Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fun with spam

I received the following from a David Coube Larry in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, and fuck me if it didn't half move me to tears. Even now, as I type these very words, I feel the lump rising in my throat . . .

Dearest Beloved

Assistance in migrating to your country for adoption and partnership in a wise investment in your country. I am David Coube Larry I would like you to permit me to apply through this medium for your co-operation and to secure an opportunity to Invest and do joint relationship business with you in your country. Sorry for the manner by which we crave your indulgence. Am from Ivory Coast. My parents are late. I'm 24years old and the only Son of my late parents MR and MRS COUBE LARRY, my late father was a highly reputable business merchant as (a cocoa dealer) who operated in the capital of Ivory Coast during his days. It is so sad to say that my late father was poisoned an he passed away mysteriously. Though his Sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle , who traveled with him at that time.
Now I've seen everything: an email scam based on the plot of Hamlet (or is it The Lion King?). Actually, that sounds like a brilliant idea for a meme: compose a scam email based on the plot of a play by Shakespeare. Any takers?
But only God knows the truth! My mother died when I was just 4 years old, and since then my father took me so special. Before the death of my father, He secretly called me an let me know that he has a sum of (US$,(Six Million United States Dollars) left in a suspense account in a prime bank in London , My father told me that he put my name as his only Son as the next of kin on the day of the deposit.
A suspense account.
My father let me understand in the hospital that it was because of this wealth that he was poisoned, my father give me an advised that I should seek for a foreign partner in any country of my choice where i will have to transfer the total amount to the country of my choice and move on to the country and set up a good and wise investment.

I want to use your assistance to migrate into your country to continue my education and most importantly to help receive my inheritance fund involved (US$,(Six Million United States Dollars) This money is an inheritance fund from my late father. I have all the necessary documents, I have suffered all form of humiliation both from my late fatherç—´ families and the society in general. Consider an orphan with no assistance this is why I cry to you for help and assistance. Please contact me immediately you receive my mail for more details and explanation if possible.

This money is legitimately acquired by my late father from sales of cocoa-coffee and diamond dealings.

I will be looking forward to your prompt response. This is my Private E-mail:

Thanks and God bless

David .
OK, "David," explain this. You've just told us how you suffered all kinds of humiliations at the hands of your father, yet in paragraph 2 of your email you said that your father treated you "special." Your evil uncle Claudius and the whole kingdom of Denmark has taken a giant shit on you, so you complain, yet you'll happily trust your $6 million inheritance to a total fucking stranger!Who would you expect to be taken in by such tortured logic who isn't already selling Amway, practising Scientology or reading theology?

I know, I know. The whole point of these scam emails is to ensnare the gullible, the credulous and the insufferably stupid. But then how much more credulous or stupid are they than the family planning doctor in the UK who prescribed an exorcism for a patient during a routine examination (thanks Null), or the public primary school teacher who refused to allow a student to read from Harry Potter in class--on the grounds that "The Holy Bible gives express instruction against some of the practices contained in the book, and I therefore objected to the child reading this book to me," or the 67% of Americans who are either definitely certain or fairly certain that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years?" (Perhaps the "God Bless" is an indication that "David" knows his target audience well.)

I mean, consider Pascal's Wager--the suggestion, as Sam Harris describes it, "that religious believers are simply taking the wiser of two bets: if a believer is wrong about God, there is not much harm to him or to anyone else, and if he is right, he wins eternal happiness; if an atheist is wrong, however, he is destined for hell. Put this way, atheism seems the very picture of reckless stupidity." Like the scam email I received, there is the promise of great reward if one complies, and the threat of unpleasant consequences if one refuses to comply. (After all, you don't want to see a poor abandoned orphan deprived of his inheritance, do you?)

Pascal's Wager: the Nigerian email scam of religious apologetics.

P.S. While email scams can be good for a laugh, they also constitute fraud. If you find yourself on the receiving end, report the scammer to Scamwatch (if you are in Australia) or visit The 419 Coalition Website.