How to Avoid… Email Scams

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Street Spam

I’m such a lucky girl. Sometimes, I get out-of-the-blue emails from strangers all around the world who want to share their hard-earned cash with me, or simply want to give me money for no reason. I’m sure you were contacted too, unless your spam filter is extremely powerful.

And look what I recently received: a job offer! In Canada! I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. After all, I may be the only person in the entire world who received it. Told you I was lucky.

The original email was in French (they even knew French was my mother tongue, it was meant to be!). I translated it and transcribed the numerous grammatical mistakes and the overall awful syntax. You can see the original email here and read the translation below:

JOB VACANCY / N.W.C / CANADA / 2011

Mrs./M
This message was sent to you by the staff of NWC New Way Consulting, we apologize for any inconvenience.

NWC is a Canadian-based company in Quebec working in fields such as enterprise audit, management control, chartered accountancy, human resource management, editing project marketing, driver, plumbing communication, business law, international trade, agricultural, agro-industry and food processing, quality management, knowledge in quality standards, transportation and logistics secretariat, bilingual secretarial , secretarial computerized banking, project finance, insurance, patents, licenses intellectual, hotels, catering, engineering, computer science, public service, agronomy, public relations, advertising work in its offices in Quebec City and Montreal. We have positions in HR, financial and legal services, development and communication, following the inauguration of a new annex with the authorization number below: Ref/234FRS/7353/CI78 / 0010

We need managers to work now for NWC. For this reason a hiring campaign has just been launched in all the continents of the world to recruit the staff who wishes to work in Canada, so if you are interested in applying for a position in our company please send an application letter for jobs in our direction to the email address: agencenwccanada01@yahoo.fr

Of course, I was interested. Who wouldn’t want a job in Canada in this tough economy? Here was the answer to my enthusiastic email: a very professional-looking job application file, and a letter detailing the steps I needed to follow.

REPUBLIC OF CANADA
*********

DEAR APPLICANT
Welcome to service N.W.C (NEW WAY CONSULTING)

Your application was received.

Your request was analyzed favorably and we accept you within our company. For this purpose, please kindly send us the following documents, we will create a file for you among our staff immigrating to Canada.

Please send:
1 – Attached form to be filled
2 – Two pieces of ID
3 – Two passport photos required
4 – A resume
5 – An hand-written application
6 – 155 Euro (for the mandatory registration fee you must send to the responsible representative agency for Africa Europe who will establish your immigration papers.)

You must transfer the fee via Western Union, so you should scan the files followed the receipt of transfer (Customer Copy) of the agency by which you would make the transfer you will send to near the representat ion and argues that it can serve as the right (showing payment of registration fees to recruitment).

Here is the address of the financial agent the closest to the agency responsible for receiving the funds. You must transfer the registration fees on his behalf:

Last name: KANOUSSOU
First name: Gnida
Country: BENIN
City: PARAKOU
Tel: 00229 98 93 13 07

The committee sent to take charge of African zone is composed of:
Mr. ALAIN Landua, Representative Africa, followed by a few members.

Note: For more information please contact the area representative at the following number: 00229 98 93 13 07.

Finally, because I was still hesitating, I received a “guarantee“. Don’t miss it, it’s a true piece of art!

Of course, I knew from the beginning this email was a scam (come on guys, give me some credit!). I just played along for a while to see what would happen. No surprise, I was asked to send money and there is no doubt that the scammers would have gladly pocketed it. That, and of course no company ever recruit employees like this.

It was extremely easy to spot the email was a scam:

  • It was badly written with numerous grammatical and syntax errors
  • I didn’t send a resume yet I was hired on-the-spot!
  • The story was very far-fetched. Why would a company based in Québec have a representative in Africa and recruit random people from all over the world?
  • The scammers obviously didn’t do much research. For instance, the company is supposed to be based in Québec, yet the address and the phone number on the document are in the U.S.
  • Anytime “Western Union” is mentioned in an email, it’s usually a scam
  • The documents attached were blatant fakes (although the scammer was very good at copying/pasting)

So what were the scammers hoping for? Well, the 155 euro “fee” of course. But since they also asked me to provide two pieces of ID, passport photos and a handwritten application, I strongly suspect this could double as an identity theft scam.

Note that scams are not always that easy to spot. Remember this immigration job scam? It was a bit more subtle.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

12 Comments

  1. lol
    This scam is more funny and entertaining than worrisome! 🙂

    I would worry more about pseudo-legal multi-level marketing pyramid schemes that companies such as Primerica and Quixtar offer than this (as you mention in one of your posts).

  2. you can make a lot of money by addressing envelopes to me and stuffing them with cash.
    by sending me all of your money, you will end up three times richer– guaranteed!
    if you do not send me envelopes filled with cash, a monkey will bite off your nose and you will have at least seven years of bad luck.
    this is foretold by the concept of kharma: when you do good deeds, goodness returns to you threefold. if you do not send me money, you will be miserable for the rest of your life no matter how rich you become.
    this is not a scam. research “kharma” on the internet if you do not believe me.

  3. I hate scammers! Things like these are obvious fakes, but scams can run the gamut from email to phone to door to door solicitations and they are all majorly annoying, not to mention morally reprehensible.

    I just feel bad for vulnerable people, like some seniors, who fall for them more out of loneliness and confusion than anything else.

    • I know what you mean. Some of these email scams are surprisingly good and it’s hard not to be fooled. I can imagine how easy it must be to scam less technologically-oriented people.

  4. I use Yahoo for email which has a pretty good spam filter. I will get 6 or 8 spam messages a day and I always take a quick look at them before trashing them. It surprises me how many of them (2 or 3 a day) are variants of the Nigerian scam, a fantastic amount of money is waiting for you to claim it, contact our agent blah, blah, blah. Some fish must be biting or else they would give it up.

    I don’t know that seniors are particularly vulnerable to this sort of thing. Young people are attracted to the something for nothing bait too. It a badly worded message offers you something too good to be true, it almost surely is.

    • Some fish must be biting or else they would give it up.

      That’s always what I think! Some of these scams are so obvious it’s hard to imagine anyone falling for them, yet some people must because otherwise there would be no point in spamming the world right?

  5. Thousands of these are sent out and the odds ar that someone out there will give it a go and send off the money in the hope of a job. It’s a bit ad really and mostly it’s the vulnerable who fall victim to this type of fraud.

    I’ve personally won the Spanish Lottery several times even though I never bought a ticket!

    • The weird part is, those looking for a job are the ones who will have a hard time “paying” for a job! 155 euro is a lot of money. I can see people paying smaller amounts of money, like $10 but that much?! I don’t think so.

  6. I had to laugh at their French letter – they could have at least corrected their mistakes if they thought that the addressees were speaking it. Some people fall for this though. I once saw a 60 minutes segment on TV about a woman who did send money to some Nigerian “bank” that told her she would get a lot of money quickly. These types of scammers hopes that greedy people will fall for that and they are correct – there are a lot of greedy and stupid people.

    • I kept the original French just for that. The grammar and syntax is hilarious! I tried to transcribed it into English but I’m afraid I’m not a good scammer copywriter.

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