...if you fall for this one.
One of the great joys in life is having an e-mail address for the simple reason that no matter how crappy your day is, no matter how desperately bad you feel, you can always count on there being at least one e-mail that will brighten your day, ever-so-slightly.
For me, it's not the "inspirational" e-mail that well-meaning-but-otherwise-clueless friends pass on to me. I'm not one to get all choked up and inspired by the sappy missive that tells the tale of the 9-year-old cancer victim who somehow manages to put a sunny spin upon her impending demise, and which somehow always requires that I forward this piece of utter rubbish to another 10 people so that my wishes may be granted.
I blow my nose with those e-mails.
No, I get my kicks out of the obvious scams that wind up in your e-mail box. They're unavoidable, it seems, like that J.C. Penney's catalog you get in the mailslot every week, and you haven't shopped there in 15 years, and can't figure out how they've tracked you down after you've moved six times. No, I find the scams funny because I can just imagine some complete mouthbreather falling for them hook, line and sinker.
Some of them are really very well written, and almost believable, until you get to the part where there's $15 million waiting for you, if only you do what the writer asks...and open up your bank account.
Sometimes though, the scam is so transparent, and the e-mail so badly written, that they become the joke in and of themselves. If you add a little imagination to the mix, you can amuse yourself for hours on end. Here's one of the latest scam mails in my inbox:
MY HART CHOOSE YOU. Dear friend i am Mrs Cindy Buker and i have been surffering from ovarian cancer disease and the doctor says that i have just two days to leave. I am from (Mississippi) USA but based in Africa Burkina Faso since Nine years ago as a business woman dealing with gold exportation. Now that i am about to end the race like this,without any family members and no child.I have 3 Million US DOLLARS in Africa Development Bank(ADB)Burkina Faso which i instructed the bank to give St Andrews Missionary Home in Burkina Faso.
But my mind is not at rest because i am writting this letter now through the help of mycomputer beside my sick bed. I also have 4.5Million US Dollars at Ecobank here in Burkina Faso and i instructed the bank to transfer the money to the first foreigner that will apply to the bank after i have gone that they should release the fund to him/her, but you will assure me that you will take 50% of the money and give 50% to the orphanages home in your country for my heart to rest.You are to contact the bank through this email address (address removed for safety reasons)
Now, here's what's so funny about this one;
To begin with, Miss Buker can't possibly be from Mississippi. The first giveaway is that she spelled "Mississippi" correctly. The second giveaway is people who are really from Ole' Miss, spell it "M-I-Crooked-letter-Crooked-letter-I-Pee-Pee-I", because that's how they were taught to do it in the dirt-floored-one-room schoolhouse they went to after they brought the harvest in, and finished their chores.
They say "Crooked Letter" because it's hard to say "ess" when you're missing your front teeth. Besides, anyone from Mississippi almost immediately starts giggling like a deranged schoolgirl when they get to the "Pee-Pee" part.
And if it was really an emergency, why are you only contacting me now -- when you only have "two days to leave"?
A dead giveaway is that the woman claims to:
a) Be a successful businesswoman, and
b) Have $7.5 million dollars
If she were really from Mississippi, this would both be near-impossible, and a goddamned miracle; people who say "crooked-letter", are missing half their teeth, and haven't returned to a decent, civilized country for treatment upon finding out they have ovarian cancer are not usually noted for their financial acumen.
In fact, I rather doubt they have a treatment for cancer in Burkina Faso that doesn't involve a witch-doctor shaking a dead snake, with a chicken bone stuck through his nose, and a gazelle hunt.
Besides, if you really have $7.5 million dollars, you'd think you'd find a lawyer to write you a will to ensure the orphanages actually do get that money, and you wouldn't have to depend on the good will of an anonymous "foreigner" contacted via a blind e-mail. I'm sure they have lawyers in Burkina Faso; someone has to be there to sue the witch-doctor for malpractice when they've used the wrong dead snake when failing to cure your leprosy, or prescribed the incorrect amount of rhino dung for your jock itch.
But the really, really, really dead giveaway is the e-mail address. It ends with a .ru (Trust me on this one).This means the e-mail originated in Russia, or was at least sent through a server located in Russia. An e-mail purporting to have been sent by a dying Redneck in Africa will probably not come to you via a Russian server.
Still, I just know someone, somewhere (probably in Mississippi) will fall for this.