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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Malevolent Spam

Malevolent Spam

Spam seems to come in waves of pink, sticky goo. We’ve all been barraged by offers of Viagra and various other drugs that can be obtained by mail. Then, there are the Account Verifications – from your bank, from your internet provider, from the IRS and the FBI and all kinds of institutions you don’t want to annoy — asking you to provide all your account information as verification that YOU are who you say you are. (Ironic, that!)

If you own any kind of rental property, then you’ve surely seen the scam whereby someone overseas wants to rent your property for a month as “a gift” for someone else, but can only provide you with an overlarge cashier’s check. You, of course, will write a personal check for the difference and mail that back. Yeah, right.

Lately, I’ve been swamped by the You’re a Winner type of spam. Without even lifting a finger to enter, I’ve apparently won the Canadian Lottery, the Lottery of the Netherlands, the Irish Lottery, and the Online Nokia Lottery. Boy, am I lucky.

However this week, I received an entirely new kind of spam. The subject line was: Your Death Has Been Arranged. In this email, I was informed that someone had taken out a contract on my life. The sender of the email was the hit man, who — after spying on me, videotaping me, and recording all the personal habits of myself and my family — was offering me the chance to pay him NOT to kill me. Otherwise, he would be coming to murder me shortly. He warned me not to contact the authorities. (Does blogging about it count?)

I have to say — this was a new kind of spam and a pretty disturbing one. Pfishers and swindlers are bad enough. This particular email had no link to click. It wanted me to reply.

There were no personal details included in the threat, and I’m sure it went out to tens of thousands of people. In fact, a quick Google search shows that this extortion scam has been around since 2006. But unlike most of the other spam I get, it felt malevolent. It made me angry. It gave me the chills.

It also gave me … ideas. I’m a writer. I can’t help it.

15 Responses to Malevolent Spam

  1. KLM says:

    Hee, hee. Those spammers don’t know who they’re dealing with. Writers are not to be trifled with. Maybe you can send him/her the first chapter to your new book wherein you track this person down and … well, you can take it from here.

  2. salarsenッ says:

    You really got one of those?? Crapper, my life’s boring. HAH. Seriously, though…when do we know not to take one for a true threat??

  3. Yeah. good ideas, but extremely frightening. I hope I don’t get one of those. Don’t worry, I got your back. 🙂 There are weird people out there which is great for writers. They give us so many new ideas.

  4. Linda G. says:

    Ack. That’s…sick. You know, you might want to report it to the police. Don’t know if they can do anything about it, but a threat is a threat. Also, it’s an opportunity for a little more writer-ly research. 😉

  5. I haven’t had that one. I usually just get the viagra one. That’s bad enough (not that I read it). I did get the FBI/Scotland Yard one once.

  6. JEM says:

    That is SUPER creepy. I actually don’t ever open spam, or an email from a sender I don’t recognize no matter what the subject line. Although I have to say I’m totally with you on the ideas part. I thought that was kind of brilliant.
    And I scrolled up when I saw that picture because it made me nauseous. Blech!

  7. Marva Dasef says:

    Definitely should be reported to the FBI. They can track IP addresses and might find this lunatic.

    On the other hand, how was his English? Would the hit man have a chance of writing and selling his memoirs. You write back and suggest that for a mere $10,000 (or so), you’ll introduce him to the wonderful world of publishing.

  8. Oh. My! Gawd! Like this just totally freaked me out just reading about it. I would be a basket case if I had gotten that e-mail. Even if it were spam. It’s just very disturbing. But you’re right about seeing a story idea there somewhere. Good luck with that! (Smiles) I might have to put this up on my smartmamapa facebook page. Let moms weigh in on this.

  9. Lenny Lee! says:

    hi miss dianne! wow that was pretty scary for you to get. my brother said got one like that and he sent a email back and said thanks cause i was gonna shoot myself so youre doing me a big favor. i like that you could get a idea for a book from it. thats whats soooo cool about writers. they get book ideas every where even the most strangest things.
    …hugs from lenny

  10. Sun Singer says:

    Fortunately, I haven’t received this kind of SPAM. If I did, I would want to reply, too: “Yeah, ace, you and what army?” Or, “As a former Navy Seal, I welcome and then bury hit men.” Like you, I get ideas even while I’m feeling pretty ticked off about the clown who sent the e-mail.

    Malevolent spam really makes those Viagra e-mails seem truly on the up and up.

    Malcolm

  11. Thanks for your concern, everyone! Just thought I’d let you know I was still here!

    I hit the Gmail “Delete Forever” button immediately after reading it, so it’s too late to report it. However, there are various websites reporting this scam from as early as 2006. They all say contact the authorities if there is ANY personal information in the email — but otherwise, it is a pfishing scam. I’m supposed to whip out my credit card to pay off the “hit man.”

    However, if I get another, I might just consult my brother-in-law Larry (former federal agent — you met him in a guest post). I don’t think he would be amused …

  12. mshatch says:

    That is scary, really scary. My first instinct would be to report it; my second is to use it. Like…well, what if someone got that email and then decided to turn the tables on the sender? hmm.

  13. Guinevere says:

    Okay, I know it’s a common scam but that IS really creepy! But definitely inspiring from a writer’s perspective… hope you get some good writing out of this awful scam, at least!

  14. Seriously????

    I haven’t gotten one like this. I’ve recently gotten several where people like my blog and are interested in getting to know me as a person. WT? (Yeah, they weren’t commenters…) One offered to let me give him $30 to help him fund his cause and put a badge on my blog for him. LOL!

    Do a virus scan, friend!

  15. Jen Daiker says:

    The picture had me really disturbed… I love that you were able to find it!

    Your Death Has Been Arranged???? That is crazy!