F- for effort.
Well, this certainly isn’t very a fancy pic to share, but it’s the spam mail of the day. And you wanna talk lazy? I mean, c’mon, who’s gonna fall for a ill-composed ‘I’ve a transaction for you’ where the writer didn’t even take the time to finish the sentence with a period? What, you can’t even put that amount of effort into your scam? Geez, I’m sorry guys, but the Nigerian 419 emails at least had savvy. And politeness. They were actually kinda cute in their level of sheer bullshit. Even though I never grasped who on Earth would ever fall for such a ruse I always appreciated their tone and, well, good manners and can honestly say I enjoyed every single one I received and read. Take this example (courtesy fraudgallery.com):
From: “Nicolas Usando”<email@example.com>
Subject: From Nicolas Usando
From Nicolas Usando
It is my pleasure to contact you , and to confined on you as regards this transaction.
I am Mr. Nicolas Usando From Abidjan-Cote D’ Ivoire ,The Only Surviving Son of Late Mr. S.H Usando . My father before his untimely death was an Exporter of Cocoa and Gold . My Father was a Victim Of civil War that took Place in our country Last year 2011. Before his death , He deposited the Total Sum of FIVE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS (USD $ 5,500.000.00 ) in the Bank for my inheritance. Based on the political situation of my country , I humbly seek your assistance to help me receive this money in your account and help me invest it in your country.I humbly offer you 25% of the total sum for your assistance.
My Full story, and details as regards this transaction will be given to you upon your reply.
Waiting to hear from you.
Yours Sincerely .
Like, take the initial ‘Dear Sir’ – with a capital ‘S’ even! Shit, man, if that doesn’t make you wanna put on a goddamn tie and remove a majority of the crumbs in your three-day stubble before you continue reading I don’t know what will. Hell, stroking the ego is a brilliant way of sucking someone into your scam! We all love flattery – and those that claim they don’t lie about it because they’re just not ready to accept they too can be shallow – and psychologically it breaks down resistance for the information that’s about to follow. I mean, have you dated, sir? Like, ever? Plus, to make this seem even more legit they start it off by giving out an address – obviously fraudulent, but hey, who’s got the time to hit Google Earth every five minutes? – that sounds kinda neat and exotic. Obscure enough you wouldn’t recognize it unless you had some major geography lessons in school, and definitely not something you would have read about in the local newspaper.
The next step is of course giving the reader the offer of a lifetime. While proving yourself (as the writer) to be willing to be defrauded yourself! Now, that is some brilliant manipulation going on right there! ‘Hey, man! I’ve got a cool five-point-five million I need to get outta here, and I was kinda hoping you would be willing to help me with this while not taking advantage of my situation, or rip me off.’ This gives the reader a false sense of power – a sense of being on top of the whole game, which couldn’t be any farther from the truth – and with personal greed now going ‘ding! ding! ding!’ (and possibly even setting off some fireworks while releasing the clowns), the mark is going to throw caution to the wind, answer the email and well, end up on the front page of the local newspaper, photographed with hands up in the air and a headline that states ‘It seemed legit at the time!’
Now, being fascinated by psychology – along with quantum physics I consider it a sort of hobby – I went through a bunch of these a couple of years ago and was actually struck by how the manipulation process actually involved the baser, less attractive traits of human nature. Or, if you’re a Christian, the seven deadly sins. Mainly we’re talking greed and vanity, but I’ve seen examples exploiting envy and well, since you’re reading this on the internet I’m guessing we don’t have to mention the use of lust in order to defraud people.
Anyway, sorry ’bout the rant. Long story short: I never thought I’d say I miss the old Nigerian spam emails.The kids these days, huh? Just couldn’t be bothered to even make a decent effort.