Friday, October 22, 2010
Spam seems to come in waves of pink, sticky goo. We’ve all been barraged by offers of Viagra and various other drugs that can be obtained by mail. Then, there are the Account Verifications – from your bank, from your internet provider, from the IRS and the FBI and all kinds of institutions you don’t want to annoy -- asking you to provide all your account information as verification that YOU are who you say you are. (Ironic, that!)
If you own any kind of rental property, then you’ve surely seen the scam whereby someone overseas wants to rent your property for a month as “a gift” for someone else, but can only provide you with an overlarge cashier’s check. You, of course, will write a personal check for the difference and mail that back. Yeah, right.
Lately, I’ve been swamped by the You’re a Winner type of spam. Without even lifting a finger to enter, I’ve apparently won the Canadian Lottery, the Lottery of the Netherlands, the Irish Lottery, and the Online Nokia Lottery. Boy, am I lucky.
However this week, I received an entirely new kind of spam. The subject line was: Your Death Has Been Arranged. In this email, I was informed that someone had taken out a contract on my life. The sender of the email was the hit man, who -- after spying on me, videotaping me, and recording all the personal habits of myself and my family -- was offering me the chance to pay him NOT to kill me. Otherwise, he would be coming to murder me shortly. He warned me not to contact the authorities. (Does blogging about it count?)
I have to say --- this was a new kind of spam and a pretty disturbing one. Pfishers and swindlers are bad enough. This particular email had no link to click. It wanted me to reply.
There were no personal details included in the threat, and I’m sure it went out to tens of thousands of people. In fact, a quick Google search shows that this extortion scam has been around since 2006. But unlike most of the other spam I get, it felt malevolent. It made me angry. It gave me the chills.
It also gave me … ideas. I’m a writer. I can’t help it.