A response from the barrister

While writing the previous blog post about the physical, honest-to-goodness paper letter from a 419 scammer that had come my way, I also attempted something resembling an email conversation with the perpetrator.

Admittedly, I hadn’t laid down much of a plan for a prepared attack or proper scambait; all I did was send a naïve email to find out more about the poor relative who had supposedly died.

And I casually asked about the money. (I obviously used a dummy email account created specifically for these purposes which, by virtue of the name used, can even muster as a minor IQ test for the recipient.)

Sent to Kate K. Moroka’s kkmoroka@mail.kz freemail address, I enquired (in sodding poor English) about the dear lost relative who had perished and, of course, how to best expedite the transfer of the inheritance that’s burning a hole in her vault.

About a day later this reply appeared not from Kate but from JONATHAN MOROKA <jamoroka@gmail.com> (note the UPPERCASE name again) in my inbox:

FROM:BARRISTER.JONATHAN  ANDREW   MOROKA.ESQ.
PRIVATECELL:+27735618630.
DEAR ███████,

IT IS REALLY NICE TO HEAR FROM YOU,THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE TO OUR PROPOSAL ,

FIRST I THINK I SHOULD START BY TELLING YOU HOW WE  COME ABOUT YOUR NAME, WE  HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR THIS LAST NAME FOR THE PAST NINE MONTHS BEFORE  WE  SUCCEEDED IN GETTING YOUR NAME THROUGH YOUR COUNTRY’S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY. I HOPE THAT YOU WILL NEVER LET US  DOWN .I WILL START BY PUTTING THIS TRANSACTION CLEAR TO YOU. THIS FUNDS HAS LASTED MORE THAN EXPECTED PERIOD HERE IN THE BANKS SECURITY VAULT  AND BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT  WE  ARE  INTERESTED IN THIS FUNDS, WE  HAVE TAKEN  OUR  TIME AND ALL NECESSARY STEPS TO BE SURE THAT NO ONE COMES FOR THIS FUNDS, IT IS AS WELL AS A FORGOTTEN FUND LYING DORMANT FOR YEARS IN THE  BANKS VAULT. SO PLEASE ALL WE NEED TO DO IS TO BE  VERY FAST AND ALSO TO KEEP THIS BUSINESS VERY CONFIDENTIAL UNTIL WE FINALISE THIS TRANSACTION.

I PROMISE YOU THAT YOU WILL NEVER REGRET BEEN POSITIVE IN YOUR REPLY.THE NATURE OF THIS TRANSACTION IN DETAILS:

MY WIFE  IS  STILL A MEMBER OF THE BANKS  PANEL  IN THE BANKS  HEAD OFFICE  WERE MR  SONE   DEPOSITED THE FUNDS, MY WIFE IS   IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATING THE WHOLE PROCESS OF INHERITANCE FUNDS IN THE  BANK ,EVEN THE BANK MANAGER AND THE DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCE IN THE BANK ARE INVOLVED IN THIS BUSINESS ,WE ALL PREFER TO MOVE THIS MONEY OUT OF AFRICA   WITH YOUR ASSISTANCE INSTEAD  OF THIS FUNDS TO GO TO THE GOVERNMENT    , SO I HAVE PREPARED THE PROOF OF KINSHIP  WITH THE PERSONAL IN FORMATIONS OF THE DECEASED, ON MY OWN SECRETLY. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS TO SEND TO ME IMMEDIATELY THE PHOTO PAGE OF YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT OR COPY OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENCE OR YOU CAN WRITE YOUR NAME AS IT IS BEEN WRITTEN IN YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT, YOUR DATE OF BIRTH, YOUR OCCUPATION,PROFILE  AND THE FULL NAME OF THE PERSON YOU WOULD WANT TO BE YOUR OWN NEXT OF KIN  IN THE FORMS BECAUSE I WILL NEED TO FILL YOUR IN FORMATIONS IN THE KINSHIP FORMS SECRETLY,

I HAVE BEEN A LAWYER FOR    YEARS  , SO I KNOW HOW TO ARRANGE ALL THE KINSHIP DOCUMENTS AND EVERY THING WILL BE PERFECTLY OK AND ONCE ALL THE KINSHIP DOCUMENTS ARE CORRECTLY FILLED WITH YOUR IN FORMATIONS, THE BANK WILL NOT HAVE ANY OTHER CHOICE THAN TO RELEASE THE WHOLE FUNDS TO YOUR FAVOUR,WE  WILL DO ALL THE UNDERGROUND ARRANGEMENTS VERY WELL SO THAT THE BANKS MANAGEMENT WILL APPROVE THE RELEASE OF THE FUNDS TO YOU AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO THE DECEASED CUSTOMER.

WE  HAVE CARRIED OUT SERIES OF INVESTIGATIONS CONCERNING THIS FUND SINCE 3 YEARS NOW AND WE  DISCOVERED THAT IF  WE  DON’T MOVE THIS MONEY OUT IMMEDIATELY, THIS FUNDS WILL BE FORFEITED TO THE GOVERNMENT    AS UNCLAIMED MONEY AND THAT IS WHY WE  WANT   TO MOVE THIS FUNDS OUT OF  AFRICA   TO BETTER OUR  LIFE AND THAT OF OUR FAMILIES  AND YOU AS  OUR  ONLY PARTNER.

PLEASE ALL WE  NEED NOW IS YOUR MAXIMUM CO-OPERATION AND MATURITY TO SEE THAT WE FINALLY SMILE TOGETHER AS ONE FAMILY IN FEW DAYS FROM NOW.I WILL FORWARD TO YOU ALL THE NEEDED IN FORMATIONS AND WILL GUIDE YOU PROPERLY IN THIS TRANSACTION AS SOON AS I RECEIVE ALL THE ABOVE IN FORMATIONS VIA MY  FAX NUMBER. I WILL ALSO FORWARD TO YOU THE TEXT OF THE APPLICATION, WHICH YOU WILL FILL AND FAX TO THE BANK AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO THE DECEASED  , WITH ALL THE REQUIRED INFORMATION ABOUT THE DEPOSIT.I WOULD WANT YOU TO MAKE IMMEDIATE ARRANGEMENT TO COME TO TANZANIA,OR TO SOUTH AFRICA OR TO UGANDA    FOR THE SIGNING OF THE FINAL RELEASE DOCUMENTS BECAUSE   ONCE THE BANK ISSUES THE APPROVAL OF YOUR CLAIM, YOU WILL BE ASKED BY THE BANK TO VISIT THEIR VAULT OFFICE IN  ANY OF THIS THREE  COUNTRIES UGANDA , OR SOUTH AFRICA OF TANZANIA    TO SIGN THE FINAL RELEASE DOCUMENTS AND I WILL BE WITH YOU THROUGHOUT THE ONE DAY THAT YOU WILL SPEND IN  AFRICA   AS YOUR LAWYER.

WE HAVE TWO OPTIONS TO MOVE THIS FUNDS OUT OF AFRICA ,

1, IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO COME TO TANZANIA FOR THE SIGNING OF THE FINAL RELEASE DOCUMENTS, THEN IT WILL COST YOU $67,500. SIXTY SEVEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED FOR THE CHANGE OF OWNER SHIP.

2, IF YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO  TANZANIA , OR SOUTH AFRICA OR UGANDA   AND SIGN THE FINAL RELEASE DOCUMENTS  IN PERSON THEN YOU WILL  SPEND  ONLY $3000 US DOLLARS  BECAUSE YOU WILL DO THE CHANGE OF OWNER SHIP YOUR SELF AND WE PREFER YOU TO COME SO THAT WE WILL FACE TO FACE AND FOR YOU TO  MEET  ALL THE PEOPLE INVOLVED AND KNOW EACH OTHER

THANKS AND GOD BLESS.

REGARDS.

BARRISTER JONATHAN A.K. MOROKA. ESQ.

ATTACHED IS MY  INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT  COPY FOR IDENTIFICATION.NOTE:WHEN YOU COME TO  ANY OF THIS THREE COUNTRIES IN AFRICA   FOR THE SIGNING OF FINAL RELEASE DOCUMENTS IN THE BANK,THE TWO OFFICE,S WHICH I WILL TAKE YOU TO FOR THE SIGNING ARE MY WIFE,S OFFICE BECAUSE SHE IS INCHARGE OF INVESTIGATING ALL INHERRITANCE FUNDS IN THEIR BANK,WHEN WE FINISH IN MY WIFE,S OFFICE WE WILL GO TO THE MANAGERS OFFICE FOR THE FINAL SIGNING OF THE RELEASE DOCUMENTS,MY WIFE AND THEIR BANK MANAGER ARE INVOLVED IN THIS TRANSACTION BECAUSE NOBODY WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO CONFISCATE THIS MONEY AS UNCLAIMED FUNDS,SO YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, I WILL FLY FROM SOUTH AFRICA TO TANZANIA  OR UGANDA TO  PERSONALLY TAKE YOU TO ALL THE OFFICES WE NEED TO GO FOR THE SIGNING OF  THE DOCUMENTS,

Oh, where do I start?

Where does one begin to disseminate and analyse so much idiocy? Is it necessary for me to  point out that it’s a standard “form reply” the scammers use to probe any responses to their scheme? Do I need to underline the spelling mistakes or highlight the savage slaughter of the English language? Does the criminal intent get any more obvious?

The UPPERCASE bullshit proposal is utterly mind-boggling!

Might I also emphasize that I, the sender of an email or the supposed recipient of MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, am not directly addressed by name or location? Has it occurred to these peanuts that “my country” may not even have a “Chamber of Commerce and Industry”? Can you see that Barrister Jonathan Moroka Esq. suffers from a minor identity crisis and isn’t even sure where he wants me to go and sign the “final release documents”?

It probably never occurred to these goatfuckers that the name of the person who responded to them (by email) wasn’t even on the list of people they sent letters to!

Jeebus, these nitwits are too stupid to even as much as correctly copy/paste/spell this false name in their response. If I wanted to break the barrister’s fingers I’d have to punch him in the nose! IQ Test FAIL!

But it gets better: the reply came with four attachments that are equally bewildering.

The first one is this so-called ID card of Kate Moroka:

Original file name: id card kate moroka..jpg
Original file name: id card kate moroka..jpg

Yes, I know that name and logo quite well: that’s Standard Bank, one of the biggest financial institutions in South Africa. They have offices all over the continent — but there’s one teensy snag: the one in Dar es Salaam operates under the Stanbic brand.

Perhaps I should ring them up and ask to speak to Kate directly? She might be able to explain why the Stars and Stripes appear on her card, so here’s hoping she’s not an underground CIA operative out to snare me for funding Tanzanian or Ugandan terrorists.

What never fails to amaze and amuse me is how victims are supposed to fall for a crappy MS-Paint hack of this sort — even though the Morokas took the added step of printing it with some shitty inkjet and then re-scanning both sides (in one go) for that added look of agedness and distorted authenticity.

And this is supposed to be Kate’s passport:

Original file name: PASSPORT 1 kate moroka..jpg
Original file name: PASSPORT 1 kate moroka..jpg

Ignoring the photo for a while, it’s not an entirely bad job — at first glance. To those who’ve never seen a South African passport this scan might just pass as the real deal. Fortunately, I’m not one of those, and there are probably far more errors than I even my tired eyes can spot: For starters, the date formats are non-standard and the checksums in ID numbers 6407227145075 and 6212287956082 don’t validate.

Original file name: passport man.jpg
Original file name: passport man.jpg

Is Jonathan aware of the little detail that he’s married to a man/crossdresser/transsexual? Has it ever occurred to Kate (or is it Karl or Kurt?) that the birth date or the signature doesn’t match that of the fake Standard Bank ID card? Do they know their passports were issued in Zaire (a name not used since 1997)? And how does one manage to make two spelling mistakes in the non-French word “Sud-Africaanse” in both passports? In fact, is it “Andrew Jonathan Moroka” or “Jonathan Andrew Moroka”? How fucking stupid do these numbskulls think other people are?

Then there’s the address: Plot 172, Victoria Street, Camps Bay, Cape Town.

It doesn’t exist. There’s a Victoria Road in Camps Bay, and I can’t recall there having been any squatter camp with allocated plots on it the last time I was in the area. But much can happen in over ten years.

One wonders who those two poor people in the pictures really are.

The fourth and final piece of evidence was this sloppy APPLICATION FORM 1.docx file wherein I was expected to enter various personal details, none of which corresponded in the slightest with the email communication or suggested any form of kinship with the deceased — who soon became all but forgotten.

Be that as it may, I extended the same courtesy to the barrister by being particularly vague and pressing on for more information but, alas, he kept insisting on obtaining certain data from me. Why, I do not know, since it was he who had contacted me and sought me out through my country’s chamber of commerce.

After a bit of impatient wrangling, the last communication from the barrister was this:

the reason why i asked for your passport is because my wife will need your passport copy to do the underground work in her office,we sent our own passport copies you.

I’ve no idea why these cave dwellers would think I’d be interested in these photoshop jobs. Rather send me pictures of yourselves with a loaf of bread or a fish on your head.

Well, that was that. That’s how it ended.

All further attempts at eliciting another reply were fruitless.

Meanwhile, Kate & Co. are eagerly preparing and gathering the necessary underground documents to inform relatives of victims of the recent plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria of their windfalls and inheritances.

Image credits: “Kate and Jonathan Moroka”

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