New Variation On An Old Scam

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N2OBY, Oct 21, 2002.

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  1. N2OBY

    N2OBY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm sure by now that many of you have received or been aware of scam emails wherein an individual, usually claiming to be a government official from an African country, try to solicit funds from you with the promise of returning the favor at a later date to include an even larger payout. All they ask is that you forward your account information to them in order to initiate the transfer...

    Well, tonight I received a new twist on this theme, whereby a supposed Russian ham needs cash to help his invalid mother, get through the cold Russian winter, etc... I've pasted it below, so all of you can read it for yourselves. This clown is such an idiot that even though he claims to be a ham, he doesn't include his call! What do you expect from cybertrash like this anyway...

    -Ken, N2OBY

    Dear Colleague,

    Please excuse me for any inconvenience caused by this message. I'm a radio amateur and have decided to appeal to you because of our hopeless situation.

    My name is Valentin, I'm a student and I live with my mother and brother in the city of Kaluga, Russia. My mother is an invalid because she lost her sight. She does not see and she receives a pension very rare from the government which is not enough even for supporting our lives.

    My brother is a heavy invalid too, because of the accident happened 5 years ago. A big part of his body is paralyzed. The corrupt government does not pay any pension to him and to many other Russian invalids.

    During several years I take care of my mother and brother. I have a small piece of land in the forest where grow vegetables during the summer. But this summer was very hot and it was not raining, therefore all the vegetables withered.

    I'm very afraid that the cold winter is setting in and I do not know what my family could eat afterwards. Several months ago I sold my radio equipment, but it did not help to keep us alive for a long time. Therefore all of us are doomed to starvation and death.

    The only chance we have to survive is to use public access to the internet at our school to appeal to you directly for help. If you have any old warm clothes which you are not using anymore, as well as anything that is possible to eat, I would be more than happy if you could send it to our home address is:

    Valentin Mihailin,
    Ryleeva Street, 6-45
    Kaluga. 248030

    If you think that it would be better to send some money, please write me back and I will give you details on the best way of sending it safely. It is a very good way to help, because of the crisis food-stuffs in Russia are very cheap.

    I pray very much for your help and I hope to hear from you soon.


    Valentin and my family.
    Kaluga. Russia.

  2. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    It definitely sounds like a variation on the many Internet "scams".

    Now, back in the 1960s and 1970s, at the height of the cold war, I would occasionally get something from one of the Communist countries (quite often Poland, sometimes Czechloslovakia) in the form of a book, scarf, etc., with a request for me to send a tube (usually very common in the US), some transistors, resistors, capacitors, etc. Although I was not in contact with these amateurs except maybe to work one in a contest, I felt that what they were trying to do was to obtain some small item to help keep their amateur station on the air or to help a friend with the same thing. Usually the thing that they sent was definitely worth considerably more in US dollars than what they were requesting. Also, they never asked for the "world", just for things that many US amateurs had around the shack as spare parts, junque, etc.

    Since there was very little commercial transactions with the west during those times, and since what did get into those countries was usually very high priced, I definitely could see the chance that these amateurs took towards getting parts. Of course, it is possible that some of these guys did sell the items and make a profit. But, at least in my book, they more than paid for them at this end.

    Glen, K9STH
  3. N2OBY

    N2OBY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting, but times were different then. Perhaps I've become too cynical, due in part to the fact that I get quite a lot of the more "traditional" scam emails as I described. Perhaps it's a sign of the times that I no longer trust anyone right of the bat. Having been burned too many times in the past, I now usually let someone prove that they're worth my time and effort before I go out of my way. On the one hand, I don't like admitting to that, but then again there's the old saying, "burn me once, shame on you; burn me twice, shame on me..."
  4. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I trust nothing that comes on the Internet in the way of SPAM, and what you got sounds definitely like SPAM to me. I may have gotten it as well, but I automatically delete anything that I am not interested in before even reading it.

    Glen, K9STH
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    So reply back and ask him what size shirt and pants he wears.

    I'm sure some amateurs have some great polyester plaid pants they're not using any longer.  Well, judging by what I saw at the last hamfest, they might still be using them.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have received numerous messages from the escaped son of the exiled ruler of Mugamba-wibi or somewhere in the deepest part of Africa, saying there's a sum of several million dollars I can share with him if only I'd give him my bank account number so he can transfer it all to the States.

    I gave him George W. Bush's account number instead, figuring old George needs it more, with the war coming and all.

    Best advice of all: DELETE all e-mail in your "in" box, without ever opening it, if you don't recognize the sender. Delete it even faster if it has an attachment.

  7. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is an announcement on the home page of the ARRL ( ) about this scam.

    Glen, K9STH
  8. W3SY

    W3SY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I get one of those goddam African scam e-mails almost every day. They have a gazillion dollars they want to send ME.... All I have to do is give them my bank acct number, routing number, Social Security Number, keys to my car... HEY, I ain't as stupid as I look!

    I have a collection of these e-mails. Each time I get a new one, I forward all the messages I have saved to the latest crook who sent me the scam. I think I have about 60 of these saved up.

    It's interesting to note that these messages always come thru my address -- not directly to my ISP address. Hmmmmmm.... How did these bozos happen to harvest my address??

    By the way, here is an important anti-spam tip: When you get these messages that have a link you click on "to be taken off the mailing list," DON'T CLICK IT! By clicking it, you give them your IP address AND you let them know that they have reached a VALID e-mail address. It's like signing up for a whole new raft of spam.

    It's best not to open any message from a sender you don't know, especially if the subject hints that the message is spam. Set up your e-mail program to show the size of messages in your inbox. If the message is more than a few kb, it likely has HTML in it AND takes you to a Web Site, whereupon, again, your IP address is rendered to the sender.

    Beware also of messages with attachments from unknown senders. It's best to delete these messages BEFORE you open them. In fact, in Outlook and Outlook Express, you can hit Shift and Delete together to "hard delete" the message -- it's deleted from your Inbox and never goes to Deleted Items.

    Also, turn off Auto Preview if it's on. Auto Preview effectively opens the message, with the above potential consequences.

    I'm an e-mail administrator for a large company and we deal with this crap all the time.

    Anyhoo, if Abdul Matumba Wakaweenee, son of the deposed and murdered supreme ruler of the tiny nation of Gonad REALLY wants to send me 30 million dollars, he can just write me a &#@%ing check. HAW!!

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