What Happens If You Answer Your Spam

Everyone has received at least a thousand copies of the “Nigerian” spam letter by now. A couple of guys decided to see what would happen if they answered it. Here’s the full game. It gets scary.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

4 comments… add one
  • Linda Jun 29, 2003 @ 23:18

    That is very scary. Especially the end.

    But I heard part of a debate on the subject of spam on CNN. The marketing people insist that "opt out" is the way to deal with unwanted email. Well, maybe for the legitimate marketers. But there is no way I’m opening mail from people I don’t know, let alone clicking on any links in it. So under an "opt out" system, I have no way to "opt out".

  • Sarajael Jun 29, 2003 @ 5:26

    I read this, then checked my mail, and guess what?

    "Dear friend,

    I am writing you this message to solicit for your kind assistance
    in this mutually beneficial transaction. I am using this medium
    to introduce myself to you. I am MR. Oshioke Michael, a banker by
    profession.
    Proposition:

    A foreigner, Late Engr. Johnson Juan Creek, an oil merchant and a
    contractor who died in a ghastly plane crash on 7th November,
    1996. Until his death,left with us in his account a closing
    balance of US$18.5M which I am now seeking your assistance to act
    as the foreign next of kin and cousin to late Engr. Creek’s
    estate in claiming the money into your account before I will
    arrange to meet you in your country for the disbursement.
    I believe from my few points above, you can begin to get an idea
    why I need your participation. Let me explain how the money,
    which is the basis of this business I am proposing, came about.
    Before I became a deputy director, some years ago I was an
    Accounts Officer to some special corporate customers. One of
    these very important customers of our bank(Union ank PLC) was
    Engineer Johnson Juan Creek of blessed memory, an American
    citizen, who had spent most of his years before his death working
    in Africa and mostly in Nigeria. He died in a ADC plane crash on
    7th Novemer, 1996 in Nigeria. This money belonged to him.
    Technically speaking now,it belongs only to his name. The money
    is payment he received for acontract he executed on behalf of the
    Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the government
    (Installation of Pipelines in Warri Refinery). My reason for
    deciding to carry out this transaction is that Engr. Creek did
    not mention any next of kin in any of the documents held by the
    bank for the number of years he had banked with us. "
    etc, etc…

    Looks remarkably familiar, doesn’t it? ::sighs::

  • Ter Jun 28, 2003 @ 16:22

    Thanks for providing the link. Fascinating.

    The visuals alone were entertaining, where the scammers type in the fake company’s name to a template document in a different font/typewriter. I remember doing that in admin tasks in the 1980s, before word processors. It’s as if the scammers are trying to set up an image of a technologically backward society. Stinkers.

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden had the Nigerian scammers hit the comments section of her blog. They’re getting more technically clever.

  • Rick Jun 28, 2003 @ 15:00

    Being young and naive, I actually fell into the Nigerian Scam about a year ago to a woman claiming to have had her family murdered. (Okay, so I’m dumb.) I got about 8 e-mails in and asked around the whole time. My friend found the scam for me on SCOPES.

    Glad I made it out of that one.

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