If my luck in real life matched my luck with email scammers, I reckon I'd of eclipsed Bill Gates in net worth by now.
My latest win, interestingly enough, comes from another of those online lottos I can never remember having entered. They say the mind's the first or second thing to go as we age, and I don't want to think much about the other first or second thing to go -- I still have some lust and hope left -- so I'll conveniently digress back to the subject at hand, with absolutely no pun intended.
An international company with the funds to give away -- especially when gas was going for $4/gallon like it was last summer (and probably will be again, when congressional gerrymandering gets done screwing the pooch), Exxon-Mobil -- notified me via email three weeks ago that I had won. Witness their notification letter:
You won $500,000 USD from 2009 Exxon Mobil Corporation promotion, for claims contact Mr. Gordon Foulger, via Email (giving me an email address and telephone number that had London, UK, inclinations) with your contact details.
Kewl. But bogus. If Exxon-Mobil gave away anything, it'd likely be free gas for a year, assuming they were having an online lotto.
Still, I decided to see how attentive both the real Exxon-Mobil Corporation was, as well as the scammer(s). To the real Exxon-Mobil, I sent an email alerting them to the fraud being attempted in their name, and the fun I was gonna have widdit; and then to the faux Exxon-Mobil, I did my own off-line lottery, selected my "winning" character to respond as, and sent this reply back to both the email originator AND the referred-to email in the message:
No SH**???? F***IN' A, DUDE! THIS NEWS TOTALLY F***ING ROCKS! YOU DA BOMB, MOTHER EARTH RAPERS! I'm just kidding with that last, dudes...screw those tree-hugging hippies! Anyway, send me my money immediately!
Yep; another turn for Eric Cartman of South Park fame.
When a day later I got a reply from the faux Exxon-Mobil, I knew I had me a scammer what didn't have a clue about South Park. It was a page and a half, actually well-written, explaining what the lottery was, how I was selected, yada yada. And then it asked for my personal information, as so many of these do.
Since they hadn't heard of South Park, it was time to see how much attention they paid to the application I filled out:
Full Name: Eric "Big Bone" Cartman
Residential Address: 123 City Wok Street, South Park CO
Age: 8 (for 13 f***in' seasons, now...give me puberty or give me death)
Sex: what, are you stupid or blonde? I said I'm 8!
Occupation: animated cartoon character
Fax Number: WTF???
Next of Kin: my crack-whore mom, Mrs. Cartman
Lucky Number: (they conveniently already printed it here for me)
The application stated that after all information is verified and authenticated, you will be notified on what's to be done next.
Two days pass, and "Eric" learns just how thorough a job the faux Exxon-Mobil does with verifying and authentication:
Dear Eric Cartman,
Congratulations, you have been properly verified as an eligible winner!
And then it goes on to tell me what I've won, and that I need to contact a Mr. Blake Nash of Swift International Courier Services, to arrange for receiving my $500,000 USD, my two t-shirts, lotto magazine subscription, a plastic minaturized Exxon-Mobil gasoline tanker truck, and assorted other documents of various legal gewgawity. A new email address, and I'm off to find out if Mr. Blake Nash of Swift & Co. is/are any more attentive than Mr. Gordon Foulger of the faux Exxon-Mobil is.
So Eric just forwards a copy of the aforementioned email to the courier service email, and a day later gets a reply, asking again for the same personal information, along with offering me three shipping options by which I am to receive my check, with the shipping costs included (in UK pound sterling).
So Eric writes back with the same personal information, and asks that they use Option 4 to ship the package (there was no Option 4, so Eric conveniently added one...a canister pnuematically launched from the UK to South Park...Eric assured them that after 13 seasons of destruction here, there's precious little left to damage at impact...and besides, we're all animated, so we could be redrawn).
Two days later, Mr. Nash responds by completely ignoring my Option 4 dissertation, and that my selection will cost 380 pound sterling (Option 1), and I'm to Western Union it to a Mr. Michael Nelson in Sherborne, London UK.
Eric, being the profane, greedy, self-centered sort he is (as any of you who watch South Park know this), writes back thus:
Yer breakin' my balls, Blake! What the f*** is this pound sterling crap from a dying empire? We do dollars and cents here, Blake, not some gay denomination that no one in the world gives a Terrence and Phillip fart about! How much is this in good old USA dollars and cents, since you won't accept my preferred form of delivery?
Two days later, Blake sends Eric a monetary translation of $625.318 USD.
Now bear in mind here, that I sent an email off to the real Exxon-Mobil at the start of this dog and pony show, and still haven't heard a peep from them.
At any rate, Eric sends Blake a quick little I'll get this off in via Western Onion in a day or two, dude, and ponders how to proceed.
After a day or two, Eric decides on how to proceed...the tactic of email flummox:
After breakin' my balls about pound sterling and dollar shipping charges, I see you guys were just yankin' my 8 year old dinky about having to pay anything. I just got my check delivered via UPS! I simply cannot thank you for making some of my dreams come true -- I'll be taking up my high priority dream with the creators of this stupid show, later: namely, when I get to become a teen, so I can start having real sex, instead of Ben Affleck trying to make out with my J.Lo hand before she bed-hopped to Brad Pitt -- and want to thank both you and Exxon Mobil for giving me the business so expediently! I owe you big time, but don't look to collect anything.
A day later, this draws an upset reply from Blake at Swift International Courier Services:
Mr. Eric Cartman, did you send the shipping fee? How can you receive the check wihout first send of fee? Please confirm your send the fee.
Ah, the first evidence of slippage of verbiage. Let's see if Eric can make it slip a tad more:
Blake, I got my money. So what the f*** are you breakin' my balls about now? Your part in this is over. I'm rich, you're done. When I need you to f***ing ship something, I'll call you, m'kay?
Blake is not pleased:
Mr. Eric Cartman, we have check and you not send payment. it impossibal you receeve check from us. how this happen i dont know, but you are now legal obigated to send shipping fee if you wish avoid legal problem.
I always love it when a scammer raises the "legal problem" threat. Eric, however, isn't impressed:
Mr. Blake, bite me. I have my check, and what's more, I'm 8 and animated. I got your legal problem right here, dude.
While I wait to see if 'Blake' has anything further to say on this, I finally get an email from the real Exxon-Mobil:
Thank you for contacting ExxonMobil.
Please be aware that there are numerous scams circulating the internet using the ExxonMobil name. May we suggest that you do not reply to such emails (doh...too late). Please forward any emails that you have received from these people to the abuse department of the fraudulent email's service provider for follow-up (which usually results in spit being done). Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Meantime, nothing further is forthcoming from Blake Nash of Swift International Courier Services. I guess he figured out that Eric did have his legal problem right here, dude.
Nor did the real Exxon-Mobil have anything further to say, when Eric Cartman wrote back to tell them he'd defended their honor, and could they please ignore that hippy AlGore and his global warming stuff that makes gas get more pricey than a Big Mac?
Which, sadly, brings an end to my latest "rags-to-riches-to-rags in a few emails" saga. But it was a gas while it lasted ;-) And I don't mean a Terrence & Phillip* one.
* if you don't watch South Park, that'll mean squat to you. Then again, much of what I do here doesn't mean squat to the average person LOL...