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Friday, September 14, 2007
Greetings in Jesus Name
Author: Michael Berry
About This Book
Watch out, spammers! Michael Berry's revenges against the purveyors of e-mail pollution are funny, savage and inventive.
"With warm hearts I offer my friendship, and my greetings, and I hope this letter meets you in good time. It will be surprising to you to receive this proposal from me since you do not know me personally. However, I am sincerely seeking your confidence in this transaction, which I propose with my free mind and as a person of integrity. My name is Jacob Kamala the son of Mr. A.Y Kamala, a farmer from Zimbabwe, murdered in the land dispute in my country. As led by my instinct, I decided to contact you through email…"
The above, or something similar, is familiar: letters asking us for money for orphans, for victims of hurricanes, letters telling us we’ve won the Spanish lottery, letters telling us we have been contacted because we are known to be of good integrity and could be trusted to bank $30 million in our saving’s account, for a generous fee of 10% of the sum.
To most of us the letters are an irritant. To Berry they are a call to arms. For the last five years he has replied to the scammers emails, expressing an interest in their propositions and then spending days, weeks, even months leading them down the garden path with his hilarious requests and misunderstandings. He’s had them selling paintings to Del Trotter Antiques, tattooing themselves so as to become members of his bogus church, booking expensive hotels for his no-show personas, seeking criminal compensation from Inspector Morse, writing out a Harry Potter novel by hand, or being killed by a mugger just outside the Western Union office where he was about to make a payment to them and, cruelest of all, falling in love with him as he pretends to be Gillian Anderson.
Michael Berry runs a scambaiting website 419eater.com named after the numbered clause in Nigeria's penal code outlawing ‘advanced fee’ fraud.