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 The Beanie Baby plot

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Hello I'm New here!

Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm new here, so bear with me.

While attending grad school, I occasionally found myself with spare time on my hands. And since I appreciate a healthy bit of snark, I would reply to these scam emails. Much to my surprise, over a year later, I find this site linked through a friend's home page. So I thought I'd share a few of my scam bait (I call them "pranks" within some of my emails).

This first one comes from Mrs. Clara Fofana (her emails are in italics, my comments in bold, my return emails in regular font) Fair warning, this is a complete correspondence, and is fairly long. And a short disclaimer - I have nothing against the British. My apparent animosity is just intended as random insanity for the "character".

From Mrs.Clara Fofana.
Dakar Senegal
West Africa
Hello,Good Day,
I would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation and to secure an opportunity to invest and do joint business with you in your country.I have a substantial capital i honourably intend to invest in your country into a very lucrative business venture of which you are to advise and execute the said venture over there for the mutual benefits of both of us. Your able co-operation is to become my business partner in your country and create ideas on how money will be invested,properly managed and the type of investment after the money is transferred to your custody with your help and assistance.
Meanwhile,on indication of your willingness to handle this transaction sincerely by protecting our interests and upon your acceptance of this proposal,I would furnish you with the full detailed information, procedure,amount involve and mutually agree on your percentage interest or share holding for helping me to secure the release of the deposit and investing the money in your country under your proper management and care.
I shall be glad to reserve this respect and opportunity for you,if you so desire,but do urge you to give the matter your immediate attention it deserves.If this proposal is acceptable by you, please do not make undue advantage of the trust i bestow on you,and your urgent reply is highly needed today,for more detailed informations and oral talks.
Best regards,and have a great day.
Yours Faithfully,
Mrs.Clara Fofana.


I'm excited. Its not everyday that someone contacts me out of the blue and wants to give me money to invest in local business (it's more like every week). I devise a daring strategy to corner the market on one of the world's most valuable resources.


Dear Mrs. Fofana

I notice that you have a UK yahoo account, yet you claim to be from West Africa. It sounds like maybe you're selling yourself short. You should be proud of your West African heritage. West Africans are a fine people, and you should never stoop to using British services for your business dealings. British people are stuck up, not like the jovial West Africans. West Africa forever!

Anyhow, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I know you said that you needed an urgent reply, and here it is two weeks later. Hopefully you have not moved on to more lucrative pastures. I needed some time to do some market research. Let me tell you now, I am trusting you. I am taking your generous investment offer on faith, and will describe to you my plan for investment. Normally I wait until I have cash in hand to work my business magic, but I'm going to trust you because you're so damn sexy. I will also warn you, do not doublecross me. If you take my investment advice to another investment partner, I will be very sad, and might even cry a little. I'm certain you don't want that on your conscience.

Now, on to "the plan".

I have an insider tip, straight from the upper echelon of Mrs. Tatum's 4th grade gym class that what kids want more than anything right now is to see a resurgence of the popular "beanie baby" toys. The kind that come with name tags and are just too adorable to pass up. They went through a huge profit surge in the mid-90's, but have slowly declined to the point that no one talks about them any more. But judging by how the kids reacted to a sample I brought in (freddy the scorpion), they'll go buck-wild for the things when they return to the market.

Now, your first instinct upon hearing this news might be "lets buy all the stock up from Ty corporation". Yes, Ty owns the brand name, and were the predominant producers of the toys. I'm not sure how in touch you are with the kids these days, but they're very particular about their toys. If they ask for a transformer and you give them a go-bot, they get upset and throw a tantrum. Many a child has cried woefully to the heavens when they open up a christmas present, and find, to their chagrin, that instead of the "rocky the penguin" beanie baby they asked for, they have received "stocky the emporer penguin", the cheap knock-off beanbag baby. So, Ty would be the smart choice - brand loyalty and all that.

However, its not the kids who buy the toys. Its the grandparents. As we all know, grandparents tend to be out-of-touch with the cutting edge world of toy fad-dom. A grandparent will pick up any old thing that resembles a toy and give it to their kid, and since the kid has been taught to respect their elders, they will accept it with a smile and then throw it in the toilet when the grandparent isn't looking. So, we've established that grandparents are the ones with the money.

Since grandparents will buy up anything resembling a toy, the smartest strategy is to buy in to all of the companies that are likely to produce the toys. However, doing so is more costly than you would imagine. Stock ain't cheap, and it can crash. What we need to do is get right to the source of the beanie market. Thus, I propose a three-pronged financial assault on beanie-land. A tridentate threat, if you will.

1) We buy up all of the miniature styrofoam peanuts we can lay our hands on. If we can manage to corner this market, all companies will have to come to us for stuffing material. Its just not a beanie baby if its packed with packaging peanuts or air bladders.
2) Invest heavily in the fabric market, particularly the soft, pliable stuff that beanie toys are usually made of. Beanie toys need a skin to hold in the stuffing, and if we get all the companies coming to us for the materials, we can start charging huge markups for it. We may also want to invest in more expensive materials, like felt. However, this is only used to make top-of-the-line, exclusive beanie babies, which are quite expensive, and out of the price range of any but the most affluently wealthy 4th graders. We can discuss this more later.
3) Button eyes. Beanie toys always have eyes, and there are only so many buttons in the world. If we buy all of them, they can be sold at a premium cost. This particular strategy has a side-benefit of allowing us an in with the coat-producers of the world, because some coats are just better with buttons. Snaps and zippers only take you so far.

You will notice a conspicuous absence here - I didn't bother suggesting the possibility of investing in thread, because there is so much thread out there, you could make, like, a really big ball of thread if you had it all. Trying to buy it all up is more hassle than its worth, because its also a pain to distribute, what with the ducks getting entangled and such.

Please let me know what you think of my business strategy, and whether it will work for your investment plans. I look forward to doing business with you.


I can tell Mrs. Fofana is stoked about my idea. She tries to get a little more personal.


On Feb 4, 2005, at 9:09 AM, Mrs Clara Fofana wrote:

Helo **********,

I quite appreciate your prompt response, your message has explained all i needed to hear from you, infact i have come to conclude that you combined the qualities i needed from anyone that will handle this fund. Talking about the UK yahoo account, i did not know computer much so it was someone i asked to assist me open an account in yahoo that registered the UK for me, i hope you do not have anything against me for using it. If you do, please forgive me ok.

I would like to know more about you, please tell me how old you are and exactly all you are doing for your living. I beleive this might not be the only business you know about, i admire your kind of person and you really convinced me in your previous mail expression. I am beginning to build confidence on you, please send me your direct telephone number where i can call you so that we can talk more. Grant me the opportunity to know you better.

I am willing to build trust on you because business is all about trust, tolerance and endurance. I am interested in this kind of business opportunity you just highlight in the mail, therefore let's work towards acheiving them. Your direct telephone number is very important to me because i want to also hear your voice, i do not really know much about international investment, please take things easy with me so that you can put me through.

I hope to hear from you soonest.

Yours truly
Mrs. Fofana Clara

As I had hoped, this one is going to be a multi-part prank. It will be interesting to see just how weird I can get before they realize I'm yanking their chain.

Begin forwarded message:

From: ********** <address removed>
Date: February 4, 2005 10:51:00 AM EST
To: Mrs Clara Fofana <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Helo *********

Dear Mrs. Fofana,

Wow, you are prompt! I wasn't expecting an email back so soon.

First, I regret to inform you that I will be unable to communicate via phone. You see, I had a tracheotomy when I was just a wee lad, because my dad liked to smoke in the house and I got throat cancer. The tracheotomy left me without a voice. I now speak with a synthesizer, but there's something wrong with it. My medicare coverage left something to be desired, so I had to get a cheap one. So cheap, in fact, that it wasn't tested properly. I've found that anytime I try to pronounce a soft "a" sound (as in "and" or "aardvark"), the phone carrier interprets it as an interrupt signal, and it hangs up. I've tried to school myself to have conversations without using soft "a"'s, but found it too difficult. Do you have any idea how hard it is? Try having a conversation without using "amplitude" or "asphyxiation". It can't be done! However, there is nothing wrong with my fingers, the ones that are left, anyway (I lost a few digits in "the conflict" - a concussive blast knocked me out cold, and when I came to I found that some rogue animal had gnawed off the ring and little fingers of both my hands. Why they stopped there I have no idea, but six fingers is enough for typing). Therefore, I will have to restrict our communication to email.

Don't worry about the UK address thing. I'm a little fidgety around brits, because I suspect the beast that deformed my metacarpals was from Scotland. So long as I know you're not harboring this animal, there won't be any problems.

You want to know about me, eh? Well, I'm 32, and I do mostly motivational speaking for elementary school children. It doesn't pay very well, though, and a lot of the kids don't really get the point. All they seem to be interested in is Pokemon and playgrounds. Did you know, if they started bringing lunch to school instead of buying it in the cafeteria, and put the extra money toward retirement, they'd all be millionaires by the time they retire? Its funny how money works. It just grows and grows if you put it in the right place. Put it in the wrong place, though, and hoo boy! You're looking at bagged lunch for the rest of your life! Also, a lot of the kids get freaked out by my voice box. Sometimes, if I have a little extra time, I pretend I'm a robot, and teach them a little about computer programming by letting them give me instructions in apple basic. Most of the time they just make me jump up and down or pick my nose (those wacky kids!) Its a hoot, but its also educational. Computers are going to be necessary for just about everything in the future (which these children will be an integral part of), so its best to get them going early.

Enough about me, what about you? What do you do besides look for foreign investment opportunities? Surely you must have a "day job" of some sort.

On to business - you mentioned that you were "interested in" the business opportunity that I laid out, but you didn't really tell me what you thought about it. Do you think it will work? Do you believe it is a safe investment plan?


The funny part is, this scammer actually took the time to spell my name right. My own Grandmother doesn't spell my name right. Now she wants a picture and my home address. How forward!

On Feb 5, 2005, at 11:57 AM, Mrs Clara Fofana wrote:

Dear Mr ************,

Actually i inherited this fund from my late husband that died few months ago, you should know better than myself when it comes to investment in your country since you are closer to the companies. I was just a house wife untill the death of my father, i decided to leave this country because my late husband warned me not to invest this fund in Africa because we do not have stready policies over here.

You mentioned about your problems, am very sorry about that. Please can you send me your full page photograph so that i can have a look at the person am dealing with, i shall send mine to you as soon as i receives yours. Please i really want to be sure of whom am dealing with.

I would also like to have your home address and the name/address of the school which you work. I need to know you very well because this is a financial matter and my father warned me to be careful with the kind of person i want to work with, please i am not trying to hurt you or say that you are not reliable but i need to be more convinced about what you are telling me.

I hope i have wtitten well, please respond to me as soon as possible.

Yours truly
Mrs Fofana Clara.


I hope this prank has reached its natural conclusion. Mrs. Clara Fofana is clearly under the employ of the beast that ate my digits, so I gave her a firm warning. If she replies to this, I think that says something about how desperate these scammers really are.

Begin forwarded message:

From: ********** <address removed>
Date: February 7, 2005 12:14:54 PM EST
To: Mrs Clara Fofana <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Thank you so much

Dear Mrs. Fofana,

You're getting a little personal here. I don't typically exchange photographs, primarily because I'm afraid of them. My father always told me that cameras can steal souls. I don't know whether he was right or not, but I'm not willing to take that chance, because my soul is the only thing I have left. Besides, its not proper protocol to exchange pictures. Businessmen are always kind of ugly. The reason we get into business in the first place is to get lots of money to make up for our hideous appearance. Women are attracted to money as much as they are a ripped physique.

You know, it almost seems like you're collecting information on me. Why do you want to know where I live and work? Hold on a sec.... you ARE working for that blasted goat that chewed off my fingers, aren't you! I knew it! He wants to finish what he started, so he sends an emissary to find out where I am. Well, you can tell that impish beast that he can go chew on a can or something, because I'm not falling for it! I'm keeping my six remaining fingers and all of my toes on my person from now on, and if he wants a snack, he can just go munch on some brit.

Why are you assisting him, anyway? What's in it for you? Has he promised to resurrect your dead husband? That's a lie! He has no such power. I strongly urge you not to speak with him anymore. If he already has your address, you should move, because he is utterly diabolical. When he finds out you're not cooperating anymore, he'll parachute down your chimney and steal all your socks! And that's if he's taken pity on you. Bastard animal.

Run for your life!

Holy crap. I thought that last message would have ended the correspondence. Clearly, I was wrong. Mrs. Clara Fofana no doubt thinks a paranoid freak like me could make easy prey for her scams.
On Feb 7, 2005, at 6:02 PM, Mrs Clara Fofana wrote:

Dear ********,

Please your mail confused me, i don't understand a single sentence you have made. I need an explanation please help me, i don't know if am the one you called bastered or an animal, i wonder whom you are reffereing to, because i never worked for anybody. I am waiting for your quick explanation as soon as you receive this message.

Yours truly
Mrs Fofana

If she hasn't gotten it by now, chances are she never will. Scam artists are very greedy, but not terribly bright, it seems. Here I leave myself an out to the conversation, so I can ignore future correspondence. Unless, of course, I think of something more amusing to say to her. As a closing thought - this prank took an entirely different direction than I had originally planned. The initial plan was to keep feeding her bogus investment advice and play dumb if she asked for bank details. It just got weird after the first email.

No woman, not you. The animal I was referring to was the grizzly beast that gnawed off my digits while I was unconscious, who you are obviously working for. Who else would mail me out of the blue and try to discern my location? That beast has been out to get me, and he's trapped you in his web of lies and deceit. Do not listen to strange animals who promise grandiose and physically improbably deeds - they're just using you (you) to get to their prey (me).

Cease contact with this animal immediately, or he'll target you as he's targeted me. I fear he may be monitoring our email and using it to discern my location. I may have to leave soon for fear of him finding me again. If I do not contact you again, pray for me. It could be that I have managed to elude the beast and found myself a safe haven, but it is equally probably that he has descended on me in the night while I am vulnerable and unable to reach my shotgun.

I must make preparations. Farewell.

ALL-NEW Yahoo! Messenger - all new features - even more fun!
A new episode in the saga - Clara tries changing her name to trick me back into a scam. How do I know it's her? She uses THE EXACT SAME EMAIL she did the first time.
On May 27, 2005, at 11:41 AM, Miss JANET WILLIAMS. wrote:


I would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation and to secure an opportunity to invest
and do joint business with you in your country.
I have a substantial capital i honourably intend to invest in your country into a very lucrative business
venture of which you are to advise and execute the said venture over there for the mutual benefits of
both of us.

Your able co-operation is to become my business partner in your country and create ideas on how money
will be invested,properly managed and the type of investment after the money is transferred to your
custody with your assistance.
Meanwhile, on indication of your willingness to handle this transaction sincerely by protecting our interests
and upon your acceptance of this proposal, I would furnish you with the full detailed information,

procedure,amount involve and mutually agree on your percentage interest or share holding for helping me to
secure the release of the deposit and investing the money.
I shall be glad to reserve this respect and opportunity for you, if you so desire, but do urge you
to give the matter your immediate attention it deserves.Looking forward to your response.
Yours Faithfully,


I let her know how I feel about her fraudulent claims.
Dear Janet (hee hee),

I'm sorry. "Dear Janet" is a line from a movie known as "the rocky horror picture show". Have you seen it? As a movie it blows goats, but as a cult hit it's fascinating.

Anyway, I'd like to show you something. Here's an email sent to me by Ms. Clara Fofana, several months ago.

"(paste of original email from top, excluded for brevity)"

Look familiar? It is, word-for-word, your exact email. The only differences are two slightly longer sentences within, and a longer ending.

I'm going to assume you aren't clairvoyant. Occam's razor tells me the simplest explanation is probably the right one, and thus you are the same person. All you've done is pasted a form letter, done a little bit of editing, and sent this along to the same address.

Well, MRS. CLARA FOFANA, I'm not falling for it this time. Clearly that beast is at it again, but I've moved this time. He's not going to find me again, least of all through you. I'm not falling for your finger-locating scam so he can come and get another piece, so you can just tell him to go to hell.

And changing your name to Janet Williams won't work, either. I'm onto you. I'm going to find out which ISP you're using and forward it to that blasted goat so he can come over there and chew on YOUR toes for once. See how you like it.
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