enough to fall for that one).
Take another look at the application form you signed. Look at the bottom. Notice anything? Well, let me point it out for you. Our charity number is 14M4F001, or 1 4M 4 F001, or I AM A FOOL. Our VAT number says - quite clearly - that WE DO NOT EXIST. Oh, and our Latin motto, Circumduco Circumscriptor, means to 'cheat the cheater'.

But enough about me; let's talk about you. You are not the secretary to Barrister Williams Agudo, in fact there is no such person.
You are no more a secretary than I am a church reverend. You are a 419 scammer. You are a thief and a liar. The first photo you sent was not of you. You had gone onto the internet and found a picture of the prominent businessman, Ernest Ndukwe. In fact, here is the exact link you stole it from: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/images/Ernest%20Ndukwe.jpg.
All of the emails you sent me were done from the same computer, which connects via an ADSL connection via the ISP, Office Des Poste Et Telecommunications (OPT). You are based in Benin, in the city of Porto-Novo near the Benin/Nigerian border (it's on the RNIE1 and RN11 road intersections, you can't miss it).

You have been the victim of a scam-baiter. We exist to waste your time and resources; you exist to entertain us


'Rev. Timothy Leary'

 
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I don't expect to hear anything back from Emmanuel, but a few days later this drops into my inbox...
 
From: Emmanuel Rapheal
Subject: GOD BLESS YOU REV. Timothy Leary

YOU WILL DIE SOON
 
 
 
 
I've got his form, his photo and now his death threat! I am one happy scam-baiter...


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