One of the interesting aspects of publishing on the Internet is reading the mail. The address email@example.com has been spread around the web for several years now. Of course, that means I receive vast amounts of spam. Yahoo has kindly created a “Bulk Mail” folder which keeps it out of sight until I can delete it at my leisure.
It also means that I receive feedback of one sort or another on a regular basis. I’ve decided to pass along some of the more interesting and/or informative items in a “Mailbag” feature. The first item looks bland enough:
Subject: Congratulations for your nice article
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 13:50:17 -0500
Gibert, Congratulations for your wonderful article. As a matter of fact it is in the english forum. Georges Saati
Email: http://us.f503.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Tofirstname.lastname@example.org - Website: http://www.mrsimi.com/We suggest http://www.moun.com/ for the latest news in 4 different languages!!!Email: http://us.f503.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?Toemail@example.com
Bland enough, that is, if it weren’t for the fact that the article referred to is “The Theater of Coup: Who is Guy Philippe.” which appeared in The Catalyzer Journal during March of last year. George Saati appears prominently in the article as “the co-founder of the extreme right-wing Haitian party Movement for National Unity, known by its acronym MOUN,” and a member of “The Opposition” which eventually overthrew Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide with scads of U.S. consulting help. Whether or not the letter is actually from Mr. Saati, who can say?
I’m removing all identifying marks, as it were, from the second letter in order to save the correspondent embarrassment. Many of you out there have undoubtedly received letters in your e-mail boxes asking you to help free-up money trapped in a foreign bank. Generally the sender claims to live in an impoverished African country. The family patriarch has died in a political purge, or some such thing, leaving the family account in limbo. The amount is in the millions (US$$) and the money is allegedly trapped due to a legal technicality. The recipient is requested to help to circumvent the technicality by acting as an agent for the sender. The recipient will be entrusted with large sums of money for transfer to a US bank where it will then be safe and will be generously remunerated for his or her kindness. The following letter gives a somewhat vague (but nonetheless recognizable) description of the transaction and a very specific description of the results:
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 07:59:54 EST
Subject: XXXXX news
To: XXXXXX@XXXXX.com, XXXXXX@XXXXX.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's another important piece of news which everyone in the US should know about.Nov. 28 brought Xxxxx Xxxx an e-mail, which as result, brought the FBI saying for the first time that this scam's check for $55,290.10, which cleared the sender's and our bank, should've been kept by the church. Xxxxxx Xxxxx had sent $6,000 of those monies to cover the supposed costs of the exchange, which was to bring $7.3 million to this poor ministry, along with an authenticate certificate and power of attorney from Europe. After sending the money, he checked upon the company who was supposed to have sent the check. The check was forged. Our secret service and FBI said they had never heard of a scam which the perpatrators sent money in advance, and that Xxxxxx Xxxxx should've kept the money. This loss is not covered by FDIC, and now we are responsible for the repayment of the $6,000. Thanks again for your support, but this is an issue of the attack we find ourselves, which the rest of the nation should be aware. G-d bless.
Rev. Xxxxx Xxxxxxx, Associate Pastor
I receive at least a half-dozen such “requests” each week. Be advised: they are all scams and they must be pretty successful scams if someone is spending all that time and money putting out e-mail and snail-mail letters in vast quantities.