Even for the most financially and technologically challenged, receiving a personal email from Dallas Police Chief David Brown asking for cash sets off all sorts of alarm bells, alarm bells like He's not the NSA -- how did he get my email address? and Wouldn't it be easier to shake down criminals instead of sending random emails to strangers?
Transparent scam. Message deleted.
So some 419 scammers in Ghana posing as Chief Brown have cleverly crafted their email pitches to bypass such automatic scam defenses. It goes something like this:
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This Information is reaching you from Dallas Police Department.,We have two consignment boxes on our custody from one Mr John Kone On your behalf together with your address as the owner of two boxes and we have told Mr John Kone to come up with the clearance fee within 48hrs or this two consignment will be return back to the sender in the next 72hrs.
Contact John Kone for your own good.
Regards David O. Brown Chief of Police
So masterfully subtle is the email that it provides no information on how to contact Mr. Kone. Nor does it explain what "consignment boxes" are. The erratic punctuation and poor grammar are no doubt meant to play on the common perception of the public school system in Dallas, of which Brown is a product.
Police are baffled. A DPD spokewoman offered that the scammers are hoping to steal financial information in a followup email. "To be honest with you, it's a very poorly done email," financial crimes detective Richard Santiesteban told The Dallas Morning News.
Nevertheless, DPD is warning Dallasites that Brown does not, in fact, have any consignment boxes and to ignore any emails suggesting he does.