Before there was the internet

If you worked in an office environment on about fifteen years ago, you likely received one or more letters by fax or postal mail that originated in Nigeria. They were scams, asking recipients to pay a little bit of money to secure millions and millions of dollars, and many people fell for them. So many that there are a multitude of anti-fraud initiatives devoted to education about and prevention of this type of fraud.

These letters, which were always handwritten, were the original spam in my opinion. Sure, there was junk mail, but it often came in the form of flyers which do have a somewhat legitimate purpose. These letters had a malicious intent behind them and they were relentless, especially when the senders moved to email. I got one of these had written letters at our home a few years ago, and marvelled that they were still going on in their original form. Sadly it means that people are still falling for them.

I went to the mailbox today and found this, apparently India’s version of the Nigerian scam letter:
Before the internet

It is a handwritten, contains a heart tugging plea, mentions an illness, family, and God. They don’t ask for a specific sum of money, just that “help” (or cloths) be sent, so as not to dissuade any givers. I think that maybe I have just become cynical in my old age, but then note that it is written in English, it was addressed to the landlord (whose name is not western), and the home is located in a known ex-pat community. I’m ok with my cynicism here.

Category: India, life | Tags: , , | 2 comments

  • I had no idea that those scams existed before the Internet/telephone. A real handwritten note. Wow.

  • Sara says:

    I too embrace my cynicism. Spam and scams are everywhere!


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