Tuesday, October 21, 2014


And so begins an epic, week-long exchange that I didn't see coming. It's always amusing to see how these scammers combine pseudo-upscale language with blatant errors in spelling in syntax. Read this one carefully, just to see if you can figure it out.

 From: PAYMENT VERIFICATION PANEL <pverification@worldbank.org>
Date: Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 3:40 AM




Date: 11/10/2014




Sequel to the on going payment verification exercise, It may interest you to note that I have personally completed investigations about your delayed payment down to the fund origin and have established in the course of my investigation that you are actually not the original beneficiary of the funds in question rather you are only being used to claim this outstanding payment through the help of your partners for their own selfish interest. I know this discovery might be a surprise to you but that is the truth.


Please note that I have really kept this development to myself and have been contemplating whether to report my findings to the entire verification team for onward cancellation of your payment, but owing to your recorded loses in this projrct I have this second thought of contacting you directly since I am in the position to assist you get this outstanding payment to your bank account. Hence its based on this subject that I solicit for your cooperation to enable me assist you process your delayed wire transfer into your nominated bank account with my earnest desire that you will in turn show appreciation towards the new Church Cathedral we are erecting in my Parish if God touches you at the end of the transfer which will not be longer than 10 working days.


There is no way your partners could have succeeded in manipulating this transfer in your favor before this time because both the deposit passwords and ownership clearance papers on this payment respectively are not within their disposals, henceforth it may interest you to note that spending any more money on this project without my consent is a complete waste of resources. Now that this truth has been reveled the ball is on your court. YOU CAN CONTACT ME WITH YOUR DETAILED INFORMATION AT: harry_dickson@aol.com
Reverend Harry Dickson
Chairman Joint Payment Verification Team

How am I supposed to contribute to his cathedral when he's going to wipe out my bank account? I replied with the some of the same misspellings, just to make him feel at home.
My dear Reverend:

I'm delighted to hear that the truth has been reveled, and your attempts to forward the money that is rightfully mine. The recorded loses in this projrct greatly upset me, but with you on my side, goodness will triumph. God will strike down thieves like them!

I would be honored to contribute to your cathedral (and would love to see a photo, if at all possible). Can you tell me what "detailed information" you need so we can begin this process?

Chester Hooten

 I was kind of surprised the good reverend replied, since it had been a long time since any of these scammers ever got back in touch. As with these other folks, he's looking out for my best interests:

Attn. Chester Hooten

Thanks for your response to our email, however as stated in my first email it may interest you to note that we have concluded arrangement with our paying bank to process your approved payment valued US$5.5 Million via ATM debit international withdrawal card which will be programmed and delivered to your address via  DHL courier service

This option so far has been confirmed as very reliable and less expensive compared to telegraphic wire transfer which is known to be more expensive, unnecessarily monitored and relatively complicated with demands of various clearances from international communities etc..., please note that the ATM debit card upon delivery will allow you make a maximum withdrawal value of US$10,000 per day from any ATM cash machine around your location. It is therefore very important you get back urgently with your consent on this option to enable this panel proceed with your payment as approved without any further delay, finally it is important you go ahead and forward your personal details as earlier requested (Full name, Current address and your direct telephone number) urgently to enable our paying bank commence the processing of your payment with the information you provided accordingly. Thanks as we await your urgent compliance, God Bless you

Yours truly
Reverend Father. Harry Dickson

 I was disappointed that he didn't attach a photo of the cathedral. I let it pass, so eager was I to get my hands on that dough.

Dear Rev.Dickson:

Thank you for looking out for my best interests. There are so many untruthful people in the world, especially on the internet, that I feel truly blessed to have found someone I can trust with my money. I wish there were more people out there like you! Then it truly would be a wonderful world.

My personal information:
Mr. Chester Hooten
335 Adams St,  Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 722-0712 

I look forward to hearing from you. May God bless you and your apocryphal cathedral.

Chester Hooten

A little Googling on the Reverend's part would have found that I had given him the address and number of the Brooklyn branch office of the Secret Service. But why let a little common sense get in the way of a scam?

And may the Secret Service putteth you in prison. I thought this would be the end of our little back & forth -- until I heard from him the next day.

Attn. Mr. Chester Hooten

Finally your ATM debit card is ready for shipment to the address you provided, however as promised please find attached on a JPEG format scanned copy of your personalized ATM card together with the card 4 digit PIN envelop for your confirmation. You are therefore urgently required to go ahead and take care of the courier shipment fee and the bank administrative charges respectively which totaled US$480 to enable our documentary Unit proceed with the shipment to the address you provided via DHL courier service immediately.

Please Note; the airway bill tracking number of the shipment will be forwarded to you as soon as the shipment is made together with other relevant withdrawal instructions accordingly. It is important you comply urgently due to time constraint, Thanks for your kind understanding and God Bless you.

Yours Faithfully
Rev. Harry Dickson


You'd think they'd take the time to make the photos appear a little more professional, rather than looking like they were hastily taken by greedy crooks. But who am I to judge?

Dear Rev.Dickson:

This is really quite exciting. I can't wait to contribute to the building of your cathedral. Just how do I take care of the $480 fees and charges? And can I do that after I get the ATM card?

Chester Hooten

The good reverend must have been salivating, because he answered within two hours:

Attn. Chester Hooten
In response to your email please note that the required delivery charges must be taken care of by the beneficiary prior to shipment of the ATM card package via DHL courier service, hence due to time constraint it is important you go ahead and take care of the required delivery fees as earlier directed immediately via Moneygram transfer to enable DHL proceed with the shipment to your address immediately
Text Question; PURPOSE
Thanks for your understanding as we await your urgent compliance, God Bless You!
Yours Faithfully
Rev. Harry Dickson
 It was time to drop the hammer:

Dear Rev. Dickson:

That sounds easy enough. I'll do that tonight once I leave work. I'm an agent for the Secret Service, and we're currently on a case involving email fraud -- crooks who try to steal from people by promising them millions of dollars in "winnings." But you're a reverend, and wouldn't do such a thing.

Please send me a photo of that cathedral!

Chester Hooten

I figured that would be the end of it. But this guy just couldn't take a hint.

I was thinking that you will take care of the required delivery fee by now as promised in your last email? it is important you go ahead and do the needful urgently as earlier directed to enable DHL proceed with your ATM card shipment to your address without any further delay. Meanwhile the issue of our church Cathedral should not be a priority here because it is not mandatory that you must donate to the building it is something that should be between you and God. Thanks for your kind understanding as we await your urgent compliance
Rev. Harry Dickson
This was like the good old days, when I kept these guys going for days on end. I had gone from trying to get rid of Rev. Dickson to reeling him in further:
Dear Rev.Dickson:

Sorry for the delay.  It seems that there's someone using your name to scam people out of their money. I know you're on the level, but my boss insists that you send me a photo of yourself. No crook would comply with that request, of course. Only an honest person would be happy to prove their honesty by providing an honest photo. Honest.

So once you send a photo, that $480 will be yours. A regular selfie would be fine, but a legal ID, like a drivers license or passport would be even better. Either way, however, you'll be $480 richer.

Steer clear of those Ebola-carriers!

Chester Hooten

You'd provide an ID for 480 bucks, right? Not Rev. Dickson, who was a little suspicious of my perfectly reasonable request. In fact, I could tell he was ticked-off by replying in caps:



Is that what they say? No matter. I let him know I didn't appreciate his attitude.

Dear Rev. Dickson:

I have no idea why you're so angry. I'm trying to help by warning you that there's evidence that some unscrupulous crook has stolen your personal contact information. Most people would be grateful that the Secret Service is keeping an eye out for their well-being.  

If it were up to me, I'd send you the $480 right now. But I remind you that my boss has demanded I see proof that you are who you say you are.  In fact, just to prove that I'm on your side, I swear as my god is my witness that I'm willing to contribute $10,000 in cash to you. You can use the money however you see fit -- for your cathedral, your personal needs, anything you want. But what I need to see is some form of ID.

Surely you can attach a photo of your ID for $10,000 in cash. Otherwise, I'm sorry I offended you, and I hope you have a good life.

Chester Hooten

 My god, by the way, is Paidia, the god of play and amusement, so I was in the clear.
Two days later, Rev. Dickson replied with the goods:

Attn Chester Hooten
Attached on a JPEG format is copy of my international passport as you requested, I don't send this to anybody for no reason whatsoever but I am compelled to do this, I hope this is OK

God Bless you
Rev. H. Dickson

Sorry I couldn't reproduce the photo well, but you can be sure he did his best to create a forged passport. I had to give him credit -- but not the money.

Dear Rev. Dickson:

Thank you for the photo. I appreciate your faith in me. Unfortunately, I have some bad news. Being an employee of the federal government, I'm not allowed to accept any package, shipment or letter from your country, due to the Ebola breakout. Let me assure you, this hurts me more than it does you.

However, I give you permission to use my winnings for your own personal use -- perhaps for your cathedral. Please send me a photo when it's completed.

Funny, isn't it, how I won all that money, only to give it all to you. God works in mysterious ways!

Chester Hooten

I assume this is the end of my dealings with Rev. Dickson. But I wouldn't bet $480 on it.