A Scam I Can't Quite Figure Out

Bulldogs.jpgThis is not exactly a page from the Glamorous Life of a Journalist chronicles. But it's similar in being a note sent to me in my capacity as guy who works at a magazine. The picture of baby bulldogs (from here) is my own bonus contribution, for your benefit in envisioning the email's offer. The original email was text-only and in its entirety said:

Hello,

I will like to place an advert about my puppies for adoption using the below details.

AD TEXT:  Family Pets M / F Akc Reg. English Bulldog & Terrier Yorkshires for adoption. Please email me at [xxxx]@yahoo.com contact asap if interested.


DURATION:2 weeks

Kindly get back to me with the total cost for the duration mentioned that's if you can run it for free. Once i read from you i will forward you my credit card details for the payment of the ad.

Regards,

The probability that this is legit seems very low. But what's the angle? Is it the first step in some Spanish Prisoner-style long con? Would merely replying to the mail address somehow compromise your computer? Or could this, against the odds, be what it purports to be, an innocent query from someone who loves little dogs? I may reveal the address later on if you want to take the next research step on your own.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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