I’ve just woken up and logged into my email to find a Russian guy basically begging for money.
Is this a scam?
On the surface it looks like it may be someone who is just in dire straits hoping that someone will help him out. In fact, for all I know, that may actually be true.
However, what is interesting, is the fact that he has sent this email to “undisclosed recipients”.
This suggests more than one person has logged in to find this email today and also that it was sent by a bulk mailer.
Hmmm… what is a poor Russian boy doing with an email list and a bulk mailer I wonder?
Anyway, without further ado, here is the mail he sent me –
Please excuse me for this letter.
My name is Valentin. I’m student and I live with my mother in a small town Kaluga, Russia. My mother cannot see and she receive pension very rare which is not enought even for medications.
I work very hard every day to be able to buy necessities for my mother, but my salary is very small, because my studies still not finished.
Due to deep crisis authorities stoped gas in our district and now we cannot heat our home. I don’t know what to do because the winter is coming and the temperature becomes colder each day.
I am very afraid that the temperature inside our home will become very cold and we will not be able to survive.
Therefore I finded several e-mail addresses and thank to the free internet access in our local library I decided to appeal to you with prayer in my heart for small help.
If you have any old sleping bag, warm blanket, warm clothes and shoes, medicines from cold, I will be very grateful to you if you could send it to our postal address which is:
If you think that it would be better or easier for you to help with some money, please write me back to my email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will write you how to send it safely, if you agree. In this case I will be able to buy a portable stove and heat our home during the winter.
I hope to hear from you very soon and I pray that you can help us. I also hope very much that this hard situation will become better in our region very soon.
From all my heart I wish you a Happy New Year 2007. I wish that the New Year will bring hapiness in your family and all your dreams come true.
Valentin and my mother Elena.
The fact that he starts off by asking for sleeping bags or warm blankets kind of makes you feel like he is genuine.
However do note that he thinks sending money would be easier!
Incidentally, I work with a Russian girl – Nataliyia – and I remember from previous conversations with her that internet access is still extremely rare across most of her country.
Even in the current political climate there it is unlikely that someone would be able to go to a library and have access to an anonymous mail service such that mail.ru is.
Add to that the fact that a bulk emailer is almost certainly being used and you have to start asking questions!
I’m tempted now to use a vague email address to engage this guy in conversation to see where it goes.
If I do I’ll be sure to report back!