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Annals of Spam

OK, explain to me this email:

God day,

How are you? My name is **. I came across your contact email at the University of Cyprus, Department of Economics. I seek for a private Economics teacher for my Daughter. I would like to know if you would be available for job.

If you would be available, kindly let me know your policy with regard to the fee, cancellations, location and make-up lessons. Also,get back to me with your area of specialization.

The lessons can start by 16th of June.

Thanks.

It seems too weird to be another one of those stupid experiments. But i can’t see the money-making potential. Maybe if I respond, they come back to me with the pitch? And what’s with Cyprus? Nothing makes sense here.

God day to you too!

P.S. It turns out there is a logic to the scam, as explained in the link given by commenter Scott. This sounds like a great future career track for Xian “Alex” Zhao and Monica Biernat—that is, once their family emergencies are done.

14 Comments

  1. Looks to me like a way to build a validated sucker list

  2. Chris says:

    I’m a music professor and I get emails like this all the time, purportedly wanting piano or music theory lessons. I do find them quite odd. But yeah, I suppose it’s just about prescreening people for gullibility. I find it creepier than ordinary spam because it’s a bit more targeted, however impersonally.

  3. Bill Jefferys says:

    Yeah, I get this stuff from time to time as well. Other than marking it as spam for the benefit of gmail’s spam filter, I just ignore them.

  4. Mike wrote: “it’s weird to target highly educated people.”

    See this interesting article about a physics professor at UNC Chapel Hill. The title is, “The Professor, the Bikini Model
    and the Suitcase Full of Trouble”, and the subtitle is, “A world-renowned physicist meets a gorgeous model online. They plan their perfect life together. But first, she asks, would he be so kind as to deliver a special package to her?” You can sort-of imagine the rest of the story just from this information. But it makes for a great read anyway:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/magazine/the-professor-the-bikini-model-and-the-suitcase-full-of-trouble.html

  5. Martin says:

    I got one of these scams as well (in my case it was geared toward my job as a private guitar teacher). I decided to play along and after a while i received a cashiers check in the mail for $3000. Shortly after that, he emailed me saying he sent too much and requested I send $500 back to him so that the amount would be correct. The check (obviously) turned out to be a forgery.

    • Bill Jefferys says:

      Sounds like a delicious opportunity.

      Don’t deposit the check. Wait until the scammer sends the “Send $500 to fix the problem” message, and respond, “Oh, I just got the check and I haven’t had time to deposit it yet. I’ll just send it back to you and you can send me a check for the right amount.”

      Just wondering what the response would be.

  6. Philip says:

    I just received an email that starts with:

    “Dear Dr. Philip, Greetings from Dental & Oral Diseases!!!!”

    Thanks caries & periodontitis, you made my day!

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