A long, long time ago, when I got my first email ID on Yahoo, like the rest of the world, I was warned about something called ‘Spam’. I was told that bad people will mail me asking for my personal details and then, before I could realize it, they would steal my identity and all my money from the bank. They would sent a virus through an email and kill my computer and make my life miserable.
Of course, none of this actually happened. It was just my mum’s way of instilling fear in me.
The very first spam mail I got was from a guy claiming to be ‘Princess Charlie’ and he wrote to me about investing my money in a time-sharing apartment in Nice, Italy. This was way back in 1998. I still remember this mail because I’ve saved it. Or maybe because I haven’t opened my Yahoo mailbox very often after I created it, like the rest of the world.
A few years later, the nature of spam mails changed dramatically, and unknown people (or robots) started sending unbelievable amounts of hyperlinks in each mail. Things that read: “Click here for free antivirus! Click here for free viagra! Click here for free sex!” and so on. I remember one particular email that went on for three pages, and the entire body of the mail was hyper-linked. It was ridiculous.
Then came the African scourge. Millions of people were killed by their own family members and the lucky few who survived, got access to a computer and an internet connection and mailed everyone on the planet asking for financial help. One particular mail was heart-wrenching. A woman mailed me, claiming to have survived a bush fire in the Sahara Desert. The fire claimed her three kids along with all her money and documents. Her relatives, seizing the opportunity, drove her out of her own house because she didn’t have the documents to prove it was hers. So, she mailed me, of all people, asking for help and a chance to start a new life. Moron that I am, replied to her mail: “Are you a hot chick?” I never heard from her again.
Then came the Age of the Unclaimed Bank Account. It turns out that a lot of very rich and very dead people had bank accounts in Nigeria, of all places, and the bank manager invariably turned out to be a very generous man. I have mails from at least a dozen such manager asking for my help in transferring million of dollars of a dead guy’s assets into my country. If only I had enough money of my own, I would invest it in a Nigerian bank and die peacefully in a place crash (that would be reported in a popular news site), knowing that my millions were in the hands of such generous souls.
And now, today, we are in the Age of the Lottery. Kind, generous people all over the world are entering your email ID and Phone Numbers in unnamed lotteries as we speak and within the next few days, “…your number will win a billion GBP in the LuckyLoser Sweepstakes!” Congratulations!
Maybe its time we started a new spam trend. Maybe we should hurl abuses are total strangers just for kicks. Or death threats? Nah, might get arrested for that. Think of something new and spam-worthy, and put down your ideas in the comments here. Best one gets a free spam kiss from me.
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