A case of Nigerian con trick

The e-mail, I made out right away, was a con trick. What gave the game away was the sender’s name – Srihari Ramakrishna. It was an SOS for money, 1,750 pounds, to be sent to London, where my friend Srihari was supposedly stranded.

Srihari is a friend,  but we are not that close for him to e-mail me for money. Besides, the e-mail English was somewhat fractured;  not the language one associates with a newspaper editorial writer that the Srihari I know is.  As the e-mail read:

How are you today, I am in hurry writing this mail to you, I had traveled to London yesterday to visit a new Researchers’ Complex at Imperial College London…..all my money was stolen at the hotel where i lodged, I am so confused right now…didn’t bring my phone here and the hotel telephone line’s was burnt during the robbery incident…the police only asked me to write a statement…directed me to the embassy, but they are not responding to the matter effectively…

…can you send me 1,750 Pounds today so i can return home,  As soon as i get home i would refund it immediately…send it through western union outlet…to Srihari Ramakrishna, 53 FREEMASONS RD,  London E163NA…Please help me write out the reference number given to you by the western union official and the details you used in sending me the money,or help me scan the receipt and attached it for me…

Not the  construction  that Srihari would be proud of.  But then,  the e-mail message came as news to him. When I called him on his cell phone  Srihari said he was visiting Pune,  not London as the e-mail said. He suggested that if I had the cash and wanted to part with it, I could send it to him at his son-in-law’s address in Pune. Srihari said another friend from Mysore, Madhuri Tatachari, had also called him a short while ago, after geting a similar e-mail.

Apparently,  the message seeking 1,750 pounds had been bulk-mailed to all his e-mail contacts, after they had hacked into Srihari’s yahoo acccount. They call this the Nigerian con trick,  also known as the 419 fraud. Section 419 of the Nigerian penal code pertains to fraudulent schemes. One short of our 420 IPC.  The 419 scam  is said to be the third largest industry in Nigeria.

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2 Responses

  1. So wise of you to check out with your friend. I don’t know if this con trick is also included in what is nowadays called phishing.

  2. I remember this time last year when we got a similar mail purportedly from a very close friend and got so worked up. It came from her email id (which – as we came to know later – was hacked). But the moment we got the mail, saying her aunt had to undergo an emergency operation and she needed – interestingly 1750 pounds immediately by wire transfer – we immediately found ourselves thinking of ways to raise it :-).

    What made it authentic was the fact that she was indeed traveling London at the time. But since it was a substantial amount of money and because we were also worried about her aunt, whom we knew, we wrote to her official email id. Something about the email we received did not quite sound right – because once we got over the initial shock it occurred to us that in an emergency she would have phoned us – not emailed us. Phew!

    Of course we do get a lot of emails begging us to accept several millions of dollars – for ‘safekeeping’ from Nigerians fleeing the country :-D.

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