You’ll have to excuse me for this pointless blog post. But I got an idea and decided to run with it. So here it goes:
I have recently come into a large sum of money: 2.5 million Euros to be exact. This is according to a spam letter in my Yahoo inbox. When I received it, I asked my friends on Facebook where I should go on my European vacation in order to spend the money: Rome, Florence, Dublin, London, Vienna or Paris. There was no consensus, so I’m still trying to make up my mind.
I used to think the spam letters were annoying, and I would delete them right away. But now I find them entertaining.
There’s a perception that all of these letters originate in Ghana or Nigeria. But I think about the people who craft them and I imagine an editorial office in a corporation located in Chicago or Minneapolis. In my mind it resembles a contemporary version of Hudsucker Industries, the company Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) worked for in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1994 comedy The Hudsucker Proxy.
I can see rows of desks populated by writers, copyeditors and fact checkers who draft, edit and disseminate the letters. They are human cogs in a corporate machine, like the well-oiled wheels and moving parts of a huge clock tower like Big Ben (assuming it still has moving parts; but you get the point).
The managing editor is a guy named Bud who wears red suspenders and swallows Tums all day while sitting behind his oak desk in his glassed corner office.
I bet he sends the writers back to their desks for multiple revisions. I can hear him barking out, “No, no, no. South Dakota resident 4512-CU would never buy that. It has to be more convincing. Entice them. Sell the payoff.”
I wonder if the writers get assigned their targets or have to research them on their own. I am also curious if they need to bring work home, stuffing documents and thumb drives in their leather briefcases while rushing out of the office at 5 p.m.
I am afraid of giving away any personal information, but I am tempted to respond to one of the spam requests and engage in a conversation with one of the purported spammers. My goal would be to see how far they are willing to carry on the lie.
Here are some recent examples that showed up in my inbox. I’m not sure if you’ll find them as humorous as I do.
Now we have arranged your payment of ($8.5 millions) by ATM payment card which you will be withdrawing $5000.00 usd on daily base until the whole monies is completely withdrawn by you via the ATM . The minister trust funds of Federal Republic Of Nigeria, United Bank For Africa [UBA] West African States, The United Bank For Africa, Nigeria Declared your payment through this system to avoid another hoax as you had disappointed in the past on paying your inheritance funds. So get to the ATM of Asia Pacific of United Bank For Africa for your ATM card.
Thus is their email contact (Not Listed Here).
Contact the ATM card payment center and they will send the card to you within 48 hours on comply with them. With the following details below. Reconfirm your information bellow to him.
Contact him immediately you receive this mail with your full information.
Mr. (Name Removed)
Anti-Terrorist And Monetary Crimes Division
FBI Headquarter, Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation,Washington, D.C.
J.Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, Nw Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
This e-mail has been issued to you in order to Officially inform you that we have completed an investigation on an International Payment in which was issued to you by an International Lottery Company. With the help of our newly developed technology (International Monitoring Network System) we discovered that your e-mail address was automatically selected by an Online Balloting System, this has legally won you the sum of $2.4million USD from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America. During our investigation we discovered that your e-mail won the money from an Online Balloting System and we have authorized this winning to be paid to you via INTERNATIONAL CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT.
Normally, it will take up to 5 business days for an INTERNATIONAL CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT by your local bank. We have successfully notified this company on your behalf that funds are to be drawn from a registered bank within the worldwide, so as to enable you cash the check instantly without any delay, henceforth the stated amount of $2.4million USD has been deposited with IMF. We have completed this investigation and you are hereby approved to receive the winning prize as we have verified the entire transaction to be Safe and 100% risk free, due to the fact that the funds have been deposited with IMF you will be required to settle the following bills directly to the Lottery Agent in-charge of this transaction whom is located in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
According to our discoveries, you were required to pay for the following, (1) Deposit Fee’s (IMF INTERNATIONAL CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE) (2) Shipping Fee’s (This is the charge for shipping the Cashier’s Check to your home address).
The total amount for everything is $96.00 We have tried our possible best to indicate that this $96.00 should be deducted from your winning prize but we found out that the funds have already been deposited IMF and cannot be accessed by anyone apart from you the winner, therefore you will be required to pay the required fee’s to the Agent in-charge of this transaction In order to proceed with this transaction, you will be required
to contact the agent in-charge Mr. (name removed) via e-mail.
Kindly look below to find appropriate contact information:
CONTACT AGENT NAME: Mr. (Name Withheld)
PHONE NUMBER: (removed)
You will be required to e-mail him with the following information:
DIRECT CONTACT NUMBER:
You will also be required to request Western Union or Money Gram details on how to send the required $96.00 in order to immediately ship your prize of $2.4million USD via INTERNATIONAL CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT from IMF, also include the following transaction code in order for him to immediately identify this transaction : EA2948-910. This letter will serve as proof that the Federal Bureau Of Investigation is authorizing you to pay the required $96.00 ONLY to Mr .(name removed) via information in which he shall send to you,
MR. (Name Removed)
Director Office of Public Affairs
Federal Bureau of Investigation F B I
Yours in Service,Photograph of Director
Welcome once more to FBI http://www.fbi.gov
Financial Intelligent Monetary Services ( FIMS)
56 Avenue Melbourne Australia
Reference order /ASXX/PO0-65RV
Scam Compensation sum of $4.9 million dollars approved in your name through World Bank mass assisted project funds. This compensation involves business investment failure, Inheritance, Contracts, Lottery, Dating, Diplomatic Payment, E.T.C, the mass assisted fund was approved to settle failed business / scam compensation.
Please indicate if you have received your compensation funds sum of (U.S.D $4.9M). We have tried all our possible means to contact you since your name and email were stated on the manifest list submitted by the world bank external auditors but it failed and we want to know if you are still alive, so that we can finalized this transaction once and for all. Note that you can visit this link (http://www.uncc.ch/status.htm) to see the data of all compensatory funds paid to individual through mass assisted project.
We have received your name in the New Year scam compensation list submitted by the external affairs department of World Bank Switzerland; your name was submitted through the secret security services of international scam watchers approved by World Bank to compile names of fraud victims globally. Security watchers verified intensively through their international server security detector device that you have unknowing engaged in negative transactions with some group of fraud syndicates operating to defraud unsuspected victims with none exiting mouthwatering proposals, we are using this opportunity to inform you that the transactions executed with those people where simply fraud, there was no money approved in your name for any reason, they were manipulating your sense of reasoning by using tricks that appears to be true with fabricated documents which does not have any government approved serial number. Have you asked yourself why they always demand for money consistently whenever they promi
In furtherance, I presumed you must have been wondering why after paying all the fees requested by them nothing was paid to you rather they enjoyed your hard earned money without remorse of their evil deeds. The only funds approved in your name is $4.9 million dollars from the new world bank mass assisted project, they operates through different avenues, locations and from many countries especially west Africa Nigeria, Spain, Ghana, Benin republic, London E.T.C. The scam compensation has genuine source with all the legal clearance documents approved in your name; the scam compensation excise has absolute transparent background which integrates financial service policy.
Finally, you have the opportunity to enjoy positive New Year if you corporate and follow the official instructions mandated for the processing release of your scam compensation already in your name. You have to keep your scam compensation process utmost confidential then submit any further scam messages you receive for our perusal.
David (last name removed)
Editor’s note: My favorite part is that I can enjoy a positive New Year if I “corporate and follow the official instructions.”
This was dated Jan. 26 with a subject line of “Urgent (respond immediately)” from Agent John (last name removed):
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence Field Unit J. Edgar Hoover Building, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.
I am Special Agent John (last name removed) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Intelligence Unit, we Intercepted two consignment boxes at JFK Airport, New York, the boxes were scanned but found out that it contained large sum of money ($4.1 million) and also some backup documents which bears your name as the Beneficiary/Receiver of the money, Investigation carried out on the diplomat that accompanied the boxes into the United States, said that he was to deliver the fund to your residence as overdue payment owed to you by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the security company in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, we cross check all legal documents in the boxes but we found out that your consignment was lacking an important document and we cannot release the boxes to the diplomat until the document is found, right now we have no other choice than to confiscated your consignment.
According to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) in Title 26 also contain reporting requirement on a Form 8300, Report of Cash Payment Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business, money laundering activity may violate 18 USC §1956, 18 USC 1957, 18 USC 1960, and provision of Title 31, and 26 USC 6050I of the United States Code (USC), this section will discuss only those money laundering and currency violation under the jurisdiction of IRS, your consignment lacks proof of ownership certificate from the joint team of IRS and IRC, therefore you need to reply back immediately for direction on how to procure this certificate to enable us relieved the charge of evading the law on you, which is a punishable offense in the United States.
You are required to reply back within 72hours or you will be prosecuted in a court of law for money laundering, also you are instructed to desist from further contact with any bank(s) or person(s) in Nigeria or the United kingdom or any part of the world regarding your payment because your consignment has been confiscated by the Federal Bureau here in the United States.
Yours In Service,
Agent John (last name removed)
Regional Deputy Director
Intelligence Field Unit
Editor’s note: This had me worried when I read I could be prosecuted for money laundering. I also wondered if the letter was in any way connected to the recent break in the Lufthansa heist investigation.
This came with an attached Zip file slugged “Lawsuit_Details”:
Notice to quit,
We regret to inform you that in the period until 04/28/14 you will have to relocate from the currently occupied premises.
If the property is not timely vacated we will have to apply sanctions against you.
Case details are attached to the present notice.
So breaking it all down—according to my recent emails—I will be rich, but I will get evicted from my apartment and prosecuted by the federal government for money laundering. I guess everything is a trade-off.
Thank you for bearing with my silliness. Sometimes you have to write a piece strictly for the joy of it.