A Particularly Disgusting Version of a Classic Internet Scam

by Dr. David Gruder

I just received an e-mail that claims to have been written by a U.S. soldier on active duty in Iraq. This new variation on an old internet scam in whihc the perpetrator tells a phony story about suffering from a fatal disease and wanting to leave money to you, or of having discovered your name listed as next of kin in an estate worth huge amounts of money, etc. There are many variations of this "you’ve just won the lottery scam" floating around. The scam is to find some suckers who believe the phony story and provide the perpetrator with their bank account information (and often a ‘good faith deposit’ or ‘processing fee’). The suckers then find themselves having lost a bundle of money while they were thinking they had come into an unexpected nest egg.

The version below is the most vile I have seen so far for reasons I’m sure you’ll understand as soon as you read it. To perpetrate this scam in the name of a member of our armed forces infuriates me beyond words. I have included the message in its entirety EXACTLY as I received it, except for deleting the contact e-mail address this clown provided at the end of his message. I don’t want you to even be tempted to write to him to give him a piece of your mind — there’s no telling what damage he might try to do with your name and e-mail address once he gets his hands on it!

The moral of the story is "internet user beware:" if you’ve not received this kind of crap it’s only a matter of time before you do. If I knew who this person was (the name he used in the e-mail below is completely phony — as are the names used in all variations on this scam) I would give them one of my Integrity Disgrace Awards!

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Dear Sir/Madam

My name is (staff Sgt.) Johnson Wood; i am an American soldier, serving in the Military with the army’s 3rd infantry division. i have a very desperate need for Assistance and have summed up courage to contact you.

I found your contact particulars in an address journal and I am seeking your kind Assistance to move the sum of Five million United States dollars (us$5,000,000) to you In your country, as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care Until i complete my service here.

SOURCE OF MONEY
Some money in various currencies were discovered in barrels at a Farmhouse near one of saddam’s old palaces in tikrit-iraq during a rescue operation, and it was agreed by Staff Sgt.. Kenneth buff and i that some part of this money be shared Between us. My own share of the money is Five Million United State Dollars, which I want moved out immediately.

One Passionate appeal i will make to you is not to discuss this matter with anybody, should You have reasons to reject this offer, please and please destroy this message as any Leakage of this information will be too bad for the u.s. soldier’s here in Iraq.

I do not know how long we will remain here; month of May was the deadliest month for us out Here. Totally, we lost 127 men and i have been shot, wounded and survived two suicides Bomb attacks by the special grace of God.

This and other reasons i will mention later has prompted me to reach out for help. I honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately, please contact me as soon as Possible with my private e-mail address which is my only way of communication. (e-mail: deleted by Dr. Gruder)

May God bless you and your family.

Regards,
Johnson Wood.

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