Nigerian bankers are from China?

I just can’t help posting one more spam message here, as an example of how spammers run. This time, a very well-known Nigerian 419 spam message where the spammer is trying to collect sensitive information about those whom he’s spamming.

Interestingly enough, many people tend to share this information freely on the Internet already. With sites as Facebook and LinkedIn I would think spammers would not even need this information. Well, except for the bank account numbers, of course. And maybe the phone number.

So let’s look at this message, that seems to be Nigeria. Or China. Or Russia, if I read the mail headers.Nigerian SpamWell, what does it say? It’s about a contract or inheritance file that’s at some desk in Nigeria. I don’t have a clue what it’s supposed to do there, but they have it. Who? Well, The Central Bank of Nigeria, of course. (Yeah, that link goes to the real site!) It seems that I am dealing with some non-officials about this case and that’s supposed to be illegal. The Board of Directors held a meeting to give me a solution, though. They’re willing to pay me the $950,000.00 that’s in some online account which is supposed to be mine. I need to give some details to them which would allow me to log in to my account so I can transfer the money to a different account. And I must stop discussing about this with anyone else, so this post on my blog must be illegal.

Okay, I’m not stupid. The fact that Google dumped this in my spam folder is the first warning. The red warning above the post is the second warning. Even if I’m a complete idiot (and I sometimes am one) then these two warnings should trigger plenty of alarm bells, making sure I won’t respond to this. But I’m interested in the mail header too.

Nigerian Spam HeaderSure, first thing I’ve noticed is another warning: “domain of infocbn@cbn.com does not designate 178.75.0.110 as permitted sender“.

It was sent from Webasto, which happens to be a Russian company that creates air conditioning systems for automobiles. Maybe the Nigerian Board of Directors is in Russia?

And I need to send a reply back to an email address provided by the email services of the Chinese Yahoo website.

Also, even though they knew my email address (helpdesk@example.com), they did not know my name. Or anything else, even. But they seem to know that I’m dealing with non-officials, though.

So, am I dealing here with Russian Nigerians who live in China? Or Chinese Nigerians living in Russia? I don’t know. This is just spam and it’s too ridiculous to even consider believing it. I can’t understand that anyone would be fooled by something stupid like this, yet it happens. At least, it happens often enough for these spammers to continue their attempts. Just send a million of these messages and hope that an Idiot will respond to it. If one in a million people are idiots, they tend to have a reasonable chance of success.

Also interesting is the reference to CBN, which isn’t the Central Bank of Nigeria. It’s the Christian Broadcasting Network. Close enough, I guess.

The true Central Bank of Nigeria has an official warning about 419 scams on their website. A check with RobTex seems to confirm this site is the real website. The fact that it’s a .ORG domain still makes me a bit suspicious but fortunately, there’s also an official gov.ng site, which happens to be a bit slower. All this spam isn’t just annoying for me and other recipients, it’s also bad for the Nigerian government and their bank.

It amazes me that these Nigerian 419 scams still continue for more than a decade. Especially since these emails seem to be so extremely fake that I just wonder if people are just fooled by these spammers simply because they try to scam the spammers themselves. And in trying to do so, they just happen to give away too much real information.

The best response to these kinds of emails is to either ignore them or by warning others about these kinds of emails.

Blog spammers

I’m having a late lunch break and started to check all comments that needed to be moderated for my blog. And as usual, there’s a lot of spam between those comments! Fortunately, this blog is hosted by WordPress.com and they know how to detect those spammers easily! So all I have to do is empty the spam folder once in a while. It’s great! But just for the fun of it, let’s look at a few of those. 🙂

Yeah, there it is… My spam folder. I had 56 spam messages in it and was just deleting them one by one, since it’s fun seeing how spammers tend to operate. (And educational too.) But I decided at one point that it could be educational for others too, so here it is.

One thing you will notice is that most spammers will include hyperlinks to some other site. These could be malicious sites or just some obscure web shop that needs free advertisements. Most of it is in English, which makes sense since most of this blog is in English. But the Russian post in this list is noteworthy!

Another post I’ve noticed says: “Hi there would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a honest price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!” Definitely noteworthy since it seems to be a valid request. I do wonder why it’s considered spam. But I’m smart so I’ve Googled for that remark and it happens to appear on dozens and dozens of other websites, where webmasters have allowed the comment to pass their filters! That’s not a wise move since approving such messages means that the sender is often approved for sending more comments too. Allowing this message might mean that he will follow-up with all kinds of spam, probably trying to sell Viagra or penis enlargement herbs. So, it’s spam. The spammer tries some innocent-looking message just so I would let my guards down and approve him as a valid commentator. Well, too bad he did not fool the WordPress filter. (Most likely because they’ve recognized his IP address.) The blog he’s included in his profile is most likely just a random blog post that he misuses to make things look even less suspicious.

I also tend to get a lot of compliments from spammers, probably hoping to play with my ego and confusing me to allow those messages. Again, WordPress isn’t fooled by them! One such spam message said: “Hey there, just became alerted to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!” which sounds nice. It’s linked to this post where I show a CGI image I’ve just created. Didn’t consider that post very informative, though. Just fun, and a follow-up on a earlier post that was more informative. The praise is nice, but just too generic to be considered real.

One more, as a comment on my post about Stupid Spammers: “In the event you suffer from any of these circumstances or injuries, it is worth taking the time to seek advice from your physician or physical therapist concerning the use of [SNIP! Spam-link!]” I don’t see any relation between this comment and the topic of my post, except that this too happens to be a dumb spammer. Many spam comments are like this. They are often not related to the topic you’re discussing or very generic by nature. When the comment isn’t on-topic, be aware!

Anyway, one thing that most of those comment spam have in common is that they’re trying to promote all kinds of medication. Then again, that’s also true for many normal spam. But if you want to fight blog spam in your own blog then make sure that any commentator is moderated for at least a month, or 10 comments, whatever is more. Be aware of  their posts and if those comments are too generic, it’s most likely that he commentator isn’t really reading your blog but just wants to get more rights to comment without moderation. (And once they can do that, they will fill your blog with a lot of spam, just before you’ll notice what they’re doing and can put a stop to them!)

Blog spam can destroy any blog, make them unreadable for the regular visitor while also helping spammers to have their spam be found by various search engines. If I would allow spam in my blog, people who would look for common words in my blog (CGI, Poser, Grepolis, etc.) will find my blog but when visiting it, they would see just spam. So, bloggers should have a very good reason to block blog spam, or else no one will follow their blogs…