Fool’s Gold

fool's goldThroughout history iron pyrite has been mistaken for gold. It has raised and dashed the hopes of many a prospector and helped to bankrupt numerous investors.

Since the advent of email (and email fraud) a new kind of fool’s gold has appeared. This new fool’s gold comes in the form of an email from someone claiming to need help realizing a profit from the large quantities of gold in their possession.

Due to some unfortunate circumstance they are not in a position to benefit directly from the gold and need someone to “market” the it for them. Luckily for you they stumbled across your email address and decided to ask you to help them.

This is the email message they sent:

Subject: Au Gold offer

From: “Michael Frempong” <>

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Attn: Dear Sir,

We have come across your contact information so we decided o send you this message so that we enter into trade cooperation.

We are from one of the royal families in Ghana who have given out several lands for the purpose of gold mining as Ghana is rich in gold.

As a result the elders of the stool lands are subject to royalties
from time to time from the mining companies, but the elders have also given out a portion of the lands to us the youth of the royal family which we have been able to use traditional methods to assess the gold potential in the land and have been able to mine gold from it.

At the time of sending this message we have almost 85 kilograms of 22+ carat gold dust which we have gathered and which we are looking for an interested person to assist us to market this quantity abroad so that we will be able to have money to legalize our operations and to employ modern methods of mining to upgrade production as the potential is very good.

That is why I am sending this message to you so that we can enter into business for a long time if you will be interested to assist us market this first part of what we have mined. I am therefore looking forward to hearing from you so that we proceed.

With best personal regards,

Michael Frempong
+233 277240650

We’re kind of puzzled as to why they would include “Au” in the subject since the target audience for this scam probably has no idea that “Au” is the symbol for gold in the periodic table of elements.

Then again, as far as we can tell, the perpetrators of this kind of fraud are usually only slightly smarter than their victims.

Frankly we’re amazed that anyone would fall for a scam that introduces itself like this:

We have come across your contact information so we decided o send you this message so that we enter into trade cooperation.

Would you go into business with someone who called you and said “we just picked your name out of the phone book and decided we’d like you to be our partner”? If you said yes we have a bridge in New York we’d like to sell you.

If you haven’t already hit delete, the message goes on to say that the senders are “from one of the royal families in Ghana who have given out several lands for the purpose of gold mining as Ghana is rich in gold”. Of course, it all makes sense now: members of some royal families in Ghana picked my name out of a hat because I’m well known for, uh, having an email address. Yeah, that’s believable.

The rest of the message enumerates how much gold they have now (almost 85 kilograms of 22+ carat gold dust) and explains that they need money to “legalize” their operations. Aha! They need money. Here we go again with the greed appeal. If we send them money we’ll get lots more money back. This kind of fraud comes in many flavors and never results in the victim getting rich.

The message is signed:

Michael Frempong
+233 277240650

Apparently the name Michael Frempong was chosen to add believability. We looked it up and found this. Of course, they misspelled “Frimpong”. Still, we did our due diligence and found a similar name associated with the Ghanan government. Seems much more convincing now. Maybe a the name got garbled in translation . . .

233 is the country code for Ghana so the phone number could be legit. We looked that up too and didn’t find anything. Most likely this means that this particular fraud campaign isn’t old enough to have been republished on the web. We’re taking care of that now ūüôā

In conclusion: An email promising easy access to African gold may look like an opportunity to get rich in the same way iron pyrite looks like gold, but, just like pyrite, these emails are fool’s gold.

Update: Here’s another, just for fun:

Subject: From me, Thomas

From: “Thomas Agah” <>

To: undisclosed-recipients:;


We are a small scale mining co-operative in the western region of Ghana, we have in stock
some quantities of gold dust for sale.

We will appreciate any individual or organisation which would assists us expand our mining
capacity to enable us produce more quantities of gold from our concessions.

Please kindly indicate your interest for the purchase of the Gold and we shall send a FULL
CORPORATE OFFER(FCO) for your perusal and approval together with a photograph of our
mining site.

Thank you and Best Regard.

Tel:+233 243610893
Skype I.D: gmi.invest

We find it interesting that our friend Thomas’s email address is on the top level domain for Azerbaijan which is nowhere near Ghana.

Also, if you do a search for “Thomas Agah Ghana” you’ll find a few references to the email above. Apparently this one’s been around a while:)

Updated 10/1/2010 with another example:


From: abubaka sidebe <>


Dear Sir,

We represent gold miners in some villages in Mali.

We deal on FOB and CIF provided the buyer can meet up with our requirement for the FOB or CIF.

Kindly confirm your interest and quantity and also specify your choice either FOB or CIF and area of delivery to enable us send you details.

Below are our procedures.

1.  Seller issue FCO to Buyer, buyer will check the FCO and make amendment if needed and send back to Seller for approval.

The first trial order shall be FOB Mali to enable the seller have sufficient fund to do the next shipment CIF to buyer destinated refinery.

2.  Seller will issue SPA to Buyer after signed FCO copy received from buyer, Buyer will check SPA and make amended if needed and send back to Seller for approval.

3.  Seller will assist buyer with letter of invitation to secure visa to visit Mali on the first trial transaction on FOB.

4.  Buyer and Seller will discussed and agreed on what percentage to be paid by buyer to seller for the delivery to the buyer destinated refinery. e.g, 100% cash payment after inspect or 50% cash payment or 30% or 20% based on agreed terms.

5.  Seller will prepare all necessary export documents for the shipment in the name of buyer and addressed to buyer destinated refinery and copies will be handed over to the buyer before the departure of the gold from Mali to buyer destinated refinery for assay and it will be accompanied by the buyer and seller representative.

Commodity¬†¬† —¬†¬† Au Gold Dust / Gold Bar ( Buyer specification )
Quality¬†¬† —¬† 22.6
Purity¬†¬† —¬†¬† 93.6%
Price¬†¬†¬† —¬†¬† $25,000usd per kg
Delivery¬†¬† —¬† First shipment trial order is FOB Mali follow by CIF.
Quantity¬† —¬† ( To be confirmed by the buyer ).
%3Cbr> If the above is ok for you, then kindly revert back to us for transparent business.

Best regards.

Abubakasidebe (skype)

Sales Manager

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3 Responses to “Fool’s Gold”

  1. Ishaan desai says:

    I live in ghana, where I went to shai hills, Where i went for a field trip, ( im just in fourth grade) There my class was pland to meet a geoligist who discovers rocks. At the end of our field trip, the class was given each a small piece of fools gold. (pyrite.) I know what fools gold is because the name says t all, but not much so I tried to remember what I herd of this rock before. Infact i did And at once I thought this is not a real gold, even if it looks like it.

  2. EDWARD says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Let me introduce myself properly to you. I am Mr. Edward Marah from Sierra Leone , Freetown is the capital city. I am the spokes man of a Royal Family in Dodo Village Kenema Districts of Orientale , gold district of Kilo-Moto, a gold producing Community in the Eastern Region Sierra Leone. I am writing to ascertain your interest and capability of buying or marketing Alluvial Gold Dust, which we presently have. We have a quantity of 500kgs of Alluvial Gold Dust of 23+ Carats plus, selling at a very reasonable price from the village ($25,000 per Kg) We need a direct potential buyer abroad who can buy the commodity and possibly go into partnership agreement with us, as to front us and also acquire the necessary modern mining equipments to improve our mining capacity and skills that will take us to the next level. Brief about Kenema (my town) Kenema is a small town located in the eastern region Sierra Leone , a small naturally gold blessed community the land is naturally blessed with gold. Diamonds were first discovered along the Moa River area a small community, in an area nineteen miles north-eastern of Dodo, in 1991. Over 100 million carats of diamonds have been recovered from the area by the government before gold was later discovered in my very location of the town. My town is a place where lucky farmers sometimes finds nugget gold and diamonds in the ground during farming, mostly after major rain falls. The land of my entire community according to geological analysis has large deposit of gold/diamond and it is the only part of Sierra Leone where you get 23+-karat purity of gold, others are below. Our advantage is that, my family rules over majority of the land, which newly discovered of its largest potentially unexplored gold reserve in Africa. Therefore we don’t operate on just one site. Another advantage is that, you find more of the commodity along the local river Moa area and we own majority of the land along the river (which is what brought about the dispute between the government and my family). We also have the right or the power to negotiate and own any land of our choice within our community. My grandparents were un-educated and therefore could not do what we are about to do now. Otherwise, we would be singing a different song by now. Nevertheless, it is not late for us if you are truly serious and keep to your words and we are able to start now. It is an opportunity that will last almost forever if we put in the right investment structures. We are in the verge to take our community to the next level. We want our people to enjoy from the endowment of our lands. Advice it is imperative that our partner must visit Sierra Leone, so we are ready to receive you here, granting you the opportunity to take a tour on our mining site for your physical examination and assessment of the potentials of our lands. Seeing believes! On your visit here, driver and a delegate will receive you at our International Airport, and check you into a befitting hotel around the safest neighborhood within the airport area, where we shall have our first meeting before proceeding to the village (mining site) the next day. Please ‚ÄúONLY‚ÄĚ Potential buyers are required to reply with your data‚Äôs, telephone and direct mobile phone for easier and faster communication to speedy up your purchase. Thanks yours truly, Mr. Edward Marah +23233583748 or +232 88 761627 Skype: golddiamond12 or

  3. OnlyMyEmail Anti-Spam Team says:

    Edward, thanks for saving us the trouble of fishing this out of the spam.