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Begging spam from Russia

The following begging emails have been received by thousands of people worldwide, as its numerous Google hits show up for a search for any phrase from the letters.

A few things that strike me as odd about this email:

  • The same scam email has been going out year after year.
  • If "Elena" was really interested in offers of "portable oven which you don't use anymore", why doesn't she tell us her address so someone could ship her one? Maybe she's more interested in cash offers?
  • "Elena" is very specific about how much this kind of oven costs (194 euros), but indicates there is a range of such products weighing between 100 and 150 kg.
  • It was sent to thousands and thousands of people. Where did poor "Elena", who can only access the library computer after hours, get all these email addresses from?
  • One spam we received (2007-11-19) was sent from a Dutch DSL IP, not from Russia. Another was sent from an IP address in Sweden. Most likely these IPs are part of a botnet of hijacked computers, usually used by criminal spam gangs. This is *not* how your average Russian librarian would ask others for help.

This spam is a actually a derivative of the "Valentin from Russia" scam emails (see example below) that have been circulating every year before Christmas since 1988. Kind-hearted person, beware!


Elena from Russia (2007-11-19, elenafg@mailrus.ru)

Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 13:14:30 +0300
From: "Elena" <elenafg@mailrus.ru>
Subject: AW:
To: <elenafg@mailrus.ru>

Hi,

My name is Elena, I have 30 years and I live in province of Russia.

I have a 6-years daughter, her father abandoned us and we live with my mother. Recently my mother lost job due to old age and our situation became very difficult.

The prices for gas and electricity became very high in the last months and we cannot use it to heat our home anymore.

The winter is coming and temperature is very cold here already. The radio say it will be up to minus 30 degr. Celsius in the near weeks. We do not know what to do and we very afraid.

The only way for us to heat our home is to use portable wood burning stove which gives heat with burning wood or coal. We have a lot of wood in our region, therefore this way is very good for us
and it will heat our home the whole winter with minimal charges.

I work in library and after my job I allowed to use computer. I finded your address in internet and may be you can help us.

We need portable stove, but we cannot buy it because it cost 6900 roubles (equivalent of 195 Euros) but my salary is very small. May be you have any used wood burning stove which you don't use anymore, then we would be very grateful to you if you can donate it to us and organize transport of its to our address. This stoves are different, and they weight between 60-150kg.

I would like to send you picture of us, but unfortunately I don't have digital picture which can be transmited by computer.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Elena.

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Elena, 31 from Russia (2007-12-23, eleng@mailrus.ru)

From: "Elena" <eleng@mailrus.ru>
To: <eleng@mailrus.ru>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 22:34:33 +0300
Subject: Hi

Hi,

My name is Elena, I have 31 years old and I live in Russian province.

I have a 6-years daughter, her father abandoned us and we live with my mother. Recently my mother lost job due to old age and our situation became very difficult.

During the last months the prices for gas and electricity became very high in our region and we cannot use it to heat our home anymore.

The winter becomes colder each day, we very afraid and we don't know what to do.

The only accessible way for us heat our home is to use portable stove which give heat with burning wood. We have a lot wood in our region and this stove will heat our home all winter for minimal charges.

I work in library and after my job I allowed to use computer. I finded your address in internet and may be you can help us.

We need portable wood burning stove, but we cannot buy it in our local market because it is expensive for us. May be you have any portable stove which you don’t use anymore, we will be very grateful to you if you can donate its to us and organize transport of its to our address. This stoves are different, and they weight between 70-150kg.

I downloaded picture of me and my daughter to the web-site and you can see it here:
http://elenafg.nextmail.ru/ourpicture.jpg
It is not very good quality, but it will show you how we look like.

I hope that you will write me back and I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Elena.
Russia.

Message headers:

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X-ME-UUID: 20071223223518884.D8027700008F@mwinf6006.orange.nl
From: "Elena" <eleng@mailrus.ru>
X-Originating-Account: <eleng@mailrus.ru>
To: <eleng@mailrus.ru>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 22:34:33 +0300
Subject: Hi
Message-ID: <bd0156900057caf7aebf94491ff53739@www1.mail.ru>
X-Mailer: Mailrus.ru Webmail2 2.12
X-Originating-Ip: 85.198.54.126
X-Originating-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98)


Elena, 31 from Russia

From: elenaga@eposta.ru
Date: 2008-01-06 17:29
To: <elenaga@eposta.ru>
Subject: Hi

Hi,

My name is Elena, I have 31 years old and I live in Russian province.

I have a 6-years daughter, her father abandoned us and we live with my mother. Recently my mother lost job due to old age and our situation became very difficult.

During the last months the prices for gas and electricity became very high in our region and we cannot use it to heat our home anymore.
The weather is minus 19 degree Celsius already and it become colder each day. We very afraid and we don't know what to do.
The only accessible way for us heat our home is to use portable oven which give heat with burning wood. We have a lot wood in our region and this oven will heat our home all winter for minimal charges.
I work in library and after my job I allowed to use computer. I finded your address in internet and may be you can help us.
We need portable wood burning oven, but we cannot buy it in our local market because it cost equivalent of 194 Euros and is very expensive for us. May be you have any portable oven which you don?t use anymore, we will be very grateful to you if you can donate its to us and organize transport of its to our address. This ovens are different, usually they made from cast-iron and weight between 100-150kg.
I hope that you will write me back. I wish that the New Year will bring you happiness and good health.
Elena.
Russia.


Elena from Russia (2010-01-01, elefdgalsaly@camail.ru)

Hallo,

My name is Elena, I am 33 years old and I applying to you from a province in Russia. I working in local library and I can use computer when I finish work if allowed. Our situation is terrible and I decide write to you this message in despair.

I having daughter - 8 years old, her father leaved us and we live with my mother.

As consequence of economic crisis in our region lately my mother lost job (the shop where she was worked is now closed) and our situation became awful.

Prices for gas and electricity is very high in our region and we unable afford to use it for heating our home anylonger.

It is very cold already in our town and weather become colder each day. We very distressed and we donot know what to do.

The only possibility for us to heat our home is to use portable wood burning oven which provide heat with burning wood (fire). We have sufficiency wood in our district and this oven will provide heat for our sleeping room all winter with minimal cost.

The trouble is that we cannot purchase this oven in our city because it price 8187 roubles (equivalent of 191 Euro) and we cannot afford it because this amount is fortune for us.

May be you own any old portable wood burning oven and if you do not use it anymore, we will be very happy if you could present it to us and organize transport of this oven to our adress (200 km from Moscow). That oven usually different and weight about 100kg.

Please let me know if you can help and I will write you our home address

From all my heart I wish you all the best in the NEW YEAR 2010! I wish that the New Year will bring you hapiness, health and all your dreams come true!

Elena.

Message headers:

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Message-ID: <AC4FA9D479F24C92B73C0413FA15CBDE306F9484F6A62A6E6A@LOCALHOST>
Date: Sat, 02 Jan 2010 01:24:54 +0300
From: "Elene" <elefdgalsaly@camail.ru>
To: <(withheld)>
Subject: HAPPY NEW YEAR
User-Agent: Internet Messaging Program (IMP) 8.8.5
X-Originating-IP: 84.178.118.155


Elena from Russia (2011-01-15, elenarho@karmail.ru)

Hallo,

Mein Name ist Elena, bin ich 34 Jahre alt und ich schreibe Ihnen von einer Provinz in Russland.

Ich arbeite in der Stadtbibliothek und nachdem mein Job, den, ich Computer benutzen durfte als moeglich.
Ich fand einige Adressen im Internet, und ich entschied mich, zu zu schreiben Sie dieser Buchstabe.

Ich habe eine Tochter 9 Jahre alt, verlie? ihr Vater uns, und wir leben mit meiner Mutter.

Vor einigen Monaten werden mein Mutter verlorener Job wegen der tiefen Krise in unserer Region und jetzt unsere Situation hoffnungslos.

Gas und Elektrizitaet ist sehr teuer, und wir koennen sie nicht uns leisten, um unseren Hauptamy mehr zu erhitzen.

Das Wetter wird jeden Tag in unserer Region kaelter.

Wir don' t kennen was zu tun und uns sehr aengstlich.
Die einzige moegliche Weise, unser Haus zu erhitzen ist, beweglichen Ofen zu benutzen, der Heizung von brennendem Holz.

Wir haben Holzsparungen in unserer Halle und dieser Ofen erhitzt unser Haus aller Winter fuer keine Kosten zu uns.
Leider koennen wir diesen Ofen in unserem lokalen Markt nicht kaufen weil Wert dieses Ofens betraegt 8.450 Rubel, und er ist fuer uns sehr teuer (Equival. von Euro 196).

Wenn Sie irgendeinen alten beweglichen Ofen haben, die mit brennendem Holz bearbeiten, und wenn Sie es nicht mehr benutzen, we' ll seien Sie sehr dankbar, wenn Sie es zu uns spenden und Transport von ordnen koennen der Ofen zu uns (wir leben 200 Kilometer von Moskau).
Dieses sind oefen unterschiedlich, werden sie normalerweise vom Roheisen gebildet und wiegen ungefaehr 100 Kilogramm.

Elena.

PS: Ich wuensche Ihnen das ganzes Beste im neuen Jahr 2011.
Antworten Sie bitte in der englischen Sprache, da ich sie an der Schule studierte und ich in der Lage bin, Sie zu verstehen. Ich entschuldige mich fuer Fehler in diesen Buchstaben, ich uebersetzte ihn mithilfe des Computeruebersetzers.

Message headers:

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From: "Elena" <elenarho@karmail.ru>
Subject: Glueckliches neues Jahr
To: klaulye@gmx.de
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2011 22:03:16 +0300
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
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Valentin from Russia (December 2005, vmik@poste.ru)

From: "Valentin" <vmik@poste.ru>
To: <undisclosed-recipients:>
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2005 23:17
Subject: Message from Russia

Dear Friends,

Please excuse me for any inconvice caused by this message.

My name is Valentin. I am student and I live with my mother in small city Kaluga, in Russia. My mother is invalid. She cannot see and she receive pension from the government very rare which is not enough even for medications.

I work very hard every day to be able to buy the necessities and medications for my mother, but my salary is very small, because my studies still not finished.

Due to the deep crisis, authorities stoped gas in our district and we cannot heat our home anymore. I do not know what to do, because the weather is very cold here already and I'm very afraid that if the temperature will be lower than 0 degree in our sleeping room, we will not be able to survive.

Thanks to free public Internet access in our library, I was able to find several addresses, including yours and I decided to appeal to you with a prayer in my heart for a small help. If you have any old used sleeping bag, warm blanket, warm clothes in size L or XL, portable heater, canned food, vitamins, water boiler, medicines against cold weather, any hygiene products, I will be very grateful you if you could send it to our home address:

Valentin Mihailyn,
Rileewa 6-45,
Kaluga 248030
Russia.

If you think that it would be better or easier for you to help with some money, please writes me back to me and I will provide you with details how to send it safely, if you agree. This way to help is very good, because 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 country very soon.

>From all my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2006. Please excuse me, once more, for any inconvience I could cause you with this message.

Valentin,
Kaluga. Russia.


Elena (2011-11-06)

Hi,

My name is Elena and I live in Russian. I have a little baby, but no husband.
Due to crisis I lost job and cannot pay the bills for heating our home anymore.
We urgent need an oven because winter coming and temperature in our home is now almost 0 degrees.
If you have old transportable wood burner and you don't use it, I pray you can donate it to us.
I send this message from library and I am hope for your answer.
Elena.

Message headers:

Return-Path: <elenagrif@ximail.ru>
Received: from mail-08.primus.ca (smtp-noauth7.primus.ca. [216.254.180.38])
        by mx.google.com with ESMTP id a7si5744698ibt.140.2011.11.06.14.58.20;
        Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:58:20 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: neutral (google.com: 216.254.180.38 is neither permitted nor denied by best
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Message-Id: <4eb7110c.4784e70a.0504.ffff8710SMTPIN_ADDED@mx.google.com>
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 by mail-08.primus.ca with smtp (Exim 4.72)
 (envelope-from <elenagrif@ximail.ru>)
 id 1RNBf5-00067P-2p; Sun, 06 Nov 2011 17:58:00 -0500
From: "Elena" <elenagrif@ximail.ru>
To: <(withheld)>
Subject: hello
Date: Mon, 07 Nov 2011 02:57:45 +0400


Elena (elenakir@nextmail.ru, 2011-11-25)


Hi,
I find your adress into website and decide to send you this letter from our local library.
My name is Elena and I living in Russia Federation. I have daughter and no husband.
Due to crisis recently I losted job and can not pay the heating bills for our home anymore.
We urgently need heating because the coming winter and the temperature in our home is very cold.
We have wood savings and it will give us heating for no cost, but we need a woodburner.
We cannot buy it because it is very costly for us.
If you have any old portable woodburner that do not use, I pray you can gift to us and transport of it to our address.
I hope for your response.
Elena.

Message headers:

Received: from dsl-173-206-130-78.tor.primus.ca ([173.206.130.78]
 helo=81-179-25-66.dsl.pipex.com) by mail-09.primus.ca with smtp (Exim 4.72)
 (envelope-from <elenakir@nextmail.ru>) id 1RTylU-0007PA-17; Fri, 25 Nov 2011
 11:36:41 -0500
From: "Elena" <elenakir@nextmail.ru>
To: <(withheld)>
Subject: Brief
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2011 20:35:52 +0400


Elena (elenakir@nextmail.ru, 2011-11-27)

Hi,
I saw your e-mail and decide to send you this message from our city library.
My name is Elena and living in Russia. I have little daughter but no husband.
Due to crisis recently I losted job and can not pay the heating bills for our home anymore.
We urgent need heating because winter and the temperature in our home is very cold.
We have wood savings and it can give us heating for no cost, but we need a woodburner.
We unable buy it because it cost too much for us.
If you have any old portable woodburner that do not use, I pray you can gift to us and transport of it to our address.
I wait to your response.
Elena.

Message headers:

Received: from 81-179-25-66.dsl.pipex.com ([86.44.138.149]) by
 avas02.vendorsvc.cra.dublin.eircom.net with Cloudmark Gateway id
 28zd1i0143Db5hi018zh1G; Sun, 27 Nov 2011 08:59:52 +0000
From: "Elena" <elenakir@nextmail.ru>
To: <(withheld)>
Subject: Brief
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2011 12:59:39 +0400


Elena in Russia (2011-12-09, elenakin@nxt.ru)

Hi,

My name is Lena. Me is writing you this letter from despair into a library of our small city.
I recently losted my job and can not pay for heating our home anymore. My husband leaved me with my little daughter.

Now we live with my mother. We need heating urgent because winter comes and the temperature in our home is very cold.
For this purpose we need a wood-burn-stove, but we can not buy it because it costs too much for our family.

If you have old, not great size and portable wood burn stove, I pray you can gift to us and departure it to our address.
I await your response.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best in New Year.

Lena.
Russia.


Message headers:

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 avas02.vendorsvc.cra.dublin.eircom.net with Cloudmark Gateway id
 6lhQ1i00W1UMnQ601lhUZA; Thu, 08 Dec 2011 21:41:50 +0000
From: "Elena" <elenakin@nxt.ru>
To: 
Subject: brief
Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2011 01:41:27 +0400

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