The Advisory Boar

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <>

Schlumberger interview scam

I got mail today purporting to be from Schlumberger Asia Services Ltd. (a real company with an office in Gurgaon) conveying the good news that I was one of 62 people selected for an interview for some unspecified position.

After a lot of text cut-and-pasted from about how the company values diversity and respects everyone's unique perspective (which doesn't look at all out of place in a scam email), the mail goes on to say this:

SECURITY DEPOSIT: You have to deposit the REFUNDABLE sum of Rs.8,750/-
( Eight thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty India Rupees ) from your Home
City to our Company accountant name in charge of recruitment. The
Account Number and all other relevant information will be sent to you
upon your response.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This is a REFUNDABLE interview security deposit.
Your offer letter with Air tickets will be sent to your Home Address
by courier after receiving the confirmation of interview security
deposited as instructed. This Company will pay all the expenditure to
you at the time of face-to-face meeting with you in person. The Job
profile, salary offer, and date/time of interview will be stated in
your OFFER LETTER, it will be couriered to you very shortly after
receiving your confirmation of cash deposited and if you are
eventually selected or not, still the amount will be refunded to you,
as the amount is just to prove that you will be coming for the
interview in order for us not to run at a loss after procuring/sending
you the air ticket and you don't show up on the day of interview.

Without much ado,contact Mr.Alex Juden (Secretary and General Counsel)
via Email and telephone immediately.

Said Mr. Alex Juden's phone number is +91-750-307-0880

I've never seen this particular trick before, but I can imagine a lot of people falling for it.

I wanted to let Schlumberger Asia Services know, but (not surprisingly) their web site didn't give me any email addresses, just a tiny "contact us" form into which I did not fancy cutting-and-pasting the message. I wonder if I could report it to the Delhi Police somehow.

Invitation spam from WAYN

I'm used to seeing (and deleting) "So-and-so invites you to social networking site du jour" mail. I'm used to seeing "Sorry! I didn't know they were going to send mail to all my contacts!" mail (what, did their asking for your addressbook not tip you off?). I'm used to people being surprised and hurt because I didn't accept their Orkut or Facebook invitations. I'm used to invitations from people I've never heard of, some obviously bogus. I've even become inured to invitations that say "Please reply, or so-and-so may think you're not their friend!" (followed by a sad little face, usually yellow). I treat all mail from social networking sites as spam more or less automatically these days.

But the following invitation from WAYN ("Where are you now") still managed to surprise me with its sleaziness in forging my name in the From field:

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 02:11:25 -0000
From  Tue Dec 15 07: 1:28 2009
From: Abhijit Menon-Sen <>
To: Abhijit Menon-Sen <>
Subject: You have 3 messages, 1 add friend request
Return-Path: <>
Message-ID: <>

Sorry, so-and-so. I'll never find out where you are now.

This is not a scam

A few days ago, the following message was posted to a mailing list I'm on (a list that discusses bird identification, as it happens):

How are you doing? I am so sorry I wasn't able to inform you on time
about my trip to England to visit my ill cousin. It was an emergency to
me because I had to be here soon enough. I am presently in London with
my ill cousin so I decided to write to you from here. She was diagnosed
with a critical uterine fibroid. X-ray and scan shows that her condition
is deteriorating because the fibroid has done a lot of damages to her
abdominal area, and an emergency hysterectomy surgery must be
carried-out to save her life. I am deeply sorry for not writing or
calling you before leaving, the news of her illness arrived to me as an
emergency and that she needs family support to keep her going. I had
little time to prepare or even to inform people about my trip, I hope
you understand my plight and pardon me. I will like you to please assist
me with a soft loan, of $1500 urgently to sort-out my Cousin's bills […]

I'll be pleased to read from you soon regarding my request.....

The sender's Hotmail account had obviously been compromised. Someone named Erik followed up to warn people about the scam and to tell them to be careful. Nothing unusual so far—I've seen such messages many times. But this afternoon, a response was posted to the list:

Hello Erik,

Thanks for the message but this is me 'Cameron' and this is not a hoax,
or a spam okay, I am presently in London with my ill cousin so I decided
to drop a massage just to let you know that am not around and i need
your financial assistance nick please just try and help me with
something i will pay back the money as soon as i get back okay, just
that I traveled with little money and I never expected things to go this
way, I hope you understand my plight please kindly gt back to me asap.


Ha. I wonder if the scammer enjoyed the ongoing discussion about distinguishing between Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers.