A lot of people share files with friends or colleagues by uploading them to cloud storage and sending an access link. I do this myself, sharing folders, documents or photo collections.

Malicious scammers can do the same thing. It’s a great technique for them, because the email itself has no attachments, and thus won’t set off anti-virus or anti-malware filters. However, once you click on the link, wham. You’ve just downloaded malware, like an infected Word doc or PDF. Alternatively, you may have been directed to a website that automatically loads malware or does phishing to steal your personal info.

Here is a sample of this type of email. This email’s link doesn’t go to a document – it goes to a malware-packed website. Of course, the lousy grammar helps us see that this email is a scam, but the scammers are getting better at this sort of thing.

If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, and it asks you to click a link or open an attachment, delete the email right away. And if you receive an email like this from someone you do know, and you weren’t expecting to receive such a message, verify with them that they actually sent it before proceeding. Ask by phone, or text, or by sending a new message – not by replying to the possible scam message. Don’t be fooled!

One final note: The scam says, “This message has been scanned for viruses and dangerous content by MailScanner, and is believed to be clean.” Uh, no. Such claims mean nothing. Anyone can type those words, or insert a logo.

Here’s a classic example of a scam that cites a news story as validation that the claim is authentic, or at least credible. It’s not. Despite the scammer’s citing a famous story about an heiress bequeathing a fortune, that’s no proof that this is an heiress looking to give her millions to you. Because it ain’t.

What’s slightly unusual about this one is that there is no separate reply-to address. Usually the scammers send the email from a real person’s hijacked email address (in this case, the from address is an ordinary gmail.com account) . There is generally a separate reply-to address that’s at a questionable domain elsewhere in the world.

In this message, because there’s no separate reply-to address specified, your response goes back to the original gmail.com address. Hard to know if that address really belongs to the scammer, or if the scammer made a mistake in programming the message. The email address is a bunch of random numbers and letters. Either way… it’s a scam.

Don’t be fooled by links to legitimate news stories. They mean nothing. Delete messages like this; don’t reply or click any links.

From: Elaine Bachmann email hidden; JavaScript is required
Subject: Re: Attn Mr. Alan Zeichick
Date: October 29, 2017 at 5:27:38 AM MST


I’m Mrs. Elaine Bachmann from Switzerland once married to Mr. Heinz Bachmann a fellow Swiss. We were married for twenty years without a child. My late husband were dealing mainly in oil in Saudi Arabia before he met his on timing death in a plane crash celebrating his business associate birth-day April 28th 2012.

After the above sad day in my life, I then suffered Oesophageal cancer disease in 2016, and now that the battle is coming to an end due to what my doctor admitted I had just few weeks to live, I’m sadden but happy for the life spent. Now that am about to end the race like this without a child and in contrast to how my family members & friends completely treated me during horrible moment in my life? I decided reaching out to a total stranger in your person to carried out humanitarian work in my memories after coming across a news of 99 years old woman whom secretly donated her fortune prior to her death, you can check below links for details.


When my husband was alive, he deposited the sum of $8 Million US Dollars (Eight Million US dollars) in a Security/Finance Company. Presently, this asset is still with the holding firm. With my health situation that i can’t do it myself, I therefore called upon you to accept this donation by using these funds assisting orphans and widows. Late Ms. Ruth Bedford’s Bequeath $40 Million donation had indeed inspired me reaching out to you as a reliable/trustworthy person i can entrust with these funds. I strongly believes God has answered my wish for the needy through you by not betraying my confidence in you. 

Please, always be prayerful all through your life by responding for more details.

Yours sister in the Lord,

Elaine Bachmann

You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, or you can call me Johnny or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me RayJay, or you can call me RJ… but ya doesn’t hafta call me Johnson.

That’s a great line from the comedian Bill Saluga in the 1970s… but in this case, it would be “Don’t call me Jay.” My company, Camden Associates, has never hired or given an email address to anyone named Jay Weinberg, or any Jay at all.

Not sure if you’d call this a scam, but buying a “Best of Business” award is pretty slimy. Here’s the full email:

From: Mia Broadbent email hidden; JavaScript is required

Subject: Camden Associates – 2017 Best in Business

To: Jay Weinberg

Hello Jay,

I hope that my email finds you well.

I am getting in contact with you today on behalf of Wealth & Finance INTL Magazine with regards to Camden Associates’s selection within our upcoming 2017 Best in Business Awards.

2017 has been a tumultuous year for the global market, with both economic and political factors taking their toll on the worldwide stage, causing uncertainty for businesses of all sizes and of all sectors. In light of such uncertainty, we have launched our 2017 Best in Business Awards in order to celebrate those firms, such as Camden Associates whom despite an unprecedented amount of uncertainty, have consistently demonstrated excellence and innovation throughout the year. This selection serves to recognise that you are the very best within your sector. One of an elite few.

Now that Camden Associates have been officially recognised within our 2017 Best in Business Awards, you are automatically entitled to a complimentary digital certificate along with a simple listing within the magazine.

If, however you would like to get a head start on your promotional activity prior to the upcoming new year, I have included the different levels of coverage we offer. Alternatively, if there is something specific you wish to have included with the coverage, let me know as I am able to put together a more bespoke package. Please see the options below:

Option #1: Platinum Coverage this is just 1,595 GBP and would include the following:

  • Main front cover image and headline
  • A front-end double page inclusion in the magazine (up to approx. 1800 words)
  • Inclusion of your article on our website
  • 1 personalised Best in Business crystal trophy
  • A 2017 Best in Business logo for your own marketing
  • Camden Associates’s logo in the monthly newsletter
  • Awards certificate
  • Full rights to the PDFs for you to use as you wish

Option #2: Silver Coverage this is just 795 GBP and would include the following

  • A sub front cover headline and image.
  • A double-page inclusion in the magazine (up to approx. 1800 words)
  • Inclusion of your article on our website
  • A personalised Best in Business crystal trophy crystal trophy
  • A 2017 Best in Business logo for your own marketing
  • Awards certificate
  • Full rights to the PDFs for you to use as you wish

Option #3: Bronze Coverage this is just 495 GBP and would include the following

  • A Single Page inclusion within the magazine (up to approx. 900 words)
  • A personalised Best in Business crystal trophy crystal trophy
  • A 2017 Best in Business logo for your own marketing
  • Awards certificate

(P&P is exclusive on packages with a trophy. VAT will be charged for UK and EC sales unless in receipt of a valid EC VAT number)

We will be publishing details of our Best in Business Awards within November both on our website and in our digital publication which will is distributed to our 130,000+ circulation.

We have an entirely in-house editorial and design team who will assist you in putting together all items associated with your package. Trophies and logos are available to order individually on request also.

If you would like to go ahead with one of the stated packages, simply reply to confirm the package and cost, i.e. Agreed Silver Coverage 795 GBP.

To go ahead with the free certificate only please respond confirming this.

If you have any questions regarding the award, the magazine or packages please don’t hesitate to get in touch and I will be more than happy to help.

I look forward to receiving your response,

Have a great day.

Kind regards,


Mia Broadbent – Media Executive
Wealth & Finance International
T: +44 (0) 203 725 6844

This is a common scam: The scammer pretends to be a famous person, and links to the bio or a story about that person. That means nothing. A person wants to share some gold with you, and links to a BBC story about a battle in Iraq or Afghanistan. That means nothing. A person claims to be one of the members of the wealthy family that owns Wal-Mart, with links to a Wikipedia page. That means nothing.

Also look at the “from” email address and the email address indicated in the message. First of all, they’re nothing alike. Second, neither address seems like it would belong to the real Alice Walton. And third… why would you be bcc’d on a message like this?

Don’t be fooled by such messages — they’re scams. Every last one of them.

From: “Alice Walton” email hidden; JavaScript is required

Subject: YOUR GIFT

To: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Reply-To: email hidden; JavaScript is required

I, Alice Walton authenticate this email, you can read about me on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Walton  ,

I write to you because I intend to give to you a portion of my Net-worth which I have been banking. I want to cede it out as gift, hoping it would be of help to you and others too. Respond to this email: email hidden; JavaScript is required

With joy,

Alice Walton

I can’t believe my luck – Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wants to give me $5 million. Hurray! And not only that, he’s contacting me from an email address at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. It’s also a shame to learn that he’s sick and is going to Germany for treatment.

Obviously, this is spam. Don’t be tricked by links to Wikipedia or news stories; those don’t prove the veracity of anything. If you get messages like this, go ahead and laugh – but then delete the message. Don’t reply, don’t be fooled.

From: “Mr. Bill Gates” <email hidden; JavaScript is required>


Date: October 15, 2017 at 3:37:37 AM MST

Greetings You have been gifted $5 MILLION USD From Mr Bill Gates. Contact me at this email for your claim: email hidden; JavaScript is required

I hope this information meet you well as I know you will be curious to know why/how I selected you to receive a sum of $5,000,000,00 USD, our information below is 100% legitimate, please see the link below: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Melinda_Gates_Foundation

I BILL GATES and my wife decided to donate the sum of $5,000,000,00 USD to you as part of our charity project to improve the 10 lucky individuals all over the world from our $65 Billion Usd I and My Wife Mapped out to help people. We prayed and searched over the internet for assistance and i saw your profile on Microsoft email owners list and picked you. Melinda my wife and i have decided to make sure this is put on the internet for the world to see. as you could see from the webpage above,am not getting any younger and you can imagine having no much time to live. although am a Billionaire investor and we have helped some charity organizations from our Fund.

You see after taken care of the needs of our immediate family members, Before we die we decided to donate the remaining of our Billions to other individuals around the world in need, the local fire department, the red cross, Haiti, hospitals in truro where Melinda underwent her cancer treatment, and some other organizations in Asia and Europe that fight cancer, alzheimer’s and diabetes and the bulk of the funds deposited with our payout bank of this charity donation. we have kept just 30% of the entire sum to our self for the remaining days because i am no longer strong am sick and am writing you from hospital computer.and me and my wife will be traveling to Germany for Treatment.

To facilitate the payment process of the funds ($5,000,000.00 USD) which have been donated solely to you, you are to send me

your full names……………..

your contact address…………….

your personal telephone number……………

SEND YOUR ABOVE DETAILS TO email hidden; JavaScript is required

so that i can forward your payment information to you immediately. I am hoping that you will be able to use the money wisely and judiciously over there in your City. please you have to do your part to also alleviate the level of poverty in your region, help as many you can help once you have this money in your personal account because that is the only objective of donating this money to you in the first place.

Thank you for accepting our offer, we are indeed grateful You Can Google my name for more information: Mr Bill Gates or Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Remain Blessed


Mr Bill Gates

To think, the U.S. Secretary of State wants to send me money! Interesting that he’s using a gmail.com address for outgoing mail, a German email address for replies, and a phone number in the African country of Benin.

Obviously, this is spam. Delete such messages; don’t reply to them.

From: “Mr. Rex W. Tillerson” email hidden; JavaScript is required

Subject: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

To: undisclosed recipients: ;

Reply-To: “Mr. Rex W. Tillerson” _____________

U.S Department of State 2201 C Street NWmWashington, DC 20520.

Dear Beneficiary

Your ATM Visa Card will be shipped through DHL to your address. I am Mr. Rex W. Tillerson, United States Secretary of State by profession. This is to inform you officially that after our investigations with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other Security Agencies in the Country for the year 2016 and 2017, we discovered that you have not yet received your over due fund.

I have made it my first point of call since taking office to settle all Outstanding Payments accrued to Individuals or Corporations with respect to local and overseas contract payment, Debt Rescheduling and Outstanding Compensation payment.

This is to make sure all Outstanding payments are settled beginning of this fiscal year 2017. On Behalf of the entire staff of the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations in collaboration with World Bank, we apologize for the delay of your contract payment, Winning or Inheritance funds from most of African Countries and all the inconveniences you encountered while pursuing this payment.

However, from the records of outstanding beneficiaries due for payment with the U.S Secretary of State, your name was discovered as next on the list of the outstanding payment who has not yet received their payments.

Note that from the record in my file, your outstanding contract payment is $5,5,000.00 USD (Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) loaded in an ATM Visa Card that allows you to make a daily maximum withdrawal limit of $5,000 Five Thousand Dollars) YOUR ATM PIN CODE (7250).

I have your file here in my office and it says that you are yet to receive your fund valued at $5,5,000.00 USD (Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars). This Funds will now be delivered to your designated address or your preferred payment option.

We have perfected all modules on how to bring this fund to your house without any problem, but be aware that United Nations and the United States Government has only authorised my office to release the Sum of $5,5,000.00 USD to you as true beneficiary of the Fund.

Note that your loaded ATM Visa Card will be mailed to you through Priority Mail Express (DHL) to your designated address immediately you admit full compliance to this email. Due to my busy schedules You are advised to kindly get in contact with our correspondent Mr Brian Voge with the below details enclosed to help ensure safe mailing of your ATM Visa Card:

Your Full Name:

Your Contact House Address:

Name of City of Residence:

Country of Residence:

Direct Mobile Telephone Number:

ID Card, DL or Passport Copy:

Age and Occupation:

Contact Mr Brian Voge immediately by replying to this email or emailing the address below:

Name: Mr Brian Voge

TELEPHONE: ____________

He is obliged to treat your case with utmost urgency as soon as you contact him and fill out your correct details including all reachable phone numbers for him to get in touch with you via phone and email.

NOTE: Every documentation proof for your fund have been packaged and sealed to be mailed together with your Visa Card to your address. Therefore, the only obligation required of you by the laws of the Government of United States and the financial Monetary Policy of the Supreme Court, states that; you as a beneficiary must officially obtain the irrevocable LEGAL STAY OF PROCEED from the Supreme Court of USA, as a means to justify the legitimacy, transparency and clean bill of funds from USA so that by the time your funds gets to you, no authority will question the funds as it has been legally certified free from all financial Malpractices and facets. The LEGAL STAY OF PROCEED is valued at a cost of just ($150) please take note of that.

As soon as the above mentioned $150 is received, The LEGAL STAY OF PROCEED will be secured on your behalf immediately. I need all the compliance that I can get from you to ensure we get this project accomplished. Personally, I am very sorry for the delay you have gone through in the past years. Thanks for adhering to this instructions which are meant for your sole benefit, once again accept my congratulations in advance.

Thanks for your cooperation as your quick response to this email notice with adherence to the above instructions is highly anticipated.

Yours Sincerely,

Mr. Rex W. Tillerson.

Isn’t this exciting? Here’s an email received that promises me a significant payout ($620,000) for, well, am not really sure. I’m sure the scam would require paying some up-front fee and/or handing over bank account information. If you receive messages like this, simply delete them.

Subject: Dear Talented,

Dear Talented,

I am Talent Scout For BLUE SKY FILM STUDIO, Present Blue sky Studio a Film Corporation Located in the United State, is Soliciting for the Right to use Your Photo/Face and Personality as One of the Semi -Major Role/ Character in our Upcoming ANIMATED Stereoscope 3D Movie-The Story of Anubis (Anubis 2018) The Movie is Currently Filming (In Production) Please Note That There Will Be No Auditions, Traveling or Any Special / Professional Acting Skills, Since the Production of This Movie Will Be Done with our State of Art Computer -Generating Imagery Equipment. We Are Prepared to Pay the Total Sum of $620,000.00 USD. For More Information/Understanding, Please Write us on the E-Mail Below.

CONTACT EMAIL: email hidden; JavaScript is required

All Reply to: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Note: Only the Response send to this mail will be Given a Prior Consideration.

Talent Scout
Kim Sharma

This is an amusing spam scam, if only because it’s so poorly written. Mr. Andrew McCabe, the Acting Director of the FBI, is certainly not behind this scam. Also, the FBI doesn’t send emails using Cyber Internet Services Private Ltd. in Pakistan, or refer people to Nigerian banks, or pay people via ATM card.

If you receive messages like this, don’t respond — simply delete them.

From:  Andrew McCabe email hidden; JavaScript is required
Subject: RE: Urgent, Respond
Date: July 8, 2017 at 3:52:34 PM MST
Reply-To: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Attn: Sir/Madam.

We the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI Honolulu) United States Of America have discovered through our intelligent monitoring network that you have a transaction going on as either inheritance payment,Lottery or contract payment in a tone of Millions of United States Dollars which have been approved but have not been settled. 

This is to officially inform you that we have verified your contract /inheritance file after close monitoring and found out why you have not received your payment,both on your part and on the part of your debtors. 

Secondly, we have been informed that you are still dealing with the non officials in the bank who are attempting to secure the release of your fund to you. We wish to advise you that this is illegal and you should stop further communication with them forthwith because such an illegal act like this can lead to cancellation of your fund. 

we have been having so many complains from people who have been scammed around the world hence, after concluding in a meeting with members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we came to a conclusion that every payment will be made through the SKYE BANK OF NIGERIA (SKYEBANK). We also concluded on the use of ELECTRONIC ATM PAYMENT SYSTEM as the only direct means to pay all beneficiaries. 

By this method, your funds will be loaded in TWO BATCHES into an ATM card,and sent to you, from this card you can withdraw a maximum of us$5,000 per day from any ATM machine worldwide, BUT from the financial houses there is no limit. 

So if you would like to receive your funds in this way please send your following information to the paying bank. 

1)Your Full Name:……..
2)Your Complete Address (Physical Address with Zip Code not P.O.BOX) :……
3)Name of City of Residence:………
5)Direct Telephone Number:………
6)Mobile Number:………
7)Fax Number:…………
11)Working Identity Card/Int’l Passport:…..

Below are the contact details of the PAYING BANK(SKYE BANK OF NIGERIA PLC.) in the Federal Republic Of Nigeria to whom you will send your information for the processing of the ATM card as soon as possible:

Contact the Bank right now with this information below

CONTACT PERSON: Mr.Timothy Oguntayo,
EMAIL: email hidden; JavaScript is required

The DEBT SETTLEMENT COMMISSION has been mandated to issue out your payment through Skye Bank (Authorized Bank). For your information, you have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or office(s) who claim that to be established agents using it to defraud innocent people worldwide.This is to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.


Faithfully Yours,

Andrew G. McCabe
FBI Director

This is a generally unremarkable spam message except for the obvious. James Comey was fired as the Director of the FBI on May 9. That makes it unlikely that Mr. Comey can deliver the promised $1.2 million. Bummer.

The missing spaces are just the way they were in the message. I do like the comment about things being in the spam folder. Let’s blame the Internet Service Provider!!

If you get messages like this, delete them – don’t reply.

Subject: Urgent Reply Needed For Your Payment
Reply-To: email hidden; JavaScript is required

NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535-0001
E-Mail: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Our Ref: FBI /0N8/CONTRACT NO.856.

Motto: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity

Greetings My Dear

This is James B.Comey,the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), I am here in Africa as an FBI/ United States delegate that have been delegated to investigate fraudsters who are in the business of swindling Foreigners that has transactions in Africa.

Please be informed that during our investigations we found out that there is a total amount of $1.2 Million that has been assigned in your name as the beneficiary but those fraudsters are busy swindling you without any hope of receiving your fund,these are the works of the people who needed to extort money from you in the name of this transfer,We have to inform you that we have arrested some men in respect of this delayed over due fund. I have a very limited time to stay in Africa here so I advise you urgently respond to this message .

These criminals will be caught unaware and I don’t want them to know this new development to avoid jeopardizing my investigation,you need to conceal anything that has to do with this exercise to enable me get all the necessary information required.

I shall be expecting your swift response as soon as you receive this email and notify me of any message or phone call you receive from those people for me to investigate on it before you make any contact with them.

In case if found this message in spam folder, it could be due to your Internet Service Provider, ISP. So kindly move to your inbox before replying. 



I received this awesome tech spam message today from LaserVault. (It’s spam because it went to my company’s info@ address).

There’s only one thought: “Lordy, I hope there are backup tapes.”

Free White Paper: Is A Tape-Related Data Disaster In Your Future?

Is a tape-related data disaster in your future? It may be if you currently use tape for your backup and recovery.

This paper discusses the many risks you take by using tape and relying on it to keep your data safe in case of a disaster.

Read how you can better protect your data from the all too common dangers that threaten your business, and learn about using D2D technology, specifically tape emulation, instead of tape for iSeries, AIX, UNIX, and Windows.

This white paper should be required reading for anyone involved in overseeing their company’s tape backup operations.

Don’t be caught short when the need to recover your data is most critical. Download the free white paper now.

Ha ha ha ha ha. I slay me.

A little reverse psychology, eh? Don’t worry, trying to get this faux fortune will only cost you $450 from the spammers… or maybe more. Interesting that the name of the contact, Mr.James Richard, has the same spacing throughout, which is a telltale sign of either a bad copy/paste or a machine-generated form letter.

Delete messages like this; don’t reply to them.

From: “Mrs. CYNDY BANKS”


Date: May 29, 2017 at 2:36:50 AM MST



I am Mrs. CYNDY BANKS, I am a US citizen, 42 years Old. I reside here in Spring City, Pennsylvania. My residential address is as follows. 3663 Schuylkill Rd# 1, Spring City, Pennsylvania, United States, am thinking of relocating since I am now rich. I am one of those that took part in the Compensation in Troy Illinois many years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over $52,000 while in the United States trying to get my payment all to no avail.

I decided to travel down to Troy Illinois with all my compensation documents and i was directed to meet Mr.James Richard he is among the member of the COMPENSATION AWARD COMMITTEE, I contacted him and he explained everything to me. He said whoever is contacting us through emails are fake because the Inheritance/Compensation Law clearly states that the beneficiary/recipient is exempt from paying any out of pocket fees or charges to receive said funds.

Mr.James Richard took me to the paying bank for the claim of my Compensation payment. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth because I have received my compensation funds of $9,500,000.00 (nine million five hundred thousand dollars).

Moreover, Mr.James Richard showed me the full information of those that are yet to receive their payments and I saw your name and email address as one of the beneficiaries that is why I decided to email you to stop dealing with those people, they are not with your funds, they are only making money out of you. I will advise you to contact Mr.James Richard you have to contact him directly on this information below.


Name: Mr.James Richard


Listed below are the name of mafias and banks behind the non release of your funds that I managed to sneak out for your kind perusal.

1) Prof. Charles soludo

2) Senator David Mark

2) Micheal Edward

3) Chief Joseph Sanusi

3) Sanusi Lamido

4) Dr. R. Rasheed

5) Mr. David Koffi

6) Barrister Awele Ugorji

7) Mr. Roland Ngwa

8) Barrister Ucheuzo Williams

9) Mr. Ernest Chukwudi Obi

10) Dr. Patrick Aziza Deputy Governor – Policy / Board Member

11) Mr. Tunde Lemo Deputy Governor – Financial Sector Surveillance/Board Member

12) Mrs. W. D. A. Mshelia Deputy Governor – Corporate Services / Board Members

13) Mrs. Okonjo Iweala

14) Mrs. Rita Ekwesili

15) Barr Jacob Onyema

16) Dr. Godwin Oboh: Director Union Bank Of Nigeria.

17) Mr. John Collins: Global Diplomat Director.

18) Foreign fund diplomatic courier

19) Barr. Becky Owens

20) Rev. Steven Jones

21) Mr. Alfred james

22) Mrs. Sherry Williams

23) Mr. Scott Larry

You really have to stop dealing with those people that are contacting you and telling you that your fund is with them, it is not in anyway with them, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you up until you have nothing. The only money I paid after I met Mr.James Richard was just $450 for the delivery charges, take note of that.


Once again stop contacting those people, I will advise you to contact Mr.James Richard so that he can help you to deliver your funds instead of dealing with those liars that will be turning you around asking for different kind of money to complete your transaction.

IANAL — I am not an attorney. I’ve never studied law, or even been inside a law school. I have a cousin who is an attorney, and quite a few close friends. But IANAL.

So why am I on the American Bar Association’s email list? I am not a member of the ABA. Why are they sending me a credit-card offer? It boggles the mind. One would assume that the ABA is not so desperate for funds that it would have to rent mailing lists to spam with credit-card offers.

And it’s not like I could sue them, right? Sigh.

This is a great piece of unclaimed-money spam. Normally I redact the email addresses – but these are far too juicy to censor, especially the “from” address. Merely because the spam links to a genuine web page, such as this bio for Secretary Mnuchin or a report about Saddam Hussein from the BBC, doesn’t make the email itself valid. In this case, it’s certainly not valid. (And please hold the snarky comments about government officials using non-government email accounts.)

When you receive messages like this, delete them. Never reply, even to ask to unsubscribe or to berate the scammer, because that indicates to the scammers that they’ve found a valid email address, and demonstrates you actually read spam messages. That makes you much more valuable, so you’ll receive even more scammy spams.

From: Steven Terner Mnuchin email hidden; JavaScript is required

Dear Beneficiary,

I am Steven Terner Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. You can get more details about me here on the link below;


At the recently concluded meeting with the World Bank and the United Nations, an agreement was reached between both parties for us to settle all outstanding payments accrued to individuals/corporations with respect to local and overseas contract payment, debt re-scheduling and outstanding compensation payment. Fortunately, you have been selected alongside a few other beneficiaries to receive your own payment of $10.5million (Ten Million five hundred thousand United States Dollars only).

We have been notified that you are yet to receive your fund valued at $10.5million This money will now be transferred to your nominated bank account through our foreign bank unit in South East Asia Phnom Penh Cambodia.

You are advised to kindly reply this email with the below details enclosed to help us process your payment through our foreign payment bank in Cambodia.

(1) Full Names:

(2) Residential Address:

(3) Country of Residence:

(4) Age:

(5) Phone/Cell Number:

(6) Occupation:

Yours faithfully,

Steven Terner Mnuchin

Secretary of the Treasury

(U.S. Department of the Treasury)

Contact email; email hidden; JavaScript is required

We received this realistic-looking email today claiming to be from a payment company called FrontStream. If you click the links, it tries to get you to active an account and provide bank details. However… We never requested an account from this company. Therefore, we label it phishing — and an attempt to defraud.

If you receive a message like this, delete it. Don’t click any of the links, and don’t reply to it either. You’ve been warned.

From: billing [email address at frontstream.com]
Sent: Wed, Mar 22, 2017 10:34 am
Subject: New Account Ready for Activation

Dear [redacted],

Your account is now available at our FrontStream Invoicing Website for you to view your existing outstanding invoices and make payment. You can directly activate your account here:

[link redacted]

Or you can go to the FrontStream Invoicing website [link redacted], select ‘REGISTER’ option and go through the activation process. Below is your detailed account information from our record. They’re required in order to complete your account activation.

Customer Number: [redacted]

Phone Number: [redacted]

Activation Code: [redacted]


Accounts Receivable


I tweeted about this blog post, and @FrontStream replied:

@zeichick Sorry for the confusion! The email was sent in error from our customer invoicing system. We’ll be following up with more details.

Given that we aren’t a FrontStream customer, this is peculiar. Will update again if there are more details.


Nothing more from FrontStream.

Everyone has received those crude emails claiming to be from your bank’s “Secuirty Team” that tells you that you need to click a link to “reset you account password.” It’s pretty easy to spot those emails, with all the misspellings, the terrible formatting, and the bizarre “reply to” email addresses at domains halfway around the world. Other emails of that sort ask you to review an unclothed photo of a A-list celebrity, or open up an attached document that tells you what you’ve won.

We can laugh. However, many people fall for those phishing scams — and willingly surrender their bank account numbers and passwords, or install malware, such as ransomware.

Less obvious, and more effective, are attacks that are carefully crafted to appeal to a high-value individual, such as a corporate executive or systems administrator. Despite their usual technological sophistication, anyone can be fooled, if the spearphishing email is good enough – spearphishing being the term for phishing emails designed specifically to entrap a certain person.

What’s the danger? Plenty. Spearphishing emails that pretend to be from the CEO can convince a corporate accounting manager to wire money to an overseas account. Called the “Wire Transfer Scam,” this has been around for several years and still works, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, said the FBI.

These types of scams can hurt individuals as well, getting access to their private financial information. In February 2017, about 7,700 employees of the Manatee School District in Florida had their taxpayer numbers stolen when a payroll employee responded to what she thought was a legitimate query from a district officer:

Forward all schools employees 2016 W2 forms to me attached and sent in PDF, I will like to have them as soon as possible for board review. Thanks.

It was a scam, and the scammers have each employee’s W2, a key information document in the United States. The cost of the damage: Unknown at this point, but it’s bad for the school district and for the employees as well. Sadly, this is not a new threat: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service had warned about this exact phishing scam in March 2016.

The cybercriminals behind spearphishing are continuing to innovate. Fortunately, the industry is fight back. Menlo Security, a leading security company, recently uncovered a sophisticated spearphishing attack at a well-known enterprise. While it’s understandable that the victim would decline to be identified, Menlo Security was able to provide some details on the scheme – which incorporate multiple scripts to truly customize the attack and trick the victim into disclosing key credentials.

  • The attackers performed various checks on the password entered by the victim and their IP address to determine whether it was a true compromise versus somebody who had figured out the attack.
  • The attackers supported various email providers. This was determined by the fact that they served custom pages based on the email domain. For example, a victim whose email address was email hidden; JavaScript is required would be served a page that looked like a Gmail login page.
  • The attackers exfiltrated the victim’s personally identifiable information (PII) to an attacker controlled account.
  • The attacker relied heavily on several key scripts to execute the phishing campaign, and to obtain the victim’s IP address in addition to the victim’s country and city.

Phishing and spearphishing have come a long way from those crude emails – which still work, believe it or not. We can’t count on spotting bad spelling and laughable return-address domains on emails to help identify the fraud, because the hackers will figure that out, and use native English speakers and spellcheck. The only solution will be, must be, a technological one.

This is a good one. The spam message was short and sweet:

From: Richard Kent email hidden; JavaScript is required

Subj: You’ve been subpoenaed by the FTC.

You’ve been subpoenaed by the FTC.

FTC Subpoena

Please get back to me about this.

Thank you
Richard Kent
Senior Accountant
email hidden; JavaScript is required

The words “FTC Subpoena” were hyperlinked to a server in Vietnam. Ha ha ha. I’m sure the Federal Trade Commission has document servers in the U.S., perhaps with a .gov top-level domain. If that wasn’t bad enough, however, why was the alleged senior accountant using an email address at camdenassociates.com, which is my own domain? My bet is that the spammers thought that Camden Associates is a huge company, and perhaps I’d think that Richard was one of my employees? Uh, no.

Don’t click on links in messages like this, and don’t reply either. Simply delete them, or mark as spam (to help train your email system).

bmw-530iMrs. Rachael Adams is back, and still wants to give me a fine Bavarian automobile. But is it a 7-series or a 5-series? Is it a 2015 or 2016 model? Doesn’t matter – it’s a scam. Just like the one a few weeks ago, also from Mrs. Adams, but at least that one was clearer about the vehicle. Hey, it’s the same reg code pin as last time, too. See “A free BMW 7-Series car – and a check for $1.5 million!

All these “you are a winner” lottery emails are scams. Don’t reply to them, simply delete them.

From: Mrs. Rachael Adams



NOTE: If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, that is because of the restrictions implemented by your Internet Service Provider, we (BMW) urge you to treat it genuinely.

Dear Winner,

This is to inform you that you have been selected for a prize of a brand new 2015/2016 Model BMW 7 Series Car and a Check of $1,500,000.00 USD from the international balloting programs held on the 2nd section in the UNITED STATE OF AMERICA.

Description of prize vehicle;

Model: 530iA Color (exterior): Metallic Silver Mileage: 5 Transmission: Automatic 6 Speed

Options: Cold weather package, premium package, fold down rear seats w/ski bag, am fm stereo with single in dash compact disc player.

The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world which you were selected.

The BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and also Licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR). To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact our fiduciary claims department for more information as regards procedures to the claim of your prize.

Name: Mr. David Mark
Email: [redacted]
Direct 24hours Security Line: [redacted] (Text Message Only)

Contact him by providing him with your Reg. pin code Number


You are also advised to provide him with the under listed information as soon as possible:

  1. Name In Full :
  2. Residential Address :
  3. Nationality :
  4. Age :
  5. Sex
  6. Occupation :
  7. Direct Phone :
  8. Present Country :
  9. Email address :
  10. Reg pin code Number: 255125HGDY03/23

Please you are to provide him with the above listed details as soon as possible so he can begin with the processing of your prize winnings.

Congratulations from all our staffs and thank you for being part of our promotional program.

Mrs. Rachael Adams.


ghanaSpam scam: Who needs stand-up comedians when laughs appears in my inbox each and every day? This is one of the most amusing in a while, mainly because I can’t parse most of it.

Don’t reply to messages like this. Delete them right away.

From: Mr. Henry Addo


My Good Friend,

Mr. name is My Henry Addo, the AM I ares ares Newly Promoted Branch Manager of Bank here in Ghana, West Africa, not quite I and Feel Safe discussing this with you through this Internet Business method, why is The Very Important Important Because this Transaction and the Business Must Confidential treated be. Though this Medium: using of Internet has been greatly Abused, I Still the Choose to you through the REACH IT Because IT Still Remains The Fastest Medium of Communication, during the Information I obtained the Your My search through The Internet.

May the Interest to you that I Hear IT the AM ares man of PEACE and do not Want the Problems, I Hope we only Each Call Assist for the CAN OTHER. The If you do not Want this Offer Kindly forget the Business IT, the AS the Contact you I will not again.

I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us, as the Branch Manager of the Bank, it is my duty to send in a Financial Report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each year.

In the course of the last year 2015 end of the year report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the Manager made excess profit of Seven Million five Hundred Thousand Dollars [US $ 7,500,000.00] which my head office are not aware of and will be aware of Never Registered. I have Placed Since this Fund in ares SUNDRY ACCOUNT.

As an officer of the bank I can not be directly linked to this money, so this informed my contacting you for us to work together so that you can assist me and receive this fund into your bank account in your country for us to SHARE.

I am offering you 40% of the total fund, while you keep 60% for me in your bank account till I join you in your country for the sharing / investment of my own share of the funds or better still we can go into a joint partnership venture, I will appreciate it very much.

The Request for Your Honesty and Optimum immensely I Cooperation and Let Me Know Your Mind on this, the AS and the Please do treat this the Information Top Secret the AS the CAN I not afford to My Ñlose the Job with The Bank. We Shall Go over a once The details I The Receive your urgent response.

Thanks for your understanding, i will be waiting for your response


Mr. Henry Addo.

An alarming message came in today from a cousin’s email address — and freaked out some members of my extended family. However, it’s a total scam. Someone hacked in my cousin’s email address (either by guessing her password or by phishing for it) and sent out these messages. One worried family member actually went to the bank to get cash to send to London!
Subj: Horrible Trip
This message may be coming to you as a surprise but I need your help.Few days back my family and I made an unannounced vacation trip to London,UK.Everything was going fine until last night when we were mugged on our way back to the hotel.They Stole all our cash,credit cards and cellphone but thank God we still have our lives and passport.Another shocking thing is that the hotel manager has been unhelpful to us for reasons i don’t know. I’m writing you from a local library cybercafe..I’ve reported to the police and after writing down some statements that’s the last i had from them.i contacted the consulate and all i keep hearing is they will get back to me. Our return flight leaves soon…I need you to help me out with a loan to settle our bills here so we can get back home . I’ll refund the money as soon as we get back. All i need is $1,850 USD..Let me know if you can get me the money then I will let you know how to get it to me.
Needless to say, my cousin is safe at home, and she never went to London. She was initially somewhat confused because she couldn’t get into her email, as one of the first things the scammers did was change her password. And then the phone started ringing….
If you see messages like this, don’t respond, don’t be fooled. Do not try to get back to the family member by email, but use other means. Remember, the scammer has access to the email account, and can answer. Being bcc’d on a message (which I was) is one sign that it’s not legit. (But if you’re not bcc’d, that’s not proof that the message is legitimate.)

It’s almost too weird to blog. Most of the junk bulk messages I receive are easily classifiable: phishing attempts, spam, 419s, viruses and so-on. This message, which came to one of our info@ addresses, is just weird. “Oliver” sent it using classic spam-broadcasting techniques, from a disguised server, and from an invalid return email address.

Subj: My resume, China business 2009322109341晖烫

Please reply to [address], please don’t use the reply button. Recently, I am re-organizing my contact list in my database and sometimes I may sent to you duplicate messages, please do forgive this and hope we can work together in the future. Thank you very much.

Dear Sir / Madam,

I have worked as China Marketing / Sales manager for USB, Willburt Companies during 2003 to 2007, I have built up a distributor network and provide the technical / sale support for the distributors. From October 2007 to August 2008, I worked for a UK company, Action Logistics, as their contact person in China, helping them to build up an agent network and an out sourcing network for their furniture supply chain project. I have extensive knowledge of the Chinese culture, language, business behavior, and the personal relationships while I have educated and worked in the western countries for many years (since 1997).

My working experience in the Chinese government and SOE gave me in-depth understanding of the economic. social, structural development and trends both short term prediction and long term planning. After my graduation from my first university in 1984, I was assigned to the Ministry of Material and Equipment due to my excellent performance, and I have worked there from 1984 to 1990). the Ministry has gone through many changes, eventually, it merged with the Ministry of Commerce and the Development and Reform Commission.

I am also a very good writer and a poet (my poem was pretty famous during the late 80s (my work has been selected in some of the anthology too). I made many speeches during in the meetings, seminars, the number of my audience sometime exceed one thousand. I have edited and wrote for some of the internal publications during my years working in Beijing. Today, I can even find an article introducing me as one of the contemporary poets in China. I also find one of my book in the library of University of Toronto.

I believe I have the necessary experience to work on the distribution / sourcing network and sales activities for you especially for the long term future. My years of working experience and education (I have a degree in Economics, a diploma in Engineering, an advanced business English, and a MBA equivalent with Tsinghua University) will be an asset of your business development in China. If I am given an opportunity, I will return with a resultful good work. I will appreciate the opportunity you are offering and keep up to your higher expectations.

Thank you very much. Look forward to a favorable reply.

Kind Regards,

Oh, this poor person! It’s a good thing that he/she didn’t lose his/her mobile phone or laptop as well. Otherwise, how could he/she send me this heart-rending cry for help?

Fortunately, I know that Adobe’s HR department will take this as seriously as I do. Let’s hope the Hotel doesn’t seize his/her bag before someone pays the bill! Maybe we should hook this person up with the widow of a deposed dictator or someone like that.

If for some reason this request for money sounds plausible, try to contact your friend via phone. Alternatively verify with other friends that he/she is indeed overseas. If the situation can’t be verified, don’t reply to the message; simply delete it.

From: “adobe staff”
Date: May 21, 2008 6:18:15 PM PDT
To: email hidden; JavaScript is required

How are you doing today? I am sorry i didn’t inform you about my traveling to Africa for a program ,the program is taking place in three major countries in Africa which is Ghana , South Africa and Nigeria . It has been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition that i found myself is very hard for me to explain.

I am really stranded in Nigeria because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport, documents and other valuable things were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me. I am now owning a hotel bill of $1550 and they wanted me to pay the bill soon else they will have to seize my bag and hand me over to the Hotel Management.

I need this help from you urgently to help me back home, I need you to help me with the hotel bill and i will also need $1600 to feed and help myself back home so please can you help me with a sum of $3,500 to sort out my problems here? I need this help so much and on time because i am in a terrible and tight situation here, I don’t even have money to feed myself for a day which means i had been starving so please understand how urgent i needed your help.