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: email@example.com
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?