A refresher on Fraud Spotting

It seems that there are still persons who have difficulty authenticating the miraculous offers of incredible fortunes which find their way into said persons email in-boxes.

We shall endeavour to dissect one such missive chosen at random from the never-ending supply which feeds our inbox.

We hope that such a dissection may encourage others to do the same.

From: Speechly Bircham LLP
Sent: Friday, August 19, 2011 6:08 PM
To: notice@speechlybircham.com

Let us begin with the address information.

Speechly Bircham LLP http://www.speechlys.com/ is a real law firm located in London. Were they actually attempting to distribute funds from J.P. Getty’s will, they would, in all liklihood, have the resources to track us down using a more reliable method than sending us an email where they do not reference our name.

The email address used in the “To:” portion of the address is not real. While the firm of Speechly Bircham does own speechlybircham.com, they do not seem to use it. Their email addresses are of the form xxxxx@speechlys.com.

This email was sent Friday, August 19, 2011 6:08 PM easter standard time (UTC -5), which would indicate that Barr. John Ward has nothing better to do in London on a late Friday night then send suspicious emails to America.

The subject matter, THIS IS MY THIRD AND FINAL E-MAIL TO YOU!!!, has a few issues that need addressing. If this is, in fact, the third email – where did its predecessors go? We never received them. One would think that were they undeliverable, that the barrister would have been made aware of that. If we assume that the good barrister had received two rejections, why would he assume that the third one would get through, barring third time’s a charm?
The upper-case internet screaming seems somewhat inappropriate and the overall tone of the statement seems to be a thinly veiled threat. Hardly what one would expect from a prestigious British law firm.


A second subject line is included in an attempt to attract our attention. They seem to be in the process of settling John Paul Getty’s will and somehow we are involved. Sadly John Paul Getty did pass away, but not recently. He died in 2003. It seems his will is being handled in a somewhat leisurely fashion.

On behalf of the Trustees and Executors of the late British Philanthropist, 
Sir John Paul Getty Jr., I once again try to notify you as our email to you 
was returned as a failure delivery (undelivered), hence I hereby attempt to 
reach you via your e-mail address.

This previous statement should set off a warning bell. Our correspondent informs us that he is contacting us using our email address because his previous attempts to contact us using our email address have failed. This confirms our suspicions from above. We are dealing with an idiot. While he does seem to distinguish between email and e-mail, the significance of that distinction is lost on us.

I wish to notify you that the late Sir J. Paul Getty Jr. made you one of the beneficiaries to his (WILL), he bequeathed the sum of Nine Million SevenHundred and Eight Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Two Great British Pounds Sterlings Only (GBP?9,708,692.7) to you in the codicil and last testament to his (WILL) which is eleven (11%) of his total funds of GBP?88,260,443.00 Eighty Eight Million Two Hundred and Sixty Thousand Four Hundred and Forty Three Great British Pounds Sterling deposited with one of UK’s biggest financial institution.

We seem to be veering farther and farther off course. John Paul Getty named us in the codicil of his will and left no instructions as to how to reach us other than an email address which doesn’t work and was not in use at the time of his death eight years ago. We seldom find persons who speak English as their native tongue who feel the need to spell out numeric values. Even on those occasions when style guides suggest spelling out numbers, one would substitute seven for 7, but would probably not write (Seven) in its place.

It is also estimated that J.P Getty’s fortune was in the vicinity of one billion six hundred million pounds. This would put eleven percent of his fortune at something in the neighborhood of one hundred seventy-six million pounds rather than nine million. We feel we are being shortchanged. We doubt that our correspondent knows the name of any British financial institution.

This may sound very strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and 
true. Being a widely popular traveled man, he must have been in contact with 
you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous 
friends here or abroad who wished you well. Sir J. Paul Getty Jr., the 
reclusive American-born philanthropist was the third son of the first 
American oil billionaire, billionaire American oilman Jean, Paul Getty.

Barrister Ward has finally made a statement which rings true. This does sound very strange and unbelievable. His truthfulness is sadly short-lived. We think Mr. Getty was more likely a popular, widely traveled man, but that is only our opinion. We are fairly certain that had we met Mr. Getty, we would remember. The same goes for any of his friends, since they tend to travel in circles beyond the reach of most mere mortals. We think the Wikipedia link we provided above presents a much better biography than does Barrister Ward’s feeble attempt. Not to mention, more accurate.

According to him this money is to support religious and humanitarian 
activities and to help the poor and the needy in our society. Please if I 
reach you as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to 
enable me conclude my job. I hope to hear from you in no distant time. 

We find it difficult to believe that the late Mr. Getty had no resources with which to perform charitable acts and that he felt the need to rely on us to act on his behalf. We watch a great deal of British television and while the colloquialisms are sometimes difficult to keep pace with, we are fairly certain we have never heard the phrase no distant time; not even in Doctor Who or Torchwood and both of those programs deal with time quite frequently.

Please forward your response to tnsfaccessdept@focusedonprofits.com for 
immediate attention.

We attempted to visit focusedonprofits dot-com. Our virus scanner refused to let us go there. Probably best if you don’t either. This doesn’t help the writer’s credibility.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours in services,
Barr. John Ward
Speechly Bircham LLP
E-mail: tnsfaccessdept@focusedonprofits.com

We hope that Barr. Ward has a book to read while he waits as he is likely to be waiting for a long time. We are disinclined to respond to his message.

Should you receive an email such as this, take the time to read it through and think about the claims being made. It should not be very difficult to realize that there is something not quite right.

As tempting as it might seem to have your long-lost fortune returned to you, or a massive inheritance bequeathed to you or fantastic lottery winnings sent to you, try to remember this: It’s not going to happen.

Alas we find that after careful scrutiny, we are forced to conclude that this is  Fraud.

That is all.

This entry was posted in Email fraud, Humor, Sarcasm and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A refresher on Fraud Spotting

  1. Pingback: Another brief aside… | How to spot a Fraud

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