“There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear”
—For What It’s Worth
Scams, cons and rip-offs are a dime a dozen in these days of the anonymous, masquerading Internet. Password thieves pose as Instant Messaging customer service reps. That “unsubscribe” link actually confirms your email and ensures a flood of male enhancement and low mortgage rate spam. Fifty-year-old men posture through chat rooms as curious, 19-year-old co-eds. We’ve all heard about them and know we could Never be so hoodwinked.
The Brain Trust here at Gonzo Central acknowledges our role as a fountain of knowledge that sprinkles our clients and readership with fine droplets of cynical clarity. This week, I’d like to forward to you a swindle that has been circulating among the bank IT community that is both frightening and laughable at once. The out-and-out ridiculousness of the offer shown below initially made us think that no one could ever fall for such a scheme, but real-life examples of this scam snaking its way to its tragic and ruinous fruition have been reaching me through my network of shady contacts, questionable associates and false admirers. Fair Readers: Read on and watch your back.
Dear IT Partner,
REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP—STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
This electronic mail message has been sent to you as my esteemed yet anonymous compatriots and I have identified you as a rocket scientist-level mind in the field of bank technology.
Firstly, I must solicit your strictest confidentiality in this transaction. This is by virtue of its nature as being utterly CONFIDENTIAL and TOP SECRET. I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and maybe a smidge dubious, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day! We have decided to contact you first by your electronic mail address due to the urgency of this transaction, as we have been reliably informed that it will take at least two to three weeks for a normal post to reach you. So we decided it is best using the electronic mail.
Let me start by first introducing myself properly to you. I am Dr. Havna Gudthyme, a director general in the Financial Technology Division and I head an eight-man tender board in charge of Contracts Awards and Payment Approvals. I came to know of you in my search for a reliable and reputable person to handle a very confidential but strategically significant business transaction which involves the transfer of a mother lode of technology to a lucky foreign recipient requiring maximum confidence.
I and my colleagues are top officials of the Federal Government Contract Review and Award Panel. Our duties include evaluation, vetting, and approval for shipment of technological solutions done on behalf of the Banking Ministry, etc.
In order to commence this business, we solicit for your assistance to enable us transfer into your data center the below-described core banking system solution. The source of this technology is as follows: During the last military regime here in Nigeria, this committee awarded a contract to develop a fixed scope of core banking technology to five local development firms on behalf of the Banking Ministry for the supply, development and installation of what Americans, perhaps, would describe as “cool” banking technology to be used nationwide. During this process, my exalted colleagues and I decided amongst ourselves to surreptitiously and deliberately over-develop this product and build considerably more functionality than for which was contracted with the Banking Ministry. Our goal was to develop this exceptional functionality, exit the country, and sell the fruits of our hard labour via the epicentre of bank technology – Orlando, Florida.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has since announced new national and provincial laws (Code of Conduct Bureau: Civil Service Laws) that prohibit my venerated colleagues and I, by virtue of our positions as civil servants and members of this panel, from establishing a presence in the United States of America unless we have a bona fide and legitimate U.S. customer who favourably regards and implements our new system which we have named SpectreBanker.
I have, therefore, been mandated as a matter of trust by my colleagues in the panel to look for an overseas partner into whose bank we would install and implement SpectreBanker. Besides the obvious core functionality with which a noble and educated IT professional such as yourself is well familiar, we deliver the following at a cellar-dwelling cost to your organization:
In our ongoing determination and aggressiveness to establish an Orlando-based sales and marketing headquarters, we have contacted you, as a respected and judicious IT professional. We are prepared to offer you SpectreBanker at the unfathomably low price of US$2.5 million so that we may reveal your organization to the Banking Minister as our requisite and flagship U.S. patron.
In return for the obvious but measured risk that we are asking you to undertake, we hereby offer to return to you (personally) the sum of US$500,000* as a Motivational Enhancement (ME) after the funds transfer from your organization has been successfully executed. Our terms of delivering your ME are flexible and may be finalized with the electronic transfer of funds into a banking account of your choice, cash consisting of unmarked bills in small denominations, skilled indentured servants from the Balkans, 200 pounds of high grade Turkish hashish or another form of payment which may be mutually agreeable.
*Actual payment to you may be somewhat less than the quoted US$500,000 as the delivered sum will represent the quoted sum offset by all debts/expenses incurred (both local and foreign) in the cause of this transfer.
Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return we demand your complete honesty and trust. We have decided that this transaction will be based completely on the following:
(a) Our conviction of your transparent honesty and diligence;
(b) That you would treat this transaction with utmost secrecy and confidentiality;
(c) That upon receipt of the SpectreBanker technology, you will promptly release our share (US$2.5 million);
(d) That upon successful transfer of the original US$2.5 million, the ME payment to you on mutually agreeable terms will be executed forthwith with maximum dispatch and discretion;
(e) You must be ready to produce us with enough information about yourself to put our minds at rest. Please, note that this transaction is 100 percent legal and risk free and we hope to conclude the business in Seven to Fourteen bank working days from the date of receipt of the necessary information and requirements from you.
Please, acknowledge the receipt of this letter using my personal email address as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will bring you into the complete picture of the transaction when I have heard from you.
Your urgent response will be highly appreciated as we are already behind schedule for this current financial quarter.
Yours faithfully, truthfully and 100 percent honestly and legally,
Dr. Havna Gudthyme
Post Script: Please, be reminded that this business transaction is 100 percent legal and risk free.
My personal phone number is +480-423-2030.
“Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away”
—For What It’s Worth
The temptation for a win-win-win between you, your bank and Dr. Gudthyme’s Ministry is palpable, GonzoBankers. But we IMPLORE you to simply hit the delete key if and when you receive any email similar to the one we have just provided you. There is an imbalanced Cost versus Benefit equation on which you will find yourself on the unhappy side if you take up Dr. Gudthyme on his offer. This we can promise you. The trail of sadness and despair and jail time, just among my relatively small circle of trustees, informants and contacts, is very, very real. You have been warned. I remain
Here to help,