Tag Archives: continuity errors

My inner editor and the scam

I’ve been getting a lot of scam emails lately.  They are pretty easy to identify, which makes me wonder why they keep going out, or perhaps someone falls for these just often enough. I suppose it only takes one victim to make it worthwhile, but a little common sense goes a long way.

My job is to construct plots and see where they hold together and where they fall apart, so I turned my writer’s eye on the last batch. Would any of them be strong enough for a story?

A) I’m dying, have a lot of money, and will share it with you if do something behind my family’s back. And put up some collateral and give me all your ID.

I’d think long and hard about doing something behind the backs of family of a friend, even if I approved of it and didn’t have to do all that. People may rely on the kindness of strangers, but this is absurd, the degree of separation is too great. And no, they can’t have any of that information: I barely share it with my husband. Plausibility issues, better rewrite.

B) Tax payments have failed, correct immediately!

Nice try–I signed that last check to the IRS in blood, and fainted from the loss when it cleared. Nothing else is due. They also never contact anyone by email, because that would forgo that terrible stomach-sinking feeling of seeing that wide-windowed envelope, with a green certified mail sticker for the extra fear factor.  Not enough tension here!

C) I’m in Bangkok/Mumbai/London and my wallet got stolen!

This one’s better, it has a ring of real trouble that I might conceivably help with. Except that the pleading traveler doesn’t know me well enough to use my right name, and/or would never go to any of those places, and/or is someone I had lunch with earlier that day. Nor does it make the case that the address where I should send funds is in Nairobi/Buenos Aires/Rome. Puh-lease. Continuity errors would sink this one at the acquisitions stage.

D) Your ticket is a winner for the Irish Sweepstakes! Send all information to collect!

I’m pretty sure I’d recall buying a ticket for the Irish Sweepstakes or whatever. Since I understand probabilities pretty well, I wouldn’t buy, so sink this one on characterization. Even if I traded a mysterious stranger for a ticket, the email would be going to him. *Issues form rejection*

E) Your email account will be shut down if you don’t provide all this personal information to verify it immediately!

Oh, is that why this “official” email is coming from another provider, or CindyLouWho37@throwawayaddy.com?  Good for a chuckle, but the humor doesn’t sustain.

I suppose I should be grateful that the scammers haven’t written their million words of crap yet.