Most of us have had them: those wonderfully enticing offers of getting a share of some massive deceased estate or gold bullion stack.
All it will cost us is to part with our bank details.
When France-based Australian journalist Alan Austin received a Facebook friend request from a man with the name ‘Brien Aubrey Jordan-jack’, he suspected something was amiss.
But he accepted anyway and decided to have a little fun at this scammer’s expense. Here’s how it went down.
The first conversation…
Brien Aubrey Jordan-jack: Hello thanks for accepting my friend request it is my pleasure meeting you I am Brien from the United States and you?
Alan Austin: My info is on the page, Brien.
BAJ: i know but I will like us to get to know each other because there is an important issue I will like to discuss. I am a construction engineer by profession and you?
BAJ: That is nice you get to travel to different part of the countries do you like to travel? When can we chat?
AA: Just post the deal here, Brien. I will see it when I log on.
BAJ: Alright Alan just kindly let me know when you will be available Alan because there is an important issue Alan.
AA: Now is okay.
BAJ: my late father deposited a box of Gold in the custody of the United Nations in London before he passed away now that my father is dead the Gold belong to me.
AA: Which UN agency? The EBRD or another finance arm?
BAJ: Also i will want the both of us work together during these investment because we both are matured men.
AA: Yes, we are. What will this cost me?
BAJ: if i may ask Alan please what do you do for a living?
AA: Still a journalist.
BAJ: My Gold is 75 kilos which worth 3.3 million dollars.
AA: Not at today’s price, it isn’t.
BAJ: it could have dropped but i will need your assistance so we can both get the Gold out from the united nations in London. You stand to have 40% to yourself
AA: So what happens next?
BAJ: are you ok with the 40% of the Gold?
Here is the email you must send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the business partner of BRIEN AUBREY JACK and he deposited some Gold in your custody. I will want the Gold delivered to me in France and i know the charges incurred for the delivery. Box number of BRIEN AUBREY JACK gold: UNHC- BB903-DEL235. Hoping to hear from you when you get these mail.
Regards, ALAN AUSTIN.
A variation on the requested email was sent with a question relating to charges.
In reply, I received an email from a sender shown as ‘Bash Leke’ claiming to be from the United Nations headquarters in London saying the code I provided had been accepted and requesting, of course, my personal information.
This was sent in reply:
Dear Mr or Ms Bash Leke,
Looking forward to completing this transaction swiftly.
Please advise the following:
1. What will delivery to my agent in London cost?
2. Which address do you need? Residential, mail or my London agent Mr Paul Heese?
Meanwhile, on Facebook:
BAJ: Hello Alan why are you not giving me feed back if you have gotten any email from the UN and if everything is going as planned?
AA: All going well. Just waiting on info.
BAJ: the earlier the better for your details so as to know you the right person to receive the box in France.
Further emails followed:
To: Bash Leke
From: Alan Austin
Subject: Re: Delivery of gold inquiry
I will be in London this week and can meet you to make arrangements personally.
And even better news. I have arranged to take delivery in London at the address of my agent Mr Paul Heese. No need to ship to France.
Here are all details:
1. FULL NAMES: Alan Percival Studley Austin
2. COUNTRY/CITY: France/Escroc-Blague
3. OCCUPATION: Journalist
4. NATIONALITY: Australian
5. MOBILE: (actual number supplied)
6. ADDRESS: c/- Paul Heese, Scotland Yard, London SW1H
Please call or email to arrange our meeting.
And please advise costs.
A phonecall was received from a caller with a strong Asian accent identifying himself as “Brien Aubley” who insisted that all instructions must be complied with exactly.
Then, on Facebook:
BAJ: Listen you are the right person to receive the box in France you must follow procedures.
AA: All sorted, Brien. Have arranged to call at the UN in London. Just leaving now. Meeting my good friend Bash Leke tomorrow. We will soon be rich, partner!
BAJ: I already explained the situation of things to you and how the United Nations operate.
AA: How do you know how they operate, Brien? Have you done this before? Will contact you from London. Cheers.
An unexpected windfall…
AA: Good news!
BAJ: What is the good news?
AA: Great news! I arrived at the UN office in Bottom Wallop to find they did not know Mr Bash Leke. Ah, British bureaucracies! So I took a cab to the EBRD – the European Bank for Restitution – who directed me to the Bureau for Recovery of Missing Assets in Piddlington. Fortunately I have been to London, and know the language.
BAJ: you are in London?
AA: The man at Recovery of Missing Assets was very pleased to see me. Seems he has a monthly quota of parental gold to restore to bereaved children and is behind schedule. I told him I was collecting gold belonging to your father, whose name was Aubrey Jordon-Jack or something similar. Fortunately I had the official United Nations emails to prove this was true.
He didn’t have anyone of that exact name on his files but we discovered he did have an Aubrey Fotheringham-George with gold and platinum to be claimed. I assured him that was the right name and we completed the paperwork. I signed a statutory declaration and they photocopied my passport. So all good. Just as I said.
BAJ: Is this true ?
AA: There are 32.3 kilos of gold and 39 kilos of platinum, so it is only worth 2,206,284 US dollars and 90 cents. I know this is a disappointment, Brien, so I’m happy with 39%, which leaves you US$1,345,833.79.
Anyway, I must return tomorrow with confirmation from you and a security van.
Was Aubrey Fotherington-George your father, Brien?
BAJ: Yes i believe so. i am sure of it.
AA: Good. My ex-girlfriend’s brother Harold is a security guard here in Booby Dingle and can borrow a van and security boxes. He will do it for a tenner and a pint at the Bull & Spectacles. We will take the ingots to the Bank of London in Spanker Lane and exchange them for US dollars. We can then wire you the US$1,345,833.79.
Are you happy to proceed, partner?
BAJ: Yes definitley.
AA: Cool. How can we send you the US$1,345,833.79? Bank transfer, wire, xetrade.com or a bank cheque?
BAJ: How do I know this is true?
AA: Here’s the asset recovery website, Brien:
Besides, I’m a matured man, remember?
BAJ: Okay very good
AA: Excellent news, Brien! I am at the asset recovery place. The gold will soon be yours!
BAJ: Yes this is excelent.
AA: Just one tiny glitch, Brien.
BAJ: Yes what?
AA: They forgot to tell me about the storage fee. So if you could please just wire $985 payable to Alan Austin at any Western Union office straight away…