Buenos Aires – Ahhh Spam, that tasty treat, the state meat of Hawaii, the scourge of the inbox… I’ve been discovered – not just by you, my readers and friends, but by the world of spammers. And all I really know about is the inbox, because I have comments blocked from anyone who doesn’t register – which, thankfully, keeps much at bay. I tried non-registered commentary when I first started the blog, but within the first three days of posting there was more text advertising casinos and Viagra than there was talking about my long weekend eating key lime pie. But I’ve decided to embrace the spam that I do receive, and take note of it, and even to share it with you. There’s a lot here to read through – I received 375 spam messages for the month – much of it is dry, much of it is fun, I’ve highlighted my favorites. No doubt, this post will just generate more of it – but hey, now I’ll go back to just deleting it without noting it. Here, for your amusement, is the month of April, in spam:
71 offerings of various forms of office software, discounted, of course. 1 offer direct from Adobe for their new password encryption program – my first thought was “not spam, I’m a registered user” – but I’m not, I just use it, and it came to the wrong e-mail address anyway. 1 request from the same company to participate in a survey with the possibility of winning an iPod.
6 offers to create my logo and corporate identity, including “stylish stationery”. 1 offer to register domain names on the internet – a mere $15 apiece if I register 3 or more, my hosting company lets me register them for free. 1 offer to distribute all the products my Italian company manufactures. 1 request that I buy Howard Moreland’s new book on making money from websites. 5 offers to create and manage e-mail lists for me. 2 offers for a program that manages direct mail mailing lists. 2 offers to register my site with all the major search engines. 1 offer to advertise my website on a wall – for a fee. 1 offer from an unnamed retired New York City chef who has “cooked up” a recipe for instant wealth that brings him $5,000 a week that he just knows I’ll be interested in – it has nothing to do with cooking, it’s a direct mail system, of course. 3 versions of that e-mail that goes around every now and again about the parents who found tens of thousands ($71k in this version) in their son’s closet, thought he robbed someone, or a bank, only to find out that he’d gotten the money creating a bulk e-mail pyramid scheme – the e-mail states “Due to the recent increas of popularity & respect this program has attained, it is currently working better than ever.” Another pyramid scheme involving selling an ebook on how to sell ebooks via PayPal.
Three times, Mrs. Comfort Jose informs me that I have won one million euros in the Spanish Lottery International; Twice, Mrs. Anna-Maria Vanbel tells me I have won 1.5 million euros in the Europw Internet Extra Award Program; Mrs. Maria Gonzales says I’ve won 150,000 euros from some unnamed prize award (she didn’t even make up a name for it!); Mr. Walter Jones, likewise didn’t even bother to come up with a name for his lottery, in which I have won $2.5 million – he recontacted me a week later and told me the same. Mrs. Vivian Kelly very cheerfully announces that I’ve won $750,000 in the Pharma Normalschein Lotto International. Dr. Bernard Van Dough (you’ve got to be kidding me) says I’ve won 1 million euros in the Winx Lottery International. Mrs. Gladys Owen informs me, twice on the same day, that I’ve won $1 million in a Canadian lottery for the support of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, and that I can claim my prize in the United Kingdom (the “Euro-Afro-American Sweepstakes” – I’m not making this up). Mrs. Lizzy Edmond of the Microsoft Internet Sweepstakes says Microsoft will pay me, a “frequent internet explorer”, $1 million via their numbered account in the Netherlands; a week later, Mrs. Nikki Vandith sent me the same. Mr. P. Neuteboom of the Netherlands says I’ve won 1 million euros in the Superbal Lottery (yes, just one “L”). Mr. James Komo of South Africa’s Flash Fortune Lottery says I’ve won $2,950,000 – he had a very pretty e-mail in multi-color. Mrs. Rose Van Hansen notifies me of a windfall of 500,000 euros in the Lucky Draw lotto from Orient Networks. Mrs. Sharon Maxwell of the South-West Australia Lottery (claiming to be a division of MCI), says I’ve won 1 million euros – call Amsterdam to collect. Why does everyone want me to call the Netherlands to get my money? What is it about the Dutch? Mrs. Carina Bianchi of Gioco Finance’s Acculotto says I’ve “been approved” to win $500,000… let me know when I actually win, okay? Mrs. Rose Fins – $2 million in the Netpoint International Competition, and the chance to compete in the next round, for $90 million. Mrs. Elizabeth Langley says I’ve won 1.5 million Great British Pounds Sterling in the Newcastle Lotto – I just like the sound of her office address – The Marina Offices, St. Peter’s Yacht Basin, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Mrs. Daniel Kasper of the Gesellschaft Schweizer Zahenlotto is another of the “you’ve been approved to win” category – 4 million euros – again, let me know when I actually win, thanks. Needless to say, I’m apparently quite wealthy now.
Dr. James Daniel, director of private banking at a bank in Milan, would like me to pretend to be a relative of one Mr. Morris Thompson of Fairbanks, Alaska, recently deceased, in claiming $9.5 million deposited in an account at the bank – then he, his regional manager, and I will split this lovely amount – my share, a cool $2,375,000 (he has contacted me twice with the same offer). Talla Doukoure Azize, a lawyer in London, offers me 15% of $9 million dollars that is currently hidden away in a safe deposit box by a Liberian General who purportedly wants to use the balance to invest in my country – my share, $1,350,000. Frank Mekoyo of the Nigerian Agricultural Development Authority wants my help in retrieving $10.5 million that was left in an account as an overpayment to a contractor; giving me 35%, or $3,675,000 – no indication is made of why they don’t just take the money back out of the account, but I am assured that I was referred to them by a large Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Simon Williams, the only son of a deceased owner of a cocoa plantation in the Ivory Coast, wants me to become his foster parent, allowing him (now that he’s 20) to retrieve the $8.5 million still in the country – he is now in Senegal, awaiting relocation to wherever I am willing to adopt him – in exchange for which, I will receive 35%, or $2,975,000; interestingly, Frank Nzoba is in the exact same situation, cocoa beans and all, but only offers me 15% of $7.5 million, or $1,125,000, come on Frank, get with the program, talk to Simon, especially if I’m going to be adopting both of you; apparently has contacted me twice now. Mrs. Angela Williams, too, apparently comes from the cocoa plantation, though, this one in Rwanda, however, she’s living in Senegal, I’m guessing with Frank and Simon – wait, perhaps she’s Simon’s relative? they have the same last name – and not only that, but she’s the niece of the President of Rwanda (though I guess they’re not speaking) – and offers me 15% of $6.2 million for all those adoption proceedings, $930,000 – I’m going to have cocoa beans for life! Walter Kama of Togo wants me to help him recover the money of a late client as he’s been unable to trace any living relatives – apparently I’m a good substitute – for which I’ll get 35% of $12 million, or $4,200,000. M. Boga Justin Cote writes to me in French, which I’m not remotely fluent in, this appears to be the identical letter to that of Mr. Simon Williams, above, except the numbers have changed, I am offered 15% of $4.5 million, or a mere $675,000 – hardly worth getting out of bed for. Mr. Briggs Richard has tracked me down as the only living heir to one Edward Perlman, an engineer for Shell Petroleum, who has apparently left me $17.5 million – after expenses of 10% and his cut of a miniscule 65%, he has offered me 25% of MY money – $4,375,000. Mr. William Anderson would like my help in claiming an unclaimed Swiss Bank Account with a $20 million deposit in it from World War II – he offers links to such places as the Wiesenthal Institute in order to back up his legitimacy – my cut would be 40%, or $8 million. Mr. Musa Ahmed of the African Development Bank has discovered a deposit account in the amount of $8.7 million, the owner of which has died along with his entire family and all next of kin – he’d like me to pretend to be next of kin and withdraw the money, for $3.48 million, the rest going to him. Mr.Santu J.P. Hingah, the son of a former chieftan in Liberia, and now located in Senegal, wants to retrieve the $9.3 million that his father hid in a safe deposit box (presumeably after stealing it from his own people), and promises me 20% if I’ll help him retrieve it – $1.86 million. Mrs.Hanna Sainovic, a Chechnaya widow, now living in Australia (though, interestingly, with a South African e-mail address), would like my help in recovering and investing the $45 million that her husband left her (having handed her the authorizing documents mere moments before being killed alongside the Chechnayan president this year…), my share, 25%, or $11.25 million – okay, now we’re starting to talk money! Marlet Bornwick offers me a mere 15% of $4.5 million left by a deceased Iraqi oil merchant which was left in her care as a financial advisor in Bangkok – now, she actually claims to have possession of the money, yet, given her profession, seeks my help in investing the money in overseas markets… um yeah… and for only $675,000, she’s not even on the scale, though she did offer me a cup of coffee when we sit down to discuss this… Oh my, I actually got one from Nigeria, the home of these fun scams – Barrister Femi Dada has spent three years searching for kin of a family killed in a car accident on the Sagamu Express Road, to no avail – 35% of their $16.4 million is mine if I pretend to be next of kin – $5,740,000. This might be the best – the Reverend Father (nice touch) Thomas Douglas, claiming to be from the International Monetary Fund – World Bank – tells me first “cool penny is better than millions of dollars means it’s better for one to live and die poor honest man than a rich dishonest one” – then tells me he’s arranging to have a 75kg sealed box filled with money (my unspecified share of $10 million) via diplomatic courier if I will just simply send $500,000 to the charity of his choice. Mr. Abimbola Adeoye of the Trust Bank of Nigeria is the accountant for a deceased customer who left $25 million in an account – he claims that the government will soon confiscate it, but feels that the money would do more good in his hands than in that of the Nigerian government, and would like my help in liberating it, for which I will get 40%, or $10 million. John Howse sent me a lovely photo of himself, beaming at the camera, asks me to assist him in obtaining $17.5 million in a bank in Togo, which he claims belongs to a relative of mine – and offers to discuss with me what my share will be, after I obtain the money for him… come on, you’re not even playing in the same game! Mr. Paul Adams of Burkina Faso (that’s one of those countries that didn’t exist when I was studying geography) wants to appropriate $18 million from a client’s account, 30% or $5,400,000, is mine, and he even lets me know that once we’ve gotten away with the money, while I can do what I want, he plans to “retire” and disappear. Of course, we all knew it wouldn’t be long before someone decided to take advantage of the deplorable situation in Darfur, Sudan, and sure enough, Munkaila Fayek, son of Darfur’s now deceased but formerly most important gold and diamond dealer, wants me to help him recover the $4.5 million that his father hid away (no doubt after exploiting the rest of the local population) – he offers me nothing in exchange for helping him but the good feelings I will have for having helped “the situation in Darfur”. Abubakar Kamara wants my assistance in transferring $5 million that his father stuck in a diplomatic box with a security company – I am offered 25% (though I have to cover all expenses) in order to help him get this box out of Sierra Leone and into my country (do these people know I’m in Argentina? really, they don’t want to put millions of dollars into a bank here…). Miss Juliana Maneti of Zimbabwe and her Mother offer me 20% of the $20.5 million, or $4.1 million, if I will help them transfer the money from a South African bank to Italy, because, according to her, neither of those countries will allow refugees to have access to bank accounts, including their own. Dassui Matthane ex of Sierra Leone needs help investing the $8.5 million that his father left him from his diamond smuggling, err, exporting business, for which he will give me 10%, or $850,000, he chose me because of my incredible wealth and vast knowledge of the international investment markets (do people really fall for this crap?). Mr. Greg Steve apparently is not one for brevity, given that his e-mail went on for 15 paragraphs, but it was a fun read – he is in charge of the stock portfolio for a Norwegian man who died in the South of France – he assures me that his plan to appropriate the money ($6 million) and split it 60:40 with me (now we’re talking) is perfectly legal because any obligation to his client ended when he transfered the money out of the bank to a securities firm in Norway, and then promptly died. To quote, “What I wish to relate to you will smack of unethical practice but I want you to understand something. It is only an outsider to the banking world who finds the internal politics of the banking world aberrational. The world of private banking especially is fraught with huge rewards for those that occupy certain offices and oversee certain portfolios. You should have begun by now to put together the general direction of what I propose.” I got excited when Prince Musa B. Bolkiah of the Sultanate of Brunei contacted me and started off with mentioning the $14.8 billion (yes, billion) dollars that his family has been accused of misappropriating from the Sultanate – then he winds down with a whole speech about crude oil exports and the Asian financial crisis and offers me 25% of an unspecified amount of money for which I would need to travel to Thailand, Holland, and Germany to retrieve for him – there’s no indication of why, now that he’s safely out of Brunei, he can’t go pick up the money himself.
21 phishing attempts informing me (a valued customer, whose name they don’t have) that Chase bank needs my information re-entered online to verify what they have in their physical records. Hmmm, I have a Chase account, but I don’t use the blog e-mail for my online activity. Think I should have responded? 9 phishing attempts on my PayPal account, same issue – one of them with a cute twist, actually stating that they’re instituting a new identity theft program on my PayPal account and asking me to click and provide the information. 1 phishing attempt by faking a message from an Ebay buyer threatening me with reporting if I don’t respond to them ASAP. Wells Fargo, too, would like my information – I’ve never even seen a Wells Fargo outside of a movie. Not to be left out, Bank of America, whom I’ve never dealt with, got in on the act with 1 phishing attempt – strangely, the Bank of America attempt doesn’t even disguise the return address, a Yahoo account, which was online when I checked. I considered chatting via Yahoo Messenger… 1 phishing attempt for my account at Halifax Online, isn’t that in Canada? The best, however, was purportedly from the IRS, who have determined that I am eligible for a $63 refund – however, it can’t be sent to me, it can only be credited to my Visa or Mastercard, if I will just provide them with all of my account information, including PIN – I do really wonder how many folk actually fall for something like that!
6 offerings of Cialis, guaranteed to give me a 36 hour erection, as compared with Viagra’s 3 hour erection. 1 offer of Viagra Professional, and 2 that just say Viagra (is that merely the Amateur version?). 1 offers of a combo-pack containing both Viagra and Cialis (sent 3 days after the expiration of the offer); 80 offers of my choice of various ED medications; 16 offerings of revolutionary new Penis Enlargement Patches. 2 offerings of a secret method of increasing penis size; and 3 times, a Canadian pharmacy offering me discounts on anything I want; 1 online pharmacy offering 50% discounts on everything; 2 offers for the finest quality Indian and Chinese medications; 1 e-mail asking “Why Asians Drink Green Tea?” with a link that I didn’t click.
1 add for Italian photovoltaic (solar powered) signs, i.e., to post out front of my shop, apparently. 1 man from China offering either a selection of handbags, mousepads, tin boxes, or paper packaging, or his own personal services if I want him to come work for me. 1 offer from China for some of the most god-awful looking watches I’ve ever seen. 1 offer to become a marketing rep for Romanian PVC Doors and Windows (that’s what I get for writing a posting about the Romaní). 1 offer to become a marketing rep for Italian food products. Twice, a picture of an ugly plate glazed with rice husk ash and a link to a site that sells the stuff – no text to the message. 1 offer to be a marketing rep for professional food processors from Taiwan. Fidelity Alliance LLC thanks me for being a successful applicant for a job and gives me a list of their current openings – along with a link to a site where I can give them my info – wait, I thought I was already a successful applicant? A few days later Fidelity Alliance LLC offers me a job in Salinas, California, where, apparently, they think I’m located. 1 fishing expedition from a publicist asking me to plug one of her client’s artwork on my blog because her client paints pictures on spoons, and therefore topical for me… 1 offer for my choice of custom embroidered patches. 1 offer for various types of fiber optic cables and connections that having researched my company thoroughly, via Internet, a Chinese company knows I need. I was tempted by Jerry, at the Dongguan Delight Can Factory Co. Ltd. to visit him in China and see their tin box factory, with an eye towards helping him market them, after all, one never knows when one will need a decorative or welded tin box for “chemical, food, oil, pencil, or candle”. The Royal UDC company, however, has twice asked if I’d like to become a “man with a purpose and future” by entering their employ as an international courier or financial manager; I appreciate the offer of options. A company called KR International, in India, says I need food coloring, dyes, and pigments, and they’re willing to sell them to me.
2 links to a GPS Point Maker for Google Maps. The new owner of Blogarama, Colin Cheung, wants me to buy some money making system that makes use of Google’s AdSense, “from his friend”. 2 ads for Coastal Vacations. 1 ad for ePopuli, another sort of worldwide craigslist.
12 stock picks: Koko Petroleum, Inc. (2); America Asia Petroleum; Peopleline Inc. (2); China World Trade Corporation (2); Phinder Technologies; Bicoastal Communications, Inc.; Wineco Productions Inc.; Transakt Corporation; Budget Waste, Inc.; Southwestern Medical Inc. – all more or less guaranteed to double my money within a mere few days.
2 online poker tournaments.
1 offer for a Fast Track Degree – “Graduation is just a phone call away” – goodness, that is fast. 1 offer in Portuguese that offers me some sort of study/prep course for the Brasilian lawyer’s exam. 18 offers for a “60-second approval second mortgage”.
2 that seems to be a personal messages for someone else, but have links to porn sites. 5 offers to become friends with Angelxxx781 if I just click on the link provided. 1 offer to set up some sort of pornographic television channel via internet. 1 “you have received a postcard” that has a link that would open an executable file – I think not. 3 messages from Brasil, in Portuguese, that if I understand them say I have a voicemail waiting for me if I just click on the link… 2 messages with links to webcam sites for “hot chicks”.
1 message in Italian that isn’t spam, but I thought I’d share it as a final note – it was from someone who stated that he loved my blog but begged me to stop butchering his beloved Italian language in my posts and stick to English – umm, other than names of things like various pastas, I don’t write in Italian, there are Spanish names for things, and it’s not my fault if Spanish isn’t the same as Italian.