Saturday, August 20, 2005

My name is MR John Wale Balogun, from The Republic of Schlemeil ...

My name is MR John Wale Balogun the eldest son of Formal Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force (N.P.F) Mr.Tafa BalogunI am contacting you in a benevolent spirit; utmost confidence and trust to enable us provide a solution to a money transfer of $22M that is presently putting my entire family into great disarray.

Thus begins an email I recently received in my Gmail account.

It had been, quite correctly, flagged as "Spam" and moved to a separate folder which I had decided to peruse just to see what it was that the folks at Google were not letting through to me.

It is, of course, a variation on the "send money to me so I can recover millions more that are due to me for some ridiculous and entirely incomprehensible reason" type of scam that has been floating around the internet for years.

And which, of course, has been convincing enough to that portion of the population of internet users which, on Official Government Census forms checks the box marked "Knucklehead," to keep doing.

I could have deleted it and moved on, but there was something so bizarre and so amusing that I couldn't stop reading--funky grammar, typos and all...

You may be quite surprised at my sudden contact to you but do not despair, I got your contact from a business site on the internet and following the information I gathered about you, I was convinced that you could be of Assistance to me.

Ah--well, that settles that! This was not a mass mailing to 800 billion email addresses: it was addressed to me alone. Quite the honor.

However, I was not "surprised" by the "sudden contact," nor did I "despair." Rather, I marveled at the notion that not only would somebody send this kind of email, but somebody else would actually still be reading it by this point...

So, I decided to contact you at once due to the urgency required for us to immediately transfer the said funds out of the country. During the time my father was in the government with the Nigerian Police Force (N.P.F} as the police Inspector General, he was able to involve himself in several contracts and business transaction and deals that yield him several millions of United State Dollars.

You'd think this Nigerian connection would start making the average reader nervous.

Nigeria is, after all, one of the most corrupt counties in the world--last year only Haiti and Bangladesh were more corrupt, according to one study. If you're going to scam somebody, why would you pretend to be from Nigeria?

Why not just invent a country--"Moronia," say, or "The Republic of Schlemeil"?

The prominent amongst the deals was money that emanated from funds set aside for the importation of Arms and Security Gadgets to boost the Nigerian Police Force, funds set to embark on oversea training of some young Nigerian Police officers to boost there strength in combating crimes in the Nigerian territory, if you are conversant with world news, you would understand better.

Yes, that's what I want to get involved in: money that's been laundered from the importation of guns into the third-most-corrupt country in the world!

"Hey, Hon, get the checkbook out. A guy name John Wale Balogun from The Republic of Schlemeil needs some cash. That new condo we have our eye on in Vegas can wait--in a few weeks we'll be able to buy ten new condos in Vegas!"

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up


whydibuy said...

I don't think they wanted a check. From the dozens I received through my business fax, most are content with all the pertinent info on the checking account, business i.d. numbers, etc, etc so they can deposit millions into your account and at a 50% commission. I cannot believe anyone would actually fall for this scheme. It is so obvious to anyone with two functioning braincells ( yes, I'm sure I have at least double the required amount lmao ) Talking about email scams, if you have a paypal account, then you've seen numerous very official looking emails sent asking you to " verify " private info. Its been a real thorn for paypal but at least these scammers camouflage themselves with a real business in paypal since paypal does send out emails from time to time ( the real one ).

Fred said...


Care to respond to this court case?

And the very interesting name as the contact person for your group:

Jeffrey Matthews Financial Group
Contact: Jeffrey Halpert
290 Millburn Ave
Millburn , NJ 07041
Phone: 973-467-1223
Web Address:

Or as you said on CNBC, you don't really know anything about any of that?

Fred said...

Jeff, is that you?

Or is it another Jeff Matthews in NJ?

credibility said...

your slant was very funny.
Hey Alice,Norton said....

turk142 said...

JM -- Are you connected with the Jeffrey Matthews Financial Group? Simple yes or no. Thanks

Jeff Matthews said...

"Fred" and "Turk142": I guess you didn't read the court case very carefully. Or didn't read it at all.

I suggest you actually read it.

But since perhaps you can't, let me summarize it for you:

"Jeffrey Matthews Financial Group" consisted of two people--Jeffrey Halpert and Matthew Cohen.

They put their names together, added an "s" to the end of "Matthew," and got "Jeffrey Matthews Financial Group."

They've had an office in Millburn for some time, with a big sign that says "Jeffrey Matthews Financial Group." Friends have sent me pictures of it.

It's very amusing, although the firm itself is not. As you discovered in your Google searching, Jeffrey and Matthew seem to attract controversy.

Happy to help with your research, but next time you might actually read what you came up with.

Prudent Investor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Its_strange said...

Bob O'Brien has the court case posted on the NCANS website.

Its_strange said...

Bob removed the court case

turk142 said...

You're right. Shouldn't have posted without doing the legwork. My apologies.

Jeff Matthews said...

I appreciate it. Learned that lesson myself already.

Ed said...

yikes. i think you've got this one all wrong.

my understanding is that the reason these scams all involve Nigeria is because....the people who are scamming you are actually in Nigeria, and use the government and banks in nigeria to create the appearance of legitimacy.

hence, the "mystery" of why they would choose nigeria not a mystery at all.

it is precisely because the country is so corrupt that these scams flourish there.

but don't take my word for it:

Link to US Secret Service Website

Link to article

- Ed

Sam S. Park said...

You truly have this sarcastic sense of humor that I find priceless. Keep it up... I always enjoy a good laugh.

Sam S. Park said...

I've noticed that you have some disapproving commentors on your site. But like how some of my friends would say,"Hate the game... and not the player."

Jeff Matthews said...

Sam: in the words of Spinal Tap, "there's a fine line between stupid and clever."

The problem with letting anyone at all post comments is that I risk allowing the idiots drive out the informed opinion.

And I will not let that happen, whether the idiots agree with me or not.

I have, in fact, eliminated comments from people who agreed with me but used Yahoo Message Board language to do so.

This violates nobody's "free speech"--this is my blog, not a community bulletin board.

Ron Insana does not let the guy who stands in the middle of 5th Avenue screaming about the Bible walk onto his set and start screaming about the Bible, nor does the Wall Street Journal let anybody publish whatever they want.

The message boards are full of that stuff--which is why message boards are useless as a method of sharing intelligent information. Unfortunately, bad money drives out good.

I won't allow that to happen here. If anybody has something worth saying, they can say it in a reasonable, informed manner, and it will stand without being deleted, whether it agrees with me or not.

mfairview said...

Jeff, It seems a bit disingenious when I see that you can refer to someone as a "tin-foil" hat wearer; and that's ok while others that refer to you as a "dolt" get deleted. And then there's the whole Eisinger affair which I've yet to hear you respond on.

Not to mention this jewel of a poster in a recent Byrne-related entry

"Sith Lord said...

Ok, I confess. The Sith Lord is me.

I was sleeping with this charming exotic dancer and later she winds up with the CEO.

I want my gal back and the best way is to get his money.

Sith Lord

I failing to see the analytical value there yet it still remains.

aralls said...

I'd say the Sith Lord comment falls on the "clever" side of the line.

Its_strange said...

Anyone know why Jason Lindsey left ?

Its_strange said...

Why didn't the funds and institutions that own OSTK join the suit ?

credibility said...

Is it inside information for someone to know who the Sith Lord is?

thx for red herring article.

Its_strange said...

It appears the NY Post is doing a story on Bob O'Brien tomorrow. Read his Sanity Check blog .

Cyber Mule said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff Matthews said...

Cyber Mule: Please no Message Board language (i.e. cute ways of cursing) here. You could have made the same point without it.

Thank you.

black bart said...

Sounds like you need help from the "A" team:

somervillec said...

Impressive reporting Jeff! I mean, it's not like this hasn't been covered time and time again. I would suggest
Googling 'scamming nigerian scammers'.

I particularly funny one is here:

somervillec said...


Queenb said...

I am embarassed. I am from Nigeria and I tell you even I get these emails! My email address is my full name so I wonder why they would choose to scam me of all people. Its a shame really but there are still folks out there who fall victim to these scams!

Student said...


Mr Kenneth Tyler,
CEO Con Oil & Gas Ltd,

Dear Intending Representative,

Top of the day to you.
Let me crave your indulgence to introduce myself to you
I am Mr kenneth tyler president/founder of Con Oil & Gas Ltd.
we are OPEC members who deal on crude oil and raw materials
and export into the Canada/America and Europe. Our head office
is located in London as stated above.

I am interested in employing your services,to work with me as
our payment agent who can help us eastablish a medium of recieving
payment on our behalf for crude oil supplied to our customers in
Europe,Canada,America ,Australia,etc.If you are interested in
transacting business with us.I will be very glad. Subject to your
satisfaction you will be given the opportunity to negotiate your mode
of payment which we will pay for your services as my representative
in your country.

If you are willing to work with us, i will want you to furnish me with
your particulars, so as to enable me give you further details. Please, you
have to be an honest and trusted person, as more payments will be made
through you in the course of this transaction.And moreso you will be entitled
to 10% of every payment that you are able to recieve for us from our
customers.Please contact us for more information via this office contact below:

Mr Kenneth Tyler,
Con Oil & Gas Ltd,
phone +44 704 012 2471
Fax +44 870 1224 021,

We look forward in working with you.


Mr Kenneth Tyler,

onyx35 said...

hey aftaiha, concerning the scam alert,.how much more info. do you have on that? I know someone who is mixed up in it, they are thinking they are going to get huge amounts of money,.and infact they have been in contact with these people. And on top of that, they have already received three checks, except one was fradulent. Hello! But even that has not stopped this person, they went out and bought a new truck!!