August 11, 2011

Where Do You Get Your Ideas: Spam Phishing

I don't think there's anyone who hasn't received a "Nigerian Letter" at least once. I get them delivered frequently to my work e-mail.

Yesterday, I received an interesting one. It was a nice variation on the letter's conventions with the additions of shady business partners, murder by poison, and a young girl desperate for a savior. Below is the text of the spam/phishing attempt. The only thing I've done is truncate the sender's name to its first letters.

Greetings from S-- K--

With all due respect, I want you to read my letter with one mind and help me. I am S-- K--, The only child of late Mr. and Mrs. K--, My Late father was a very wealthy cocoa dealer in in Lome Togo before he was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outing to discuss on a business deal.

When my mother died when she was given birth to me, my father took me so special because I am motherless. Before the death of my father on 22nd September, 2010 in a private hospital here in Lome Togo. He secretly called me on his bedside and told me that he has a sum of USD10, 000,000.00 Ten million United States dollars left in a suspense account in a local bank here in Lome Togo, that he used my name as his only daughter for the next of kin in deposit of the fund.

He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth that he was poisoned by his business associates that I should seek for a foreign partner in a country of my choice where I will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose, such real estate agent,

I am 17year old. Dear I am honorably seeking your assistance in the following ways.

1) To provide any bank account where this money would be transferred into.
2) To serve as the guardian of this fund.
3) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and to secure a residential permit for me in your country.

Moreover, I am willing to offer you 20 percent of the total sum as compensation for your effort input after the successful transfer of this fund to your nominated account overseas.

I want you to help me not because of the 20 percent I want to offer you but to take me as your adoptive child and take good care of my life. Please save my life.

Hope to hear from you soonest.
Thanks and God Bless.
Best regards,
S--  K--
Yesterday, I received this, reported it to the sender's provider, and then starting thinking about it in terms of story. What if it were real? What if someone got one of these 419 Fraud letters in their e-mail and it turned out to be genuine and there really was a young girl in a foreign country with a huge sum of money fleeing from her dead father's murdering business partners?

As writers we all get the ideas question. This is a prime example of what people who aren't writers will never understand. Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.
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