Today I was just about to delete another spam message trying to con money out of me by pretending to award me some, when I noticed in the little preview window how disgracefully it was worded. Now, I know I should be offended that there are unscrupulous Scroogeish sorts trying to extricate cash from the already-impoverished, but I am equally – if not a teensy bit more-so – affronted by the fact that I was contacted by such ignorant unprincipled crooks.
I decided to reply. Here are both the original email and my response, copy/pasted as-is:
From: "Lady Maggie Stephenson"
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 3:14 AM
My name is Lady Maggie Stephenson, a widow that was dignosed of having
I was recently informed by my Doctor that i have a few weeks to live.
I have decide to donate the Twenty Million Pounds that i inherited from my
husband to you for charity purpose.
All response to this email should be sent to my Lawyer (Solicitor)
Barrister Herbert Smith of Herbert Smith LLP, through email for further
Lady Maggie Stephenson.
Manchester, United Kingdom.
From: K S L
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 4:34 AM
Subject: Re: Hello
I am sorry to hear of your plight - but I am most pained that your condition has so sorely affected your spelling and grammar.
There is a variety of spell-check software available on the internet, but under the circumstances I am pleased to inform you that I can offer you the most effective and up to date personal editing services for a nominal sum. The introductory trial version lasts 28days, which appears to be the package best tailored to suit your needs as you'll be dead after that.
If you are interested in hiring me as an editor for your final weeks - to help you with writing all those goodbye letters and suchlike - then please send £5,000 to my PayPal account (or mail the equivalent value in scratch-cards care of my local post office).
Another option for your genteel consideration is this: if you decide to face death head-on in a Swiss clinic then you may wish to upgrade to our premium service, which includes word.doc templates that will guide you through the step-by-step process of writing a touching, thoughtful suicide note to your dearly beloved friends and family.
For more information please contact me via my company email fuckoffyouilliterateconartisttosser@OED.com
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (If you make it that far.)
K S L
Now, while I appreciate that the majority of these scams originate outside of the UK, and therefore often come from countries where English may not be a first language, it doesn’t take five minutes for even a meagrely educated woman like myself to compose a convincingly deceitful letter, so I expect them to put a little more thought into their duplicity when they claim to be descended from some obscure Mancunian nobility. It is after all their business, and the least they should do is take a little pride in their work.
If a little old lady reallymade it her dying wish to bequest me a couple of dozen million in family silver, then I’d expect solicitors to turn up at the house accompanied by the woman herself in a blacked-out Mayback; forced to step around the canine excrement left on the pavement by someone’s flea-ridden pit-bull or doberman, as she totters into my home wearing moderate courts and trailing furs. Her people would enlighten me of her offer while she remained perched on an armchair, ever-faithful to her breeding in the deliberate effort not to notice the cat dribbling on her minks. She might then interject in an effort to explain her reason for choosing me to inherit her wealth - and persuade me that her intentions were genuinely altruistic.
I would not anticipate such an offer to come as an impersonal email from said doddery old dear, with such little care taken in penning the correspondence that it would make my eyes strike upon being subjected to the reading of it.
I’m aware that I probably shouldn’t have replied and will now incur the wrath of every computer virus known to mankind, and that neither Norton or McAfee will forgive me for putting them through their paces in ridding my computer of the worms, Trojans and any other dubiously-named electronic bacterium that will seek to make its home in my computer. I do, however, also happen to be in a slightly irritated mood due to the time and knowledge that I only have a few hours before I will be awoken – by a slightly nobler Mancunian than the fictional one who has so occupied my thoughts tonight.
If they reply I intend to set these villains challenges. I saw it done on television once. They had the people prove they were who they claimed to be by asking them to pose with ridiculous items. I might begin requesting they verify that their offer is not felonious by photographing themselves with a current newspaper, then will move on to things like a fresh trout, a unicycle, or a life-size cardboard cut-out of Anne Widdecombe.
Just in case, I might leave a note with Tracy in the post-office, asking her to forward any suspicious-looking packages. Though as it’s Christmas she’d be doing that anyway: my Auntie Margaret is renowned for sending parcels that require bomb-disposal-squad training to unwrap.
It almost makes me hope to hear back from them instead of Aunt Madge.