C’mon, Evil Phishing Guy, You’re Better Than This!

Dan O'SullivanKvetching, Writing Tips1 Comment

I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t blogged for about four months. I’d like to claim I have a good excuse, like I was writing wildly successful emails for the Obama campaign or fomenting revolution somewhere in South America (does anyone ever foment anything but revolution?). Sadly, those would be lies. I was just lazy.

Phishing PayPalBut that’s all changing now that Anna has threatened to dissolve our partnership unless I start contributing. For the rebirth of my blogging career, I’ll take a look at some spam that landed in my inbox last week.

The way I see it, if you’re going to do evil, you’ve got to do evil right. That means being not only immoral but also professional.

So I was disappointed to note the quality of the aforementioned spam. Let’s take a line-by-line look …

From: PayPal <service@paypal.uk>

> Oh, right, my UK-based PayPal account.

To: info@thehiredpens.com

> Well, at least they got that right.

Subject: Please update your PayPal account informations

> Say hello to “informations,” the little used plural form of “information.”


> A serviceable, if uninspired, salutation.

Please update your records . A failure to update your recoreds may result

> Um … can’t these guys afford a decent proofreader?

On a suspension of your account . To update your PayPal recods :

> Wow, an unfortunate line break and misplaced capitalization. And again with the proofing …

It’s easy:

> A flawless line!

1. Click the link below to open a secure browser window.

> Two in a row!

2. Confirm that you’re the owner of the account, and then follow the instructions.

> Very good, they used “you’re” rather than “your.”

Click here to update your PayPal informations

> Sigh, there are so many informations to update!

This new security statement will helps us continue to offer PayPal as a secure and cost-effective payment service.We appreciate your cooperation and assistance.

> I’ll do whatever it takes to helps you do that.

Sincerely, The PayPal Team

> A world-class closing!

Please don’t reply to this email. It’ll just confuse the computer that sent it and you won’t get a response.

> Now that’s the kind of clever I expect out of someone trying to rip off the hopelessly naïve. Nicely done.

The lesson here: If you want to succeed as an evil phishing guy, you have to pay attention to the details. Better luck next time, whoever you are!

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