Monday, January 12, 2009

An Unanticipated Refund from the IRS? Lucky Me.

In this morning's email I received the following "official" notification from the IRS:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Tax refund value is $120.50. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to IWP [???] the data received. If u [sic] don't receive your refund within 9 business days from the original IRS mailing date shown, you can start a refund trace online.
If you distribute funds to other organization, your records must show wether [sic] they are exempt under section 497 (c) (15). In cases where the recipient org. is not exempt under section 497 (c) (15), you must have evidence the funds will be used for section 497 (c) (15) purposes.
If you distribute fund to individuals, you should keep case histories showing the recipient's name and address; the purpose of the award; the maner [sic] of section [sic]; and the realtionship [sic] of the recipient to any of your officers, directors, trustees, members, or major contributors.
To access the form for your tax refund, please *click here* [Note: This generously-provided link goes not, as you might expect, to a "masked" URL, but directly to <> -- these guys have absolutely no imagination or computer-geek skills]
This notification has been sent by the Internal Revenue Service, a bureau [sic] of the Department of the Treasury.
The link, as you can see, goes to some "disco dating" website in, of all places, Germany. Given the misspelled words and the tone (it was obviously written by someone whose native language is not English), it's hard to believe that anyone would actually fall for this. But the Nigerians seem to still be making a killing -- sometimes literally -- on their particular area of scam expertise.

BTW, when I was in Saigon last September I met a couple of guys from Nigeria. Their very first question to me? "What's your email address?"... Really. I had to laugh while they, of course, had to pretend that they didn't get the joke.

But at least with the Nigerians, some people, like Scam-O-Rama: The Lads from Lagos and 419 Eater, are fighting fire with fire. Read some of the case histories on both of those sites about the ridiculous lengths some of those poor Nigerian saps will go to in trying to keep their "phish" on the line. I especially like the stories wherein the putative victim actually turns the tables and gets money from the scammers.