Predatory Classifieds

The gaping maw of the e-predatorIf you've ever posted an ad on the Internet, you know it's a great way to attract the attention of scoundrels and thieves. Fortunately, their tactics are often so comical that they're likely to generate laughter, but little else.

Here's an actual reply — generated, no doubt, by a bot — to an ad I posted recently. Amazingly, the font "Mike" chose to reply to "Ricky" was . . . wait for it . . . Comic Sans!


Hello Ricky,
Thanks for the email and everything about the (insert verbatim subject line from ad here) description on the internet ad it's okay with me.Here is my offer,i would like to purchase the (insert verbatim subject line from ad again) and my payment method will be through a cashier's check and am going to make $4,800 because i have man that wants to pay for the house i just got for him and his family .Am an estate manager by profession.So i think it would be preferable if you can cash the money because am out of town actually in the united kingdom for now and i still have a lot of work to do at hand,so you can have a $800 and extra $50 to keep the item for me,then send the balance to me so i can pay the owner of the house because that money am using to pay is from my own gain out of the money as an estate manager..........Please bear with me because i want to buy the time from you and due to my absence in town thats why i don't want to loose the item so thats why i said you should cash the check get your money in order not to waste your time okay.
Just get back to me with your name,address and phone number so i can instruct my client to issue out the cashier's check in your name and you don't have to ship until the payment clears okay.

Sometimes the response has even less to do with the ad. In the following example, the e-mail address I used in the classified ad was harvested for a much loftier purpose.

Dear Friend,

Good day,I sincerely seek your assistance.

My name is Mr.MUHA OJO whom his entire family was wiped out as a result of Airlines that crashed into the Red Sea in cairo and I am the only son Before the accident my Father deposited the sum of 13.3 million U.S dollars cash in a Bank in my name.

I am with all the documents that covers the fund and as an asylum seeker it is not in my legal capacity to put up claims to this fund This is why I need your assistance as my late fathers foreign partner to put up claims to this fund I will forward to you all the documents that cover this fund.

I will offer you 20% of the fund for your assistance and If interested and capable to assist me in this transaction please get back to me immediately.

PLS REPLY ME WITH THIS MY PRAVET mailto: Yours sincerely.




This email is send by "Demo Software"

There were a couple others, too, but they lacked the sophistication exhibited above. They also lacked actual words, but that's another matter entirely.



  1. Anonymous12:46 AM UTC

    Dear Mr. Jeffs,

    I just seess your web site. I have much monies from my Americans cousins that were horribly maimed in a bathtub vs. bath tub toy (blow dryer) accident. I'm been delegated the primary benefuciary and gardian. I am in control of there cash.

    Currently, I'm a fahshun refugee in Perzha. I am unable to access these terrific money on my own but with your help, could make it grately worth your whiles.

    Please give me your phone numbers so I can all you and get your accounts numbers so I can wire you the money to help me acquire these fund.

    Stay in touch, yes? *s*

    Anastasia Beaverhousen Von Smith-Proctor and Gamble

  2. My people will be in touch. Sort of.