back to article Me give you $14 squillion gadziddly-dillion

Youtube Video I wish to notify you that my Late client Late. Engr. Alberto Gruber made you a beneficiary to his WILL. He left the sum of Seventeen Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollars (US$17,200.000.00) to you in the codicil and last testament to his WILL. After many years of relative calm in my spam box, a slow but steady …

  1. Chris G Silver badge


    In this case it could be Internet Twats!

    There are a lot of them out there, I have always wondered at the incredibly inept use of English given that I know a fair number of Africans; including a few of the Senegalese 'Looky Looky men' who sell sunglasses and ganja on the beaches of Spain. They often have an amazingly good command of English.

    Perhaps they should all get better paid jobs in Nigeria teaching.

    Anyway! I happen to have a transit van full of Used British notes, that a trusted friend left with me, he has died in an unfortunate disagreement, it is worth about seventy million Euros. If anyone is interested in having it passed through their bank account, I will pay 50 cents on the pound, please send me your bank details, national insurance number and your wife's knicker size I will make a deposit by return.

    Yours Nigel DeSoto Shagnasty (Doctor) (Rtd)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: IT

      The crap English is deliberate - or at least in their favour.

      They are fishing for idiots - every email that initially fools a smart person who replies is a cost for them with no pay off when the smart person eventually fails to send them the processing fee or credit card.

      With the bad English, smart people never reply, but the idiots do. Those people are much more likely to eventually cough up cash

  2. Cliff

    Gently amusing :)

    Obligatory reminder -, come and play with our advance fee fraud brethren. In return for them trying to steal your money (or if you're way too savvy to be fooled, how about your parents, grandparents? Lawyers and doctors fall for this shit, clearly not idiots per se, so let's skip the name-calling), you get to waste their time and efforts, lower the batting average, make crime less lucrative. All skills wanted, social engineering skills taught and honed, but if you'd rather shut down fake bank websites, or counsel victims, or become a master baiter [sic], whatever - there's a place for you at Eater.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gently amusing :)

      played this for a while... finally got a real company bank account to transfer my money to - the firm had been registeted 1 month before I started on them...reported them to police and tax office.

      It was very entertaining but fairly time consuming.

      Nowadays all my spam merely wants me to click on some link

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gently amusing :)

      This one totally cracked me up. It's the sort which is offering jobs in a company in the USA, flights paid.


      The companies need about 400 workers to sum up the already registered one because many workers will be leaving the company at the end of this year cause of the expiration of their contract with the company. The Company has the following vacancy: A) chief engineer (b) site manager (c) Company Security (d) Office Cleaner (e) Laborers (f) Lobsters (g) Drivers (h) engineer


      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Gently amusing :)

        I want to be the Lobster.

        1. AbelSoul

          Re: I want to be the Lobster.

          They appear to be looking for more than one.

          Perhaps they should have a word with Jayne Mansfield?

        2. jcitron

          Re: Gently amusing :)

          "I want to be the Lobster."

          Sorry that position is filled. We sent a bunch down from Maine for interviews.

    3. jcitron

      Re: Gently amusing :)


      I lost that link. Thank you for posting it for us. The reads here are quite amusing. I really enjoy the "Dr Acula and the Blood Bank".


  3. Graham 24

    Customer / Mark Selection Strategy

    There is a school of thought that far from being "a creative tour-de-force of logical ineptitude" these e-mails are carefully written, and the style, spelling and grammar are deliberate.

    If you are running a business (and that's what this is), you don't want lots of people who ultimately have no intention of buying your product taking up time with your sales people. You want to filter out those who are never going to buy as soon as possible.

    These e-mails go out to tens of millions of people. For a scam operation, you don't want lots of people getting hooked with the initial contact, and then for you to invest time and effort only for the vast majority to realise it's a scam at some point in the process and back out.

    What you want is a few *really gullible* people to reply to you, so you can focus your efforts on those who are likely to ultimately part with their money. The purpose of the style and content of the e-mail is to provide that initial filtering. You'd have to be a complete idiot to think that there really is a Nigerian price who has just left you $10M in his will - and that's exactly the sort of person they want to contact them.

    1. Buzzword

      Re: Customer / Mark Selection Strategy

      Yep - the poor spelling and grammar help make the foreigner's sob story more believable. The spammers are just as likely to be in Russia or Vietnam.

      Spam is the ultimate A/B testing, almost a genetic algorithm. You send out a million messages, half written in style A and half written in style B. See whether A or B gets the best response rate, then take the winner, tweak it into two variants, and repeat. Unsurprisingly they've all come up with similar results.

      1. Cliff

        Re: Customer / Mark Selection Strategy

        Hi Buzzword, the numbers (taken from actual email headers over a few years) do in fact bear out that it's 80+% from West Africa Not a race thing, not a blame thing, just reporting the numbers.

        1. Buzzword

          Re: Customer / Mark Selection Strategy

          Thanks for the clarification!

  4. Elmer Phud


    I feel left out, alI get are emails from banks and similar telling me I neeed to log in and sort out my security details.

    That or my email account is moving somewhere else (odd that my email account has changed owners/handlers/servers a few times but the name hasn't altered)

    Anyway -- my 419 Tshirt is worn out, I need another one - if for no other reason than that I love the attempts to tell me that 'My money went to Nigeria and all I got was this lousy t-shirt' is racist.

    1. tony2heads


      Funnily enough most South Africans (of all skin shades) think Nigerians are crooks.

      I even knew Nigerian who warned me about Nigerians!

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Dear Lewis

    Please keep Dabbsy.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: Dear Lewis

      Dear Mage

      I see you fell for Dabbsy's phish ;-)

      1. Lionel Baden

        Re: Dear Lewis

        I have to admit I was a little WTF.

        Please dear Register, never get rid of this mad ranting, mouth-frothed lunatic.

        Many thanks

  6. Cipher

    My Dear Mr. Dabbs,

    I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was to stumble upon your prose this morning, quite a welcome break from the tedious work of Executor to the Estates of Famous Publishers. As Senior Partner for Distributions here at the firm of Dewey, Cheatam, and Howe I was quite, and happily so I might add, surprised to see your name in the byline.

    As it happens I have been trying to resolve a matter involving 44 Million dollars from the estate of the late Mr. Damien Shylock, late of Shylock and Shuster, Publishers Ltd.

    It seems he left you the entire bulk of his estate in his will. Please send me the details of the bank you wish to have this princely sum deposited to via an unencrypted email as soon as posible and I can have the funds transferred forthwith.

    I shall need all your various bank details to include account numbers, PINs, credit/debit card numbers, all passwords associated with these accounts, and the brand of laundry detergent you currently use.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, just hit Reply To...

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: My Dear Mr. Dabbs,

      Dewey, (pronounced JEWY) Shylock (Jewish character in Shakespear) and then Shuster.

      Crude Racist Anti-Semitism.

      1. Phil W

        Re: My Dear Mr. Dabbs,

        Are you really accusing the above post of being racist?

        Dewey is generally correctly pronounced "Dew ee" or even "Du ee" rather than "Jewy" (there is an audible difference if you enunciate properly, you don't get Jew on your grass on a cold morning). It is a real surname and is Welsh in origin.

        Also I'm not sure that playing on the semi-accurate stereotype of Jews working in the legal and financial sectors can be considered anti-Semitic. Unless you consider working in the legal and financial sectors to be a bad thing.

        Besides which the entire post is clearly a joke on the theme of phishing email. Reading racism into it says more about you than it does about the poster.

        1. Throatwobbler Mangrove Silver badge

          Re: My Dear Mr. Dabbs,

          I think you're off the mark.

          On one hand, the person to whom you're responding has obviously completely misconstrued the "Dewey" joke. The joke is that the firm's name sounds like "Do we cheat 'em? And how!", which doesn't work if you pronounce Dewey with a J.

          On the other hand, if you don't see how raking over tired Shylock and "media control" stereotypes is anti-Semitic, then you're bonkers (and probably haven't read much Shakespeare, either).

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: My Dear Mr. Dabbs,


            And for Dewey,



            Even the American pronunciation


            is, to say the least, ambiguous in this matter.

            And "Schuster" outside of German speaking communities is largely identified as a Jewish name.

            So maybe the references were only unintentionally offensive, except for Shylock. Which rather does suggest not.

            Casual racism has to be challenged.

            And it's amazing how often the response to that challenge is in the form of denying that anything was intended. When so often the context suggests it was.

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: My Dear Mr. Dabbs,

          "semi-accurate stereotype"


          1.) It's a stereotype

          2/ Most Jews don't work in these areas, even if a lot do; it's a stereotype. Like Irish Cops, and so on.

          1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

            Re: My Dear Mr. Dabbs,

            Most Nigerians do not run email scams. A lot of email scams have originated from Nigeria. The stereotype characterises the latter rather than makes any claim to deny the former.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. foo_bar_baz

        Re: Anti-Semitism

        Oh jeez.

        "DEWEY, CHEETHAM & HOWE" is a trademark of Tappet Brothers LLC. Perhaps you ought to get in contact with them at Car Talk and express your outrage.

  7. All names Taken

    Excellent venting Dabbsy!

    As above

  8. phil dude

    Thank you Rev Bayes....

    For raising the signal/noise ratio of my Inboxes...

    For finding the hen amongst the foxes,

    For giving us statistics that are not frequentist,

    and the rules for living a life objectivist...


  9. Zog_but_not_the_first

    But once in a while...

    I had a badly worded email from someone I'd never heard of promising me great riches if I worked with them, which I ignored. I then had a phone call from someone promising me similar and eventually a call from someone who made me realise that this was a genuine offer of (legal!) work just very badly phrased. After a face-to-face meeting with the client I took it up. And bought a very nice new car from the proceeds.

    So, while 99% of these are scams, once in a while...

  10. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    So I'm not the only one then

    Rather than bulk deleting spam, I still find myself picking out the odd interesting nugget. I put it down to incurable nosiness.

    So many of them are so boring and professional nowadays. It's rather disappointing. Just subject line of please see invoice, and then a nasty attachment. Where's the panache in that?

    Whereas nothing can beat the emphasis that capital letters bring to a grammatically incorrect, appallingly spelled missive. Not just $10,000,000, or even ten million dollars. No, that's not exciting. Who would be attracted by something so boring and businesslike as that? But TEN MILLION DOLLARS just shouts MONEY!!!!

    I carefully kept a favourite spam message for months. It was your bog standard nasty attachment, with a small paragraph to persuade you to open it. But amusingly they fell into the trap that so many of us have, they'd forgotten to attach the attachment. I wonder how many million they sent out, before they noticed?

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Madrid Barajas Airport

    You can tell it was a fake because they actually got into contact with you. The real Madrid Barajas Airport would already have all your contact details in triplicate but wouldn't be arsed to notify you at all.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Sounds familiar.

    "It’s like a dear old friend has knocked on the door bearing a box of chocolates and a bottle of port – with the obvious caveat that both the box and the bottle are empty."

    Kinda like the BOFH?

    "Hi Dabbsy, it’s Lewis. Your columns don’t seem to have very much to do with real computing any more. They’re turning into a shoddily researched and poorly written, not to mention tardily submitted, excuse to sting us with an invoice every week. Your ideas are old and your jokes are unfunny. Buck your ideas up, sunshine, or you’re out."

    Indeed. See above.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: Sounds familiar.

      Hi jake, it’s Martin. Your comments don’t seem to have very much to do with real boasting any more. They’re turning into a shoddily imagined and poorly made-up, not to mention tardily submitted, excuse to sting us with a sourpuss complaint every now and then. Your ideas are old and your jokes are non-existent. Buck your ideas up, sunshine, or you’re out.

  13. zappahey

    Only the gullible

    I quite like the freakonomics theory that the scammers know their ploy is blatantly obvious and it's a tactic to filter out all but the super-gullible.

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    And here's another

    To: randomemailname@randomemailprovider



    We are so expert in everything internet-related that we're the dogs bollocks in SEO. We don't send spam. Just send us money and tell us the site you want promoting because it would be a waste of our time using our vast skills to work it out.

    Signed with a distinctly un-Anglo-Saxon name

    The strange thing is that one of these landed in my internet /dev/null - AKA Hotmail/Live/Outlook/${this year's favoured brandname} addressed to someone else completely with absolutely nothing in the headers to tell how it got there apart from the fact that it originated from a Hotmail/etc user & possibly their internal routing has gone wrong.

  15. anatak

    He had a very good heart and loved to give out.

    translation his heart gave out.

  16. gotes

    Amusing spam

    A few years ago I spent quite some time tweaking my spam filter. No, that's not a euphemism. As part of this process I read a lot of spam, and still study the odd message now and again. Anyway, as I looked at the messages, I found some of them so hilarious that I would forward them to friends. Sadly I no longer receive amusing spam in English, though very recently I've started to receive a lot of Russian and Chinese spam which I can't understand. I can only hope that the content of these messages is just as ridiculous as the classic 419 messages of yesteryear.

  17. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I'll pass this one along

    I'm unable to meet the terms but it seems to be a good deal...

    Dear Sir,

    I'm the Almighty and I've been given your name by a select panel including 4 Popes, 2 Rabbis, and several lesser known Saints. I've decided to end the human existence on Earth at the end of the current year except for you and a partner of your choosing. There will be minions, but I'll get to that in a moment. You understand that I'm the only shareholder and this a business decision. The return on shareholder value wasn't what I expected for the last 100 centuries.

    So, you and a partner of your choosing will now be the Lord and Masters of all that you survey and the rest of the planet also. In return, I ask for 100 Bitcoins to cover legal costs of all property and asset transfers so please forward me your account number and Bitcoin Exchange you prefer. Also, please forward me your email contact list so that I can inform them that they are your minions and subservient to all your wishes.


    God (also known by a bunch of other names),

  18. Shannon Jacobs

    There could be less spam

    The spammers persist because they are making money. If we want less spam, we need to disrupt their business models and reduce their profits. I'm not suggesting the spammers would become decent human beings, but they would crawl under less visible rocks.

    The article features the ancient 419 spam, where the countermeasures are obvious--but the spam remains profitable after all these years. Why don't we have better mechanisms to quickly nuke the spammers dropboxes before the suckers can reach the spammers? Simply because the email providers don't care.

    Imagine that Gmail had a "Fight spam" button. In the case of a 419 spam, it would allow you to quickly and easily identify the dropboxes. If the dropbox is on Gmail, then the google can kill it instantly. If the dropbox is elsewhere, the google can contact the spammer's email provider and request the dropbox to be nuked. If they're too slow, then the google could respond in the obvious way--by being correspondingly slow in handling the email from the spammers' favorite email services. (Even if the email provider is too small to have security staff on call, they could delegate the quarantine authority to someone at the google.)

    What dazzles me about the spam problem is that it persists after all these years. It wastes vast amount of resources, especially human time, and it adds no value to the Internet. Au contraire, reducing the spam would even increase the value of their email services. Yet they just continue playing patty-cake games with the spammers.

    Give me a better spammer-trap and I will beat a path to your email door, with the entire spam-hating world on my heels.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There could be less spam

      I've no idea where you've been but Gmail has had a "Mark as Spam" feature since the invite only beta. They use that internally to "promote" messages into the spam category, near as I can tell.

  19. Jim E

    What could possibly go wrong

    So your solution for spam is a push-button email account killer. I think you now have two problems.

  20. ukgnome

    May I suggest

    a spam competition.

    You set up a spam catching mailbox and we, the fine folk. (Well the fickle folk) will construct our finest lies and deceit.

    I would be keen to see what spam could be should we ever step into the dark side.

  21. dogged

    Pathetic sharks!

    "Zese sharks! Zey are crap!"

  22. deadlockvictim

    It takes guts to say Jesus

    I miss the fake virus warnings from the turn of the millenium. It was always good to read what Microsoft, IBM and AOL had posted that morning and what incredible damage the virus would do once you opened the e-mail.

    For example:

    If you receive an email titled: "It Takes Guts to Say Jesus"

    DO NOT OPEN IT. It will erase everything on your hard drive.

    This information was announced yesterday morning from IBM; AOL states that

    this is a very dangerous virus, much worse than "Melissa," and that there is NO Remedy for it at this time.

    Some very sick individual has succeeded in using the reformat function from

    Norton Utilities causing it to completely erase all documents on the hard


    It has been designed to work with Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet

    Explorer. It destroys Macintosh and IBM compatible computers.

    This is a new, very malicious virus and not many people know about it. Pass

    this warning along to EVERYONE in your address book ! and please share it

    with all your online friends ASAP so that this threat maybe stopped.

    Please practice cautionary measures and tell anyone that may have access to

    your computer. Forward this warning to everyone that you know that might

    access the Internet.

  23. pyroweasel

    Fool me twice...

    I particularly enjoyed the emails claiming to come from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria, offering to compensate victims for money lost in 419 scams. Just send your bank details etc to to claim your money back...

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