This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

August 29, 2015

How to recognize a scam email, with a lot of clues

There are a lot of bad people out there. There always have been, and there always will be. And they like to prey on the goodness of human nature. So while you shouldn't ever be cynical of whether there are good people out there, who help others, and make donations, it's good to look twice when you get an email that promises to send you a bunch of money.

As a Graphic Designer, I can recognize a lot of things that "jump out at me" when I see a scam email. Some of them are pretty slick, but most of them contain so many mistakes, and clues that they aren't real, that I have enjoyed looking at them, just for fun. Let's look at this one just for fun, and find the clues that reveal it to be a fake, and a scam.

This email is supposedly sent by millionaire Warren Buffet. So the first thing that I look for is that it would be written by someone (presumably a secretary) who is familiar with the English language. This email is clearly written by someone who has done a clumsy job of translating to English. Warren Buffet is American, and he speaks English, there would be no reason why a letter written by, or for, him would be written so poorly.

Now, I'm not saying that an occasional typo doesn't get through on even the most professionally-written and designed pieces, they do. But this one has a LOT of mistakes. And while it's certainly an excellent job of translating, there are things that a regular user of English would see very quickly. I'll point out a few, and I'm sure that you can find more. The first one I see is the lack of a period in the second sentence (.) for Mr Warren. Yeah, a small detail, and there is also a comma missing after Buffett.

Skip down to the dollar amount, which is between brackets for no apparent reason. One million five hundred thousand dollars is written like this: $1,500.00.00, not the way they have written it (which they have done wrong in three places). And that's not the proper use of brackets. They should be parenthesis, and it should follow the dollar amount written out, in English.

The second paragraph, has a hyphen in reassure. Reassure doesn't need a hyphen. And I is always capitalized, not i. And when you get to ...this is the only thing that makes my able family happy all the time... you can see that they syntax isn't the way that people who use English regularly is used.

Anyway, I'm sure that you can find more. This email is a fake and a scam. Don't respond, and certainly don't give them any information, or money.

I and My Family trusting you to make good use of this money.

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