We are writing regarding your Inheritance funds of $500,000.00, which was used to open an online account for you at Bank of by the United Nations Compensation Unit.
Did you authorize Mr. Tony West from West Virginia to claim your fundof $500,000.00? because he informed us that you were involved in a fatal accident, so if you are still alive please kindly get back to us so that we will not be making any mistake as we are about sending him your user name and password to logon to your online account with Bank of Africa that worths $500,000.00
To confirm that you are still alive and you are ready to transfer your funds through our online banking transfer, get back to us with the details as required below for confirmation.
Oh joy. They're writing to ask if I'm still alive. This was a chance not to be missed.
Dear Mr Michael Williams.
Thank you for your email, which came as quite a surprise to me, as I died two years ago, and I was unaware that this account was still active. Consequently, while I am pushing up the daises I would like the cash to go to my estate, and then onto my relatives. How should we proceed?
Phil Bradley. (Deceased).
Thank you for your quick response and we thank you for the clarification that you are very much alive. Tony West would be reported to the authorities about this and we would make sure that he is being prosecuted what he did trying to claim your funds. You can access your funds online with the details and instructions provided below....
Of course, I was slightly concerned about this, given that I was after all dead. I replied:
Thank you for your response, which is most concerning. Please be assured that Mr Tony West should NOT, repeat NOT be reported, as he is innocent of any and all charges. Except the one with the elephant, obviously.
I need to explain - I am DEAD. I died in April 2004 in a boating accident in Oxford Street London. Do you require my death certificate in order to confirm this?
I then got the following most disturbing communication:
Good day Phil Bradley,
It is my pleasure to inform you that Mr Tony West was arrested this morning by the FBI and he is being investigated.
All you have to do is logon to your online account with the details that was provided to you previously then click transfer to make a bank to bank transfer to your account over there.
Well, as you can imagine, I was most concerned about poor Mr West, so I replied by return email:
No No No! This should not happen. Mr West should not be arrested, unless it's over the elephant issue, on which point he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Let me make it as plain as I possibly can. I. AM. DEAD. I have ceased to be. I am pushing up the daisies. I couldn't voom if you put 4 million volts through me. I am an EX-PHIL BRADLEY!!!!
Do you require a copy of my death certificate to pass onto the appropriate authorities so that the cash can be sent to my estate? I am keen to ensure that the monies are carefully distributed to the various charities that I supported during my lifetime. I am now desperately concerned that the Home for wayward pixies and the Charitable trust for those suffering from an excess of teeth are protected. I tell you, some of the people in England look like crocodiles when they open their mouths - it's a real social problem.
Please inform me as quickly as possible what I should do next. I can fax you a copy of my death certificate, or would pigeon post be easier? Alternatively I can post it. I await your keen response.
Right. That's it, surely. There's enough Monty Python in there for anyone - there has to be. Even if there isn't, it's hard to say it any clearer, isn't it? Back to work, and catching up on... hang on a minute! There's another email from them...
Dear Phil Bradley (deceased)
We are very apologetic to hear that you are dead, but would like to make the money available to your nearest and dearest. Please log onto your account details and we can make the bank to bank transfer as previously discussed with yourself.
This is cracking stuff - I'm clearly on a role with this one.
Dear Mr Williams,
I'm still very keen to get my cold dead hands on the cash! Who do I send a copy of my death certificate to, in order to ensure that the money can be passed onto my estate? Are there any monies to be paid to ensure that this can happen?
And please do tell me what has happened to Mr West after his arrest - I am keen to find out.
I await your response eagerly.
Phil Bradley (deceased)
The best thing to do with spammers is ignore what they say to you, and just keep ploughing on. The idea is to drive them nuts. However, I thought I'd pushed my hand a bit too far, as it was several days later before this arrived:
AS WE HAVE PREVIOUS SAID, YOU MUST LOG ONTO THE WEBSITE AFOURMENTIONED TO GIVE US YOUR DETAILS ELSE WE CANNNOT DO THE BANK TO BANK TRANSFER.
Clearly Mr Williams is now getting rattled; caps are never a good sign. Well, unless you want to see them going nuts of course, when it's an absolute advantage. The idea is to keep your cool (easy when you've snuffed it, obviously) and keep going over the same ground.
Dear Williams (or may I call you Willy?)
Thank you for your previous communication. I have now got a copy of my death certificate for you. Please provide me with the name of your solicitor that I can deposit this with. I am keen to have my will rewritten by my executors to include the huge wad of cash that you're going to send to me. I have to admit, I'm always impressed with the internet - that it's able to facilitate life to death and death to life communications is marvellous. The wonders of modern technology, eh?
Days passed. A week went by, and my email account was beginning to look like the wild west, with tumbleweed being blown back and forth. But wait? What's this... yes! The Pony Express (god love 'me) rides in.
You do not need to send any certificate to use. We just need your bank details, which you can supply by going to http://[deleted] and we can send you the moneys.
Right. Time to change lanes I think. Keep 'em on the hop as it were. Remember poor Tony West? Of course you do. Let's find out how the poor fella is..
Dear Willy boy.
I am in the process of logging onto the account, and I have located the email address. However, how is Mr West? Has his trial begun? What is the penalty for elephant fiddling in your country? Once my mind is at rest, we can continue and I'm keen to give you my details.
This got a quick response - the spammer could see the end of the tunnel, so he was quick to reply.
I am please to tell you that Mr Tony West has been found guilty and has been shot. Please logon the website to provide your details AS WE HAVE PREVIOUSLY REQUESTED.
Well, strike a light! That's a bit harsh isn't it? I mean, I'm against animal cruelty as much as the next chap, but excution? For carnal knowledge of an elephant? To be perfectly honest, I'm inclined to think if you can manage to have sex with an elephant you should get some sort of medal - not a bullet. Still, who am I to judge? Actually... that's an idea...
Shot? He's been shot? That's amazing. I must write to the judge to express my feelings. Could you give me his name please? I feel that I should reward him - can we send him some of my money?
As an aside - you're still here? Bravo you!
No, I do not have the judge details. Time is now running short. You must PROVIDE ME WITH DETAILS OF YOUR BANK.
Oh, well, I can manage that - it's a reasonable request after all.
Thank you for your email. I am happy to give you my bank details. It's quite large, with fourteen counters. The carpets are blue and it's very light inside, due to the large number of windows. It says 'Bank' outside. Does that provide you with the details that you need?
I love the fact that this can go on and on. They've got patience these guys, I'll give them that. However, given the response to this email I think we're drawing to a close:
NO. I NEED BANK DETAILS. WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR BANK? WHAT IS THE ACCOUNT NUMBER AND CODE? WE CANNOT PROGRESS WITHOUT THIS.
Ah..At this point, we're going to start in on circles. Time to call a halt I think.
As I said in a previous email communication, I'm dead. I don't have a bank. All I have is a coffin. And that doesn't have a much of an address, other than So and so cemetary, six foot under.
I hope this communication finds you in as good health as it leaves me.
I'm still waiting to get a reply, but even I'm not expecting anything... it's been a couple of weeks now, and nothing. However, you never know with a spammer...