Further adventures in spam scams: the FBI & World Bank named

After the repeated pleas from Mr James Patton to claim my fortune I’ve been keeping an eye out for other unusual variations on the email scam. And lo, last week, to my joy, the next in the collection came along – with an FBI pre-text to boot! Thank you Ms Tracy Sanson (another good name choice) for your remarkable and complex story, I’m still not sure I fully understand it, or why your boss is capitalised. However, it’s good to know that like James you also use Rediffmail for your replies. I sense it must be reliable for such correspondence.

Here Tracy’s email for you to enjoy in its capital letter riddled glory:

from Ms.Tracy Sanson
reply-to mstracy@rediffmail.com
date Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 7:09 AM
subject facts!

I write to confess what you are presently going through with my Boss. I was a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Local and Foreign Debt attached to the World Bank office in Washington, DC, USA. I resigned my official duty when I discovered the activities of my colleagues during a private investigation I carried out. I suspected some kind of fowl play in their act which they would never inform me because they know I would never be a party to such as a Christian.

I discovered that my Boss was conniving with some top officials of the World Bank to divert funds approved to settle international contractors and inheritance. The World Bank has already given approval for the payment of your fund while they are deliberately delaying your payment. They continue to issue one fee or the other from different quarters. I wonder why you haven’t noticed all this while.

Well I just hope you believe me, because if you don’t, your fund is gone. Your fund is currently authorized to be paid to you from a financial consultant in the UK or US, approved by the World Bank with a Key Tested Reference/CLAIMS CODE Number, which was supposed to have been issued to you, but they have decided to divert your attention by telling you that they have something to do with one committee or the other especially in Holland (Amsterdam) or Africa and making you believe that the fund will be transferred into your account – FALSE!

The reason why I am giving you this information is because of the fact that I was aware of it and my doctrine does not permit me to withhold such information. The only help you can get from me now, is the actual link to your payment, please do not give this information to my boss as it may lead to them influencing a total blockage to your payment, so you have to be very careful with this information.

Upon your response to this message, I shall give you all you need to contact the affiliate Payment Office in UK or US.

Yours truly,
Ms.Tracy Sanson

Google Buzz Class Action Settlement – Gmail email

Tonight I received the following email to one of my Gmail accounts from Google and thought it would be interesting to those outside the US (where I’m currently visiting) who may not have received it:

Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users’ concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com.

This mandatory announcement was sent to all Gmail users in the United States as part of a legal settlement and was authorized by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Google Inc. | 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway | Mountain View, CA 94043

It’s worth noting that the settlement only applies to US users. I’m not entirely sure why I was sent the email as I’m based in the UK, but perhaps I’ve not changed the location in the settings of one account.

The new scam spam

It used to be that we knew what to expect with email spams and scams: pharmaceuticals, offers of and improvements on sex, university degrees, security warnings from banks, money from Nigerian gentleman, replica goods and the like. But a new variation on a theme is now becoming more common. Rather than presuming our trust in banks it tries to play on our trust of lawyers, and of course our greed.

Yes, we’ve suddenly all become heirs to fortunes.

The example that brought this to my attention is from a Mr James Patton [presumed not real name, but a good choice]. He has recently emailed twice, though he claims thrice. Most amusingly in his latest missive he’s blaming the spam filter for my not seeing the last email (I did see it and it was auto filtered as spam, but as so little gets through I check that box every now and then out of interest).

There are plenty easy tell-tale elements that highlight his polite yet firm email as spam: it’s generic, email address isn’t a law firm and has numbers in it, no contact details… need I go on? So for your amusement, ‘Mr Patton’s’ outing and as a warning to others here is the email in full.

from: James Patton
reply-to: jamespatton00000@rediffmail.com
to: jamespatton00000@rediffmail.com
date: Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 1:33 AM
subject: {Spam?} 2ND NOTICE AGAIN


We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a Heir to the total sum of (Three Million Six Hundred Thousand British Pounds) in the codicil and last testament of our deceased client. Name now withheld since this is our second letter to you.

We are reaching you the second time because her instruction stipulates that this fund should be paid directly to you upon her death.

If you receive this notice, we request you to kindly acknowledge officially to enable us file in all necessary legal documents to the paying bank for the urgent release of your inheritance.

Please call urgently or send an acknowledgement email to enable us process your inheritance.

Yours Truly,

James Patton

Prioritising email

I’ve recently been trying to clean up my inbox and make it more efficient and less full of interesting but none-the-less not high priority newsletters. This has meant a process of unsubscribing and analysing what’s really useful. So today I read with joy via Jemima Kiss over on the Guadian’s PDA blog a new development from Google: Gmail Priority Inbox.

“‘Priority inbox’ learns from your email usage patterns and begins to prioritise messages that it thinks you’ll be most likely to read. Your inbox is divided into three sections: important and unread, starred and everything else.”

Here’s the explanatory video:

It’s not reached my inbox yet, but I will be testing it out as soon as it does.