I realise I may be in the minority here, but I regularly check my junk mailbox to check out the calibre of today’s spammers. Why you ask? Because it reassures me.
The media would have us all believe that hackers are getting smarter, more technical and increasingly sophisticated. This makes us feel like we may get scammed without knowing until it’s too late and our identity has been stolen along with the contents of our bank accounts… but then there’s these guys – the email phishers. The phishers make us feel safe again because they are absolute morons.
Today’s highlight in my junk box was an email from “Maria Pasic”. I’ll walk through my reactions as I take you through it…
- Maria went in hard with her attention-grabbing email entitled, ‘Congratulations! I have a blessed deal for you’.
** ‘Maria, despite my lack of religious grounding, you have my attention, please go ahead…’
- “Dear special friend or family member”
** ‘Hmmm surely if I was that special to you then you’d have used my actual name, or at least specified which of these two categories I fall into – but that’s cool, tell me about this deal
- “I have a proposal for you. It doesn’t require you’re funding and there was no DANGER involved.”
** ‘Ok Maria, thanks. We’ll get to your proposal, don’t you worry, I’m still interested but let me give you some friendly advice: Firstly, it’s your, not you’re – let’s not get off on the wrong foot here. Secondly, what do you mean “there WAS no danger involved”, have I missed the boat already? That hardly seems fair, you literally just brought this blessed deal to my attention. Finally, and this is just a heads up, but capitalising the word ‘DANGER’ heightens the risk of me mistakenly assuming your note is actually riddled with risk and danger. Fortunately however, I know I can trust you Maria, as like you say, we are friends or family members.
- “I am Sargent Jennifer Saunders of the United States Army…”
** ‘Wait. What?! Oooooh, great idea, use a different name to the one on your email account to throw people off piste. Nice touch using the name of a popular British comedy actress to give your story credibility. I like it.
- “I’m currently stationed in Iraq, in South Nigeria”
** ‘Ummm, don’t get me wrong Maria, I don’t want to wave my GCSE geography grade ‘B’ qualification (#childprogidy) around here, but I’m relatively confident Iraq is not actually in South Nigeria. It’s a good thing this deal is blessed otherwise I’d seriously be starting to doubt its legitimacy.
- “…it is here that I am promoting Peace in the world.”
** Capitalising peace too, I note. No need to do that, Maria, absolutely none but let’s get to the deal and we can come back to your grammatical shortcomings in due course.
- “I need $50,000 american dollars to complete my mission.”
** ‘Crikey, this just got real, way to ramp it up a notch, Maria. One minute no funding is required, and then bam, next thing I know you’re asking me to head to the Post Office and order foreign currency. Oh and a quick lesson before we move on but you may find it interesting to learn that ‘american’ actually should be capitalised. Now then, tell me what I get for this extortionate rate.
- “If you send me this amount of money, I can keep you safe.”
** Sorry but how are you going to keep me safe when you’re camped out in Iraq / Nigeria watching boxsets of Absolutely Fabulous? And on another note, I’m not convinced Fulham is that dangerous. Sure, there are a few teenagers in hoodies that hang out by Tesco Express, but I think I can take them, and if not, I imagine I could buy their protection for a packet of Monster Munch and a Dr Pepper,
- “I can keep you safe for this small cost. If interested please send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will allow you to have our Western Union details. Are you interested?”
** Ah, that’s much clearer, but, I’ll level with you here, Maria, for many reasons, least of all your curious gravy-based email address. Thank you but no, I am not interested.
I can’t help but wonder if this is what the media really means when they warn us that cyber-crime is getting worse?