Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nigerian spam takes a chess vacation

I got a very weird email this morning:

Greetings!My name is ###### #########. I would be coming into the country with my friends for a one month holiday/vacation. As part of our plan we would be happy if you could organize a one month chess classes for us. We want to enjoy our vacation/game,strengthen our play and deepen our position analysis. What are your charges per session/hour?

ARRIVAL DATE: 20TH JULY 2009
DEPARTURE DATE: 20TH AUGUST 2009
NUMBER OF PERSONS: 6 LEVEL: 2 INTERMEDIATES AND 4 BEGINNERS
NUMBER OF HOURS NEEDED: 2 TO 3 HOURS EACH DAY (MONDAY TO SATURDAY)

Please kindly confirm the booking for 20TH JULY 2009 TO 20TH AUGUST 2009. As soon as I receive your confirmation I will be making a deposit of 1,000 pounds via my credit card details. This is to fully secure the booking with you. Hope you accept credit cards?

Please send a confirmation to this email IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL (NOT as an attachment please).

Regards

&*()& &*()^%^&$
^&*))^(*^_*)_&
Selly Park
B25 3J UK
Phone: 7011121989

At first I thought this was serious, but on rereading, doesn't it sound exactly like the Nigerian Spam? Any thoughts? Real/ Fun? Don't Uk postcodes have more digits than that?? What's the deal with attachments? It was addressed to undisclosed recipients. Did anyone else get it???

On a related subject, I want to discuss something serious with you, Readers. I write this blog so that you can entertain me at work by leaving amusing comments. Why have you all stopped doing that? Are you tired of me? Is it just not the same anymore? Have you all disappeared?

In protest and sadness, I am not relaying any amusing stories about my fascinating, famous, scandalous, gossipy itinerant chess-playing houseguests until you change your lazyass ways.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have gotten many such requests. One turned out to be legitimate (grammar and spelling were correct, request was from Minnesota), the others were bogus. They usually want to lure you in with a promise of payment, then get you to furnish enough info for identity theft or to get you to send back an "overpayment." (Their check bounces of course.)
Ignore the spam!
Richard Reich,MD

Anonymous said...

WE're scared you'll get mad at us!!!

Tom Chivers said...

Google the postcode...

Btw, some UK postcodes look like that although normally htere are two letters at the end not one. On the subject of postcodes, before they were established in the UK some psychologists did some research on the easiest way they could be arranged to help memorability. Their current form here reflects that. Canada, by contrast, went the opposite way and chose for their postcode the least memorable pattern instead (alternate letters and numbers.)

Mark Howitt said...

Well to be blunt... I still read the blog most days but since you "don't chat to people you don't know" (must make life as a teacher hard) I've decided to be a bit silent too!

Might make some comments in future perhaps

Elizabeth Vicary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Vicary said...

a woman after my own heart:
http://www.politico.com/blogs/anneschroeder/0609/No_namecalling.html?showall

Elizabeth Vicary said...

http://www.politico.com/blogs
/anneschroeder/0609
/No_namecalling.html?showall

American Patriot said...

If you want comments, you have to write posts that will generate controversy. Like those insane left-wing political statements you sometimes make. Next post, advocate that the government take more of my money to do X. I promise to comment.

Bill Brock said...

It is indeed a Nigerian scam variant.

Non-scam Nigerians: NMs Owechukwu Iwu (who I just played at the Chicago Open) & George Umezinwa (who I haven't seen for almost ten years...)

Anonymous said...

Liz;

I read your posts every day and appreciate your sense of humor and political insight (although there are better blogs for that) and especially your reviews of your students/your chess games.

I am awaiting further updates on your proress with the yummy Wednesday men at the Marshall.

I would comment more frequently but since I have 763 chess blogs that i must visit each day I maintain a strict policy of not commenting unless my thoughts are most urgently required. (You can imagine the amount of time that would otherwise be required).

I suggest more Greg updates might spark some reader interest (is he still alive? If so, what is he shopping for these days?)

Yours earnestly,

Marty

Anonymous said...

help rochelle to make 2000 either by the time she graduates (next week) or before she enters 9th grade

es_trick said...

Why isn't there a govt agency that these spam scams could be forwarded to, whose purpose would be to lure the scammers in deep enough that they could be caught in a sting?

Temposchlucker said...

Amusing comments? But I'm not funny!

ATH2044 said...

"Why have you all stopped doing that?"
Let the record show that each of your previous two blog entries received only a single posted response, BOTH by me. I guess you didn't think my "high contrast yellow & blue mood" remark was all that funny. (Who am I now, Rodney Dangerfield?) Normally I try not to hog the blog because it's not fair to those who aren't daily readers/posters. I usually make an effort not to post more than once to a given topic unless needed for clarification.
As for that other Liz, based on the article, she seems to be going non-linear over a rather small annoyance particularly in the face of "19 emails" including several apologies. It's almost impossible to imagine a situation which would cause you to get that steamed. To be fair, practically everyone on here calls you "Liz", the blog itself is named "LizzyKnowsAll", "Ms. Vicary" sounds too stiff & formal for a gossip blog & "Elizabeth" is too long to type, so for a while I tried referring to you by something different every time just to see if anyone would notice. If anyone did, they never commented on it. You definitely strike me as more of an "Elizabeth" than a "Liz" or (gasp!)"Lizzy".

Polly said...

Sounds very fishy to me. I guess they need new scams since the "I have all this money that I need to deposit in US..." scam doesn't seem to bring in enough business.

If you need more people to comment, maybe you can hire Susan's anonymous posters. I'm sure they could use the money to pay their legal bills.

Naisortep said...

I received one of these emails. It led to a lucrative opportunity to coach the Nigerian National Team. The reason they contacted me is because previously I had assisted their deposed ruler in laundering money via my bank account. It was a small favor and I netted many millions of dollars. That pales in comparison though to the money I received from a long lost relative after I paid the small processing fees to their lawyer. Isn't email terrific ?

Anonymous said...

heres a joke 4 you:
what do u call a woman with too much time on her hands

you call her Liz Vicary

Anonymous said...

whats the difference between Sarah Palin and Liz?

Liz can see checkmate from here house

ATH2044 said...

"Sounds very fishy to me." Oh it definitely sounds fishy. There's an entire web site devoted to combating these clowns by "scambaiting". Some of the stories are so absurdly unbelievable that you may want to hold off reading them until you're in the mood for a tickle. I found the "Trophy Room" particularly amusing with this scammer being my favorite.

Hal Bogner said...

As a lurker who enjoys your blog, I am now compelled to post, so as not to let down the readers' end of this conversation. So be it.

So...yes, it smells of Nigerian Scam.

How about this:

Readers of this blog can collaborate in a project to teach all these Nigerian Scam operators a lesson - if you'd like to have this effort take place here on your blog, Liz.

We'll need to adopt their tactics, and start distributing a letter along the following lines - after the letter gets tuned by everyone here.

[begin Anti-Nigerian Scam, or "Nigerian Scam Sting" letter]

Dear Nigerian Scammer:

Have you noticed a drop-off in response to your email blasts lately? You are not alone! Thousands of Nigerian Scam operators have reported drop-offs ranging from a moderately concerning 23% reduction up to - in some cases - an alarming and catastrophic 97% drop-off in the effectiveness of their bulk emails - and over 2% of operators also report troublesome inquiries from supposed "governmental representatives" of some sort, too.

To address this, we have organized a conference at which you can learn proven, 100% effective, and easy to use techniques to reinforce the impact of your Nigerian Scam emails. We will show you how to take your Nigerian Scam operation to the next level!

Conference registration is limited to the first 5,000 who apply, and an initial deposit of US$ 1,000 is required. We guarantee that you will see at least a five-fold increase in your revenues, and may see as much as a hundred-fold increase.

Please send your credit card or bank account information to us as quickly as possible, to ensure your attendance!

[end of draft]

OK, there's still a lot of work to be done, but if anyone is ever going to fall for this stuff, these folks who themselves spend all of their waking hours scamming every last possible gullible person on the internet must be made to order.

Philip Sells said...

Elizabeth (@ATH: I like this version, too) is blackmailing us!

@Elizabeth, I was in Manhattan last Saturday and went to Meskerem and Brasil Brasil. Most of my afternoon was taken up with the USS Intrepid. I didn't even get to the sub, I was so absorbed with the ship! What a fascinating place.

Anonymous said...

http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2317

For some more Nigerian Chess scam.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

thanks everyone!

Brennan Price said...

I received a similar response to a Craigslist ad for chemistry tutoring. Scam out the wazoo. But by now you know this.

Polly wrote: "If you need more people to comment, maybe you can hire Susan's anonymous posters."

I get the feeling her anonymous posters are mostly one person.

Globular said...

http://j-walk.com/other/conf/


Here's some chess news, semi related to the discussion: Your dearest friend, Ilya Krasik, won the U2200 section at the National Open in Las Vegas. Oddly, one of the other contenders for first prize was a Nigerian player rated in the 1500s, Abiye Williams. A glance at his tournament history (http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlTnmtHst.php?13924874) shows a consistent loss of points at local small events, and then huge gains at big money tournaments like Foxwoods, the Chicago Open, and Vegas.

A cursory Google search reveals he played in some "All Africa" championships, and coached the Rwandan national team.

Very strange.

-Matt

Ashish said...

How dare you cast aspersions on poor, defenseless, Abiye?! No doubt he is one of those lucky few who just happens to thrive on pressure, delivering when it really counts.

es_trick said...

re: Abiye Williams,

It doesn't look like he can be faulted for sand bagging, as he played up 2 - 3 sections at the Chicago Open and in Las Vegas.

Looks like he finished out of the money at the Chicago Open in the U2100 Section, when he would have stood a much better chance had he played in the U1900 or U1700 Sections. And, if his results from Foxwoods had not yet been factored into his officially published rating, he might have even been eligible to play in the U1500 Section.

At the National Open, he could have elected to play in the U1600, U1800, or U2000 Sections, but instead marched through the gauntlet.

His "consistent loss of points at small local events" turns out to have mostly occurred on a single day, when a couple of side games were rated as separate events. If he had been deliberately losing to weaker players, I wonder why he would have played up three sections in Chicago and Las Vegas?

Bill Brock said...

@Globular: at least your subject is that rara avis, the sporting sandbagger. Mr. Williams could have played in the U1700 section, but chose U2100 instead....

Globular said...

This is true. He did apparently play in the appropriate section. However, one of his points in Vegas was a first round full-point bye because he was the lowest rated player.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, but it is odd. I mentioned it because of the subject of the post.

Anonymous said...

So what lunch did Greg get based on the spam email?

Anatoly said...

Mr. Williams had CCA minimum rating of 2000 before Chicago Open and of 2100 right now, so he was forced to play U2100 in Chicago and U2200 at National Open.

anjiaoshi said...

Best anti-scammer measures ever: http://www.zug.com/pranks/powerbook/

As for amusing comments, I've been hoarding them. In this down economy, it's hard to stock back up, so I'm saving them for when I really need them.

Demitri said...

So clearly as you've found it's a scam. One detail - the UK post code. The format is one or two letters, followed by a one or two digit number, then a space, then a single number followed by two letters. The first part covers a (relatively) large area, while the second part narrows it down to just a few homes. But that post code isn't valid.

That post code would be in Birmingham (from the "B"), where there is in fact a Selly Park. Except Selly Park is in B29.

The phone number has the correct number of digits and indicates that it is a mobile phone. A Google search of it yields the best answer though. :)

Anonymous said...

Polly said:

"If you need more people to comment, maybe you can hire Susan's anonymous posters. I'm sure they could use the money to pay their legal bills."

BEST COMMENT EVER!!! True yet humorous. (althought I expect Liz to whine about how someone is a nice person in person and what they do online doesn't make them bad regardless of how slanderous, etc it is).

Leon Akpalu said...

Brennan Price said...

Polly wrote: "If you need more people to comment, maybe you can hire Susan's anonymous posters."

I get the feeling her anonymous posters are mostly one person.


Susan's anonymous poster is really Sam Sloan!

Coast2Coast said...

lol... I personally just happened upon you and this blog only recently so I'm working my way backwards through it which seems kind of odd but somehow it works. Anyway, I find your world very fascinating but don't worry I'm not a stalker! Just another traveler on this strange trip called life.