I make a portion of my living speaking professionally. That means I get on a platform and present in front of an audience on issues revolving around personal security and identity theft.
So when I got this email, I was so happy to see I was being invited to England to speak to the esteemed Middlesex University in England.
I had to shorten the dialog to keep in tune with your attention span.
SCAMMER: From: Professor Wayne Erickson <email@example.com>
Company: MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY.
To: Respected Robert Siciliano, (I am ‘Respected”, NICE!)
Am Professor Wayne Erickson from the Middlesex University
Here in London UK. We want you to be our guest speaker at this
Year Middlesex University Seminar which will take place here in
We are taking care of your traveling and hotel accommodation expenses including your speaking fee. If you will be available for our event, include your speaking fees in your email so it can be included in your CONTRACT AGREEMENT.
ME: Wonderful. Fee is $10,000. What are the next steps?
SCAMMER: It is really nice hearing back from you; we are over delighted to have
you honor our invitation. I will have loved to give you a call
so as to deliberate more on arrangements, but am out of office on an
official duty and will not be back until WEDNESDAY morning, we can only
communicate through emails at the moment.
We have agreed to buy your flight ticket and to pay your hotel
accommodation expenses. Also your Speaking fee is amounted to
10,000 USD 7,000 (SEVEN THOUSAND USD) deposit is to be paid as
soon as you procure all relevant travel documents so as to avoid any
disappointment. You are informed to get across your Work Permit to us
so your deposit can be approved according to our mandated rules and
You are advised by the Event Organizing committee to immediately
contact our BRITISH EMBASSY here in the UK to procure your UK Work
Permit as soon as possible
This will enable us to proceed with all arrangements to welcome you
here in London. Contact the British Embassy official
BRITISH EMBASSY. Name: Dr Owen Loren Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
ME: Dr. Owen Loren, need work permits.
SCAMMER: I acknowledged the receipt of your mail. I understood all the
contents. Without any waste of time and due to short time we have left
to proceed with the issuance of these important documents .Fortunately
for you I will be processing some files today at the UK BORDER AGENCY.
You are advised to immediately provide me with the listed
View attachment below and immediately get back to me with all
requirements so I can proceed on the procurement of your PERMIT.
In your service,
Dr Owen Loren,
British Embassy Official.
In the attached document, the scammer requests for 550 pounds (837.277 USD)
SCAMMER: As soon as you get the PERMIT procured send me a copy of it so I can forward it to our FINANCIAL DEPARTMENT for your DEPOSIT to be sent
over to you, I will also begin with all reservations ASAP.
We also await the signed copy of your CONTRACT AGREEMENT.
Note: The UNIVERSITY has promised to reimburse all the expenses spent
on your PERMIT alongside your DEPOSIT.
We await meeting you in LONDON,
ME: This is such a fantastic opportunity. Please send photos of yourselves of your highest dress attire in your most coiffed hair with the attached document printed out. I will post them on my website to promote my esteemed engagement. I will get on my motorbike shortly after I received these wonderful photographs of your handsomeness and go directly to western-union to pay the fabulous fee to work. I need these photographs ASAP. Please include a handheld printable version of my name (as attached) in your hands (both hands) with the photograph to show my American colleagues how lucky I am to work with such incredible official as yourself. I look forward to these photographs ASAP and will provide to my webmaster then I will go on my motorbike to pay the fee. I am ready and awaiting your quickest timeliest response.
Your Esteemed Colleague and Most Wonderful Speaker
All they need is one person each month to respond to this scam and they make bank. $850.00 is enough money for them to feed themselves all month. This isn’t such a sophisticated scam.
However, speakers I know have fallen for it. The documentation and the targeted attack make it an effective ruse. Lawyers are getting scammed in a similar way.
What makes this “spear phish” (a targeted scam) so scary is they sought ME out, they know my profession and who I am. But, apparently they don’t really know what I do, which is exposing their scumminess to the world. I feel dirty just communicating with them.