Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Internet Scam---Episode 1

I received an email on February 1, purportedly from this girl, one Miss Ashli Cole in UK. In the mail she indicated her wish to befriend me as she was planning a vacation in Malaysia. Instantly my instinct told me that this was something funny and fishy. I received countless spam and junk mails every week from all over the world claiming that I am the lucky winner of this lottery and that lottery draw and also emails asking for my permission to tranfer millions of fund in stering pound and us dollar to my account.Some 10 years ago when I was an internet newbie I would be swayed and influenced by these sweet talks, but now I just totally ignore them as rubbish. Don't even waste time to click open these emails.
On February 2 I decided to play along with Ashli to finally find out what kind of game she was into. I sent her a short reply. I received a prompt reply on the same day. It went like this:
Hi dear, How are you? I am good, I am so glad to hear more about you....your email was very interesting...I enjoy reading it earlier...what kind of food do you eat? It's odd, but yes, I miss you a lot... was like I hope he emailed me. What name do you like me to call you? When is your birthday? What is your favourite colour?
I am really so happy that you are my is very cold here in the Uk because it is winter now---am all used to it....I really want to feel the sun in very high right? hehehe....
My birthday is on 13th of April...I am still single because I am still waiting for the right man...but at times I get lonely over here....but now I am so happy I have a good friend down in Malaysia to write to me every time...I hope you don't mind my long emails.....I like to type long and fast too am a very straight forward and open minded lady.....
What is the time in Malaysia now.....can't wait to read again from you....take care now my dear....Write back pls I miss you....Ashli.
This second mail actually made me more convinced that this lady must be part of a syndicate out there to cheat unsuspecting people. I just wanted to find out the truth so I replied her again.
Another quick reply from her on the same day, February 3. In this mail she said she had made up her mind to travel to Malaysia to meet me , her newly found love. She wrote....hope you are going to take good care of me when I come. My dad called me dis morning he said...Ashli, you ar nt gettin any younger, go and get married.What do u tick abt dat. Well these ar some tin abt me.... Height: 6.10, weight:67 kg ,Bust:38 in,Waist:32 in , Hips:42 in, Hair colour: Brown,Hair length:Mid length,Eyes: blue
She ended the mail by saying: once I get your reply will tell you when I will be coming so u can start waittin 4 me.Always take care of ur self 4
The very poor English in this mail made me think that there could be more than one person writing and replying to me. How could someone who claimed to be a native English with university education and working for DELL in England writing me such a lousy love letter?
I just gave a one-line reply to her , saying I am thrilled that she would be coming to Malaysia soon. But she replied me a long mail,beginning to expose more of her real evil intentions.
This is what she wrote: Hi my love, my one and only Honey. How are you doing today love?'s so wonderful to read your email knowing that you care so much about me....I LOVE YOU SO MUCH Honey....thank you so much for coming into my life...I have never been this happy re such a wonderful caring lover that I want to be with.....
Baby...mmmmm, I want to surprise you my love...I want to send you a very precious gift as appreciation of our show you how much I love you and how happy you make are about to receive a wonderful package from me....dear...I felt like flying down to Malaysia because every time I read your email lovely tears stroll down my eyes....I LOVE YOU SO MUCH DARLING. She blar blar blar for a few more hundred words then started asking for my full name, home address and telephone number so that the parcel will reach me safely. She assured that it was because of love she sent me these precious gifts. She wrote: I have fallen in love with you and I will never let you go.I love you more than any one. I just had to let you know. And if you ever wonder why,I don't know what to say, but I will never stop loving you, each and every day. I love you more than word can say....I love you more than every action I take...words cannot explain Honey,tears in my eyes,you in my mind, love in my heart...I love you.
Such beautifully written...were they not copied from some famous songs? But anyway, I was slightly touched by these phrases!
She ended the mail by reminding me to send her the full name, full home address and telephone number as soon as I received her mail.I did as she instructed, but only gave her a false name and a friend's office address. My telephone number, however, is real.
Her February 5 reply was short,just informing me that she would be representing her company, Dell, to attend official duties in the United States for the following 4 days.
By now I had more or less gathered how the whole game would be played. I started telling two friends about this scam. But one of my friends told me: It could be real...may be you are lucky! Hahaha, why me? why in the whole world Ashli chooses me?
No mail from her on February 6. I thought she had to pretend she was really flying to USA. But stupid Ashli wrote me a long mail mentioning nothing about her trip to the USA on February 7.
She wrote that she had finally couriered to my home address the precious gifts which included 1 HP laptop, a nice wristwatch, roses, many of her lovely pictures and cash amounting to 10,000 British pound. She probbaly thought I am a stupid Malaysian still living on the trees in Borneo. Who on earth would send so much cash by courier and some more to a total stranger? She gave me quite an acceptable reason why she included the cash. This was what she wrote: more thing dear....I included the sum of GBP10,000 notes very safe in the package for you to keep for me. This is what I will spend when I am with you love, I don't want to stress you at all....I want us to be very happy when we finally meet.Time wasn't on my side to call to get your account number so I included it safely in the package....please keep it very safe for me.
She attached the above photo of the package, quite convincing . But I wondered why since she is working with DELL, she wanted to send me an HP.
It was very impressive of her to include the website of the courier company and even the tracking number. When I clicked on the following popped up.

The website was quite professionally done with all the nice write-up of the company and its services. At the right side on top of the page is a column where customers can type in the tracking number to check the location of the parcel. After I typed my number prd67815 and clicked, it brought me to another page where I had to retype the same number.Then a new page popped up indicating details of the location of the parcel. The current location is in Malaysia and the status is awaiting clearance. So far so good and so convincing.

But when you clicked on the Contact Us...wouldn't it be funny to find no main address for an international courier company established in 1976 and with 420 dispatch centres and 1220 depots worldwide? Any legitimate or genuine company would certainly have their main headquarters address and building shown on its website. More unconvincing is the Kota Kinabalu address with only handphone numbers for the two contact persons.Why Kota Kinabalu? Why not Kuala Lumpur ?

I did not receive email from my love Ashli again from February 8. Her mission of writing love letters to cheat people had been accomplished .Yesterday I received phone calls, smses and an email demanding a total of RM3,450.98, RM799.99 for administrative charges and RM 2,650.98 for clearance charges. They said I have to settle this amount first to get my parcel released from their agent in Penang.

I will expose details of the conversation in the phone, smses and the cover letter in Episode 2. They have also sent me the name and account number of the beneficiary to receive the money. Don't worry, I would not send them a single cent. I would like to alert my friends and readers here not to fall prey to this kind of internet scam.You can read more on this scam at:


James Wong said...

Good sharing! These days spam mails have increased - I received at least 30 a day! Sigh...maybe I need to stop using streamyx account.

Bengbeng said...

thanks for sharing this Philip. It is an eye opener.

nelson said...

wow, so daring and free are you, normally i will just click delete. the name of the girl itself sounds fishy. ashli cole sounds like Ashley Cole in english premier league, playing for chelsea currently, formerly an arse ( =) this must be the game of some china-hongkong-west msia-east-msia network.

kennysia also got this kind of cheat before.
visit this and check out his telephone conversation.

damn funny.

Philip said...

James:Yes, too many spam mails these days.It is best we just ignore them.

bengbeng:I read today that some one in Kuching was also asked to pay the same amount as me for the release of a parcel. She did not pay and had made a police report, also exposing the scam on internet.

nelson: I read kenny's entry before, so I was more alert. I think the present syndicate is Europe-Africa-Malaysia network.They are all English speaking.

Yan said...

Hopping over to wish you Happy Valentine's Day!

I also responded once to a letter like this - for writing news too.

Hardy said...

Haha.... quite interesting. Maybe u can reply the SMS by asking them where is their address and telling them that your brother is in Penang and he will help u to settle the amount. Let see, what will they reply.
Normally... I just ignore the emails & delete them.

Philip said...

Yan: Thanks. Hope you have fully recovered.BP can highlight this kind of article from time to time to warn your readers and the general public.

Hardy:Exactly, I even told them I would fly down to personally meet them. The girl must have texted and called me on different handphones a dozen times. I out witted her and she finally gave up!

William said...

wah... you are so "lucky"! You found someone falling desperately for you. I bet that the scam originated from within Malaysia.

By the way, I also "won" lottery worth millions!

Philip said...

william: Yes, very "lucky" indeed. Perhaps it is a JV between local and overseas "experts".