My own experience with email scams

Back when I first became a pastor, I got this email and was astounded. It was the first of its kind that I received. I have since learned my lesson, but at the time, I was quite interested. After I did more research, I became concerned about the whole deal and was mostly worried that other pastors might be getting the same emails. So, I put up a page on our church website that sought to raise awareness of this kind of scam. That site may change once I leave Chicago, so I’m pasting the details of that page here as well.

You might also be interested in my other post on an internet scam. click here

Is the Polycarp Ekeocha email a fraud?

On the Internet, it is a good rule of thumb to say that if something seems
too good to be true, then it almost always is. Another rule that is even more definite
is that if anyone ever asks you for sensitive personal information, DO NOT GIVE IT
unless you are 100% POSITIVE that everything is SECURE and FACTUAL.

It is with this purpose that this page is posted online. There is a man out there
who is writing to pastors telling them that one Pastor Polycarp Ekeocha
has died and is giving $470,000 dollars to them because of their work for the
worldwide mission of Christ.

I have received one of these letters and it appears that I am not the only one.

A quick search on Google will reveal that one church had some information
on this email, but then removed it recently. I actually have been able to recover
the information through the use of Google’s “cached pages” feature on the Google
toolbar. I have posted the pertinent information below.

Hopefully, this site can prevent pastors from falling prey to this potential hoax.

Here is my story. (December, 2001)

I received the email from David Attah about two
months ago. I sent him back a response telling him that I was skeptical and that
I wanted to know more. I didn’t hear from him again until early last month when
he sent me the same email as before.

Again, I sent him a response telling him that I was skeptical, but this time,
I decided to go one step further. Here in Illinois, I have been issued a state ID card
that does little more than verify that my face goes with my name and that I am
a resident of the state. You can’t access driving records with it, and it does not
substitute for my Social Security Card. Considering that the ID card seems to be
a very benign form of information, I scanned the front of it and emailed it to Mr.
Attah with questions regarding the validity of his claims.

He responded promptly with a second email.
Then, I replied again giving him my church fax number, and he sent a
third email

If anyone out there has additional information on this whether it is fraudulent or not,
please let me know.

This page is maintained by Jeff Mikels, Pastor of
Northwest Baptist Church
in Chicago (

First Email


Solicitors & Advocates(Notary Public)
of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Lagos – Nigiera.
Fax: (213) 401-2101 x7088


p>Attn.: Pastor Jeffrey Mikels




p>On behalf of my late client late Pastor Polycarp Ekeocha, I write tonotify you that my late client – Pastor Polycarp Ekeocha made you a beneficiaryto the bequest sum of Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand US Dollars (US$470,000)inthe last codicil to his last will and testament.


p>Late Pastor Polycarp Ekeocha died after a brief illness on September12th, 2001. Until his death, Late Pastor Polycarp Ekeocha was a renowed


p>Philanthropistand a General Overseer of Redeeming Time Prigrims MissionChurch.


p>According to him, he is giving you this because of our involvement inChristian activities and in making better the world_s situation.


p>As Trustees and Executors of this Will, I wish to inform you that theWill was read at the Owerri High Court probate division on October 2nd,2001 as the law provides and ready for execution.


p>You are therefore required by this notification to confirm your ownershipto this legacy by forwarding any of the proofs of identities includingyour Telephone and Fax number for effective communication. Such as: your church membership ID card information or your international passport information. Endeavour to forward any ofthis proof by email for us to started working on your file.


p>I would detail you on the procedure and details involved in executingthis Will on receipt of your email reply.


p>God bless you.


p>Best Regards,


p>David Attah.


p>Alternativ Email:

David Attah – email
(213) 401-2101 x7088 – voicemail/fax

Second Email

Dear Jeff,

I received your email with the attached copy with thanks and the content there-in was well noted and understood by us. One thing I can assure your goodself is that no one in his right frame of mind would want to defraud or deceive any man of God because when God’s judgment comes, that person will definitely suffer for the Lord Almighty says “Tourch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm”.

I am willing to send to you your request and a copies of Late Pastor Polycap’s WILL for you to go through and understand what I am saying. I do not blame you for asking the questions you did and having doubt in the entire thing because it is very strange in the eyes of man for a thing of this nature to happen. But what I want you to understand is that as a Pastor, you will agree with me that most of the time God used other people to perform miracles to others.

Therefore my brethren, do not be afraid for I come to you with a clean heart to assist you receive what has been offered to your Ministry by a fellow dying Pastor for the vangelization of the world and to win more souls to our Lord Jesus Christ for the gates of heaven and the Angels rejoices when a new soul is converted to the Lord’s vineyard.

Please I have try to reach you on the phone numbers you gave, but we have a little problem on our telecommunication system, once the problem is solve, I surely call you for a better discussion.

Nevertheless, I will go ahead to start off the process of this transaction with immediate effect with your ILLINOIS state ID card send to us by you.

Therefore, the below is the procedure that we have to gone through before the said bequest can be send to you. Thus:

i. I will use your ILLINOIS state ID card information obtain a declaration of affidavit at the federal high court, Lgaos which will proof your rightful ownership of the bequest sum of US$470,000.00 by my late client late Pastor Polycarp.

ii. After the affidavit might have be stamp and sign by the Chief Justice of the federal high court, I will thereafter submit the affidavit to the federal ministry of finance for approval and also order the concern bank to remit your fund to you either by Draft or direct transfer to your bank account.

iii. You are therefore to confirm to us with immediate effect on how you wish to receive the fund either by Draft or direct transfer to your bank.

Note, if you wish to receive this fund by your bank account, you should send us your bank information where the money will be wire upon. Or if you wish to receive it by Draft, you should also send your full contact address where the draft will be delivered to you via Nigerian Diplomatic Courier Services (NDCS).

iv. I will thereafter send all the concern documents to you via DHL for you to sign the necessary ones and return them back to us which we are to submit back to the federal high court indicating that I David Attah has as at then fulfill and discharge my duty respectfully.

Please, the above are the procedure and details.

Thanks for your co-operation and God bless.

David Attah.

N.B: Kindly send us your fax number where we can resend you the letter with my letter head paper and also the Will copy of my late client. Hoping to hear from you soon. Thanks.

Third Email

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for your understanding, I have as at today start off the process and by tomorrow or next I will go to court and sworn the affidavit of claim at the federal high court, so that we can conclude the transaction if possible before the long holidays (Christman).

By tomorrow I will send you the fax message as given by you. Thus: [FAX # MASKED]

I will surelly updating you time to time.

Thanks for your co-operation and God bless.

David Attah.


I got this information through a cached copy of
located on Google’s servers. The page has since been changed and the information
presented below is no longer accessible. Also note, that by including this, I am not
endorsing or showing any kind of affiliation with the Worldwide Church of God or
their website.

Weekly Update (October 18, 2001)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I imagine that we are all aware of the fact that some people try to take
advantage of the good intentions of others by fraudulent means via the
internet. A number of our people have received an e-mail originating from
Nigeria. It tells you that you have been named beneficiary of a “renowned
philanthropist” named Pastor Polycarp Ekeocha and that you will be given a sum
of four hundred and seventy thousand dollars if you will only supply them with
copies of your Driver’s license, and/or National ID card, and/or Passport,
and/or social security card. Apparently, one person even discovered this
message after linking from our church website to another. Since some of our
people have asked us about this e-mail, we believe that it is prudent for us to
advise you that it is bogus.

About the Author

17 thoughts on “My own experience with email scams

  1. thank god i found your web site first. my wife and i thought this might be a scam. i recieved a promotional letter from 222 car central in trexlertown pa. it had a scratch off part for extra savings. this is the grand prize-$2000 shopping sree! thank you for the information and god bless you sir.

  2. Thank you for your blog…I also have recieved a flyer from a car dealership from Rolla, Mo. with a scratch off which revealed that I had won a $2000 shopping spree. When I went to look for the web site, your blog was above the listing for the website. I looked at your web site first..After reading your blog about my so called $2000 shopping spree at BPshoppingspree, I did not go any further. I did’nt even go on to the web site to give them the satisfaction of even checking it out in hopes of me falling for their scam!!!! Thank you for your blog and helping to protect the public from such scams. What disturbs me the most is I would’nt even have been looking to buy any products if I had’nt gotten the so called “You’ve Won” flyer…so if I had taken them up on their offer, I would have been scammed into buying something that I thought I had won, and that I had’nt been looking to purchase in the first place!!!! Thank you for watching out for us!!!!

  3. Oh my goodness. I got a flier from a local car dealership saying I had won a free 1000 dollar spree. When i got there, there was a lot of people sitting around waiting for agents to tell them about thier prize. When I finally sat down with a car dealer agent, he tried his best to drive home that I need to buy a car.

    Of course I have a nice car, so I told him I only wanted the prize. They sent me away with a certificate for a free 1000 shopping spree on the internet. I should have seen a red flag at that point, because, when I got to the website, they were offering prizes that were taking well over the price of the product in question and asking for awardees to remit special “P&H” fees which, not to my amazement, were around the actual value of the said product.

    Oh yeah and to top it off, I had to submit 10 dollars to actually enter the site. On top of that, as if the cake had not already been taken, they roped me into an additional 1000 dollar shopping spree by asking for an additional 5 dollar fee at payment.

    So, I am out 15 bucks on a spree that this dealership said I had won, which granted me access to a website that offered mostly cheap and overpriced merchandise that I could recieve if only I “remit a small P&H fee” to them for profits and shipping and handling.

    I thought it was kind of strange as I stood there, how many people who were there with me had also recieved the shopping spree as a prize and not the other 3 prizes, which included a TV set, and 10,000 cash.

    My wife and I are hurting terribly for money, and we got into this thing with the best intentions. I thought we could get a few nice items to spruce up our 1 bedroom apartment through this apparent win.

    So what it comes down to is this:
    I got a certificate in the mail telling me to scratch and match winning numbers and recieve a prize from a (local!) dealership. After being hounded by up to 4 dealership employees about buying a new vehicle i recieved a prize certificate.

    The certificate led to a website (which is to submit payment, and for merchandise ordering BE WARNED) which demanded a fee be payed for each spree item retained. I have sent the website owners an e-mail asking that the “P&E” cost be deducted from the total cost of the sprees, but I doubt any kind of honorable agreement will be reached.

    Please be aware of this scheme and do not be fooled by car dealerships offering free prizes with no purchase necessary. We all know how devious car dealers can be anyway. If a resolution is not found I will be sending emails to both the car dealership in question ( a chevy dealership on independance drive in Simpsonville SC) and also Chevy corparate offices to attempt to get a decent resolution to this scam. I will use this blog to update the progress of said e-mails.

    As of right now the only thing I have submitted is an email to the prize claimant website asking to take the cost of the so-called “P&H” charges from the cost of the spree. Further emails will be archived here.

    Thanks for reading this giant blog, as I am very infuriated with what I have encountered dealing with this prize scam. Also please disregard any text at the bottom of this message, as I only want more people who have suffered similar scams to be linked to this blog before they make a decision to pay for access to a prize site.

    *, car dealer, car, chevy, scam, fraud, mislead, scheme,
    *, shopping spree, false advertising, internet scams

  4. Hi all, I don’t know if this will be kind of a shock for you but the shoppingspreeforyou scam had reach as far as Singapore in Southeast asia. I was also ‘rewarded’ with a $1000 spree voucher and lucky thing for me to find this blog before commiting my money. In Singapore, they mask it as a reward for timeshare holidays promotion. Lucky for me that I did not lose anything more then the 2 hrs that I have spended with the timeshare dealer.

  5. Thanks All Above
    I would like to thank you all for the above post.
    I also recieved the certificate from a car dealer, however I must admit the salesman did say that he really wasnt sure what it was. I was suspicious when there were no merchandise or items on initial site. Hmmm – and the processing fee to gain entrance.
    Thanks again !

  6. I am from Singapore. A personnel from this marketing company ( called me up telling me that I have won a grand prize and I had to bring my spouse together for a 1.5 hour presentation which will be explanation on how to claim the prize. So we believe it and went for the presentation in Shaw Centre. We found out we are in fact receiving a presentation from this company Oriental Travel Pte Ltd on timeshare products. After 1.5hr, we told them time is up and they promptly give us a few vouchers. One is a $1000 shopping spree voucher which require me to go to and pay $10 to redeem a certificate to shop at
    I smelled something fishy and hence i tried searching for more info and I found site!

    I hope the proper authority can take some serious action on these dishonest folks!!!

  7. This is also reached Israel.
    I got this “GIFT” just for coming to hear a offer about holiday or something like this.
    Lucky for me, i found these wornings and saved my self some money.

  8. David Attah ,
    The real David Attah was mute for 8 years because of an accident (in which he was not the cause of the accident)
    He was a long time in hospital.
    He is known in Nigeria for being healed in a Reinhard Bonnke Crusade.

    His healing is told in Reinhard Bonnke’s book “Even Greater” and on the DVD Miracle Scene Investigation. A very inspiring and miraculous story!

    your emails are probably sent to you by someone who heard the name David Attah in connection with ‘church’.
    Very Probably, this person who sends you emails is not named David Attah at all.

    As with all emails from people you don’t know, if the ‘try’ to get you money, they are fraud emails! They prey on people whose love for money gets them in their trap.

    And with some people they succede and get money instead of give them money! Because people believe their stories.

  9. Hi All,

    I have different company issue the same certificate now for and or

    all of the websites are a mere just more than scam.

    Like Justin has a valid point like all you other folks, recently I signed up with ADT, the security company and the authorized dealer got me to sign up through him, showing me all these fine flyers.

    But when I googled on them, I see a lot of articles pointing to me in the direction, making me believe that is just a scam to get money of people.

    Thank you Justin for the blog.. May be we should let ADT also get hauled in for this mess that their dealers are doing for the business.


  10. I’m also from Israel & I also found myself sitting with my wife for a long & AGGRESSIVE (almost violent) sales scam. When I got very impatient they gave me this certificate which sounded suspicious (like the whole scam!).
    Beware, everybody of Oriental Travel, but they also appear under different names. Remember: there’s no free lunch …

  11. I too received a certificate for the website at a BABY show displaing Babee Tenda items. This was the “free gift” that they gave you at the END of the show. A certificate for 1000 in free merchandise at 10 dollars to redeem then you have to pay outragous Postage and Handling. Luckily, I looked this up on this blog and saved my 10 dollars for something IMPORTANT like diapers and formula. I appreciate the communication on this board and I hope this reaches more people. Thank you!

  12. I donated my car for some widows organization and they said I’ll get this $1000 gift card that I can buy all kinds of stuff for up to a thousand dollars. When I got it I realized, to my dismay that its is no more than a scam in gods name for some non existent widows organization. The products are for double the price than in any given retailer and the “small” shipping and handling fee costs more than the product would cost without any bogus freebies. I learned the hard way that “if it’s too good to be true’ it probably is”.

  13. I’m from Singapore and I also received this voucher after going to a timeshare company that claimed they are different from others because they own the hotels that they can provide rooms at a cheap rate. It was a 1.5hrs presentation that I got in Rolex building in Orchard road. I was curious of the shopping vouchers that they gave and came online. Glad that you guys have shared your experiences online from all over the world, hope people out there do not fall for the same trap.

    Truespa at Ngee Ann City
    Address: 391A, Orchard Road
    Ngee Ann City Tower A, Level 16
    Another incident that I had which is different is a free spa that I went to receive in Takashimaya at Orchard Road in Singapore. This company is TrueSpa. I was given a 1hr presentation on what package they can offer before they will go to arrange for the free spa. To my amazement, when I didnt sign up for the package, the saleswoman(could have said salesgirl but cant bring myself to address her as she really had bad attitude, btw her name is Mindy) went off to make the “arrangements” which left my wife and I waiting for 30mins by ourselves. I went to the reception but they did not seem to be bothered. I decided to leave the place since no one was attending to me, did not want to make a big fuss since I was rushing to another place. To my amazement, the saleswoman didnt even bother to call back to apologize. When I send an official complain to Truespa 2months ago, I did not recive any call from them from them. The point here is to tell everyone out there not to be misguided by the nice outfit, just another scam! You will not expect any customer service from them at all! the website is attached here

  14. thank god i found your web site first. my wife and i thought this might be a scam. i recieved a promotional letter from 222 car central in trexlertown pa. it had a scratch off part for extra savings. this is the grand prize-$2000 shopping sree! thank you for the information and god bless you sir.

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