Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange


I don't mean to brag, but I own a lot of email accounts. I've accumulated them over the past few years for reasons ranging from scientific experimentation to signing up for services with which I'm not particularly proud to be affiliated. When they've served their purpose, I rarely use them again except to sign a petition forced on me by some sincere and persistent activist, or to stuff the ballot during free car giveaways in malls.

Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange
The prize means far less to me than being the winner of everything.

Even though I have yet to win a PT Cruiser, what I have received is far more valuable: Opportunity. My email addresses have been shared with thieves all over the world who would like us both to pretend that they are princes and dying millionaires. The trouble is that most of my email accounts belong to characters I made up as well, so even if I respond, it's really just a bunch of imaginary people emailing each other about money that doesn't exist. Still, it's not enough for me to ignore these scammers completely, they have developed layered and elaborate characters and then squandered them on duplicity. As a writer, I cannot abide by that. I want to offer these fictitious people a chance to redeem themselves, a chance to trade in their pretend riches for real riches of the heart. What follows is an email exchange I shared with a make-believe dying woman and how I forced her to become a hero, despite herself.

From: mrsetters007@rogers.comDate: July 23, 2011 2:28 pmTo: marcythick@aol.comSubject: URGENT RESPONSE NEEDED!Dear Friend,I am Mrs. Elizabeth Etters from Iceland, married to Late Engr Brown Etters {PhD} who worked with MULTINATIONAL OIL COMPANY EXXON AS A DRILLING RIG SUPPLIER in Kuwait for 19 years before he died on the 22th August 2008. We were married for twenty four years without a child. Before his death, he deposited the sum of USD 2,142,728.00 Dollars with a bank In Canada and this fund is presently with the bank awaiting my disbursement as beneficiary and next of kin to the funds. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next Eight months due to cancer problem. Upon your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank. I will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank that will prove you the present beneficiary of this money. Reply to my very confidential email address below {mrsetters007@rogers.com}Await your responds and God bless you.Mrs. Elizabeth Etters

From: marcythick To: mrsetters007 Sent: July 26, 2011 1:41 pmSubject: RE: URGENT RESPONSE NEEDED!Hi Mrs. Etters,I am sorry you are dying. I will take your money for you. Just tell me what I need to do.Love,Marcy
From: Elizabeth Etters To: marcythick Sent: July 26, 2011 11:29 pmSubject: Thanks for RespondingGood day to you, I am very grateful to you for the interest shown in my plight and I want to assure you that you will be greatly rewarded for what you have chosen to do. My husband's relatives love only worldly things and they have used up my husband's wealth and property left behind. As I am here in the hospital they are around me and they have sold virtually all I have and what they wait to hear is that I am dead so that they lay their hands on my last belongings. My spirit directed me to you as I prayed and searched over the internet for someone to help me. You have to assure me you will keep this transaction confidential and you will be willing to contact the finance firm to finalize all necessary formalities as to the release of the fund to you. I would also like to know a little bit more about you. I require your urgent response. To prepare this document I will require your full names and address. With this document you will contact the finance firm to arrange the transfer of the fund to you. Mrs. Elizabeth Etters.

Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange
"Hurry, my children are licking their lips."

From: marcythick To: mrsetters007 Sent: July 27, 2011 11:16 amSubject: Re: Thanks for Responding Dear Elizabeth,I read your email. Holy cow you write a lot. Especially for someone who's dying. Your family sounds awful, I think your spirit was right in choosing me as your helper because I'm very trustworthy and nice and also a substitute teacher. I am not married and I just broke up with my long-term boyfriend a week ago, but it's good because he was boring.I will do whatever you want with the money and if you want me to spend it on myself then that's OK too. Once you are dead I will always remember you and pretend you are watching over me, even when I know it's probably not true because you are buried somewhere. I'm writing to let you know that I am in on this 100% and loyal and ready to do whatever you need. However, I am nervous about dealing with a bank because I don't trust banks. The bank on my street says that my ex-boyfriend froze my account. How do you unfreeze an account? I'm trying to get my account information back from him so that I can get all my money but in the meantime God has given me you and your money! Yay. Can I just give you my information and you pass it on to the bank and just have them mail me my money? Here is my full name and addressMarcy Thick1624 Caramay Way San Diego, CA Love,Marcy

From: mrsetters007 To: marcythick Sent: Aug 1, 2011 10:23 amSubject: Bank DetailsDear Friend,How are you doing today? Please I am very sorry for the little delay as it was due to technical difficulties from the bank. Due to email upgrade from my bank. You can now contact them via the new email below as the former email I sent to you is unavailable for now.Habibsons Bank Limited9 Portman Street London W1H 6DZ, United KingdomOfficer in Charge of transfer: Wayne DanielsWorking Telephone Line:| +44-207-193-6667operations@habibsonsbnkplc.comPlease do get in touch with them as soon as possible.Your Sister,Mrs Elizabeth Etters
From: marcythick To: mrsetters007 Sent: Aug 1, 2011 11:48 amSubject: Re: Bank Details Hi Liza,There are so many things I don't understand. I'm sorry to be such a sack of sour balls but I tried to open an account with your bank and they asked me for my account number and I don't know it. My ex-boyfriend has all that information. We split up in June and now I cannot get my stuff back from his place. I'm sure he'd be willing to help you because he loves money. His email is sorenkapow@rocketmail.com. Please email him the information and let him know I sent you. He's still in love with me and he'd do anything I told him to.Love,Marcy

Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange
Sometimes being pretty is enough.

From: mrsetters007 To: marcythick Sent: Aug 1, 2011 3:03 pmSubject: Bank DetailsYou must be out of your mind to send such e-mail telling me to contact your boy friend. If you are not ready to receive your money you better let me know. I have other things to do with my time.RegardsMrs Elizabeth Etters
From: marcythick To: mrsetters007 Sent: Aug 2, 2011 9:14 amSubject: Re: Bank Details
Dear Eliza,I apologize for making you so upset. I didn't know any other way to get the account information. But I have a great idea! I'll email him your name and we can pretend that you are my lawyer and you can demand that he give me my account back. It's really unfair and probably illegal of him to block me out of it, I earned some of that money. Thanks for your help,Marcy
From: marcythick To: sorenkapow@rocketmail.com; mrsetters007 Sent: Aug 2, 2011 10:12 amSubject: My EntitlementDear Soren,It has been over a month and though I sent you tons of emails and IMs, you're still hiding my account information. That savings account legally belongs to me and you better not have touched even twenty dollars in there or I will sue you so fast your pants will fall down. I have enlisted the power of an attorney to help in this matter, and she is cc'd on this email. If you don't comply, we will have no choice but to take legal action. You blew it big time.Marcy

From: sorenkapow@rocketmail.com To: marcythick ; mrsetters007 Sent: Aug 2, 2011 11:06 pmSubject: Re: My EntitlementMarcy,Your lunacy knows no bounds. I don't have any interest in keeping your account from you, that's your allowance, and I don't want even a thousand dollars from it. But you will have to come by the house to pick up your things if you want the account number. I honestly just want you to be happy. I tried calling your seven times last week and you didn't answer once. I only ask for an opportunity to see you again. I bought a motorcycle. I know you always thought motorcycles were cool. You are the closest thing to my heart save my lungs, ribs and pecs. I'm floored that you hired an attorney to wield as an instrument of threat, I would never do that to you. In the future, should you want my attention, please just answer your phone once in awhile. If you insist on going to trial like a child instead of coming by our place like an adult to pick up your miscellanea, then I will hire an attorney of my own. Love,Soren

Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange
"P.S. Could you let her know she left something important here that I'm not allowed to ship?"

From: mrsetters007 To: marcythick Sent: Aug 3, 2011 3:03 pmSubject: Fwd: MarcyDear MercyI got this below e-mail from your boy friend. What do you want me to do in this matter?RegardsRegardsMrs Elizabeth Etters---------- Forwarded message ----------From: Soren Kapow Date: Aug 2, 2011 at 11:30 amSubject: MarcyTo: mrsetters007 Dear Madam,I can appreciate your position as a legal attorney representing my girlfriend and I'm not entirely certain that me contacting you is legal, however, I need your help. I love her. I want us to be together again like we were that photo from the park. I'm sympathetic to the fact that the law is blind in these circumstances and you provide legal counsel to whoever pays you, but please try to understand love is blind too, ma'am. I just ask that you put in a good word for me with Marcy. I'm more than willing to give her what she wants and we can all put this behind us. I just want her to come by the house. I think that if she sees the pictures on the walls and the cleanliness of the shower, she would agree that I have turned over a new leaf. Again, I'm sorry if this is unprofessional, I am asking you as one man to another. Thank you. Eternally grateful, Soren

From: marcythick To: mrsetters007 Sent: Aug 3, 2011 4:28 amSubject: Re: MarcyUgh, he's so dramatic. He's just trying to trick you into helping him. Thanks for being so patient and for being on my team. If you have fees or charges for this kind of thing just let me know when this is all done and I will give you back some of your money. If you would, just email him as my lawyer and tell him you can't help him because it's goes against your code or something. Then tell him it's mandatory for him to turn over my account information. That will scare him into giving it back to me. Thanks again. Let me know how it goes!Your friend,Marcy
From: mrsetters007 To: Soren Kapow Sent: Aug 3, 2011 6:17 pmSubject: FORMAL WARNINGDear Mr. Kapow,You were wrong to contact me and acted illegally. My client, Marcy Thick would like to press charges against you to the full extent. I hope you are prepared to go to trial. My client has agreed to drop all charges if you agree to give her back her belongings and give her access to your joint account. She is very sick right now and needs the money you are keeping from her. On top of that, she would like you to pay my legal fees thus far. They amount to $585. We will await your quick response.Sincerely,Elizabeth Etters Attorney, MDThaksin Lee Chambers And Associates Office Address, 122/25 Rajprarop RoadSacramento, California

Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange
"I'm not only a doctor lawyer, I'm also a judge. And a physicist. And a pterodactyl."

From: Soren Kapow To: mrsetters007 Sent: Aug 4, 2011 6:17 pmSubject: Re: FORMAL WARNINGDear Elizabeth Etters, Attorney at Law/MedicineSometimes at night I just lay awake. I don't know why, I just feel this hole in my chest. I miss Marcy I guess without really knowing it's her I'm missing anymore. Like when you leave your hands under a scalding hot faucet and after awhile you can't tell if it's really hot or really cold, all you can tell is that it hurts. I need her back. I can change, I can be whoever she wants me to be. Just please talk to her, let her know I still love her. I'll give her the account, I'll give her anything she wants if she will just come by the villa so we can talk. In accordance with her wishes, I sent a check to your offices in Sacramento for the requested amount.Heart sick,Soren

From: mrsetters007 To: Soren Kapow Sent: Aug 5, 2011 3:14 amSubject: Re: FORMAL WARNINGSoren Kapow,The check will take a long time to clear here. I will not accept a check for that small amount of money. Please cancel the check. Dibia Charles is my secretary. I will only accept payment through western Union for that small amount. Kindly send it to: Dibia Charles Address: Bangkok, Thailand. RegardsElizabeth Etters Attorney, MDThaksin Lee Chambers And AssociatesOffice Address, 122/25 Rajprarop RoadSacramento, California

Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange
He will be waiting.

From: mrsetters007 To: marcythick Sent: Aug 5, 2011 6:02 amSubject: Re: MarcyI have sent him a letter as your lawyer and he has responded with fear, as you anticipated. He is also sad that you won't speak to him and he says he requests you go by his house just to talk. Then he will give you the account number. Please, I am a very sick woman and I don't have long for this world. I wish that you would go and see him and resolve your issues. He seems to love you very much. I think you two have a lot to resolve after I am gone. I hope you will do as I ask. When you have the account number please open your new account at operations@habibsonsbnkplc.comI need to get this money to you quickly. Your Sister,Mrs Elizabeth Etters
From: marcythick To: mrsetters007 Sent: Aug 6, 2011 10:24 amSubject: Re: Marcy
Oh my goodness, in all the confusion I completely forgot you were dying. I'm sorry I guess. I did what you said and I went to talk to him. You were right, he was real sorry and nice and soooo cute. I think we can make it work this time. Did you know he got a motorcycle? That's so cool. We own you a big hot pile of thank yous for what you did. You were so kind. So now for the sad part. I can't help you with your money anymore. My boyfriend still thinks you are my lawyer and he would be really mad if he found out you were just some dying lady. We can never tell anyone what really happened. Thanks again. I will always remember you when you are dead for as long as I can remember to.Love,Marcy
From: mrsetters007 To: Soren Kapow Sent: Aug 6, 2011 4:14 pmSubject: Re: FORMAL WARNINGDear Mr. Kapow,You still have an outstanding balance with my law firm of the sum of $585. You have not sent the money order via Western Union as I requested. I assure you we take these matters very seriously and we will prosecute you with the full extent of the law if you do not pay.Because you are late in your payment, the amount has doubled to 1,160. Pay it as soon as possible to avoid another penalty or a jail sentence. Elizabeth Etters Attorney, MDThaksin Lee Chambers And AssociatesOffice Address, 122/25 Rajprarop RoadSacramento, California

Turning a Scammer Into a Hero: An Email Exchange
"That's not fair! I can't pay for my Internet service with love, asshole!"

For more from Soren, check out 5 Hilarious Failures in the History of American Revolutions and Understanding Hipsters: An Undercover Operation.

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