Early 20th Century Model - While most of the old postcards from my grandfather’s correspondence that I publish here represent places (and they are in my eyes the most interesting...
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
The joys of SPAM
Who needs Facebook to make new friends? Or followers on Twitter?
Hey who even needs any sort of social networking sites when there's still ol' fashioned (did I really just write that?) email around.
Simply open an account and sit back because you're guaranteed to be flooded with messages from people you don't know, all of whom want to be your new best friend.
What's more they all seem to want to make you rich. And not just tiddly save-a-centime here or there wealthy, but tantalising rolling-in-lolly and pass-me-the-bucket-for the champagne type dosh.
Well surely that's the only conclusion to be drawn by speed reading some of those "Oh just too good to be true" offers I've been receiving recently.
You must have had them.
I sure have.
A virtual deluge pouring into my Inbox and getting me worked up into a frenzy of anticipation every time I log on.
What's more, even though they're all messages from (to me) complete strangers, there's no beating about that proverbial bush as they get straight into those life-changing offers.
Take Karim A* for example. He has written to me on more than one occasion, dangling one tempting apple after another, in front of me.
He's an "auditing and account maneger" (please Karim - I may call you Karim surely - proof read your emails before you hit the send button) at the "Bank of Africa" in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Work must be tedious for Karim as I later discovered that he had sent me not one, but three "urgent messages" telling me that he needed my "urgent assistance (so much urgency) in transferring the sum of €9.5 million (he even spellt it out for me in words just in case I hadn't understood) to my account within 10 to 17 banking days."
And all that was required from me were a few personal details such as my "nameinfull", "address", "nationality", "age", "sex", "occupation", "marital status", "phone" and "fax".
Really Karim, you should know me well enough not to have to ask. After all you're offering me so much spondoolicks "just like that" you must have done your research ahead of time.
And what is it with the "10 to 17 banking days"? Why such a curious number?
Next up was a "Proposition confidentielle" (I won't bother translating) from Mamadou R. also at the Bank of Africa, but another branch.
It exists. The Bank of Africa, I mean. I checked it out. It's a multinational group founded in Mali in the early 80s and has subsidiaries in several African countries.
Nonetheless I'm not sure the said Monsieur R is actually an employee, even though he insisted his records showed "I was the sole (yes sole) beneficiery of $1,500,000" and it would be a "mere doddle" (I'm paraphrasing) "for me to make my claim".
The only problem is that Monsieur R left it at that and forget to mention how I could retrieve my fortune. Guess I'll have to wait until he contacts me again.
Waiting though can sometimes result in a somewhat impolite email, such as the one from "Lemberger" - no Mrs, Mr, Ms or otherwise - who wrote to remind me that £4,600,000 (odd amount that) was still on their account, but that the exact details were "being withheld" because I hadn't responded to an earlier "letter".
Huh. See if I care, because the very next message was from a woman who seems to have something of a thing for me, judging by the way she starts he email.
"My Dearest," begins "Joy K". "I am writing this mail to you with due respect trust and humanity, i (she seems to like using the lower case and I won't mention punctuation) appeal to you to exercise a little patience and read through my letter i feel quite safe dealing with you in this important business having gone through your remarkable profile, honestly i am writing this email to you with pains, tears and sorrow from my heart, i will really like to have a good relationship with you and i have a special reason why i decided to contact you..."
Now this is someone who really knows how to capture my attention.
How could I resist continuing?
So many compliments in such a short space of time.
And I don't even know the woman.
Her story was of course excruciatingly complicated and convoluted and involved a 'plane crash a couple of years ago in which her incredibly wealthy father had lost his life, some Italians who had managed to get their hands on all his property, and a mystery bank account in which her father had apparently deposited huge amounts of lovely lolly.
The only problem was Joy couldn't actually withdraw it unless she were married or managed to present someone to the bank who would act as a trustee and help her invest it overseas.
We're not talking peanuts here, far from it. $US 8.5 million in total with Joy offering me a 40 per cent cut because..."I'm so honest."
So 40 per cent of 8.5 million....well you do the maths.
Tempting, and sorely so, but Im not sure my Superior Other would be too pleased if I upped sticks and tied the knot with a complete stranger.
Besides with so many other emails still stuffed in my Inbox, going on current form, I felt another even better offer was just one click away.
And that intuition was indeed rewarded, as one cursor-hovering second later I read a message from Mr S. who was The Manager/Audit Section at African Development Bank (do you think perhaps the definite article went walkabouts there) .
He sent me a hearty "greetings" and asked how I was ("touched", I think would be the appropriate response) before telling me that he had decided to contact me for a "fund transfer transaction worth the sum of $9.3 million." Actually rather than spelling it out as Karim had done, he let the figures speak for themselves.
I was hearing them loud and clear.
Apparently I was the sole (here we go again) NEXT-OF-KIN (unlike Joy above, Mr S patently liked his CAPS LOCK) to one of the bank's deceased customers, an "International Billionaire French Businessman" who had been killed with his entire family (except me obviously) by "PLANE-CRASH in Central England atmost (?) 5 years ago."
Although I have to admit I admired Mr S for his ingenuity in combining my nationality (British in case you were wondering) with my country of residence (France) in his tale, it just seemed, well a tad too familiar, and when he went on to explain how I could get my mitts on the money I was...well confused wouldn't go halfway to describing it.
"Since his death occured, no body have show up as his next of kin for the claim because the account is untraceable," he wrote.
"Upon the investigation I carried out from his records, I found out that his foreign business consultant who would have trace the account died earlier before the deceased," he continued.
"Therefore, this is a confidential and sealed deal."
Oops - didn't read that final bit too well. Guess I've gone and blown the confidentiality clause now. Never mind I hadn't really been able to get to grips with Mr Sayed's explanation.
Moving swiftly along.
MAYOD S (need I tell you that here was another CAPS LOCK lover) had discovered that I could be entitled to $9.5 million to establish a "MEDIUM SIZED INDUSTRY" in my country.
Which one would that be, I wondered. The one from which I originally hail, or the place I've decided to make my home?
A rhetorical question I hasten to add. There's no need for you all to reach for your collective keyboards.
Once again the money, it appeared, had been left in his bank by a client who had died in a 'plane crash in 2000.
This time there was even a link to a CNN story. So it HAD TO BE TRUE (whoops, now I've picked up the habit). But that nagging doubt and uncanny familiarity with other messages just wouldn't leave me.
"Claire P" or rather "Mrs Claire P" wrote to me telling me to contact her lawyer.
Edward C was a lawyer or a "solicitor at law" as he put it. Both had huge cash deals to offer me following the deaths of their family members/clients respectively who had all perished in car crashes.
Talking autmobiles, Mrs Steven M told me I had won a new BMW and I would only have to contact her with a few personal details to secure delivery.
There was a message from Yahoo - sorry, "Yahoo customer services" - informing me that it "would shut down al (sic) unused accounts" and that "in order to (don't you just hate the use of three words when just the last one will do?) avoid the deactivation of my account" all I had to do was to send an email confirming....gosh exactly the same information Karim wanted. Now there's a suprise.
Apparently it's all down to "congestion". My advice - take a Rennies and it'll soon pass.
Finally just for something completely different, I was offered a job.
It was rather a curious proposal and perhaps not entirely appropriate to say the least.
I had apparently been recommended to "a lovely couple from sunny California" who in typical American style started off their email with a "Hi Johnny" before offering me "the opportunity of a lifetime to come and join them to look after their three wonderful kids."
Not bad going for a bloke in his forties. A midlife crisis career change could be just what I need.
Except I've now made so many new friends and am potentially richer than Croesus that I really don't have to even have to lift the tiniest of little fingers in daily toil.
I could go on and on and on ad nauseam. But, dear readers, I think you get the picture.
There were still plenty of unread messages in my Inbox happily waiting to be read and "ACTED UPON".
I never have done and I never will.
Instead with the help of my magic forefinger and the "enter" button, I happily consign them where they undoubtedly belong; to Internet oblivion.
* Full names have been avoided to protect the privacy of my new 'friends".
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