Almost a month ago, there was a story in The Toronto Star about residents in Oakville receiving an email scam. The email was from a hitman informing the receiver that someone had hired this hitman to well, kill them, but thankfully this considerate individual was now contacting the future victim and providing an opportunity to stop the pending death… for a price.
Although I don’t live in Oakville, I too received the email mentioned in the article:
From: Ismail Shawn [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: February 18, 2008 7:55 AM
Subject: Should I move on.
I am very sorry for you, is a pity that this is how your life is going to end as soon as you don’t comply.As you can see there is no need of introducing myself to you because I don’t have any business with you, my duty as you are reading this mail now is just to KILL you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that.
Someone that you call a friend wants you Dead by all means, and the person have spent a lot of money on this, the person also came to us and told me that he want you dead and he provided us with all the necessary information we needed about you.
So I sent my boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation on you, and they have done that but I told them not to kill you that I will like to contact you and see if your life is Important to you or not since their findings shows that you are innocent of all the allegations leveled against you.
I called my client back and ask him of you email address which I didn’t
tell him what I wanted to do with it and he gave it to me and I am using it to contact you now. As I am writing to you now my men are monitoring your movement and they are telling me everything about you.
Now I will like to know if you want to LIVE OR DIE? As someone has paid
us to kill you. Get back to me now with how much you will be ready to pay to have all the tape that has all the information about the person who wanted you dead by all means or are you not ready to comply with us? then by men will move on with their job which is “TO KILL YOU BY ALL COST”.
If you are not ready for my help, then I will carry on with my job straight-up.
WARNING: DO NOT THINK OF CONTACTING THE POLICE OR EVEN TELL ANYONE BECAUSE I WILL KNOW.REMEMBER, SOMEONE WHO KNOWS YOU VERY WELL WANT YOU DEAD! I WILL EXTEND IT TO YOUR LOVE ONES, IN CASE YOU ACT ANYTHING FUNNY.
DO NOT COME OUT ONCE IT IS 8:PM UNTIL YOU SETTLE WITH US AND HAVE THE TAPE OF MY DISCUSSION WITH THE PERSON WHO WANT YOU DEAD THEN YOU CAN USE IT TO TAKE ANY LEGAL ACTION. GOOD LUCK AS I AWAIT YOUR REPLY
DOES ANYONE EVER REALLY BELIEVE THIS?
First thoughts — “Good lord the grammar and editing in this is terrible!”
Really? Does this sound convincing to anyone? Besides the terrible use of the English language and barely readable word-use, such a scenario is too bizarre for the lamest Hollywood movies.
But you have to admire the “subtle” cues like capitalizing “Dead” and suddenly using caps lock for the very important warnings at the end.
Now I present to you yet another email that recently arrived in my inbox:
From: Miss Cloudy Babingui [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: March 2, 2008 5:43 PM
Subject: Hello ,
My Name is Miss.Cloudy Babingui from Rwanda in Africa presently residing in Dakar senegal . I was impressed seek for my soul mate, and also i like to establish a long lasting relationship with you. In addition,i will like you to reply me through my private email box(firstname.lastname@example.org) so that i will give you my picture and more about me.Thanks waiting to hear from you soonest.
AGAIN, DOES ANYONE REALLY BELIEVE THIS SORT OF STUFF?
First thoughts — (Loaded with lots of sarcasm) Gee, too bad I’m married, otherwise I could meet my soul mate! And thank goodness she made sure to say she’s from Rwanda, Africa… because I’m always getting the one in Africa mixed up with those other Rwandas out there (Can you imagine? “Oh no, you have it mixed up, I’m from Rwanda, Texas!”)
Now what I think would have been more interesting is if Miss Cloudy had contacted me about our destined future together and then it would have been perfect for Ismail to inform me that “a friend” (perhaps someone else interested in Miss Cloudy?!) had put a hit out on me.
Too bad the scammers and spammers out there aren’t coordinating their efforts to give us a real one-two and come at us from both left and right field. Or, it could be futuristic fodder for romance stories? Nah…
With such a technologically connected world, it’s no surprise that we’re being inundated with such silly but persistent scams. But today, I found a legitimate email in my spam folder from a journalist with a media request. Thankfully I was able to speak with the journalist and discuss the request that is still relevant. So here I am receiving messages (the scams and spam) that are desensitizing my expectations of relevant messages, while important messages slip through the cracks.
Now those of you in IT and tech support, please relax and don’t think I’m blaming you technology warriors — the protectors of end-users throughout the land. No matter how good a spam filter, server scanning whatever-you-call-it that is available, similar issues and ironies will continue to occur.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED FROM THIS?
1.) Death threats via anonymous email are probably not something to fear.
2.) Spammers REALLY need to bone up on their grammar. I was almost tempted to reply to the death threat email with some copy-edit suggestions!
3.) Perhaps I was foolish to get married this past summer, because clearly my real soul mate is going to find me through the greatness we call The Internet (I now plead forgiveness from my husband as you all understand how sarcastic that comment was).
4.) Scammers and Spammers should hold conventions to organize themselves. Maybe they could draw up communication plans or develop critical paths for targeting certain age groups or target markets to pool their resources in a more effective manner.
5.) Computers aren’t perfect and I need to be a big girl and check my spam folder regularly.
6.) Even if the printer jams, my computer locks up, and the email server goes down, I always appreciate any and all tech support received. My opinion is clearly not objective because my husband is one of those “computer guys”… but I have some basic understanding of my own and very often there isn’t always a quick fix. You can’t just kick a computer and tell it to stop being so lazy because it seems slow.
7.) After not updating for quite a while, I feel motivated to blog regularly. So while this entry is rather long and drawn out, I’ll try to streamline future posts.