Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!


From: Mr. Ibrahim Humaid

To: Sensei

Subject: GOOD DAY.

Hello friend, I am Mr. Ibrahim Humaid, I work at a bank. I found your information from a business contact when I was searching for a honest partner, I hope that you will not expose or betray this trust. I am in need of your help as a foreigner to claim an abandon fund sum of $15 million U.S dollars. This money belonged to one of our customers from Thailand who died 26 December 2004 in Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami while on vacation with his family. Unfortunately his beneficiaries also passed in the tragic disaster. We currently do not have anyone to claim the funds.

Please I would like you to keep this proposal between us. My proposal is that, you will have 40% of the above mentioned fund, while will have 0.6. If you are interested kindly fill out below information and send it back to me for more details.

Your full name.
Your country.
Your age.
Your occupation.
Your Phone number.
Your address.
A copy of your passport or ID card.

Mr. Ibrahim Humaid.

From: Sensei

To: Mr. Ibrahim Humaid

Subject: RE:GOOD DAY

Dear Ibrahim,

yo... slow your roll, son!

This is not how these things are supposed to go. You can't just slide into my Inbox and expect me to fork over my personal info. You could have at least offered to buy me dinner first! 😄

Jokes aside, let me level with you. Your email? Super lazy. Aside from a few simple Americans no one's gonna buy it. You've been at this for too long, Ibrahim. You've gotten complacent. But you know what? It's your lucky day. Being in quarantine and all that, I've been looking for something to do. So let me give you some pointers, help with your grift.

First, you say you work at "a bank". Right off the bat, I'm suspicious. Who are you? What bank? I'm not just gonna take a word of some asshole I've never heard of before!

So, how can we remedy this? Well, you said your "customer" was from Thailand. Cool. You go to Google, search for "Thailand Banks", pick a random one, you find their official site, you go to their About page, and just copy their contact details. Then, you put that shit at the top of your letter, something like:

Mr. Ibrahim Humaid
Bangkok Bank, Head Office
333 Silom Road
Bang Rak, Bangkok

Subject: Transfer of funds (or whatever)

Maybe also find the bank logo and paste it at the top of the email. You know, make it all official like. Besides, it only has to look official. Most schmucks won't be able to tell the difference anyway.

Second, I was going to say something about your broken ass English. But you know what? Maybe it actually works better this way. Makes it seem more authentic. Like you're really from Thailand, you know?

Third (this one is optional but I would still recommend it), include a link to a reputable news source talking about the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The data you provided checks out - good job on that - but it's still useful to include the link. It's another one of those tidbits about building trust. By having people click the link it makes them think they've researched your claims and concluded you're telling the truth. It's like, a mind game, maaan. 😄

Fourth, and I can't stress this enough: you have to make up a persuasive reason why it's OK for you to be doing this. Even after having only skimmed through your email your actions seem suuuper sketchy. You're telling me you need a random person with whom to arbitrarily split the funds you lifted off of some dead guy's account? If you think my reading's uncharitable, go ahead, read your email again. Then tell me with a straight face that's not exactly how it comes across.

But fear not. You can IMPROVE your LIES and DECEIT and make them BELIEVABLE! Learn HOW with THIS ONE, SIMPLE TRICK! (Heh, see what I did there?) 😛

Tell the recipient that the dead guy had the same last name as them. You can even spice it up and say you've done your research and found that he was actually their long lost uncle or some such. Everyone's got one of those. Moreover, if you can somehow learn the actual full name of the person you're scamming - well shit dawg, that's even better! Then, you can straight up use the last name in your email! People'll eat. That. Shit. Up!

Fifth - and perhaps most importantly - what is up with this 60/40 split? Are you braindead or something? Not only does it sound suspicious as fuck, it makes no sense: why would you, a random ass banker, pocket that much? At the very least, if you said the bank will take 0.6 that would be a little better. But the way you wrote it seems like you're pocketing that shit yourself. That makes no sense, man! And what's worse is that these percentages are meaningless anyway!

This is why I said in the beginning that you have forgotten how this swindle works: you're not actually going to pay out those $6 million. Your goal is to extract some bullshit fees out of your victim so you can "transfer the money" and then hang them out to dry. I can't believe I'm explaining this - this is super basic stuff, dude!

Alright, I think I've proven my point. How do we fix it? Real' easy: just say you'll split the money 90/10, 90% going to the recipient and 10% going toward bank fees and local taxes. Simple, plausible, believable.

I know this email has turned out long. But I think we covered pretty much all the basics. You are ready to fly again, little bird.

OK, now rewrite the email and send it to me again. Let's see what you learned.

Best regards,

From: Mr. Ibrahim Humaid

To: Sensei

[Awaiting reply]

Disclaimer: The initial email in this chain was actually not sent to me but rather to one of my friends. Knowing my penchants for wasting spammers' time he was gracious enough to pass the torch to me.
My name is Tomaž.Tolkien and 40k lore aficionado, TV show connoisseur, Apple enthusiast, and fixer of computers. Referenced1 in several2 doctoral theses. Friendly unless provoked.
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