I always like to get scam emails of the Nigerian prince variety. I rarely get them and it’s always nice to recognize them since they are such a well-known trope. It’s like a celebrity showing up in your inbox. The one today was better than some. I’ll walk you through it.
It definitely helps that the subject line was URGENT MASSAGE FROM JOYCE SAMUEL. If you’re going to make a typo in the subject of your scam email, make it a clever one. Here’s the rest of the email, with my annotations.
Good Day Dear, (This is not getting off to a good start. Clearly you don’t know my name, but just mixing two greeting forms to make a creepily intimate one isn’t helping your case.)
How are you doing today? I am Mrs.Joyce Samuel from United Kingdom ,I married to Mr.Samuel Denis from Toronto Ontario who worked with Canadian Embassy here in Cote d’Ivoire for nine years before he died in the year 2015. We were married for twenty five years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. (Atrocious punctuation aside, this is not a bad back story. Still, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that a woman from the UK would ever say “I married to Mr. Samuel Denis”. I’ll bet there are some editors out there on the Internet desperate enough to proofread a scam email.)
Before his death we were both born again Christian. (Now we’re Hindus.) Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. (Because what most widows like to do is immediately go get knocked up.)
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $4.5 Million in a bank here in Cote d’Ivoire ,so Recently my DOCTOR told me that I would not last for more time due to cancer problem. (Wait, her doctor told her she had cancer because of her husband’s money? The cause and effect here is messed up. Plus, I’d be very curious how someone working for the Canadian Embassy gets 4.5 million dollars in Cote D’Ivoire. Probably not through super Christian means.)
Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a Orphanage or good Christian that will utilize the fund in the good way person that will use this fund for orphanages, widows, propagating the word of God and to endeavor that the house of God is maintained. (How noble. Now to give it away to random strangers on the Internet!)
l took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians not even good at all because they are the one that killed my husband in other to have all my late husband properties and I don’t want my husband’s efforts to be used by unbelievers. (Holy cow! She just introduced a murder plot into the story. I take it the illness that lasted four days was actually a poisoning. Maybe she should take the 4.5 million out of the country herself to get away from homicidal Canadians and get some good cancer treatment.)
I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way.
This is why I am taking this decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace”.
With God all things are possible. (She’s laying it on pretty thick. Kudos for quoting Scripture, although I’m not sure the exact point of the verses. Is she saying that God will help her find someone to give the money to?)
As soon as I receive your reply I shall instruct my lawyer to contact you. I will also issue you an authority letter that will prove you the present beneficiary of this fund. I want you to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd. (This makes it sound like the Lord being her shepherd is why she needs prayer.)
My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that Wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and Truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated here in Hope to receive your response immediately.
Thanks and Remain blessed in the Lord.
Mrs. Joyce Samuel (Wait, isn’t her husband’s last name Denis? Did she take his first name as her last name? Those crazy Brits.)
All snark aside, I find it aggravating that people would use Christianity as a tool to swindle money out of people, and it makes me sick to think that some well-meaning, possibly elderly, person would read this and think they have to help a fellow Christian and end up losing money they desperately need. They keep changing tactics but we can only hope that as time goes on, the general populace will be educated enough that these sorts of things will stop being profitable and the poor Nigerian princes will have to get their own money out of the country somehow. In the meantime, we might as well get at least some entertainment out of the sheer ridiculousness of it.
So, what do you think? Should I respond to the email? If I do, what should I say?
November 29th, 2018 at 10:04 pm
Wow! That was quite a sad story. You really elevated the entertainment value of this piece, but I agree it’s beyond sad that these kinds of appeals are going out and worse that they sometimes draw people in.
December 5th, 2018 at 8:39 pm
ATMs have warnings in some places, like Korea about phishing schemes. People from China will call up elderly people and tell them that they have kidnapped their grandkids and they need to send them money. Meanwhile the kids are totally fine. It’s terrible and for most of these crooks, it’s a very low-risk endeavor.
November 30th, 2018 at 3:11 am
Saying a person dies after a brief illness lasting only four days is a gross abuse of the English language. She needs to come to our writing workshop where we can put her straight on that kind of thing. But, honestly, I think you should take pity on her. She is a very unlucky woman. Not as unlucky as her hubbie, of course. Imagine falling ill, the illness only lasts four days (which implies he recovered) then on the fourth day you get murdered. That’s worse than losing a winning lottery ticket. Which Mrs Samuel thinks she has in the form of her letter.
December 1st, 2018 at 3:20 pm
Have you seen videos by James Veitch? He’s a hilarious British comedian who deals with spam emails beautifully. Check it out on YouTube for a great laugh AND some ideas on how to respond!
December 5th, 2018 at 8:36 pm
Yes, I saw that! It’s really funny. I wonder how many spammers get played like that.
December 17th, 2018 at 1:41 pm
How did I miss this. I have to come a callin’ more often. You’re the King of fast fiction with your multi-tiered imagination I only wish I had. You’re like Tolkien with a slash of Poe tossed in, as a garnish. My stuff sounds Amish next to yours, a compliment to you my Friend. 🙂