Pay or Die scam. One day in September I receive the following email. The headers indicate the first emails come from Benin
Extremely Urgent Joe Smith,
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 7:21 AM
Hello Joe Smith,
Listen, if you comply with me, you will not die.
To be specific, I am an assassin and one of the best today. Someone paid me to Eliminate you and I will do it if you did not comply. I can assure you that we have everything in place for the operation, we can stiff you any moment even now.
But your data proved your innocense from the investigations carried out by my crew. That is why I have decided to make a deal with you instead of killing you. And as I write to you now, my crew are monitoring your every step.
WARNING:- Don't even think of fucking with me, my eyes is on you. Do not think of running away because it is not possible now. And do not ever think of contacting the police or discussing it with anyone because you will be grounded. Your moves are strictly monitored. So if you make any suspicious move, you will die. And I will extend it to your family if you do much as raise your nose. Do not come out once it is 7.00 pm until my deal with you is over and I have given you the tape of my discussion with the person who wants you dead. Then you can take legal action with it when I am gone with my crew. Just relax OK, feel at home let us deal clean together.
So for your own good I'd advise you co-operate with us. I have killed many people and you will die if you do not adhere strictly to my instruction. Do you want to LIVE OR DIE? It's up to you. Get back to me now if you are ready to do business with me and I will spare your life. $40,000 is all you have to spend. But first you have to pay $10,000 bucks, to us. Then I will send you a tape containing full evidence. When the tape gets to you, the balance is $30,000 bucks. I won't entertain any delay in paying the balance. Take my instructions: You will pay $10,000 first to us via western union.
Pay $5000 to Ken Platt, Houston , Texas , USA. Pay $5000 to Joseph Boll, London UK. You have just 48 hours to send the money. Scan and send the western union senders form to me. Make sure that your only response is the scanned senders form. And ensure that the money is not on hold for any reason. I am not here to play a thousand words. If I did not receive the scanned copy of the senders form with next 48hrs from now, you are done for.
Never seen one of these scam mails before, but there is only one way to respond
Dear Mr. McBoll,
I am very sorry for stealing your wife. Promise not to kill me and I will send her back
This did not exactly elicit a direct response. I believe at this point I have been handed off from Benin to to a "closer", possibly in England...
You have one option..
Sunday, September 14, 2008 1:18 PM
You will vow to pay me the sum of $80,000.
And you must start paying from now.
Go to western union money transfer and send $3,000 to names,
Edward Boll, London UK .
Scan and send the payment form to me within 16hrs from now. When I receive it, we will discuss how you pay the rest. If I did not receive it within 16hrs, you must die. It is a promise.
I like the logic. I think I can work with this guy.
Dear Mr. McBoll
Before it was only $40,000 and you said I would be dead in 48 hours if I did not pay. Now 5 days later I am not dead. But now the price is $80,000.
So, if I understand your business correctly, each day you do not kill me my worth increases $8,000. If this is the case, I have an excellent idea. Why not wait 20 more days to kill me, then I will be worth $240,000! Your profit will be tremendous; much greater than the $80,000 you propose.
Please think carefully about this counter-proposal and get back to me. If you agree, then we can start right away.
He doesn't seem to have much business sense, but simply replied with:
Monday, September 15, 2008 4:04 AM
What happens to you any moment is not my fault anymore...
So, it is time for me to up the ante:
Yesterday I found a dead chipmunk in my backyard. Was that a warning from you?
Interestingly, this scammer all of a sudden changes tactics. Perhaps once they realize you don't take the death threats seriously they switch to plan B. So Mr. McBoll is no longer going to kill me, instead it will be a fate worse than death - he will besmirch my reputation using a classic internet "Joe-job".
I am given you 24 hours only to send $3000 to me or I will firstly give you a bad name in below order.
I will use your personals in below order: Joe Smith, email@example.com
and forward the email below to millions of people in the world. I will make it look as if you contracted me to kill people for you. Before the authorities will find out that you are innocent, it must have cost you much. The email will make you look like an assasin contractor or a scam. You will have so many questions to answer...... If you don't have all the money, send me the amount that you can afford immediately. I need it please. I and so sorry, respond now please or I will start messing up your name. James.
If you refuse, I will share this email bearing your informations to the world.
Listen, If you comply with my instructions, you will not die. To be specific, I am an assassin.
I am paid to Eliminate you and your family. As I write you now, my crew are monitoring your every step. We have everything in place for the operation, we can stiff you any moment even now.
I ponder how a stone-cold killer could suddenly have turn into an internet geek? Then it occurs to me...
Now I understand your situation and I want to apologize to you. I originally believed you were a criminal, but now I realize that you may be an innocent victim of the scam you describe here.
As I understand it, some criminal threatened you for money and you did not comply. In response, this criminal started sending out millions of emails with the name Mr. McBoll threatening to kill innocent persons. And this is how I received your email.
Now I know that these emails are sent out randomly to millions of people, and that you are not a genuine killer. I know the chipmunk in my back yard was just a coincidence -- although it did appear to have been beaten to death. I am also sympathetic with your plight and would like to help you. Since you and I are similar victims of this scam, perhaps we can work together to fight this serious criminal
This seems to appeal to him and he drops all pretense:
I agree for us to join as a team but I need this $3000 badly. You have the money go to western union and send $3,000 to names:
Edward Boll, London UK.
When I receive it, we can become a stronger team.
But if I did not receive it, I will Joehine your names address and email over a billion emails both as a scam, as assassin contrator and as a terrorist. You will not find it funny when the law is comming for you. Just send the money, I need it.
And now I know he is also a religious man. So I wonder if I can appeal to his sense of charity.
Dear Mr. McMoll,
Well, it is embarrassing for me to say this, but actually I was going to ask you for money. Really, it is your responsibility for my current predicament. Because I believed your earlier threats I spent $5000 on a new home security system plus I have been paying a bodyguard $300 a day to protect me. But I am not a very rich man, I only work in an Internet cafe sending emails to people telling them that they have won a lottery or I want to transfer millions of dollars from a deceased person's bank account, etc. It is a hard job and I have had no luck, and spent most of my remaining money on coffee and cigarettes. I feel terrible and I fear my precious short life is being wasted on trivial and meaningless endeavors. On the other hand, I also believe that a quick $2000 would cheer me up and make it all seem worthwhile.
Now I wonder if you may not be an angel sent to help me in my hour of need. I can quickly see that you are an original, and that your emails, unlike my own, are quite convincing. You must be successful with thousands of dollars coming in. Please sir, if this is the case, could you not spare a few thousand for a poor boy like myself and help me on my road to recovery? This may seem like a crazy request, but please think about this: at the end of the day when we are no longer on this earth, what difference will a few thousand dollars make to you? It will not affect our existence at all!
Please excuse my impudent request, which I would not make were it not because of your earlier, most convincing emails. I am sure you are a kind and blessed man who will understand my pitiful plight.
At this point. Mr McBoll actually carries out his geek-threat, and he sends out thousands of death threat emails using my return address. My inbox and spam folder are temporarily flooded with "undeliverable message" replies, plus a few replies from real people who mostly want to inquire about the health and predilections of my mother. Their last names all start with the letter "J" - I think Mr McBoll could not afford the whole set of worldwide spammable email addresses. I sent out explanations to each of these persons, and pretty much everyone was sympathetic and friendly once the situation was explained to them The most difficult one was a lady who responded in French asking why I wanted to kill her. I could only respond, "l'etatÉ. C'est moi!
I figure at this point, the best strategy with the scammer is to pretend that his actions are having no effect, so I say nothing to him about it and instead follow up with:
Today I found another dead chipmunk in my backyard. OK I get your point. I won't ask you for $3,000 again -- so please, leave the chipmunks alone. Thanks
I wish Mr. McBoll had responded about the chipmunks, but obviously he had moved on to browner pastures. I received no further communication from my former partner, but his Joe-job did cause some genuine damage.
First, I lost access to my Yahoo email account: I could no longer log in. When I contacted Yahoo they told me my account had been closed for violation of the terms of service. I explained the situation to them, i.e. that I was the victim, but to no avail. Yahoo does not seem to be interested in investigating each and every case, and just follows a blanket policy of cancelling any account that might be questionable. I cannot complain really, it is their nickel since my email account was free. I had owned this account for about 8 years, but it was my backup account that I used whenever I did not care about security. This is why it received the spam in the first place.
Second, a month later I received a phone call from a police officer in Florida, asking me if I was responsible for sending a death threat to an upright citizen in Humbolt County.
I explained the situation, and the officer was very understanding and we had a nice conversation. Actually I don't mind this, since I think it provides information to the law authorities to understand these types of scams. I would not mind being contacted by some law enforcement agency that would be interested in setting one of these guys up. But I can also forsee being investigated by some law enforcement agency that might be more skeptical. If so, Mr. McBoll's could in fact succeed in hurting me. That would be quite an accomplishment - he would have beaten with nothing more than a few electrons.