Can the Spam
I like spam, I really do. The email variety that is, not the questionable meat-like product in a tin. Now, I'm not saying I want my inbox filled up with the stuff on a daily basis, and here I'm speaking of both varieties of spam. In fact it annoys the crap out of me when a message occasionally manages to defy the normally very good filter my ISP has and arrives on my pc, but when I'm in need of a good laugh I will very often go into the spam folder of my own accord to have a look at the hilarity within. There we have everything on offer from dodgy products to release the stallion within me, imitation Rolex watches, job offers and get rich quick schemes to kindly African nuns who have picked me at random to deposit $30 million US dollars into my bank account. It's such a refreshing change to see this level of altruism in these selfish modern times we live in.
I feel obligated then to assist these philanthropic souls who have so kindly offered to help me, a complete stranger to them. So here's a little list of tips to help would-be spammers, phishers, conmen and general all-round bottom feeders try and convince me to part with my cash, bank account and/or personal details for their own nefarious purposes:
1. Learn to spell. I don’t have the highest regard for banks & financial institutions at the best of times, but I will say this for them, they at least seem to employ people who can spell and have heard of grammar and punctuation. So when I see an email purporting to be from my bank (which, 99.9% of the time, isn’t my bank anyway) that appears to have been written by someone with the literary capabilities of an oxygen starved goldfish, I tend to be a bit sceptical. If you struggle to spell the words “bank”, “money” and “security” or indeed, the name of the bank you are pretending to represent, you may find it difficult to convince people you are genuine. Unless of course you get lucky and your email lands in the inbox of someone as illiterate as you are. Oh, and by the way, a note to all you perverse purveyors of pharmaceutical products: it’s spelled V-I-A-G-R-A. Not Vaigra, Vigara, Virgara, Vigaria, or Vigaira.
2. Give up on the “Dear valued (insert company name here) customer” emails. Does anyone fall for this anymore, or did they ever for that matter? Why don’t you try a more personal approach? Knock on my door, explain that you are from a bank (any bank will do, it doesn’t have to be mine apparently), address me as “Dear valued customer” and then ask me if I’ll hand over all my online banking details so you can “re-activate my account” and see what response you get. I hope four-letter words don’t offend you, because you may have one or two of them hurled at you, along with some heavy objects.
3. Stop trying to sell me dodgy pharmaceuticals. Come on, I’m reluctant to take the legalised poisons prescribed by a licensed physician or over the counter medicines from a legitimate pharmacy. Do you really think I’m going to ingest an unknown substance offered by some spam bastard in a foreign country?! That’s assuming you would actually send anything at all should I be stupid enough to send you money of course, which is highly doubtful. Get real.
Here’s an idea. Instead of trying to sell your products, why not ask for an exchange? I’ll send you some rat poison in an unlabelled container and you send me an unidentified white powder of your choice. If you take the rat poison I promise I’ll send you money for whatever it is you’ve sent me. Of course I won’t tell you it’s rat poison, that would give you an unfair advantage. You’ll just have to take your chances that the substance I’ve sent you is every bit as safe as the mystery product you’ve sent me. Would I steer you wrong? I am a valued customer after all.
4. Don’t send the same message 38 times with 38 different sender names. It’s amazing how often I see emails in my spam folder from young “ladies” who all seem to be smart, beautiful and live near me. Apparently I’m fortunate enough to have landed smack dab in the middle of a thriving megatropolis of young, intelligent and beautiful nymphomaniacs, all eager to meet me and, even more incredibly, possessed of such fantastic mind reading abilities that allows them to copy each other word for word. It just never even crosses my mind that it could be the same person – most likely male I would imagine - sending the same message over and over again under different pseudonyms. Nope, never thought of that at all….
5. Try to avoid using the word “hola”. It may be a common greeting in your country, but it’s not a word you’ll hear very often, if at all, in the UK and we certainly don’t put it at the top of job offers. At least not for a job that anyone would seriously consider applying for anyway. I know you’re doing your best to get me hooked up with that dream job I’ve always wanted, the one where I don’t actually have to do anything, or even get out of bed, but still get paid an enormous amount of money every week, and I do appreciate it, I really do. But I’ve got to be honest, I’m just not going to respond to an email that starts out with “¡ hola. amasing immploymant opertunnity fur yu, appley now!”.
6. I don’t know anyone called “me”, other than myself of course. Nonetheless, that doesn’t seem to stop “me” from sending an awful lot of emails, whoever he or she or it is. “Me” is a kindly soul it would seem, as “me” desperately wants me (the real me in this scenario) to increase the size of my manhood so I can score with the ladies while flaunting my new fake Rolex watch. And if that’s not enough, “me” has a great job opportunity on offer, one where I only have to work 2 hours a week doing nothing more taxing than stuffing a few envelopes from the comfort of my bed and for my troubles will pay me (me, again, not “me”) in excess of $50,000 US dollars a month.
I hate to disappoint “me”, but I’m actually satisfied with the size of my manhood (honestly!), I have no interest in scoring with any lady other than my wife and I have absolutely no desire to own a real Rolex, let alone a fake one. And the job offer? Uhhh… yeah, go on. I’ll have that one.
7. Look, I don’t want to swap links with you. I don’t care if you’ll put links to my website on two other sites in exchange for one on mine. I’m not interested. And I’m certainly not going to put a link to a competitor’s website on mine. Piss off.
8. Dear Sales.... Since opening my own business I’ve recently started to get a lot of emails from people in foreign lands who are desperate to place an order, despite the fact that they seem to have no idea what I’m actually selling. Why, bless their little cotton socks and the horse they rode in on, they’re absolutely frothing at the mouth in anticipation of ordering something, anything. There they are, credit card in hand, just waiting for me to respond with a list of products and confirm I will accept (insert name of credit card company here) as payment. Strangely, they are gifted with the same psychic abilities as the nymphos in my neighbourhood as the emails are all worded pretty much identically, despite the fact that the senders claim to be in different countries.
Hey, guess what? I have a website. It displays all the products in stock, has a very good shopping cart system and it tells you what forms of payment are accepted. If you really want to place an order, use the website and pay for the goods up front, just like all my legitimate customers do. On the other hand, if you just want me to respond to confirm my email address belongs to a real company so you can add it to a spam list or use it for some other annoying purpose, then please, send me an email. I promise I’ll ignore it. Feel free to email as often as you like. I’ll happily ignore those too.
9. My personal favourite. The ol’ “I’m sister Mary Theresa Francis Mugwumpapppleby of the Divine African Holy 5-a-side Untarnished All Saints Church, I have terminal cancer, my dog has fleas and I want to deposit $300 million dollars in your account” ploy. So let me see if I’ve got this straight. You want to transfer 300 million of Uncle Sam’s finest doneros out of your country and into mine? And all I have to do is hand over all my bank details so the money can rest its little feet in my account for a while before it moves on to better climes? For my efforts I get to keep 10%, or a mere $30 million. Well that seems reasonable. I mean, that kind of thing happens all the time, right? Why, just the other day a complete stranger walked up to me, shoved a giant wad of cash in my hand and said “just hang on to this for a minute for me will you while I go buy a coffee and a couple of doughnuts? For your troubles you can keep most of the money.”
Do I have “born yesterday” stamped on my forehead and “just fell out of the turnip truck” tattooed on my butt??
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