The great thing about Skype is that people can get in touch with you from just about anywhere, and that can lead to great friendships and business. The not so great thing is that any dork from anywhere on the planet can use this same convenience to rip people off.

Here’s a message I received today:

[13:11:21] Kermalli Asif Naushad says: Hello Mr. Langford,

I have been in search of someone with this last name LANGFORD”, so when I saw your name I was pushed to contact you and see how best we can assist each other. I am Naushad Asif Kermalli, a Banker here in U. A. E. I believe it is the wish of God for me to come across you on Skype now. I am having an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you because, it is in connection with your last name and you are going to benefit from it.

One Late PETER LANGFORD, a citizen of your country had a fixed deposit with my bank in 2004 for 36 calendar months, valued at US$18,400,000.00 (Eighteen Million, Four Hundred Thousand US Dollars) the due date for this deposit contract was this 16 of January 2007. Sadly peter was among the death victims in the May 26 2006 Earthquake disaster in Jawa, Indonesia that killed over 5,000 people. He was in Indonesia on a business trip and that was how he met his end.

My bank management is yet to know about his death, I knew about it because he was my friend and I am his account officer. Peter did not mention any Next of Kin/ Heir when the account was opened, and he was not married and no children. Last week my Bank Management requested that Peter should give instructions on what to do about his funds, if to renew the contract.

I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that Peter is dead and do not have any Heir, they will take the funds for their personal use, so I don’t want such to happen. That was why when I saw your last name I was happy and I am now seeking your co-operation to present you as Next of Kin/ Heir to the account, since you have the same last name with him and my bank head quarters will release the account to you. There
is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law.

It is better that we claim the money, than allowing the Bank Directors to take it, they are rich already. I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 50/50% to both parties, my share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal email address,

We can as well discuss this on phone; let me know when you will be available to speak with me on Skype. Have a nice day and God bless.

Anticipating your communication.

Naushad Asif Kermalli.

[13:14:02] Alan Langford says: I am forwarding this message to the RCMP for investigation. Thank-you.

[13:16:01] Kermalli Asif Naushad says: Allah Bless you!

If anyone out there is gullible enough to believe this crap, they almost deserve to be fleeced. But just in case here’s what’s wrong with this message:

  1. The bank is not named, so there’s no way to verify the sender’s identity.
  2. No reputable bank on the planet lets the directors take unclaimed deposits for their personal use.
  3. Unless my very rich relative was too damn stupid to leave this money in an interest bearing account, the odds that the balance would be such a nice round number are… one in ten million.
  4. Somehow I’m supposed to believe that there’s a way to move 9.2 million dollars out of the UAE without anyone noticing. Ha.
  5. This person, who frequently cites God, has no problem ripping his employer off. I’m not sure which God he’s talking about, but it’s not Allah; unless he’s willing to burn in hell.

Update: Notes on the “Susan Operah Smith” saga… Surgicare Transform Medical Hospital is a combination of the names of two cosmetic surgery companies (“Surgicare” and “Transform”). The address they provide is indeed that of a hospital, London’s Central Clinic. The land line number there is +44-0171-323 6404.

November 2008 Update: I have obtained copies of the fake documents this person is using. As mentioned above, the entire hospital is bogus, so that’s easy. I’d point out the problems with the “passport”, but I don’t want to make it any easier for these people.