I plucked the following random 419 email from my spam box today because it is so obviously a scam:
From: Willis, JoannaSent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 10:09 AMSubject: "Please see to the receipt of this mail"Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 10:09 AMSubject: "Please see to the receipt of this mail"We have approved a cash sum of $500,000.00 USD as our personal donation to you this year 2012.Contact us via email for more details.(violetallenXX@yahoo.com)Goodluck,Allen and Violet LargePlease you have to delete this message if you ar not willing to carry outthis projet
Without even delving into the email header, there are self-evident clues to its scamminess:
- Lousy grammar and spelling mistakes;
- Unsolicited email offer from someone I don't know;
- Sent to unknown recipients;
- Clueless subject line;
- Ridiculous proposition involving an outrageously large sum of cash;
- Yahoo! email address within the message;
- Unilateral demand that I delete the message if I don't want to get involved in "this projet" (which is possibly a clue that the sender was a native French speaker from West Africa, and is certainly a hint that the project probably involves me sending them various fees and duties to get my hands on the promised loot, which of course doesn't exist - a classic Advance Fee Fraud or 419-scam).
I'm amazed that such crude scams are still doing the rounds after all these years, among others that are significantly more advanced - but then it probably only needs to ensnare one unfortunate, naive and/or greedy victim to earn its keep. I've seen for myself the poor living conditions in various parts of West Africa and imagine that if it were me living there, I'd do almost anything to escape the abject poverty. Scamming a few tens, hundreds or thousands of dollars out of 'rich foreigners' is probably regarded as an entrepreneurial enterprise, if not an income stream for the region.
Looking on the bright side, the sender (if not the actual orginator) is sufficiently literate to type a version of English on a computer with email and Internet access. Quite likely, the sender is running a business, selling his "419 generation" service to numerous unfortunate, naive and/or greedy scammers, hence the reason that we see the same old scams coming back around so often.