I got a 419 email today in my work inbox. This is pretty rare, since I guess Global IT does a great job catching spam, especially compared to my webmail accounts.
Normally, in my webmail, I’d just delete an move on, but since this is so rare in my work inbox, I read the mail, titled “GOOD DAY TO YOU!!”
Wow, screaming and overemphasizing all in one title, this should be good.
Have read, if you like. The first paragraph is priceless:
I got your contact address after my extensive search via your country white pages for a God-fearing and trust-worthy person to bestow this transaction which is the only hope of survival . When i got your address, I prayed and meditated fervently over it and i committed it into the hands of God that you should be the rightful person to help me.
Dude, what is my @oracle.com email address doing in the white pages? I haven’t picked up a phone book since the ’90s, so maybe I should. I like the religious hedge here: God-fearing, check, prayed and meditated, check, just in case it’s not God, but gods.
Anyway, it goes on to say there’s $18 million that he can’t get access to because he needs “to present a foreign person or company to stand as the beneficiary.” After he gets his $18 million, I get 30%. He wants me to contact him via his “private secured email” which is a mail.vu address.
Turns out .vu is the domain for Vanuatu, a small South Pacific island. I found a .vu registrant and ran a whois on the mail.vu domain for giggles. The registrant is listed as residing in Belize. Wow, international intrigue, but somehow I doubt the good people of Vanuatu and Belize are behind this Russia oil man’s plot.
Anyway, this 419 variant appeals directly to greed, i.e. help me out and score $5.4 million, which I assume is tax-free. Heh, imagine your surprise in January 2009 when you got a 1099-MISC for $5.4 million. I really dislike the strong-arm 419 emails that threaten violence or take advantage of kindness, and I cringe when I hear the stories of people who have been bilked by 419 scams. Makes you want to volunteer for scambaiting.
My assumption is that most people are savvy to spam by now and just ignore it. If you’re reading this, you’re probably nodding; so, in your experience with non-technical friends and family who use email, does spam work anymore? I feel like phishing is a bigger threat now than spam, and I wonder why spam even exists anymore. Someone must be clicking through or responding to Steven Theede’s pleas because spam ain’t free. As a business, there must be some return on the investment.
And by the way, why is webmail so bad at trapping spam when compared to corporate IT? Somehow I think that’s a problem related to free service; it doesn’t really bother me, just an observation.
Let me know in comments.