Thursday, July 06, 2006

More Social Engineering

I have been on personal high alert regarding phishing and other social engieering scams over the past few months. A few of my associates fell victim to an IM phishing scam a few weeks ago. More recently, a relative of mine was almost fooled by an email con. When I say she was almost fooled, I don't mean she was about to start forking over thousands of dollars; I mean she was genuinely sad because she thought a distant relative had died tragically.

Here is a copy of the email she received:


>From: " Walter Oko" <walteroko@wanadoo.es>
>To: walteroko@wanadoo.es
>Subject: APPOINTED AS NEXT OF KIN TO MR. ACECROFT
>Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2006 15:57:22 +0200 (CEST)
>
>FROM : THE PRINCIPAL ATTORNEY
>OKO & CO (LEGAL PRACTITIONERS).
>11 RUE DU BOULEVARD
>LOME-TOGO
>TEL: 228 9385782
>
>DEAR ACECROFT,
>
>I KNOW THAT THIS MAIL WILL COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISE, PLEASE ACCEPT THE
>CONTENT IN GOOD FAITH. I DO NOT INTEND TO CAUSE ANY GRIEF TO YOU AND
>YOUR FAMILY. THE REASON FOR SENDING THIS MAIL IS VERY FUNDAMENTAL TO
>THE DOCTRINE OF HUMAN PRIVILEGES AND RIGHT. I AM BARRISTER WALTER OKO,
>A SOLICITOR AT LAW, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO A NATIONAL OF YOUR COUNTRY AND
>A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY SINCE HE HAD THE SAME FAMILY NAME WITH YOU MR. M.A.
>ACECROFT, AND USED TO WORK WITH HIS COMPANY IN LOME TOGO. HERE IN AFTER
>SHALL BE REFERRED TO AS MY CLIENT.
>
>ON THE 25TH FEB 2002, MY CLIENT, HIS WIFE AND THEIR ONLY DAUGHTER WERE
>INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT ALONG NOUVISSI EXPRESS ROAD. ALL OCCUPANTS
>OF THE VEHICLE UNFORTUNATELY LOST THEIR LIVES. SINCE THEN I HAVE MADE
>SEVERAL ENQUIRIES TO YOUR EMBASSY HERE TO LOCATE ANY OF MY CLIENTS
>EXTENDED RELATIVES, THIS HAS ALSO PROVED UNSUCCESSFUL. AFTER THESE
>SEVERAL UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS, I HAVE REASONED VERY PROFESSIONALLY AND
>I FEEL IT WILL BE LEGALLY PROPER TO PRESENT YOU AS THE NEXT OF KIN OF
>MY DECEASED CLIENT, SO THAT YOU CAN BE PAID THE FUNDS LEFT IN HIS FINANCE FIRM.
>
>I THEREFORE SEEK YOUR CONSENT TO PRESENT YOU AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO THE
>DECEASED SINCE YOU ARE AT AN ADVANTAGE, BEARING THE SAME SURNAME AND
>EQUALLY FROM THE SAME COUNTRY, WHICH THE PROCEEDS OF THIS FINANCE FIRM
>VALUED AT $8.5M CAN BE PAID TO YOU. WE SHALL BOTH SHARE THE FUNDS 40%
>FOR YOU AND 55% FOR ME, WHILE 5% SHOULD BE FOR EXPENSES OR YOUR
>GOVERNMENT MAY REQUIRE TAXES. THE SAID FINANCE FIRM HAS ISSUED ME A
>NOTICE TO PROVIDE THE NEXT OF KIN OR HAVE HIS ACCOUNT CONFISCATED. I
>EXPECT YOUR URGENT RESPONSE INDICATING YOUR FULL INTEREST IN THIS GREAT
>BUSINESS TO OUR BOTH MUTUAL TRUST.
>
>YOUR TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBER WILL BE NEEDED FOR FURTHER COMMUNICATION.
>
>YOURS IN SERVICE,
>
>BARRISTER WALTER OKO. B, B.L,
>OKO & CO (LEGAL PRACTITIONERS).
>11 RUE DU BOULEVARD
>LOME-TOGO.
>
>Ahora con Amena el CD del futuro es el presente en tu móvil. Descarga
>las canciones que van a hacer historia
>http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;33438710;7829128;n?http://www.especialesa
>mena.com/minisites/idols/es/



She figured out that this email was not on the up-and-up by herself. In case you missed some of the key clues, here are some of the tip offs:

  • The sender's email address is walteroko@wanadoo.es. If you go to wanadoo.es, it is a Spanish portal site (kinda like the Spanish version of Yahoo!). Receiving an email from this address is akin to receiving an email from someone @hotmail.com. Most likely, it is a throwaway email address that someone created for the purposes of conning marks and not leaving a trail. If the guy were really a lawyer, he would have a respectable email address with his firm's domain name prominantly displayed.

  • The email is from a lawyer, someone who makes a living manipulating the English language. You would think that someone who is this articulate would refrain from using ALL CAPS when delivering their message.

  • Tome-Logo? Where the fuck is that? Google Map it and you will see that it is in West Africa. Why would someone with an email address from Spain have a law office in Africa?

  • "DEAR ACECROFT"? Who addresses someone in a professional letter using their last name (without the "Mr." or "Ms." prefix)?

  • "...PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO A NATIONAL OF YOUR COUNTRY AND A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY SINCE HE HAD THE SAME FAMILY NAME WITH YOU MR. M.A. ACECROFT, AND USED TO WORK WITH HIS COMPANY IN LOME TOGO." - I don't even think this makes grammatical sense. Someone is related to me because they have the same last name? My last name is not that uncommon. It took 4 years for you to find me?

  • "Ahora con Amena el CD del futuro es el presente en tu móvil. Descarga las canciones que van a hacer historia" - This translates to "With now Pleasant the CD of the future it is the present in your moving body. It unloads the songs that are going to make history" according to Google translate. It's the imbedded advertisement at the bottom of a wanadoo.es branded email.

  • http://www.especialesamena.com/minisites/idols/es/ is a retarded Flash movie promoting the advertisement in the line item above.

  • http://ad.doubleclick.net? This lawyer needs to use an email service that tracks banner clicks? This is just retarded.

  • 40% for me and 55% for you? WTF? If you're going to screw me, please have the kindness to make me feel like I'm getting the better end of the deal.



I think this guy wanted his hands on the 5% of the $8.5M bounty. That translates to $425,000. Most people don't have this amount of money lying around, but I'm sure that kind Walter would bend over backwards to cover you if you could only pony up $50k.

Barrister Walter Oko, please suck my fucking balls.

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