A long time ago I published a post called “Scam Scum”, title self-explanatory I hope, with a promise to make the exposure of scams, internet or otherwise, a regular feature of my WordPress activity.
What’s a promise worth these days? Like a lot of people, I got sidetracked into posting photos of castles, cakes and cats so as to make my friends jealous – and went for long periods without blogging at all. When I did do something consumer-related, it was only to moan about the NHS or trains not arriving on time and having no air-con. Important matters yes, but not really what I came here for.
This morning, while on what I hoped would be a routine trawl through the Spam folder of my gmail account – my secondary email which doesn’t get as much traffic as the first – I was given a rude reawakening.
The contents numbered seventeen. Apart from the usual rubbish from HMRC No Reply, there was one from Emilie, one from Sarah, one from Farah – see what they did there! – one from Cami, and others from females whose names I can’t remember and they’ve all now been deleted forever anyway. But here are some extracts:
“I am new to city and looking for place stay.”
“We have not spoken some time I am taking courage write to you.”
“I have nice photo please click on link.”
“Would like you to come office talk” (though this might have been the one from HMRC).
Now it’s not difficult to spot a pattern here. You feel sorry for them perhaps, and maybe a bit horny as well, so you get back in touch and 24 hours later you’re exchanging phone numbers and bank details – or at least you’re giving them yours.
Why do we fall for it? As an occasional EFL tutor, I despair of different people who make the same errors of grammar and punctuation – and you should too.
Maybe I should offer my services as a spam scam scum letter writer who can do reasonably competent English. Must be worth a couple of hundred squid an hour, don’t you think?