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Home > Media

Loverly Spam, Wonderful Spam

Derided, despised, deleted. Spam gets a pretty hard time of it these days, but is that entirely fair? (Hint: no it isn't).

Charlie Skelton

25 October 2003

A red letter day in the War on Spam:

California snared its first spammer yesterday, winning a $2 million judgment against a Los Angeles County marketer that ironically specialized in hawking how-to-spam books over the Internet.

Ironically? Not sure they were setting out to be ironic. But anyway, I don't know what the fuss is about spam - I really don't. I tell you what pisses me off: the hundreds and hundreds of leaflets, taxi cards and estate agency brochures that get thumbed through my letterbox every day. Spam doesn't involve trees being cut down, and landfill. And those damned brochures have never once made me smile, whereas the latest letter from General Enkofu Bamoga of the Ivory Coast is always worth a moment of my time.

There are so many variants, so many subtleties of style, one might almost class the Nigerian fraud emails as a new sub-genre of literature. I have to confess, usually I'm gripped after the first sentence:

"I am Mr Bright Moses, an accountant in the Audit and Account unit of the Foreign Remittance Department Of Ekke Bank International Lome-Togo in west africa....."

Aha - this sounds like a good one....

"During our auditing and investigation in the bank my department came across the sum fourteen million United States Dollars ( US$14.000.000)only belonging to an Egyptian International Businessman who died along side with his wife and his next of kin in a ghastly Motor Accident on february 1998."

They're never short on drama. They always tend to have a nice juicy accident in them, or a bloody assassination - which I rather enjoy. They're really quite Mills & Boony. And besides, they're always prompt and polite when you ask them things.....

"Dear Major Godman Wabara (Rtd)

That sounds like an attractive proposition. However, I was wondering if you could you explain in slightly more detail how I might be of assistance in helping you retrieve the $44,000,000,000 dollars? And can you assure me again that it is all above board? And please do accept my sincerest condolences upon the unfortunate death of your uncle, the Minister for Finance. A man in his exalted position getting stung to death by a jellyfish - who would have thought it?"

Finally, I have to ask - who could not love the following assurance, from PHILLIPS WEAH, PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO DIRECTOR INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT ROYAL TRUST & (SECURITIES) BANK OF NIGERIA...

Phillips says:

I WILL NOT FAIL TO BRING TO YOUR NOTICE THAT THIS BUSINESS IS HITCH FREE AND THAT YOU SHOULD NOT ENTERTAIN ANY FEAR

I can honestly say that if he'd only added the words "cross my heart, hope to die" I would have mailed him my bank details.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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