Suddenly My Financial Problems Are Over

By James Fallows

From the inbox -- actually, my wife's email inbox. Fortunately we live in a community-property state.

From: <datdave@centurylink.net>
Date: Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Subject: MGH
To: Dxxx

The Microsoft is glad to pronounce you as the lucky winner of Eight crores Thirty Four lahks and Thirty Two Thousand INR,send us the following details for claims.

Sex:
Full Address:
Full Name:
Age:
Telephone Number:

Thank you.
Dave Robinson.

To be precise, we live in a taxation-without-representation District rather than a state of any sort, and here the marital-property principle is called "equitable distribution" rather than community property. Either way, I'm looking forward to my share of the loot, knowing that one crore is equal to ten million rupees, which in turn is worth about $200,000. 


Bonus background point: Why would anyone bother sending out something this pidgin-implausible? Quora offers some hypotheses, starting with:
  •     To filter out smart users who would immediately recognize the scam, thus ensuring that only the most gullible users respond.
  •     To read in a way that an American with money might imagine a Nigerian would write (for the multimillion dollar transfer scams)
  •     To get past spam filters
  •     To fool the victim into believing the scammer is not very sophisticated and can be tricked by the victim

______

Bonus-bonus background. I've learned that I need to spell out, even in cases seemingly so blatant, that in fact I am not taking this at face value and am being "sarcastic." When I was living in China, I learned to make things hyper-explicit because often they were being read by people whose command of English kept them from picking up what I thought were obvious signals. Now the challenge is right-wing trolls, of which more another time.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/02/suddenly-my-financial-problems-are-over/273453/