This is what happens when you reply to spam email | James Veitch
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This is what happens when you reply to spam email | James Veitch

October 8, 2019


A few years ago, I got one of those spam emails. And it managed
to get through my spam filter. I’m not quite sure how,
but it turned up in my inbox, and it was from a guy
called Solomon Odonkoh. (Laughter) I know. (Laughter) It went like this: it said, “Hello James Veitch, I have an interesting business proposal
I want to share with you, Solomon.” Now, my hand was kind of hovering
on the delete button, right? I was looking at my phone.
I thought, I could just delete this. Or I could do what I think
we’ve all always wanted to do. (Laughter) And I said, “Solomon,
Your email intrigues me.” (Laughter) (Applause) And the game was afoot. He said, “Dear James Veitch,
We shall be shipping Gold to you.” (Laughter) “You will earn 10%
of any gold you distributes.” (Laughter) So I knew I was dealing
with a professional. (Laughter) I said, “How much is it worth?” He said, “We will start
with smaller quantity,” — I was like, aww — and then he said, “of 25 kgs. (Laughter) The worth should be about $2.5 million.” I said, “Solomon, if we’re
going to do it, let’s go big. (Applause) I can handle it.
How much gold do you have?” (Laughter) He said, “It is not a matter
of how much gold I have, what matters is
your capability of handling. We can start with 50 kgs
as trial shipment.” I said, “50 kgs? There’s no point doing this at all unless you’re shipping
at least a metric ton.” (Laughter) (Applause) He said, “What do you do for a living?” (Laughter) I said, “I’m a hedge fund
executive bank manager.” (Laughter) This isn’t the first time
I’ve shipped bullion, my friend, no no no. Then I started to panic. I was like, “Where are you based?” I don’t know about you, but I think if we’re going
via the postal service, it ought to be signed for. That’s a lot of gold.” He said, “It will not be easy
to convince my company to do larger quantity shipment.” I said, “Solomon, I’m completely
with you on this one. I’m putting together a visual for you
to take into the board meeting. Hold tight.” (Laughter) This is what I sent Solomon. (Laughter) (Applause) I don’t know if we have
any statisticians in the house, but there’s definitely something going on. (Laughter) I said, “Solomon, attached to this email
you’ll find a helpful chart. I’ve had one of my assistants
run the numbers. (Laughter) We’re ready for shipping
as much gold as possible.” There’s always a moment where they try
to tug your heartstrings, and this was it for Solomon. He said, “I will be so much happy
if the deal goes well, because I’m going to get
a very good commission as well.” And I said, “That’s amazing,
What are you going to spend your cut on?” And he said, “On RealEstate,
what about you?” I thought about it for a long time. And I said, “One word; Hummus.” (Laughter) “It’s going places. (Laughter) I was in Sainsbury’s the other day and there were like
30 different varieties. Also you can cut up carrots,
and you can dip them. Have you ever done that, Solomon?” (Laughter) He said, “I have to go bed now.” (Laughter) (Applause) “Till morrow. Have sweet dream.” I didn’t know what to say! I said, “Bonsoir
my golden nugget, bonsoir.” (Laughter) Guys, you have to understand,
this had been going for, like, weeks, albeit hitherto the greatest
weeks of my life, but I had to knock it on the head. It was getting a bit out of hand. Friends were saying, “James,
do you want to come for a drink?” I was like, “I can’t, I’m expecting
an email about some gold.” So I figured I had
to knock it on the head. I had to take it
to a ridiculous conclusion. So I concocted a plan. I said, “Solomon,
I’m concerned about security. When we email each other, we need to use a code.” And he agreed. (Laughter) I said, “Solomon, I spent all night
coming up with this code we need to use
in all further correspondence: Lawyer: Gummy Bear. Bank: Cream Egg. Legal: Fizzy Cola Bottle.
Claim: Peanut M&Ms. Documents: Jelly Beans. Western Union: A Giant Gummy Lizard.” (Laughter) I knew these were all words
they use, right? I said, “Please call me Kitkat
in all further correspondence.” (Laughter) I didn’t hear back.
I thought, I’ve gone too far. I’ve gone too far.
So I had to backpedal a little. I said, “Solomon, Is the deal still on? KitKat.” (Laughter) Because you have to be consistent. Then I did get an email back from him. He said, “The Business is on
and I am trying to blah blah blah …” I said, “Dude, you have to use the code!” What followed is the greatest email
I’ve ever received. (Laughter) I’m not joking, this is what
turned up in my inbox. This was a good day. “The business is on. I am trying to raise the balance
for the Gummy Bear — (Laughter) so he can submit all the needed
Fizzy Cola Bottle Jelly Beans to the Creme Egg, for the Peanut M&Ms process to start. (Laughter) Send 1,500 pounds via a Giant Gummy Lizard.” (Applause) And that was so much fun, right, that it got me thinking: like, what would happen if I just spent
as much time as could replying to as many
scam emails as I could? And that’s what I’ve been doing for three years on your behalf. (Laughter) (Applause) Crazy stuff happens when you start
replying to scam emails. It’s really difficult, and I highly recommend we do it. I don’t think what I’m doing is mean. There are a lot of people
who do mean things to scammers. All I’m doing is wasting their time. And I think any time
they’re spending with me is time they’re not spending
scamming vulnerable adults out of their savings, right? And if you’re going to do this —
and I highly recommend you do — get yourself a pseudonymous email address. Don’t use your own email address. That’s what I was doing at the start
and it was a nightmare. I’d wake up in the morning
and have a thousand emails about penis enlargements, only one of which
was a legitimate response — (Laughter) to a medical question I had. But I’ll tell you what, though, guys, I’ll tell you what: any day is a good day,
any day is a good day if you receive an email
that begins like this: (Laughter) “I AM WINNIE MANDELA, THE SECOND WIFE OF NELSON MANDELA
THE FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT.” I was like, oh! — that Winnie Mandela. (Laughter) I know so many. “I NEED TO TRANSFER 45 MILLION DOLLARS
OUT OF THE COUNTRY BECAUSE OF MY HUSBAND
NELSON MANDELA’S HEALTH CONDITION.” Let that sink in. She sent me this, which is hysterical. (Laughter) And this. And this looks fairly legitimate,
this is a letter of authorization. But to be honest, if there’s nothing
written on it, it’s just a shape! (Laughter) I said, “Winnie,
I’m really sorry to hear of this. Given that Nelson died three months ago, I’d describe his health condition
as fairly serious.” (Laughter) That’s the worst health condition
you can have, not being alive. She said, “KINDLY COMPLY
WITH MY BANKERS INSTRUCTIONS. ONE LOVE.” (Laughter) I said, “Of course. NO WOMAN, NO CRY.” (Laughter) (Applause) She said, “MY BANKER WILL NEED
TRANSFER OF 3000 DOLLARS. ONE LOVE.” (Laughter) I said, “no problemo. I SHOT THE SHERIFF.” [ (BUT I DID NOT SHOOT THE DEPUTY) ] (Laughter) Thank you. (Applause)

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  1. I’d like to know if the stories were made up for the bit, or if he actually sat down and went through this entire process to share the experience. His body language suggests it is a well rehearsed lie, but he is putting on a show either way.

  2. Lawyer: Gummy Bear
    Bank: Cream Egg
    Legal: Fizzy Cola Bottle
    Claim: Peanut M&Ms
    Documents: Jelly Beans
    Western Union: A Giant Gummy Lizard

  3. TED has no standards. Any garbage can be a TED video. Love the asians in the audience, they want to be white so bad…

  4. My teacher wanted us to learn about internet security and scammers, so she pulled this video up and then me and my friend starting fucking screaming at each other as soon as he said “Penis Enlargements”

  5. I did something similar to an African green dot scammer. Had him riding his bike to a store ten miles away four times in one week. He was pretty pissed.

  6. Hilarious!! Geneous! Lol
    I gotten the Gild Barvtrade bs before on some fuy on facebook. I blocked him asap.
    -hELLA HUNG

  7. Its not unlikely that the "scammer" used the code, but it is unlikely that the "scammer" just so happen to use every one of the terms he encoded in the first place…

  8. Je ne regarde pas beaucoup l'humour chez les anglophones, mais je dois dire celui-ci est vraiment bon, similaire à ceux que je vais voir en spectacle et raconte ce qu'ils ont fait dans leur vie avant de le raconter dans leur spectacle.

  9. So the meek did inherit the earth. Meek. I meant geek(s). Truly this is as funny as cat sick. But the minute you applaud is the minute this dim dim starts believing in himself. Bit like Hitler I guess. 'a bit'.

  10. I have a big deal with people who read my comment
    I can sell you the Sphinx in egypt
    But you have to pay first for the shipment💪💪💪

  11. I got a spam email yesterday and I never got this happy about receiving a spam email. Thanks to you I am having fun right now.

  12. Is this what TED has come to know? Photo waste of time. I think they should start news channel called TED Comedy show so we don't waste time on funny videos

  13. Found this TED Talk at random, and wow, I did not expect to laugh so much! XD I was initially expecting him to start the talk with a joke and eventually get into something serious, but he kept going on and on, and it got funnier and funnier lol… this was good! 😀

    Edit: Also, what a great way to do a good deed and have fun at the same time! 😀 Wasting a scammers time so they aren't scamming innocents. Within this comedy was a good message! 🙂 I've replied to and messed around with spam emails before, and have had fun trolling trolls, but this guy does it so cleverly.

  14. O thanks God im not replying on a spam msg that I get recently stating i won something but its surprising so i reply to them to know it 😅

  15. I once got a scam email from an African dude about a long lost uncle in Zimbabwe or something who left a whole fortune to me. I kept asking him questions about my beloved uncle and offered to send him a shipment of gold as a thank you if he sent me money, but he didn't reply. 🙁

  16. My friend, Steve, called a scammer and when Steve was asked about a credit card, Steve said, “I don’t have a credit card but can I offer you an library card (or somewhere along those lines)?I don’t have any money,” And so I shouted, “I’ll sell you my daughter!” Steve laughed so loud he had to hang up on the scammer.

  17. The business is on. I am trying to raise the balance for the Gummy Bear so he can submit all the needed Fizzy Cola Bottle Jelly Beans to the Creme Egg for the Peanut M&Ms process to start. Send £1,500.00 via a Giant Gummy Lizard.

  18. Makes me think to avoid spam we need AIs to reply to all the spam. If the scammers got a reply from every email they sent, they could never find many of the real poor fools.

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