In response to my posting on craigslist.com, I received quite a few interesting “job offers”.
This is one of the emails I received:
Notice how unprofessional the email is. I would think that if this was a legit opportunity that the email would have been a lot more formal, don’t you think? Also notice how he writes. It’s pretty obvious to me that English is not his native language. I don’t know about you, but I smell a scam.
No matter. I decided to write back to the scammer anyways. I like pissing them off:
Maybe some of you aren’t familiar with the Nigerian 419 scam, so I guess I should fill you in. The Nigerian 419 scam, also known as “Advance fee fraud” tries to target victims living in the U.S. by trying to convince the potential victim that the scammer is a legit business man who needs help transferring money and/or goods from the U.S. to another country.
The scammer will often claim that they live in the U.K., Canada, Paris or some other country that the potential victim thinks is “safe”. They also lie about their location so that they potential victim won’t question why the scammer can’t send the money and/or goods themselves. (Think about it. How much sense would it make for a person who lives in the U.S. to ask another person living in the U.S. to send goods to another country?)
They will always ask that any money they ask you to transfer is sent through Western Union. I know what you’re thinking: why would anyone send money to some stranger in a foreign country?
Well this is because the scammer will always lead you to believe that this is a legit business deal and will convince the potential victim that the payout at the end of the transaction is way more then the mere thousands that they ask you to send. They will also claim that some of these “fees” are to cover legal documents that are standard in these proceedings.
There are a lot of different variants to this scam. It ranges from emails for a work-at-home opportunity, lottery scams, emails claiming that you are the next of kin of some person you’ve never heard of but has left you an excessively large inheritance, romance scams, the list goes on and on.
I get a ton of these types of emails on a daily basis. Luckily they usually go straight to my spam folder and don’t take up space in my inbox.
Be sure to never respond to these types of emails. Some of these guys can be pretty convincing from what I’ve heard.
Just remember the general rule: If it seems too good to be true… it probably is…