Friday, March 22, 2013


Caution: if you're tired of my tirades against internet spam—and I certainly wouldn't blame you if you are—you can stop right here and come back Monday when I promise I'll address another subject.

Every time I do this I swear...swear...I will never do it again. Never. I have promised myself time after time. And there are long periods where my resolve is rock solid and I can go for weeks without giving in to the temptation. But then, one day when I am for some unknown reason vulnerable, I find my eye drawn to my spam folder and I think, “Well, just one quick glance won't hurt me.” And as my eyes move down the long, long list of come-on lines beckoning me to take a closer look, I take great pride in my willpower until, suddenly, tragically, shamefully, I see...


I tear my eyes away, force them to continue moving down the list, that tempting, enticing list, but...I am lost. US$17 MILLION. I can't resist, and back I go! I find my eyes absorbing every deeply heartfelt word, truly marveling at the brilliant use of language, the shimmering, ephemeral seductiveness of each sentence, the honesty and sincerity that glows like fireplace embers—the spinning of the web. And the logic! Oh, the flawless, utterly magnetic logic, that draws me closer and closer to the spider!

The web is woven around one outwardly casual but key sentence; see if you can spot it.


I am a Director of World Bank Development Programme {WBDP VISION 2010} Africa region, and my name is Dr.George Mbeki, from South Africa. I am currently on official assignment in Nigeria.

As an officer of the World Bank we are not allowed to operate foreign bank accounts or handle private business operations.

Hence I am in search of an independent foreign partner to assist in the re-profiling of the US$36 MILLION. Specifically, you will be required to:

1. Front as the beneficiary of the funds.
2. Assist in the transfer of the funds into a bank account provided by you.

As you may wish to know, the US$17 MILLION accrued from the US$1.5 BILLION recently approved by the World Bank Group for various development projects in Nigeria. The contract projects have been successfully executed and this excess fund of US$17 MILLION is floating in a suspense account. It will take only a few days to complete the transfer to your account and the business is completely risk free.

After the transfer, 45% of the US$17 MILLION will be your share. 10% will be set aside to reimburse expenses {if any} incurred during the transaction. 45% will be for me.


If you are interested, pls immediately the following particulars:

1. Your full name and address
2. The name of yor company and address
3. Your direct phone and fax numbers.
4. A bank account where you want the fund transferred  into.

Reply to my confidential email address:

Yours faithfully,

Dr. George Mbeki

Did you spot it? The spring to the trap? (“Blahblahblahblah...oh, yes, and the bank account where you want the fund transferred into”) Brilliant! Utterly brilliant!

And now, awash in shame, I must hie myself to an SRA (Spam Readers Anonymous) meeting and confess, yet again, that I am powerless over spam.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

I can imagine this conversation taking place one day in the afterlife.

Angel: Dorien, would you mind watching the gates for me? I need a potty break.
Dorien: Be my guest.
(soul walks up to the pearly gates)
Soul: Can I come in?
Dorien: What did you do in life?
Soul: I was an internet spammer.