Death by spam

June 11, 2010

I’ve had various moans about spam before – people sending me comments like ‘good blog, keep up good work’ – anodyne enough, you might think, until you see that they are going by the unusual name of Sexy Asian Babes and want that published right next to their comment. Er, no, not on this blog!

Then, the other day, my alarm at spam took a turn for the worse. I got this in my inbox:

This is the only way I could contact you for now,I want you to be very careful about this and keep this secret with you until I make out space for us to see. You have no need of knowing who I am or where I am from.I know this may sound very surprising to you but it’s the situation.I have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer.It’s someone I believe you call a friend, I have followed you closely for a while now and your home location has made my job very easy but have seen that you are innocent of the accusations he leveled against you. Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them,because if you do, I will know,and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do.Besides, this is the time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job.I took pity on you,that is why I have made up my mind to help you if you are willing to help yourself.
Now listen,I will arrange for us to see face to face,but before that, I need $15,000. I will come to your home or you determine where you wish we meet, I repeat, do not arrange for the cops and if you play hard to get, it will be extended to your family.Do not set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our conversation, my employer is in my control now. Payment details will be provided for you to make a part payment of $10,000
first,which will serve as guarantee that you are ready to co-orperate,then i will post a copy of the video tape that contains his request for me to terminate you which will be enough evidence for you to take any legal action against him before he employs another person for the job. You will pay the balance of $5,000 once you receive the tape.
Warning; do not contact the police, make sure you dont sleep with your two eyes closed until this whole thing is sorted out,if you neglect any of these warnings, you will have yourself to blame. You do not have much time, so get back to me immediately.
Note:I will advise you keep this to yourself alone, not even a friend or a family member should know about it because it could be one of them. Here is a private mail you can reach me:

 Now I would have no trouble dismissing this as spam as well – I’m sure it’s gone to 25,000 people at least – but unfortunately I’m pretty sure there is someone out there who hates me enough to have me bumped off, and this spam reminds me of it and makes me feel just a tad uncomfortable, to say the least. Plus I sent this to one trusted friend to see whether I was being hysterical. They sent a reply just airily saying ‘delete’, and I calmed down and thought no more of it. Then they let it slip later they hadn’t even actually bothered to read it. Suddenly, from being fine about it, I was back to red alert, especially when the friend finally did look through it and said ‘send it to the police.’

So, what do you think? Am I being silly? Has it been sent all round the world? Has it been sent to you? Or is it *gulp* just me?

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  • English Mum June 11, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Ooh that’s quite scary! Whether it’s spam or not it’s threatening and intimidating. I’m with your friend. Police.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:39 am

      I do feel it’s really horrid. I have now reported it to the police – not sure what they can do but I suppose they can follow up the email address (which I changed!)

  • clareybabble June 11, 2010 at 7:39 am

    That’s an awful email to receive. I would report it as it’s more than likely spam, but like you I’d still be concerned. You could google it, there’s lots of spam alerts posted on the web. Sorry I’m probably not much help!

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:41 am

      Hi Clareybabble, you are a great help, thanks so much for tweeting the google reference – I’m actually really relieved that it is spam, although that means a lot of other people have no doubt been really alarmed by it. I don’t wish anxiety on anyone else but I do feel there’s safety in numbers!

  • Julie June 11, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Sorry, can’t say I have had one of these. It does seem completely preposterous and far-fetched though – obviously I don’t know the circumstances of your particular fears (would this person be wanting $$, rather than ££?). I think if it were me, I would be tempted to send it to the police. Surely this constitutes a criminal offence of some sort (blackmail/extortion, threats to kill or something!).
    Hope you don’t worry about it too much. x

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:42 am

      I sort of imagine hitmen get paid in $, maybe because I’ve seen too many rubbish films! Thanks for your kind words, I’ve sent it to the police so feel a bit calmer now! x

  • nuttycow June 11, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I wouldn’t worry too much – a google of some of the text brings up “419 – hitman scam”.

    Delete it.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:43 am

      Thanks, Nutty Cow – in future I will try to google before I start to panic! Seems there is absolutely nothing that’s not on google. What a relief anyway and yes, I have deleted x

  • Very Bored in Catalunya June 11, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I can see why you were worried, it’s a terrible email to receive. I’ve no doubt that it is Spam though and has been sent to many thousands of email addresses, clearly they realise that the ‘I’ve been left $20,000,000 in a will and want to give you half’ scam doesn’t work.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:45 am

      I suppose I’m very naive but I’m always shocked that there are people who spend time and energy trying to get money out of people in nasty ways! I think I’m pretty much a Miss World Contestant at heart, just wanting people to get on and achieve world peace ….

  • Brighton Mum-Teenage Angst June 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

    WTF! What an awful email to receive. Am sure it is just spam. But I agree with EM, send it on to the police anyway.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:45 am

      Thanks BM, I’ve sent it on to the police now, I expect they are starting to feel a bit paranoid already …..x

  • Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina June 11, 2010 at 8:47 am

    It’s spam.

    But knowing somebody could be tempted to do you harm casts a very long shadow.

    I’m so sorry love.

    Sorry that you live under that shadow and sorry this horrible exucse of a human being has been that nerve racking momement in the shadow that turns your guts to jelly.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:47 am

      Thanks for your kind words, Sarah. I probably just need to take a few deep breaths and start Chardonnay o’clock a bit earlier than usual tonight. But you’re right, it’s not a great feeling x

  • Milla June 11, 2010 at 8:47 am

    despite the clearly wise words of delete / ignore, I, too, would be really upset to receive something like this. Really upset. I think I’d think about going to the police and wouldn’t, because I’m lazy but it’s a nasty thing to get and I’m very sorry for you, my little fairycake chum.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:49 am

      Thank you, fellow fairy-caker! Luckily it was easy to report it to the police online, otherwise I would have felt too silly/paranoid actually going into a police station. But it’s not a nice feeling thinking someone hates you. Ho hum.

  • London City Mum June 11, 2010 at 9:29 am

    This must be the reincarnation of the Nigerian son-of-the-former-head-of-treasury/sister-in-law-of-ex-dictator/cousin-of-mother-of-director-of-prison-reform (delete as necessary) who has run out of diabolical shams to extort money from gullible people and is now resorting to threats of this nature.
    Poor you for being the recipient – most unpleasant.

    Take heart (for once) that NOTHING is truly anonymous on the internet and this person can be tracked down, there are means and ways (I know, my paranoid former employer specialised in this type of technology).

    Report it to the police.

    And reply to the email with two words: sad bastard.

    LCM x

    • Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina June 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      “And reply to the email with two words: sad bastard.”

      I understand the sentiment, but don’t ever reply to spam, it tells them the address is “live” (ie not an abandoned old acount) and you risk getting inundated, because live accounts are worth money in the form of a mailing list.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:51 am

      Hi LCM, I think you’re right, it has a certain spamminess which actually stopped me from freaking out completely (well, pretty much). I hope the police will have a go at tracking it, but if it’s been sent all around it might be hard to find out where it originated. Not even sure what can be done if they do find the horrid person responsible. x

      • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:52 am

        I think Sarah is right, not a good idea to reply – though highly tempting to let rip with an expletive or two, or even retaliate with some horrid spammy concoction of my own. But I don’t want to be dragged down to their level …

  • Addy June 11, 2010 at 9:33 am


    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:53 am

      Thanks, Addy. Have sent it off to the police and will see what they say.

  • muummmmeeeeee...... June 11, 2010 at 10:41 am

    That’s just bloody awful and we thought chain letters were bad! There are some really sick people out there who will do anything to scam people for a quick buck. I’d send it to the police only to see if they can find the source and stop other poor people receiving it x

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:54 am

      I know, I think this is the new type of chain letter. Haven’t been getting them for a while (I think people just don’t pass them on any more). Isn’t it weird what people will do to try and make money? x

  • icklebabe_com June 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Oh lordy! i would be scared too! go to the police lovely lady, no-one should have to be harassed like that xxx

  • Aly June 11, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Report it to the police! These type of people need to be put away.Hope your ok x

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:54 am

      Thanks, Aly. I was a bit panicky but have calmed down a bit now I’m sure it’s just spam. Hope the police will sort it out somehow. x

  • Insomniac Mummy June 11, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Goodness! That’s just awful!

    I’d definitely be contacting someone, just to put your own mind at rest.


    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:55 am

      Thanks, IM, it’s now in the capable hands of the constabulary. Bet they are pressing their special turbo delete button even as we speak x

  • Chic Mama June 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Oh that’s awful….it was bad enough reading it and not receiving it. I’m sure it is spam but I would report it, imagine how many people could take something like that seriously. :0( xx

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:56 am

      I know! I do worry about what will happen when I’m older and even more susceptible to panic/paranoia! Hope I will have grown a thicker skin somehow. Thanks for your concern xx

  • louise June 12, 2010 at 1:32 am

    It should be reported, I agree. Imagine someone who is a little ‘fragile’ receiving it. Also many people believed the Nigerian scams – especially the silver surfer brigade (as I am!) – people who are not super computer literate and have learnt late, mainly to keep in touch with their children/grandchild, using Skype, that sort of thing.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:57 am

      It’s awful, isn’t it? I consider myself quite computer literate but it’s certainly freaked me out – heaven knows how seriously some might take it if it was their first unsolicited email, enough to put you off for ever, I should think. Love the ‘silver surfers’ btw!

  • Erica June 12, 2010 at 2:45 am

    That’s awful, silly, but still awful. Some people will do anything for money 🙁

    Definitely report it.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 4:58 am

      Thanks, Erica, it’s all reported now. Must admit I would like a nice Gene Hunt-style copper (from Life On Mars) to go and frighten the bejeezus out of the spammer …..x

  • Maggie Christie June 12, 2010 at 5:08 am

    It’s quite sick isn’t it? I’m glad you’ve reported it. I suppose the p£nis-enlargements, vi@gra offers and Nicaraguans offering cash will feel quite tame after that one.

    • Dulwich Divorcee June 12, 2010 at 5:12 am

      Hee hee! You know, I’m actually really looking forward to someone offering me a nice cosy penis enlargement! That says a lot really 🙂

  • Rosie Scribble June 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Oh, that’s horrible. What a weirdo. I see you’ve sent it to the police. Quite right too. I expect it went to thousands but, for peace of mind, I’d have done the same. Hugs my friend.

  • Posie Rosie June 13, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Glad you found out its spam…but you could have done without the accompanying stress of such a horrid email.

  • ella June 15, 2010 at 2:50 am

    That’s a truly horrible email. You did the right thing reporting it to the police. xx

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