Vantage point

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Innovation in Email Scams

Email scams have usually been very cliched and run-of-the-mill. You get a mail from someone claiming to be related to some dictator or politician from some random African or Latin American country. They say they have millions of dollars which they want you to help them transfer outside their country. Or then you are told you have won a lottery, or a free foreign trip, or even a university diploma.

Such scam mails are usually written using a standard template, and have started to bring a bad name to the profession of scamstering. Don't scamsters have even the teeniest bit of creativity, one wonders. Is innovation restricted to just changing the names of the countries?

Today I got an email which redeems the image of scamsters a bit because it displays rare innovation. I got an email from "U.S.Embassy", complete with the American bald eagle Seal, saying I had been randomly selected for a visa into the United States. All I had to do was send a thousand dollars (but bizarrely not through western union).

Here's the mail -

U.S Consulate General
387 Wichayanond Road
Chiang Mai 50300,Thailand

Dear client,

Congratulations,you have been selected as one of the lucky winners of the US VISA through our internet email extracting and screening machine,your application was applied and processed by our internet email extracting and screening machine which randomly extracts and scans millions of email adresses across the world.

This Special visa programme is new and was innovated by the US embassy in Kuala lumpur Malaysia last year november.The US Consulate in Chiang Mai launched the programme this year november,the programme is designed to be held every year ending.The aim and objectives of the programme is to give free visas to citizens of developing countries around the world to enable them travel to the US and start a new life and work.The Chiang Mai consulate released 12 visas in this regards and hopes to increase the visa number to 24 by late next year,you are among the 12 lucky people that won the visa and among the 5 foreigners that won the visa,7 visas were won by Thai nationals.

Your visa winner's identity is:MM-52047 and your serial net visa passport with us is:JM-102648,your visa type permits you to travel with your family.Your visa duration is 10 years multiple entry to the U.S,it is renewable upon expiration and it permits you to work,study and own properties in the US.

In this respect you are directed to forward the following requirements for the immediate processing of your visa certificate and acknowledgement card:

1.Write in full your office and residential adress.

2.Scanned copies of your recent passport photograph,members of your family passport photograph should be included if you have family members that wants to travel with you.

3.Scanned copies of your/members of your family international passport and i.d card,your family members above the age of 16 requires seperate international passports for travel.

4.Clearance and acceptance fee:U.S$1,015(One thousand fifteen dollars)only.This fee should be payed through an account of the designated agent and NOT by western union money transfer.

Providing the above requirements will assure you your visa certificate/acknowledgement card and visa security pin code which we shall scan to your email adress.With the visa certificate/acknowledgement card and pincode we shall send to you,the U.S embassy in your home country or your country of residence will stamp the 10 years multiple entry visa on your/members of your family international passport within 3 working days immediately you present these documents to them because the Chiang mai Cosulate has confirmed your visa,all they will do is to log in to the U.S Immigration network database and key in your visa pincode there they will find your visa winning details.

Important notice:

According to the united states code of conduct in the constitution Vol:189/965:Act 220Sl guiding all immigrations,green cards,visas and permit agencies:if non-response after 31 days you receive this message,your winners status shall reveal no interest and we would in response refer your visa certificate/code and acknowledgement card back to the U.S government/immigrations service center.

We shall be anticipating your reply soon.


Ray Murphy
U.S Consulate Chiang Mai


How elaborate!