They'll Have to do Better Than That

So on Monday, which is Irish dance night, I checked my email in the afternoon and there was a message from the dance teacher titled 'Get Back to Me ASAP'. Thinking that maybe class was cancelled, I opened the email. This was the message:

hope you get this on time ? Sorry i didn't inform you about my trip in the United Kingdom for a program, I'm presently in London and am having some difficulties here because i was mugged at gun point at the park of the hotel where i lodged all cash,credit-cards and cell were stolen off me and other valuable things where on my way to the hotel, i only have limited access to the internet.Presently my passport and my things are been held down by the hotel management pending when i make payment.The hotel manager won't let me leave until i settle the hotel bills now am freaked out.I will like you to assist me with a loan of £1750.00) to sort-out my hotel bills and to get myself back home. I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I'll refund the money back to you as soon as i return, kindly let me know what you can do in order to assist me.Hope to read from you soonest.Sincerely,
photo credit
creative commons license

Wow. Apparently between Saturday, when there was a special rehearsal for the Christmas recital, and Monday, the dance teacher had flown to the United Kingdom, been mugged at gunpoint and developed shockingly bad grammar and punctuation habits. Clearly the poor girl needed help and a copy of Strunk and White's very, very badly.

I realize it's a bit disingenuous for me to mock the unbelievability of this scam, given that I gave a hundred dollars I could ill afford to 'Brad Jacobson' who came into my bookstore, asked about Urban Peasant cookbooks and then pretended that he had left his kids playing in the park and locked his car keys and wallet in his jacket pocket when he locked his jacket in the trunk. On a Sunday. But come on. If you're going to go to these lengths to swindle people, at least compose a halfway credible message. "I am having some difficulties here because I was mugged at gunpoint"? "My things are being held down by the hotel management pending when I make payment"? (This gives me an amusing image of a couple of British men in hotel uniforms sprawled over her passport and 'things', sternly demanding money). "Now am freaked out"? I should say so.

It's really not that funny, I guess. This falls into the category of people my sister claims have a special place in hell reserved for them -- assholes who try to play on people's kindness and sympathy in order to rob them. What if I was a grandmother and this email purported to be from my granddaughter? At the very least, it might give me an unpleasant moment. The strange part is that, the very technology that makes this kind of scam possible would theoretically also make it possible for it to be investigated and found to be baseless ("Hey Jennifer, you haven't just been robbed at gunpoint in the UK, right? See you tonight.")

I still think the worst crime is their writing skills.


Anonymous said…
Sounds like the dance teacher needs to clean out her computer and make sure there aren't any viruses or spyware.

Also, I hear you on the grammar. Just think how much more effective of a scam artist you could be if you could actually write. But then, I guess, you wouldn't need to be a scam artist because you would have actual skills of some sort.
Mary Lynn said…
What?!? You didn't fall for that? You're dance teacher isn't normally in the habit of asking for loans of £1750.00?

Good thing scam artists aren't so smart.

On the topic of bad (or strange) grammar, one of my favourite examples in the last while came from a software developer our team was working with in another country. We asked him if he could send us some information. He said he had to finish up an assignment he was currently working on before he could "do the needful". Since then, "do the needful" has become an oft-used phrase in our group now.

As in:

"Can you send me such and such a file?"

"Yes, I will do the needful."

It amuses us.
Mary Lynn said…
Snork! I just noticed I typed "You're" instead of "Your" in the first paragraph. I shall give myself a stern look and a severe talking-to.
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