Today, something very unusual happened. A piece of spam got through Google's spam filters and landed in my inbox. Not just any spam, either - this was one of the more obvious types.
Normally, Gmail's spam filters are pretty good - It's been a long time since I've seen spam in my main account. As such, I was very surprised when I received an e-mail from "SWISS LOTTO ENGLAND" with the subject "YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED !!!" Yes, the sender's name and the subject were all in caps.
The body of the e-mail was fairly short, but no less amusing (at least, to a cynic like me):
Attn: Winner We wish to announce to you the release of your 750.000 POUNDS on the Swiss Lotto England in collaboration with European Union (EU). For further enquiries, please contact our payment department. Mr. Silva Morelli Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44-702-401-7798 with the following details: 1.full names 2.occupation 3.Mobile Number 4.country 5.Age/sex 6.nationality Yours Sincerely
Let's start at the beginning, shall we?
First, the obvious: I never entered the "Swiss Lotto England." I've never even heard of the Swiss Lotto England. Two minutes' searching on Google confirmed that the Swiss Lotto England doesn't even exist. So, I've won seven hundred fifty pounds in a non-existent lottery that I've never entered.
Mister Morelli's e-mail address is also suspicious. One would expect a multinational organization such as Swiss Lotto England to have their own e-mail domain. Then again, perhaps their use of Windows Live e-mail addresses is just a clever money saving strategy.
Lastly, we come to the request for personal details. Even if I was credulous enough to have read this far and still believe that I might be a winner, this section would certainly trigger my rectal smoke alarm (which warns me when somebody's blowing smoke up my ass).
"So," credulous Ron says, "I've won the Swiss Lotto England. I don't remember entering the lottery or buying a ticket, but then again, my memory isn't all that good. I'm glad they were able to track me down to let me know...Waaaait a minute....How come they don't seem to know anything about me? They know that I'm the winner, they know my e-mail address, and that's it?"
So, how does it feel to win a non-existent lottery that, due to clever cost cutting techniques, is able to hire a semi-competent investigator who was only able to locate my e-mail address? My inner cynic is laughing derisively.