You’ve Got Mail

Ben Franklin Bridge

Bridge for Sale


Here’s something to try: stay away from your home computer or laptop for twenty-four hours while refraining from checking personal e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, the Internet, and texts on the smart phone for one day.

“Not checking my Facebook or texts for one day? What, are you, (insert expletive) crazy?” you might be thinking with high anxiety.

Attempt it some time. It can be therapeutic, for life exists beyond your hand-held. Should a dire emergency develop where your immediate attention is needed, the individual wanting your direct response most likely has a phone number to reach you. I didn’t include not answering a cell phone in this hypothetical scenario.

What does one encounter—besides delirious tremors with empty feelings of doom and uncertainty—before returning to these modern-day conveniences? Having fasted from said Internet-connected devices recently, I found my e-mail in-box loaded with more than two hundred useless messages beside those I expected or needed, for which took some time sifting through the mess.

Spam, scams, sundry statements from financial institutions, and other online bill-paying paraphernalia awaited disposition, along with forwarded jokes and pictures from friends, announcements from social-networking Web sites, E-Newsletters from my federal and state congressmen and senators, various advertisements from subscribed-to vendors of various articles and services bought in the past; not to mention congenial correspondences from acquaintances: close and otherwise; family hubbub: sometimes tragic, mostly small talk and chit-chat; and solicitations from charities to whom donations had been sent via the Interwebs.

My e-mail client does a good job of presorting spam and whatnot, putting it all in a designated “Junk” folder; but perusal through those sent items before deletion is still necessary, as many important documents and notifications always seem to end up there.

Taking a closer look at the scams this time, I decided to write about the audacity of the scoundrels who sent the outrageous proposals, thinking about who in their right minds would fall for these nefarious capers?

The ones most amusing are the introductory e-mails from some barrister, doctor, or clergyman: a Mr. or Mrs. Whozewhatsits, but never any from just a plain John or Joanna Doe. Titles are always placed before the scammer’s name.

Take, for instance, the following example sent from a Dr. Eric Alcock. All the quoted instances in this particular journal entry are as received:

    I am currently representing some members of British Banking Association (BBA), my associates at the BBA repose confident in me, to find an interested partner from your region, whose information can be used for the claim and transfer of a mis-sold PPI (Payment Protection Insurance).

Note: The above author is a doctor, soliciting for a banking association. Why would a man with his degree be working for a bank? That is, unless he had a PHD in business or jurisprudence, which is highly unlikely, considering the grammatical structure and wordage of his message.

Dr. Alcock goes on to explain his highfalutin scheme with all sorts of esoteric terms followed by their acronyms in parentheses. The bottom line is he’s proposing I be the recipient of a compensation claim with “[sic] over £18Million (Over Eighteen Million British Pounds) with the accumulated interest, for the further transfer to your banking system for a fair share of 20% of the total claim sum, upon receipt.”

Right, and I’ve got six bridges in the Philadelphia area I can sell back to him. Of course, I’ll give him my bank account number, complete with the bank’s routing number for the immediate transaction, only later to find out all my money is gone.

The scamster closed his communication with:

    [sic] I know that there is lot of scams going on the internet and I have been a victim once so please do not contact me if you are not genuine and legit.

Thanks for the reassurance.

    Kindly provide your information’s and a working phone number for us to be able to proceed, reply to my private email: ericalcock1@hotmail.co.uk.

A Hotmail return address is quite reputable, and his outrageous plan was addressed to “Undisclosed Recipients.” Should I jump on this right away?

Here’s another preposterous premise:

    I am Mr Neil Gordon currently undergoing medical treatment at the Northern Centre For Cancer Care, United Kingdom. My wife died in a car accident over a year ago and we were married without a child. When my late wife was alive, she deposited the sum of $6 Million in a private bank.

This guy is trying to pull on my heart strings. He wrote further:

    I want a God fearing individual to manager this fund and provide [sic] succour to poor in society. Please contact me and let me know if you can be of help.

His signature was “Mr. Neil Gordon,” with a Yahoo return address, another most reputable sign this man is legit.

Another communique allegedly came from Thailand, with the salutation, “Dear Trusted.” Oh, how trustworthy that made me feel. This man wrote:

    My name is Mr. Cristo F. Lead, an Attorney at law and Solicitor to the Supreme Court of Thailand.

He’s not a doctor this time, but, nonetheless a “Mr.” He went on to explain:

    I represent a bank in an investigation involving a customer who came from your country and died in Bangkok after a brief illness. He died intestate and nominated no next of kin to inherit the title over the investments made with the bank.

Isn’t that special? I’m so lucky he is considering me. Incidentally, what the heck is “intestate”? The correspondence ended with:

    It is important to determine his family relations so as to enable me to conclude my investigation and have his account pass on. I want your assistance in this matter. Please let me know if you could be of any help. If you agree I shall send you his details and full name.

Mr. Cristo F. Lead signs off with a Hotmail return address and, of course, had addressed his letter to Undisclosed Recipients. How many poor, unfortunate, unintelligent, and misled suckers fall for such garbage?

Yippee, I’ve got one new E-card. All that’s needed is to click “Here” to retrieve it; and after I had done so, malicious spyware was about to be loaded onto my machine.

Lucky for me, splendid anti-spyware and virus protections are installed in my computer, blocking and notifying me of such a precarious, impending infection. The only time I picked up a diabolical affliction similar to that, nothing could remove the nasty nit short of reformatting my hard drive and installing a fresh copy of the operating system. What a giant pain in the rump that was!

This last one for now is a lollapalooza, with the subject line stating, “Payment Release Order,” and reads:

    This is to bring to your notice that your overdue Inheritance claims has been scheduled to pay you through a certified ATM debit Card which you will be only required to proceed to any ATM Cash Point to withdraw $5,000 per day till your complete payment fund of $1.5 Million USD are completed.

Who died and left me that much cash, coming clear out of the crystal-blue sky from the “UN Representative Zonal Office” and sent again to undisclosed recipients?

The e-mail stipulated I provide my name, address, “confidential” telephone, cell and fax numbers; sex, age and my occupation; requesting I send all that information to where my ATM card awaited delivery to me by UPS Express. The return address was at blumail.org, and not UPS.com, by the way.

All I would have to do after all of this is call a certain telephone number in another country, and make arrangements to send them $95 US for processing.

Oh, boy, I’ve struck the motherload!

My, that’s a cheap amount to spend for receipt of $1.5 million dollars US. I wonder how long I would have to wait after sending them my hard-earned cash, before receiving the debit card? Maybe I’ll call them instead, and have the representative deduct the processing fee from my windfall. What do you think?

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About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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2 Responses to You’ve Got Mail

  1. Anonymous says:

    I remember the first time I received a version of the so-called “Nigerian Scam.” It was back in 1996. As a newbie on the internet, I too thought I had struck the mother lode. After showing it to a friend and being made to feel foolish for my naivety, I’ve gotten a kick out of the many variations of the ploy ever since. Thanks for the chuckle.

    • Being a Newbie

      It’s funny you mentioned that. I must have received the same message, for I too was a newbie on the Internet and was just as amazed, thinking I needed to jump on the Nigerian’s band wagon, but having enough sense for doing a search on Yahoo to find out it was a scam. Remember Yahoo back then, with a plain, gray background with blue text? I got into Usenet heavily at the time, posting all kinds of binaries: scans I made of celebrities, etc; and left a link back to a Web site I had put together. It became fairly well known with a lot of hits perusing my site. One day I found the following in my e-mail, which I had saved over the years as a memento:

        From president@whitehouse.gov Mon May 12 00:09:00 1997
        Return-Path:
        Received: from whitehouse.gov ([166.82.150.25])
        by access.netaxs.com (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id AAA22102
        for ; Mon, 12 May 1997 00:14:10 -0400 (EDT)
        Path: whitehouse.gov
        From: president@whitehouse.gov ((Bill Clinton))
        To: slicker@netaxs.com
        Subject: Quarterly Report
        Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 04:09:00 GMT
        Message-ID:
        Organization: Executive
        X-UIDL: b4f7e450a4169c7d5683ee9503d1c381
        Status: RO

        Greetings,

        Hillary and I just finished reviewing all of the SPAM that you posted over the first quarter of ’97, and I must say, we were both
        quite impressed. Keep up the good work!

        In spite if your sincere and diligent efforts, however, with deep regrets we must report that Commerce Department statistics show a steady decrease in overall Internet usage nationwide; a trend which has persisted consistently over the past three months. Though we see many
        new and exciting adult web sites coming on line, there has been an overall net loss of roughly 500 web sites per month nationwide for the
        past three months. Furthermore, the figures show a steady decline in the total number of Internet users at a rate of nearly 5% per month.

        I guess this means, the party’s over. It sort of reminds me of the stories of the great gold rushes, where millions came, but only a handful survived destitute bankruptcy. From this point on, it may be only the aggressive, the clever and well-heeled that survive into the
        next year or two.

        Best of Luck,
        Bill

        To: president@whitehouse.gov
        Re: Quarterly Report
        From: slicker@netaxs.com
        Message:

        Dear Bill,

        Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. Good Luck to you, also!!!

        Sincerely,

        Slicker

      I sent my above message to the White House. That was before his troubles began with the Monica Lewinsky affair. I’ve often wondered if that original correspondence was actually from Bill, or from someone who was posing as him and had forged the e-mail header to read like it came from the president. IP look-ups weren’t available to the general public back then. Turns out he was wrong about my site’s demise, as it was still on the Net long after Mr. Clinton left office, through the Bush years into the Obama administration, up until about two years ago. My server, and ultimately my domains, crashed, burned and disintegrated; was put to rest finally, never to be replaced.

      At any rate, thanks for jogging my memory. I hadn’t thought about that for a long time.

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