February 01, 2004

419 Scam as Literary Art

Of all the things that I did not expect--that nobody expected--from the information age, I am perhaps most bemused by the fact that the 419 scam has produced responses that rise to the level of literary art (bad literary art, but quite funny in some cases, like this one:

Scam o Rama: 419 Scam Correspondence: "Albert Abossi" vs. Thomas Mallory, a disembodied head in the basement of the Miskatonic University Biology Department

ALBERT ABOSSI

From: abo61ssi@themail.com
To: abo61ssi@themail.com
Subject: CALL ME FIRST
IP-Address: 62.56.189.162 <-- Togo Telecom, for the curious
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 05:52:18 -0500

Mr Albert Abossi.
Lome-Togo.
West Africa.
Email:a202a.albert@caramail.com
Telephone:00228-911-2853.

Dear Sir/Madam

You may be surprised to receive this letter from me since you do not know me personally. For the purpose of introduction, I am Mr Albert Abossi , the son of Dr. Vintu Abossi, a wealthyfarmer/politician in Zimbabwe who was recently murdered in the land dispute in my country.

Before the death of my late father, he had taken me to Lome-Togo where he deposit the total sum of US$30.5 million (Thirty million,Five Hundred thousand United States dollars), in one of the private security companies, as he foresaw the looming danger in Zimbabwe. This money was deposited in a box as Family Treasure to avoid much demurrage from the security company. The land problem, in our country came when our President Mr. Robert Mugabe in a bid to win his re-election, introduced a new Land Act Reform wholly affecting the rich white farmers and some few black farmers who are members of the opposition party. This resulted in killings and mob action by Zimbabwean war veterans and some lunatics in the society. A lot of people have been killed because of this Land reform Act for which my father was unfortunately one of the victims.

It is against this background that, I and my family fled Harare our capital for fear of our lives and are currently staying in a country called lome Togo in west africa . We are planning to leave the country and seek political asylum in Europe and we have decided to move our family wealth to Europe. As the eldest son of my father, I am saddled with the responsibility of seeking a genuine partner that could assist us without the knowledge of my government who are bent on taking everything we have got from us since both countries have similar political history.

I am now seeking for a partner whom I have to entrust my future and that of my family in his/her hands. To this end, we need your assistance to stand as the Beneficiary of the Consignment. This is because we are under restricted movement and watch and hence we want to be very careful in order not to lose this fund which we have worked so hard for. I have a sufficient CONTACT person at the Security Company in Lome-Togo who can help us move this consignment with you as the Beneficiary.

Thus, if you are willing to assist us to move this fund out of Lome-Togo, you can contact me through my confidential Email:a202a.albert@caramail.com and Telephone number as stated above with yours telephone and fax number and personal information to enable us discuss further details. I must let you know that this transaction is risk free as far as we keep it as confidential .

Thank you, many blessings to you.
Yours Faithfully,
Albert Abossi.
Email:a202a.albert@caramail.com


THOMAS MALLORY

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 06:07:32 -0800 (PST)

Dear Mr. Albert Abossi,

You don't say! My, what a tragedy. And here I thought my own predicament was a sore trial indeed -- for you see, sir, I was the recipient of a failed body transplant, and I now exist as a disembodied head, wholly dependant on an aging life-support system housed in the Biology Building at Miskatonic University in Arkham.

As recompense for this failed operation, I receive a generous monthly stipend from the University, and free access to the department's internet and Web services. Were it not for this computer and screen, I would have no contact with the outside world, save for the cleaning staff, the technicians, and Mr. Moto, my caretaker.

If I can help you, I certainly will. Bear in mind I have no telephone, no fax machine, no way to travel -- but I can send emails, if that is of any assistance. And I do have a large source of funds, and poor Mr. Moto's loyal, if slow-witted, service.

I shall look forward to corresponding with you, Mr. Abossi. The laboratory is so quiet and lonely, these days. Oh what I wouldn't do to have knees again. Or a torso, for that matter.

Still, one presses on. Literally, in my case, generally with my nose.

Sincerely,

Thomas Equine Malthus Mallory III

Continued...

My favorite lines comes much further down in the correspondence, when Mr. Mallory writes:

Well, gentle Mr. Moto did as I asked. I have a brand new clock. And this new clock has a pretty glass cover. And in this glass cover, I can see reflections. And in these reflections, I can see the main panel of my life support system. My brother, for my first year here, they had me turned so that I could see the panel. I know each dial and light and label as well as you must know the backs of your hands. I know that all the lights should be green, except for the two power indicators under the "Motor Generator" labels. I know that all the dials should remain, needles upright, at the zero position.

But last night, brother Albert, last night, when the cleaning crew turned out the room lights, I saw the panel reflected in the glass of my new clock. I saw that twenty-seven of sixty-two fault indicators are red, not green. I saw that forty-one of the fifty-nine dials are all the way to the right or the left, not pointing upright at zero as they should be. The oxygen irrigators are only functioning at 29%. My intercranial blood flow is less than half what it should be. Eight ventrivalves show significant blood clotting either at the arterial mains or well into the central distribution cluster.

Most ominous of all, brother Albert, was the hand-written note taped to the Mains sub-panel. It read simply "DNR." The techs never speak to me. Perhaps they have forgotten, though, that I do listen to them. "DNR" is short for Do Not Report. In other words, if a major component fails, it will not be noted or reported until the regular weekly maintenance sweep. Well after, in most cases, I am dead.

Mr. Moto, simple soul that he is, understands none of this. I will not speak of it to him. He would go straight to the Dean, unable to understand that the Dean himself gave the orders which will, very soon, bring about my death. So hurry, my brother. I will remain awake and alert as long as I am able. I will, if at all possible, complete my assignment of Mr. Moto as authorized to handle my funds today. I will send him to WWestern Union as soon as possible so that

I tire. I can not see clearly noww. await myour responses pray my brother i will be strong this is all my life now

Thomas


[Posted with ecto]

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Comments

That is one of the funniest things I have ever read.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on February 1, 2004 05:28 PM

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DNR is normally "Do Not Resuscitate". Same effect, but a bit more obvious.

Posted by: zizka / John Emerson on February 1, 2004 07:25 PM

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Classic...

Posted by: Stewart Kelly on February 1, 2004 09:00 PM

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You guys are... you care even to read that stuff? I'm ashamed. I'm going to read them too now -- but just this once.

Posted by: bulent on February 1, 2004 09:51 PM

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I can't believe this! Others have not only read the stuff, they even responded in kind! I am now convinced that labor force participation is indeed shrinking in a big way!

Posted by: bulent on February 1, 2004 09:55 PM

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' I am now convinced that labor force participation is indeed shrinking in a big way'
so you're not willing to consider that this may in some way be linked to the rise in productivity?

Posted by: bryan on February 2, 2004 05:48 AM

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You beat me to it, bryan!

Of course I am willing to consider that this may in some way be linked to the rise in productivity -- and probably irreversibly so.

You see I was thinking of posting something along the lines that perhaps people ought to be nudged towards occupying themselves with "with more productive" lines of activity, like astronomy, but I was hesitating to post something implying that astronomy was more worthwhile than letters.

The basic idea is, though, productivity increase does demand that we re-think every thing, including work, employment, unemployment, income, leisure, moral values, ...

And so, there, you beat me to it!

:-)

Posted by: bulent on February 2, 2004 06:41 AM

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