is the general name of an increasingly common fraudulent spam e-mail
, also known as an array of names, like New Message!
Existent since at least 2002, the e-mail message is generally titled URGENT ASSISTANCE, and asks the "Dear Sir/Madam", soliciting the opportunity of a financial partnership, resultant in the transfer of x million of US dollars into a "safe foreign account".
Some versions of the e-mail describe how the money was made available to sender upon a foreigner's participation, in situation such as faulty wills, but others simply skip such massive grey areas.
The bank manager
"Jeffery P. Zulu, of First National Bank Holdings LTD"
E-mails used by "Zulu"
E-mails used by Mr. Zulu include:
"Silas Monvete, of FirstRand Bank Limited"
E-mails used by "Monvete"
E-mails used by Mr. Zulu include:
"Engineer Cole Martins, of Shell petroleum South-Africa"
One variant comes from a "Engineer Cole Martins", who claims to be "a Director of the Contracts Award and review Department with the Shell petroleum South-Africa." He solicits the reader for permission to transfer "the sum of US$20,500,000.00.(Twenty Million,five Hundred thousand United States Dollars only)" into a secure foreign bank account, citing that the South-Africa Chambers of Commerce
referred him to the recipient.
Furthermore, there is no reason South Africa would be hyphenated as South-Africa.
Misconceptions about the fraudulent e-mails
That they're real
Every ounce of these messages are fake; situation, people involved, even corporate/government/banking organizations mentioned. Those behind the letters would likely do better if actual companies, etc were mentioned, as the supporting presence of a website would help back up such preposterous claims.
That they are/contain viruses
These messages are not known, in any format in which they have appeared, to contain viruses.
This is likely to remain this way. The senders of the fraudulent messages want to persuade the reader of the authenticity of the claims and want to get the unsuspecting recipient's participation in the scam. A virus attachment would only weaken the already slim chances of success.
Other curiosities about the messages
Spelling, grammar, punctuation, leading to a more human "hero"
The message in all of its forms is always laden with odd or incorrect spelling, and or punctuation, and or grammar. It is not known if the sender(s) of these messages is in fact not at a stellar state of writing, as perhaps English is not a first language.
Perhaps more likely, this bad style is to convince the reader that "Zulu", "Monvete", or "Martins" is indeed a foreign (usually South African) resident, with lesser knowledge of the English-language.
In such a situation, this reader may even help endorse the bank manager/executive. Readers could easily feel warmer to the character writing the letter, if they are of equal or lesser writing skill than themselves. Even before further correspondence, the "hero" shows pathos, making them a more pitiable character.
Those noticing the errors may even feel a level of superiority, thinking they will be able to take an upper hand, and bargain themselves a larger share of the stake. This air of superiority is of course the furthest possible though from the truth, as further correspondence will eventually lead to even further manipulation.
Tone of the letter
While the sender of the letter is, as described above, made out to be an imperfect hero, this all the while uses a tone
of desperation to frame the reader as a modern hero. The hero figure has evolved in modern literature and culture to include the every-man as a possible heroic entity. These letters always stress the rush and urgency of the situation, making a respondent like the hero, who only saves the day when it seems like all is lost.
Most of the odds going for a reader positively responding to the message revolve around the letter subconsciously making the reader feel like they could be a hero, if only to themselves and a stranger. Such a structural background for the hero archetype is likely coincidental, merely based on how it is ingrained into human nature.