Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SPAM/SCAM | Cry for Help: 36 Scam Emails from Africa

There's nothing I dislike more than SPAM. We all know what SPAM is and I'm not talking about that delicious delicacy in a can that Monty Python referred to that became ingrained into our pop culture. No, it's a different icon of culture -- SPAM/SCAM email-- we either trash it or curiously look through the SPAM filtering software available in our email browsers to make sure we haven't missed a 'real' email. Those pesky spammers are smart and creative! They figure out how to rig forms and Opt-Ins, and create special software to fish for free email addresses. I just wish software developers could come up with a better filtering system so as not to catch 'real' email. Some spammers actually know what business you're in and create specialized content to fit that business.

Illustrator Henning Wagenbreth recently created a book Cry for Help: 36 SCAM Emails from Africa, in which he compiled and illustrated the bizarre 'Nigerian' SCAM email letters that asked for our help in making a fortune in lucrative business propositions. Wagenbreth explains "The deception with SCAM-mails works in the following way: first the scammers locate appropriate e-mail address suppliers and buy thousands of addresses of people all over the world, especially those people from rich, industrial nations. Enticing letters are then written and sent as mass e-mails. The author asserts that he has come upon too much money either through legitimate inheritance, political unrest, a tragic accident or through simple theft. In telling his plausible story, he slips into one of various roles decorated with rich detail. Sometimes it’s the helpless child by his parent’s deathbed who’s received millions of dollars and doesn’t know what to do with it all. Another time he may pose as the government official who is manipulating the state budget or embezzling state funds and is in search of someone to help launder the money. Or he pretends to be the relative of a deposed dictator and authoritatively demands immediate assistance with a foreign currency transfer."

While I'm on the subject, here's a particularly fascinating subject header of a SPAM email I just received while writing this post. Dad: My daughter killed my wife.news just come. I peer through my preview pane it's a press release with a stock tip. We've all gotten them. When will this SPAM/SCAM end? Perhaps we should all start archiving the SPAM/SCAM we get. There are some humorous SPAM/SCAM annotations out there, that's for sure.