Last week I received the most impressive spam I have ever seen. Here is the text, with identifying characteristics redacted:
Subject: GLOBAL WARMING From: CLIMATE CHANGE AWARENESS Attn: Sir/Madam, View attached letter and contact Prof. XXXXXX Thanks, Ms. XXXXXXX
Attached as a PDF is a letter that begins:
This is to inform you that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and William J. Clinton Foundation has held an Internet Raffle Draw, and your Email Address was among the 18 Email Addresses that was picked through the computer ballot system. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/Nelson Mandela Foundation and William J. Clinton Foundation was conceived with the objective of human growth, educational and community development, and to create awareness to the dangers posed on our planet by climate change.
To celebrate the 18th anniversary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/Nelson Mandela Foundation and William J. Clinton Foundation in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) is giving out a yearly award of $900,000 (Nine Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) to 18 lucky recipients.
I’ve uploaded the letter to my personal webspace (after stripping identifiable information, which frankly is probably false anyway). The whole thing is worth reading.
What’s impressive about this is the way it plays on a prospective victim’s emotions, especially if the target is of a socially liberal persuasion. Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are involved. I’m being asked to help protect and save our planet! And I’ve won a grant – these big international organizations totally make grants, right? It couldn’t hurt to see where this is going. Also helping its credibility is the professional-looking email address for the “consultant” the target is referred to.
I now wonder whether there are other variants on these, targeted at different groups. For conservatives, for example, you would want to invoke religious groups, Ronald Reagan, and maybe Freedom House.