The headline boomed “CLIMATE CHANGE AWARENESS FUND ($900.000.00)”. Even better, it was sent from the Nelson Mandela Foundation (firstname.lastname@example.org). Subject: Climate Change Awareness Fund.
The opening line is a teaser, “PLEASE HELP PROTECT/SAVE OUR PLANET.” This was followed by a frightening picture of President Bill Clinton, looking like he was robbed of all free will by a secret Kung Fu grip from a beatific Nelson Mandela. The picture was taken at the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) AND WILLIAM J. CLINTON FOUNDATION.”
What followed was a typical Nigerian scam letter, but written with the ardent environmentalist in mind:
This is to inform you that the NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION and WILLIAM J. CLINTON FOUNDATION in Collaboration with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has held an Internet Raffle Draw, and your Email Address was among the 2010 Email Addresses that was picked…The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/Nelson Mandela Foundation and William J. Clinton Foundation were conceived with the objective of human growth, educational, and community development, and to create awareness to the dangers posed on our planet by climate change
To celebrate the 18th anniversary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/Nelson Mandela Foundation and William J. Clinton Foundation in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) is giving out a yearly donation of $900,000.00…to 18 lucky recipients.
These specific Donations will be awarded to 18 lucky international recipients worldwide in different categories for their personal business development and enhancement of their educational plans and to create awareness in their community on the dangers posed on our planet by climate change as a Result of pollution….
BELLOW ARE YOUR WINNING DETAILS;
[Suppressed, as these are my winning details, not yours.]
It is now agreed and endorsed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)/the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and William J. Clinton Foundation that the winning information as written above are correct as was selected by the computer ballot system. And it has been agreed that the winner whose winning information has been sent to, will be paid the sum of $900,000.00…
PRIZE CLAIMING INSTRUCTION:
To receive your prize, please do contact our consultant and furnish him with the following information: [Standard stuff.]
Email: Prof. Michael Manuel email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel/Fax: +26 86 661 8038
Please note that these donations/Grants are strictly administered by the EU, UN. You are by all means hereby advised to keep this whole information confidential until you have been able to collect your donation, as there have been cases of double and unqualified claim, due to beneficiaries informing third parties about his/her donation. Finally, all funds should be claimed by their respective beneficiaries, not later than 14 days after notification.
On behalf of the Board kindly, accept our warmest regards.
Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu
I like this trend. In the days of yore, spammers blanketed emails with non-targeted messages, hoping something would stick. This was inefficient. They’ve now joined the ranks of modern business, producing quality scams for niche audiences.
How did they know that I, along with seventeen other quality individuals, of all the citizens of this fine planet, am worthy of a nearly million dollar grant to save the earth? Are my sterling qualities that obvious? Or was there great deliberation; was my winning a near thing? This was a world-wide contest. I must be doing something right.
There are no firm statistics, but I would love to know the success rate of targeted versus untargeted scam spam. There are two ways to count success: simple frequency of converted spam, i.e. how many emails does it take to fleece one victim; and total amount ripped off. For example, it could be that untargeted scam spam results in higher fleecing rates, but that targeted spam brings in more dollars per victim.
So if there are any spammers out there who want to get an edge over your competitors (other spammers, bureaucracies, television advertising, etc.), drop me a line. I can work for a cut of the profits.