Anyone that knows me knows i love a bit of scambaiting – this guy really astonished me with how far he seemed to want to go, no matter how thick i laid it on.
His name is Eric Fu (apparently) and the email addresses he used were;
firstname.lastname@example.org (initia address) email@example.com (reply to address) firstname.lastname@example.org (second address he sent from and continued to use)
Being a web-type myself, i can only imagine that this strange email setup is to stop blocks/being added to spam lists – OR these losers are now using CRM’s and email piping to stay on top of their “Sales” – either way they were the addresses he used.
Here is the first email he sent me, not the usual massive email but it looked like someone dipping their toe in the water waiting for a reply;
So, me being me i replied;
The next email was the one you normally get first – i am posting this one in plain text so its searchable – as this is the one most people will be sent, and search for, which should help them find my site and realise its a scam.
I am Mr. Eric Fu, Staff of HSBC Bank (Hong Kong). I am contacting you regarding a deposit our deceased customer left without an established next of kin to the tune of Seventeen Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollars. The deceased own an account with us and he made a fixed deposit to the sum of US$17,200,000.00 in our Hong Kong branch, presently I serves as Head of Business Development, Wealth Management, Retail Banking and Wealth Management. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail. I have been in charge of this department for years and to best of my knowledge, I have discharged my duty with equity.
I am contacting you so that I can give you further briefing on my intention and how to disburse the funds and estate he left behind, I discovered that both of you have a similar last name. I am prepared to place you in a position to instruct the Bank to release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relation. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the money with you in half. That is, I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you. We share the proceeds 50/50.
I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me let me know and let me move on with my life but do not destroy me. I am a family man with wife and children; this is an opportunity to provide them with new opportunities. There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking.
Please, again, note I am a family man; I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients. do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should act swiftly on this.
Normal format, bla bla i am some guy who works for a bank, bla bla, dead customer, bla bla, millions of dollars bla bla…
I decided to put my best baiting hat on and get to work (ok, so at this stage i was dipping my toe too, which is evident in the length of my reply);
He replied, again i will post this in plain text as its likely this will be the same followup email everyone would get.
Thank you very much for your quick response to my proposal .I will like to inform you that in issues of inheritance the beneficiary can be anybody,it is not mandatory for the beneficiary to be related to the deceased, it does not even matter if you are from different countries but in this case the uniqueness in us we bring us to a perfect conclusion. the most important thing is that there must be documents to show for it,which would stipulate your status as the sole beneficiary to the funds deposited at my bank.You should not have anything to worry about, I will do everything legally required to ensure that the project goes smoothly,it shall pass through all Laws of International Banking, you have my word.The attorney will prepare the necessary Affidavits which shall put you in place as next of kin to Aldrich, he will obtain the necessary clearances from the Hong Kong authorities which will cover all the aspects involved in this transaction.
The attorney shall be handling all matters of probate on your behalf,he will have all the documents perfected, and with these documents he shall come forward to my bank to apply for the immediate release and transfer of the funds to the account you shall open.I have been a banker for many years and I know perfectly how the system works.I can assure you that you will not in any way regret in your involvement with me. We can do this if we join our hands together and work in good faith.Firstly I want to assure you that this transaction is 100% risk and hitch free and also you will need to assure me that I will have unlimited access to my 50% share once the funds has been transferred into your account because the funds is going to be transfered into your account and not mine so you are the one to assure me that you will give my own part to me. In light of the above.
I will need you to provide me with the following details.
Please scan and email to me an identification document either passport or drivers license or a national identity card along with the required details above.
As soon as I get the information, I will also send you my identity for you to know whom you dealing with. I will have my lawyer go ahead to procure the relevant documents which will confirm you with the rights of the next of kin to deceased Aldrich and as such I requested your information above as this documents will be documented at the probate office here in Hong Kong so as to give this venture legal backing and authenticity.Upon receipt of this information the lawyer would go ahead and procure this documents and as soon as we have secured the documents,I will help you make official application to my bank on the strength of the documents that the funds should be released to you as the bona-fide next of kin to the deceased Immediately the document is ready and approved by my bank, it will be forwarded to the bank that is presently with the funds to release the funds to you as the bonafide next of kin, You need not to worry as I would use my position to facilitate the approval and the subsequent release of the funds to you.I am now in contact with a foreign online bank, I now intend that you open an account in your name in this foreign bank.The money would be transfered to your account which you will open in the bank for both of us, this is the best way,I have found,it will protect us from my bank. I want us to enjoy this money in peace when we conclude,so you should listen to my instructions and follow them religiously. Also You have to know that I cannot transfer this money in my name as my bank will be aware that it is from me, this is where I need you.
As result of this,you will have to open an account in the corresponding bank. I will obtain a certificate of deposit from this my bank,it will be issued in your name, this will make you the bonafide owner of the funds. After this,the money will be banked online for both of us. We can then instruct the bank to transfer our various shares into our respective home bank accounts. I will also perfect the documentations with the assistance of my attorney to give the transaction the legal right. looking forward to a good business relationship with you and hoping to hear from you soonest my good friend.
Oooo got a phone number that time too!
So im laying this on pretty thick now – hoping that at some point this guy will see the error of his ways and back away from the scam…
Thank you so much for your response again.I got to know about you via the Hong Kong Global Database Centre (H.K.G.D.C.) and my instinct told me you are a trustworthy and potential person one can do business with. Based on that and the fact that you bear the same surname with Aldrich, I thereby wish to acquaint you with a business proposal that will be of benefit to both of us, I will give you all details about Aldrich as soon as I get the required details from you as that is when I will be convinced that you are willing to carry out this transaction with me, please understand my sincerity and do not doubt it.
Considering the money involved,it is necessary for me to be sure of the person to whom I will be entrusting this funds to,my trust is not given out lightly, I need to be convinced that you are a matured person with some integrity,and if we follow up this transaction diligently it would be completed within 7 working days.
You seem to be lacking some self confidence, but I want to assure you that you should have absolute confidence in yourself and in me as well, I am familiar with such issues of inheritance in the past with my bank, this is not the first time I have come across such an issue of a customer having died without endorsing a next of kin in his official documents, it is a simple issue provided it follows the official procedure which we have followed, it happens in a few cases not only with my bank.
What I expect from you is trust and commitment, I want this large sum of money transferred with your assistance, I shall be waiting for your response and assurance along with your full Names and Private contacts (ADDRESS & PHONE)just as they will appear on the documents to process the claims.
I want to know if you are willing to follow up this business seriously before I can give you more details about this transaction,I shall be waiting for your response and assurance.
This guy will not give up, time to turn up the heat;
(i googled “old woman” and sent the first really sad picture i could find)
Yet again, he replied;
Thanks so much for your kind intention to partake in this mutual benefits transaction can I request you to please provide me with the following information so that we can proceed. Kindly submit your full names, house address and telephone so that the lawyer will start work on the documents that will make you the benefactor of the funds.
They don’t normally send a photo so easily – this guy is on it!
I once again turned the heat up – surely anyone would either cotton on this was a reverse-scam or at the very least their morals should kick in, right?
He actually pushed the scam further, saying i should make contact with the bank etc!
How are you doing today?
I am in receipt of your mail ,I have found you trust worthy and given you my trust not only as a partner but a Brother, please do not let me down, I have recruited an attorney to assist in procuring the necessary documents to facilitate the release of the funds to you and these documents will also give this project the much needed legal backing and authenticity and at this stage, you will have to make a formal application to my bank requesting that the funds be released to you as the next of kin to the late Mr Aldrich McCheekin,Below is the text of the application you are going to make, all you have to do is write the application and send it down email to the bank.
You should endeavour to notify me as soon as you have sent the application to the Bank so that the vetting panel can convene. As I had told you before, I happen to be the Head of the private banking sector which supervises the probing and verification panel. You should know that as soon as your application is considered and approved, you are the only one that would have direct access to the funds in question and you would be expected to act in the full capacity of the beneficiary of the funds. I would be right here to monitor events from here and also give advice where necessary. All I want from you as I had said before is your total commitment to this project and prompt response to issues as they come.
I would be looking forward to hearing from you soonest my good friend.
NOTE: Below is the application text.
The Director of Operations,
HSBC Hong Kong,
1 Queen’s Road Central,
APPLICATION FOR THE RELEASE OF INHERITED FUNDS TO THE NEXT OF KIN OF LATE MR. Aldrich McCheekin.
I, – (your full name)—– SITUATED AT, (your address) NEXT OF KIN TO THE LATE Aldrich McCheekin. A DECEASED CUSTOMER OF YOUR BANK, HEREBY DO WISH TO APPLY FOR THE RELEASE TO ME OF AN INHERITED FUND TOTALING US$ 17,200,000.00 (Seventeen Million Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) PRESENTLY DEPOSITED AT YOUR BANK UNDER THE INSTRUCTION OF MY DECEASED UNCLE. I WAS NOTIFIED OF THE ABOVE INHERITANCE AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO LATE Aldrich McCheekin. THROUGH A PROBATE ORDER OF MANDAMUS FROM THE PRIVATE BANKING DEPARTMENT OF YOUR BANK. I REFER YOU TO YOUR PRIVATE BANKING DEPARTMENT FOR PROPER BANK CO-ORDINATES AND REFERENCES OF LATE MR. Aldrich McCheekin. IN THIS REGARD, I HAD FURTHER BROUGHT THIS TO THE NOTICE OF OTHER IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS AND I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THEIR CONSENT TO MY CLAIM OF THE FUND.I WISH FOR THE FUND TO BE TRANSFERRED VIA ANY MEANS APPLICABLE TO MY BANK ACCOUNT.
I WOULD BE GRATEFUL IF THIS APPLICATION IS TREATED IN EARNEST AND GRANTED PROMPTLY.
N.B: INCLUDE ALL YOUR CONTACT DETAILS, THAT IS YOUR TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS AND ALSO YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES SO THAT THE BANK WILL NOT FIND IT DIFFICULT TO CONTACT YOU AT ANY TIME.
I’ve never encountered a 419 scam like this before – he is so pushy, so keen – and no matter what i say he just doesn’t back away! Turned up the heat to the final notch…
And then it seemed to go quiet!
Did Eric finally have a moral reality check?
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd he’s back;
I thank you for showing some great responsibility and trust, indeed things are getting more real now. Initially I was having double thoughts about your authenticity, I needed to be careful due to the money involved and my career as a banker, but now you have proven to me that you are a remarkable person of your words. I am very happy about this, you have earned my full respect and trust, and I hope you will live up to the respect I have for you, I have attached my work ID to this email for your perusal.
Please note that I am the head of Head of Business Development, Wealth Management, Retail Banking so i will protect your application immediately it reaches my department i will approve it in your name as the bonafide owner of the funds after which my bank will contact you directly to notify you of the approval, just have the full confidence in me that no one is going to contact you regarding this issue, any investigation will go through my office. Anyway let me give you some information about Aldrich’s just for your record purpose.
Late Aldrich was born in Tübingen, Germany, on the 12th day of July,1948.
Resident at 518 Grattan Road, BD1 2NH, Bradford, England.
Date of death 25th may 2007
Cause of death:He died in a motor accident along with his family in Bradford, England.
His nature of job: Real estate investment in Asia region including the United Kingdom and invested some his my funds in gambling,He was a very serious business minded person and also was into buying and selling of shares which appreciated for him over certain period of investment time.
In this light,I am sending you bank contact details of an offshore Bank that you are to contact and open an account in your name for you to make inquiries on offshore/on-line account opening in your name. I fully understand that this funds will be approved in your name in the next couple of days and I want us to immediately transfer the funds into this offshore account you will open so that it will not attract international financial regulators interest.
Like I adviced you earlier that you open an account with this bank in your name,immediately the funds are released from HSBC BANK in Hong Kong , they will be moved straight into your new offshore account and the transfer will not attract the attention of the monetary bodies, as the transfer be will seen as in-house.(same telex type with my Bank).You can then transfer the funds in safe bits from this online offshore account to your main account in your country. This is the best way I have figured out for us to deal and enjoy this money peacefully.
Please find below the banks information:
Santander Bank UK.
Tel: +44 207-060-9315
Fax: +44 207-060-9316
I will await an update. Please do make contact with the bank by sending email so that the account opening can be fast, I had to remain awake to get the notification about this contact details, you know the time difference. Please contact the bank during UK working hours, as the bank is a UK Bank. I call you loved one so that we both understand that our trust in each other is that of blood relatives. God Bless you for your positive resolve to affect our lives. I will also advice that you call the bank immediately so that the account opening can be fast I will like to effect the transfer latest tomorrow or two days my time.
I await your urgent response.
Note: I advised that you call this bank and make inquiry about setting up the account because it is a busy and big bank, if you are unable to get them on phone, please send them e-mail
Amazing. To be fair hes probably not even reading my messages, but still, he pushed on with the scam despite me being what appears to be the unluckiest, un-healthiest person in the world.
One final email… I think Eric was bored and i was proving too challenging to scam – so i never got an email from him again
I sent this today;
So anyone else that is contacted by Eric Fu, tell Eric to Fu off! haha :)