Anyone who doesn’t know Iraq is a war zone, a secret closely held by almost 6.4 billion people, is fair game for this scam, an obvious reworking of the classic “Nigerian letter.” The interesting part is that the person sending the e-mail — using the term con artist would be insulting to actual con artists — is innovatively representing himself or herself as Sgt. David Estrada, an American soldier, instead of as the traditional top official in an African government.
Nice that we’re moving on after so many years, but the evolution was necessary. The “Nigerian letter” scam is also known by about 6.4 billion people, and itself is the offspring of a scam begun in the 1920s, when it was known as “The Spanish Prisoner.” That version died when it no longer became plausible to need money to extract a Spanish nobleman from prison (to great reward, as, when he was freed, he would be quite generous with his riches).
Here’s Estrada’s letter, as sent the evening of Aug. 3:
From: Sgt. David Estrada
Good day to you
My name is David Estrada, I am an American soldier, i am serving in the military of the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq, we have just been posted to leave Iraq and go back to US. I am now in Kuwait at the mean time, I and my superior moved funds seized from Saddam Hussein, the total is $25,000,000.00 (Twenty Five million US dollars) this money is being kept safe in a security company.
Basically since we are working for the government we cannot keep these funds, but we want to transfer and move the funds to you, so that you can keep it for us in your safe account or an offshore account. We will divide the total funds in three ways, since we are three that is involved. This means that you will take 30%, I will take 30%, and my superior will take 30%. 10% will be kept aside for expenses.No strings attached. it should not be discussed with anyone.Just help us move it out of iraq, iraq is a warzone. When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including contact details and your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication. This business is risk free. The funds can be shipped out in 48hrs to you if you are ready.
Sgt. David Estrada