Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Now why don't I get myself a piece of this action?

I discovered this in my Google Mail spam box. It's an email from someone who calls himself David Ellis, and claims to be the chief inspection man at a US airport. The subject of his email is 'SHIPMENT'. He was writing from this email address: The 'ph' indicates a domain in the Philippines, and not the US.

This what 'David Ellis' had to say:

I am David Ellis Head of Inspection Unit United Nations Inspection Agency in Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Atlanta, Georgia. During our investigation, I discovered An abandoned shipment through a Diplomat from United Kingdom which was transferred from JF Kennedy Airport to our facility here in Atlanta, and when scanned it revealed an undisclosed sum of money in 2 Metal Trunk Boxes weighing approximately 110kg each.

The consignment was abandoned because the Content was not properly declared by the consignee as money rather it was declared as personal effect/classified document to either avoid diversion by the Shipping Agent or confiscation by the relevant authorities. The diplomat's inability to pay for Non Inspection fees among other things are the reason why the consignment is delayed and abandoned.

By my assessment, each of the boxes contains about $4M or more.They are still left in the airport storage facility till today. The Consignments like I said are two metal trunk boxes weighing about 65kg each (Internal dimension: W61 x H156 x D73 (cm) effective capacity: 680 L). Approximately. The details of the consignment including your name and email on the official document from United Nations' office in London where the shipment was tagged as personal effects/classified document is still available with us. As it stands now, you have to reconfirm your full name, Phone Number, full address so I  can cross-check and see if it corresponds with the one on the official documents. It is now left to you to decide if you still need the consignment or allow us repatriate it back to UK (place of origin) as we were instructed.

Like I did say again, the shipper abandoned it and ran away most importantly because he gave a false declaration, he could not pay for the yellow tag, he could not secure a valid non inspection document(s), etc. I am ready to assist you in any way I can for you to get back this packages provided you will also give me something out of it (financial gratification). You can either come in person, or you engage the services of a secure shipping/delivery Company/agent that will provide the  necessary security that is required to deliver the package to your doorstep or the destination of your choice. I need all the guarantee that I can get from  you before I can get involved in this project.

Best Regards,

David Ellis

The email was dated 18 June 2013, and it's now 10th July. Presumably those two boxes full of money are still hanging around! Wow, eight million dollars. At least eight million. That would come in handy!

You'll notice that my 'name and email' are supposed to be on the UN documentation. That's odd.  'David Ellis' also assumes that I'm willing to do a dirty little deal on the side with him. That's insulting. Why doesn't he simply contact the UN, or indeed the local police, and relieve himself of the problem these boxes pose for him?

Rest assured, I don't think this person, or those boxes, exist. This is surely just a way to bounce me into giving the people behind this email my full name, full address, and phone number - for whatever unsavoury operation really lies behind this charade.

It's not a particularly credible story, is it, but they must have spent time on composing it, and must have reckoned that myself (and who knows, a hundred thousand other random targets) might be intrigued enough, or greedy enough - and of course dishonest enough - to respond. God knows what happens to anyone who does give them the vital personal information. They certainly don't become the possessor of sudden wealth, I'll warrant. They must instead get entangled in some scam, and risk a criminal prosecution.

I did wonder whether it wasn't random, but careful selection. Dig into my blog posts, and you will find references to the £200,000 I lost on the Cottage. If they saw that, they might think I was in need of some capital, and therefore worth shortlisting. Sadly, I didn't see their email till today, and even sadder, I won't be replying in any way.

Do I miss that £200,000? Well, it was always either in a bank account or invested in the purchase price of the Cottage. I never had the chance to touch it in any meaningful sense, as for example when (in pirate mode) you dig your hands into a treasure chest and let those golden doubloons and pieces of eight clink and cascade through your fingers. No, it was a printed figure in a passbook, or on a statement. I turned some of the interest it earned into a laptop, a Nikon camera and lenses, some holidays; but the capital itself was never put to any good use. It might as well have not been there.

That £200,000 was simply a mental crutch, a theoretical safety net, money that was sitting there and might never get spent. Safety nets do serve a real function, but £20,000 will do for a holiday/minor surgery/emergency fund, and one day I will be able to put that together. Meanwhile, it instills good financial discipline to get by with only £1,000 or so in the bank. The challenge is to make whatever cash there is go a long way. Planning my spending, and keeping to my financial targets, is actually a satisfying hobby - and a vital skill for anyone on a fixed income.

Besides, I can't see how I could have explained to the local building society where I got all those high-denomination dollar bills. A tale of breaking the bank at Blackjack in Las Vegas just wouldn't wash. The Police would be summoned. No officer, I wasn't money laundering, honest...


  1. Read the book 419 by Will Ferguson

  2. It is indeed a well prepared story and one of many which find their way into our email boxes. Out of the countless thousands, even millions of people who receive the same message there will be one idiot who will respond. These messages are best left unopened in the spam folder. If any get into my normal mailbox I note the senders address and add it to the screening list where in future it will automatically go into spam. Rule of thumb, if I haven't requested it then it goes in the trash. It's getting so bad these days that often 80% of my mail is spam!

    Shirley Anne x

  3. Iam not a blogger but today I too received an email from our insector for the UN who claims he found these abandoned trunks containing money.
    The dialog is verbatum and the name is the same.It says also that my name and emal address is on the documentation .Any way I just wanted to thank you for posting other wise Id be wondering if these boxes were sitting there that I know nothing about but have my name on them for anyone to think I am connected to.


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