Sheron Cardin's Input...: Big International Scam hits Active Rain!

I have been an interior designer for over 27 years and I have always taught my clients the principles I used while decorating their home so they may enjoy decorating too. The home staging trend in residential real estate is a great way to reach more people every day and what I enjoy the most is they are learning the basics of good design through staging. It is my dream for every person to know the joy and pride of living in a decorated home.

Big International Scam hits Active Rain!

We have been infiltrated by crooks that have been in the news. It is a big scam and not they are contacting us here at Active Rain. not respond. This is the letter sent to me today via AR mail.

Name:Miss Roffina Naina
Message:From Miss Roffina Naina
Abidjan cote D`Ivoire
West Africa.

From Miss Roffina Naina
Abidjan cote D`Ivoire
West Africa.

MY Dear Sheron Cardin,
Please this mail comes to you directly,kindly ready and get back to me,
Good thing to write you. I have a proposal for you,this however is not mandatory nor will I in any manner compel you to honour against your will. Your profile pushed me to send you this mail, I am Roffina Niana,i am 23 years old Girl and the only daugther of my late Father Mr Richard Ehoha Naina.

My Father was a highly reputable business man (a cocoa merchant) who operated in the capital of Ivory coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on 12th.August 2005.Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been master minded by an uncle of his who travelled with him at that time. But God knows the truth!,

Since then my father death took me so special. Before his death in the hospital, he told me about a box he concealed the sum of Ten million, five hundred thousand United State Dollars.(US D$10.5) deposited in one of the security company in Europe, which he disguised and declared the box to contain family valuables belongs to his foriegn bussiness partner instead of Dollars, for security reasons,he do this for selfety of his life best known to him, by this way the company does not know the real content of the box.

The deposit document which I have in my possession carries my late Father's Name as the depositor in the security company,
i Really don't know what to do. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. The death of my Father actually brought sorrow to my life that i will never forget,
Dear, I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards. Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded.
Now permit me to ask these few questions:-

1. will you honestly help me as your daughter?

2. Can I completely trust you?

3 i hope you will not betray me when this fund get to you?

4. Please, Consider this and get back to me as soon as possible.

Thank you so much
Yours Miss Roffina Naina


Comment balloon 43 commentsSheron Cardin • March 15 2007 04:44PM


Sheron, one of my favorite humor columnists, Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post, actually does a column on this every couple of years where he corresponds with these scammers.  I'm attaching a link here to show how amusing it can be to turn the tables on them, though I don't recommend doing this yourself (he gets paid for wasting time like this!).  If you feel the outside link is inappropriate to post to this blog please feel free to delete it. 

I thought it was even funnier because I am a Sagitarrian (you'll have to read the article to understand that).

Posted by Betsy Talbot (Married with Luggage) over 12 years ago
Yep, they got me too today, same person, I just hit the good ole DELETE Button :)
Posted by Lysa Napolitano over 12 years ago
Thank you for the links. I watched a whole show where this very intelligent man fell for this scam and lost a couple hundred thousand dollars. I wrote back to someone who said they had a Shih Tzu for free on Craigs List and the next thing I know, they had to fly back to NYC and if I wanted the puppy, I could pay for the airfare. I just hope I am not going to start getting spammed in AR! I already get spam in my business mail.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Remember back in the good old days when you actually had to leave your house to get scammed?  Thanks for looking out for us, Sheron!
Posted by Penny Province, Province Staged Properties (Province Staged Properties) over 12 years ago

Where can I send the check?

HONESTLY... how STUPID do these people think we are?


Posted by Craig Schiller over 12 years ago

That is funny Penny!


Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
I get these all the time but not thru AR - what IS this and really do they think people are that stupid? Thanx for the warning.
Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, (Home Star Staging) over 12 years ago
Sheron, Obviously they think we all have stupid stamped in red across our forehead!  Thanks for the heads up!
Posted by Jeannene Edwards (Home Staging by Interiors Defined, Inc.) over 12 years ago

I get emails like this all the time, especially since I started selling items on craigslist locally. People will get a hold of you and ask you to send the item if you will accept a money order. The money order is always in a large sum whereby the "buyer" asks you to send the rest of the cash to them with their purchase. So you basically wind up giving them money, giving them your item for sale and they get cash too. Great scam! I caught onto that one quick. Beware, most of them do come out of Nigeria.

I usually just send them a reply email letting them know I don't sell to scammers. :-)

Posted by Karla Davis, Orlando Home Staging Firm (Florida Home Staging & Redesign, Inc.) over 12 years ago

Ah...the good old SPIN the the Nigerian Fraud letter. You may find it interesting to hear that some of my good old colleagues with Secret Service were actaully stationed in Lagos, Nigeria trying to stop all of the fraud being committed against our country. Boy did they have some interesting stories to come home with.

It still amazes me the number of people that actaully DO follow thru on their requests for bank information etc. I even know of victims that believed the stories and booked flights to go over there and deliver the money in person. What were they thinking? 

As I'm sure all of you already can do 1 of two things:

1) Simply hit the "delete" button and be done with it OR

2) Forward the email to where they have a task force specifically for Nigerian Fraud Letters/Emails/Faxes.


Posted by Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota (Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm) over 12 years ago
Beth, thank you for the tip. I will be very upset if everyday I go to AR and I find another one.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Sheron, Thank you for the heads up on this. Will keep my eyes open.


Posted by Leslie Godbold, Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living" (WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio) over 12 years ago

OH MY GOD I get these email ALL the time. Could they be getting our names from AR. It is sooo weird.

Thanks anyway for the warning at least I know where they might be coming from. Anyway hope all is well, I have been away from AR busy working and too tired to chat. Thanks again, Phyllis Pafumi

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) over 12 years ago
Thanks for the post.  I was hit and forwarded it to the address Beth posted above. 
Posted by Janice Sutton, Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta (1st Stage Property Transformations ) over 12 years ago

I get one or two of these Nigerian scam things every day in my e-mail.  They've learned how to sit around cheap flats in London and "screen scrap" sites for e-mail addresses.  There is little anyone can do to prevent such a practice, as I don't believe it is actually illegal.  I can't imagine for the life of me how anyone of reasonable intelligence, and after similar scams having been run for several years, could actually fall for this!  I'm often tempted to respond in such a manner as the following:

     Dear Nigerian Scam Artist,

     Please accept my condolences for the passing of your (mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, banker, etc.).  I am afraid that I can not assist you in your effort to claim your due inheritance; however, perhaps we can do business on another level.  I have deposited a substantial sum of money in my bank account for the purpose of purchasing from you the name, phone numbers, addresses, and bank account information of every poor dumb bastard who responded to your scam.  I will take my chances that they have anything left after you scoured their various bank and credit accounts.  I believe I can profit from such a list, and will willingly pay you for it as soon as 1) you provide it, and 2) it is proven that I can, indeed profit by it.  Trust me.

Your American Friend

Posted by Jimmy Breazeale (Sherlock Home Inspections) over 12 years ago


I am not a computer geek--I'm married to one--but if you are getting a lot of these type of e-mails in any of your e-mail accounts you need to do more to protect yourself.  Your spam filters and virus checkers probably need to be updated.  I can't tell you how to do it but it would be worth your time and maybe the $ needed to have it done before you have an identity theft problem or a virus that crashes your computer. 

I don't want to scare anyone--just be safe in cyberspace!



Posted by Debra Brodhecker, House Dressing, New Jersey (House Dressing) over 12 years ago
Yes, yes, yes. Let's turn them in and write back to them. I will tell them to be careful who they sell their list to. =0
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Actually these folks even will start calling you... on the telephone... paying phone bills... claiming they are in the UK or some such... 

One such called me last week... 

Being an avid prankster myself, and a lawyer to boot, I played with them a bit... had them return a call to me at the law firm... passed the call to another partner... he had a blast with the guy...

Seems the guy wanted to buy a house in "the US" and wanted us to help... as he did not know the US well, he said he would rely on us to help him choose... we sent him two listings, he said he would go for the more expensive ($17 million) site unseen...

Wanted to transfer money to our account so that we could purchase the property for him... and wanted to let us hold the remainder of the money, claiming some additional $15 million, till he could get his family here... said we could keep $5 million for helping...

Very interesting, we said...

As it turned out, we thought they wanted to remove money from our accounts... but they were pleased enough to have a valid bank account in the US... of course we referred the entire correspondence to a client, the Federal Bureau of Investigation... seems the scam also includes laundering money for terrorist activities...

So, now, do we do business with terrorists?


One would think people would not fall for this sort of thing... but they do... it is like the old technique of sending bills with over due notices to senior citizens, who, because of their integrity and fear of debts, and because of their own knowledge of their failing memories, these seniors actually paid the bills... some billions of dollars were actually scammed this way...

We Americans are easy targets... it seems...

Posted by Paul Silver, Rhode Island full service real estate firm over 12 years ago

by the way... the shark photo reminded me of the Far Side cartoon... one scuba diver trying to out swim another... with a shark swimming after them... the diver closest to the shark has a thought baloon saying "I sure hope I can outswim that shark" while the lead diver baloon says "I dont have to out swim the shark as long as I out swim my buddy..."


Typical, is it not? 

Posted by Paul Silver, Rhode Island full service real estate firm over 12 years ago

I'm laughing! It's all relative.

Here's a true story. Last year, right here in Selma, the city posts in the local newspapers addresses of homeowners who have not paid a water assessment bill and that these homeowners homes are being thrown into foreclosure if the bills are not paid by such and such date. Most of these charges were under $100. The big news is that dozens of our residents lost their homes for real. No one knew about these charges and if they did not read the paper that week, the next thing they knew, they were being evicted. Now there is a rip off scam...our government.

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
Geez, I get these every now and then in my AOL and in my outlook mail from my website. I can't believe they have gotten in on Active Rain too.
Posted by Nancy Ruben, REVA, CRESS (An Assistant On Call) over 12 years ago

I makes me sick...there is no escaping until they are all in the hoosegow!

behind bars

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

hoosegow... I like that word...

But the fact is that none of these folks will ever end up inside... they come from countries where no enforcement is likely, and where anyone who would execute enforcement cannot, due to international boundaries, etc.

SPAM Filter, and laugh, but it is sad that anyone will actually think this stuff is legitimate, given that the presentation states clearly that it is not, but I think that is what attracts the unwary... they like the sham of it, and think they will get over on people.

Americans are so gullible when ot comes to getting over on society...

Posted by Paul Silver, Rhode Island full service real estate firm over 12 years ago
Hey tall Paul - if you like hoosegow just hang around us creative people a little more...we even make our own words up.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

She found me today!


You've received a contact message from your Contact Form on the ActiveRain network.

Message details:
From: Miss Roffina Naina

Dear Scott, goodday Mr Scott, i am Miss Roffina Naina, i have somthing very important to Discuse with you, (but it is privacy) please could you contact me with my privite Email Id,, for more clearification,
thanks and God bless you
Yours Miss Roffina Naina


Email sent from IP:

Posted by Scott Patterson, ACI, Home Inspector, Middle TN (Trace Inspections, LLC) over 12 years ago
Ewe it's a virus! The Roffina virus. I am going to have to dig up some old potion remedies for this one.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Never open email if you don't know who its from.  Not only can you be spammed to death but you could unleash a virus. trojan, worm, or any of those other nasty things that can bring your computer to a grinding halt!


Terry Haugen - STAGE it RIGHT!

Posted by Terry Haugen STAGE it RIGHT! 321-956-2495 (Stage it Right!) over 12 years ago
Hey Terry - when we are contacted through AR's mail system, are we vulnerable to viruses?
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago
What is hoosegaw?
Posted by Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota (Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm) over 12 years ago
prison bars
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) over 12 years ago

Got 2 recently myself and they got right thru all my newly updated spam, spyware etc.

THEY ARE EVERYWHERE .....       ..........BEWARE! 

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 12 years ago
I seem to get 2 or 3 of these per day. I just delete them.
Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) about 12 years ago
I've had these letters as well.  I usually DO reply with something like "HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK WE AMERICANS ARE?"  or sometimes I'm not as nice and use um...bad words.  Then I just report them as SPAM.
Posted by Nancy Morrish, Stage Tucson! (Stage Tucson! Professional Home Staging) about 12 years ago

Used to get these all the time.  My filter must be doing a better job lately!  At least I know what these guys are trying to do.  The ones that really get me are when they are just a jumble and make NO sense at all!  What are they thinking/doing?!!!

Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Posted by Kim Dillon (Creative Eye Home Staging) about 12 years ago

Here's the problem.  If they didn't work, they wouldn't stay in circulation.  We have many elderly who have been taught the Internet by their well-meaning children, but have not been given the "don't talk to strangers" lecture.  Some of our elderly do respond to these, and some have lost money.  That's a fact.  And that's why these devils stay in business.

Speak to your aging parents, and your young children, about the predatory nature of the Internet.  Only then, when EVERYONE is educated about these potential dangers, will they go away.

These predators should be jailed (jailed not being my first choice).

Posted by Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate (Little Fox Realty) about 12 years ago
I get these idiots in various forms once or twice a week. They never seem to give up.     Dr.s, lawyers, Old ladies, Accountants -you name it . I'm their go-to Guy it seems .Ha  
Posted by Paul Viau, Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog + Photo Services (Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog) about 12 years ago
20/20 and some other programs have brought this scam to the publics attention and these 'email rooms' are getting busted every day. We can only hope these people can find REAL WORK!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago
Now that is an interesting idea because I do believe that active rain is where they get the email addresses. Thanks and please do let us know...I would be happy to make the sacrifice 
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

I got the same sort of letter and posted it last week as well - BEWARE THOUGH - I didn't do anything except open since it said it was from AR and it took me all day Friday to de-virus my computer.

Karen Monsour, Fort Lauderdale, Fl

Posted by Karen Monsour, REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert! (Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach) about 12 years ago


Good post and responses! I spam these guys out but they keep coming back with a new line/twist to their story. The latest I got was from someone claiming to be my brand new best friend!!!!

                                                                                                      Penny White



titoki -sounds painful

Posted by penny white about 12 years ago
Hi Penny - I am afraid to read them any I will go blind or something. Some are even in Chinese!!! Everybody wants on the bandwagon now since Americans have shown how gullible they can be. Hopefully we know of almost 50,000 real estate professionals who spam them! Thanks for stopping by!
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago

Anyone ever gotten the secret shopper scam letter? I got a stamped hand-addressed letter from Canada the other day saying that I had been chosen to be a secret shopper and they even sent a ~$740  'check' which I was to cash to make the $50 "secret shopper" purchase at Walmart, something else, and then Western Union back some amount. The scam here, is that, they are counting on the bank cashiers being blind or stupid and not realizing the check is fake, and by the time it is discovered, you have sent them a bundle from your account via Western Union. And you have to act immediately, or you can't participate... 

I soooo wanted to call them and shoot them an earful of "How dare you insult my intelligence!" But, then, I remembered it came from Canada, so I didn't want to waste the money to make a long distance call. My only consolation is that they wasted the postage! I don't know how they got my address!

Posted by Susie Larsen, East Idaho Real Estate Photographer (Susie Larsen Photography) about 12 years ago

I receive about 10 emails like this a day, I just delete..delete..delete!  I am going to read the attachement of one of your comments, then get back to this.  Keep us the great postings.

Posted by JANNA HELMICK (ALLEGIANCE REALTY) about 12 years ago