An open letter to "greenbudda9783"

>> Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Microsoft® respects your privacy. Please read Carefully.

Dear Account Owner,

We encountered a problem with our database and a lot of records were lost, we are restoring our database to enable us serve you better. Your Windows Live! Account details are required so as to restore in our database to keep your account active. Failure to do this might cause us to deactivate your account permanently.

* Full Name:..............................
* User Name:............................
* Password:..............................
* Date of Birth:.........................
* Country Or Territory:.........

After following the above instructions your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this effect. We apologize for any inconveniences.

Warning!!! Account owner's that refuses to update there account after three days of receiving
this warning will lose the account permanently.


Steve Craddock

Dear greenbudda9783,


Okay, first of all? First of all, it's really unlikely that Microsoft would send an e-mail from a Hotmail account belonging to someone called "greenbudda9783". For one thing, though I admit I'm just wildly guessing here, Microsoft probably knows how to spell "Buddha".

Second of all? Second of all....


Second of all:

  • "carefully" doesn't need to be capitalized;
  • neither does "account";
  • "...details are required so as to restore in our database"--really? Seriously? That phrase needs to be taken out back and beaten to death with a farm tool;
  • "Thanks for your attention to this effect." What the hell are you talking about? The contrast between blue and yellow? The awkward diction? The clumsy way you assembled the various elements you borrowed to try to make the message look vaguely official? The effect created by your failure to even come close to matching the font you used for your phishing text to any of Microsoft's official shop fonts despite the fact they're probably preinstalled on the computer you used to create the e-mail or their fonts (and/or reasonably good clones thereof) are widely available online? Again: really?
  • "inconveniences" should probably be singular;
  • triple exclamation points look kinda gauche;
  • "...owner's that refuses to update there account after three days of receiving this warning": I'm pretty sure you mean, "owners who refuse to update their accounts three days after receiving...."

I recently exchanged e-mails with a friend who was bemoaning the fact that I seem to get awesome spam while he gets half-assed spam from scammers who are barely trying. There's a selection bias in play, however, in that I usually respond to the funniest or most inspiring scam e-mails I get, so you only see the good stuff up here. I, too, get a lot of half-assed junk in my spam folder. It just gets deleted most of the time.

But you, "greenbudda", you take the cake. I have spent more time writing this blog post pointing out the various obvious mistakes you made with your lazy, pathetic, indifferent attempt to suck personal info out of me than you put into actually making the damn thing in the first place. I realize you have very little incentive to try harder--if even half-a-percent of the people you hit with this mass-mailing respond, your fifteen minutes of typing and hitting Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V will have paid off quite well--but have some pride, man. How do you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning knowing (you have to know) that you are the laziest criminal in your timezone. There are people who violate ordinances about sleeping on park benches who put more time and thought into their criminal adventures than you did. How does that make you feel?

So, some would ask me why I'm bothering, then? Well, okay, it's kind of fun and the lazy-ass piece of spam did amuse me with its prolific errors (especially with the irony of the "New Ways To Correct" caption up top, part of an image file that looks like it belongs to another product, not Microsoft Live). But there's also this: when you Google "Steve Craddock" to see if he's a real person, you don't find any such person affiliated with Microsoft (though there are a few Steve Craddocks in the computer industry, along with a guitar player named "Steve Cradock" with one "d"); you do, however, find lots of people asking if this very same piece of junkmail (or any of its ancestors) is legitimate. Well, it obviously isn't, and while the question has been answered all over the place (including various Microsoft help/advice boards), here's one more answer. As something of a public service announcement, I'm happy to post what might be a helpful blog entry: if you got an e-mail full of spelling and grammar errors, it probably did not come from the major corporation it's pretending to represent.

Oh, and one more tip from the Microsoft boards: Microsoft won't ask you for account information. I think it's safe to say Yahoo and Google won't, either. Nor will anyone else. If you get an e-mail like this and are in doubt, approach it logically: if they've lost your account information, how did they send you the e-mail? And how were you able to log in to check your own e-mail if they've supposedly lost your password? It's safe to assume that if they really lost your information, you would have had a hell of a time logging in to find out they lost your information. Right?

R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulder Of Giant Midgets


filelalaine Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 1:51:00 AM EDT  

I'm still not convinced though. Should I check back with you in three days, just in case?

Why don't you give me you personal cell phone number, home number, and oh I don't know, date of birth too, in case you do lose access to your emails because of course, then, I won't be able to reach you at all.

WendyB_09 Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 2:14:00 PM EDT  

Oh, and just to be absolutely Certain, we also need your social security number and your mother's maden name.

Dr. Phil (Physics) Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 9:15:00 PM EDT  

Personally, I think the signature needs to look more like the name -- I'm not even sure it's the same name.

Did you grow up poking sleeping skunks with sticks? (grin)

Dr. Phil

ps - the time zone insult was the best!

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