I have just received an email from a solicitor called Everett O'Brien based in Northampton who has told me that he is the sole legal representative of a Mr Daniel Rookie who died with his immediate family in a car crash in 2002. He has been searching hard to find extended family with which to share his US$38 million fortune - and because I have the same surname, he would like to put me forward as a surviving family member and the sole next of kin. All I have to do is to sign a few papers in order to receive 50% of this fortune. That's US$19,000,000.00, give or take the odd cent!!! How shall I spent it?!
Look - I know you think I am being taken in here, but don't worry. It's not like it's an email from the Nigerian Lottery or anything. Everett assures me that this entire process is hitch free, and even though he is a complete stranger contacting via the unlikely method of email, I trust him completely!! He sounds so official.
Once again the words of Catherine Tate's Nan spring to mind: "Hhwhodda load of old shit!!!"
I have to confess, I was intrigued by the email, but as a precaution I decided to perform my usual hoax investigations. I carry these out each time I receive a friendly warning from a well meaning friend. You know the type of thing - that opening an email with the subject line "Free tickets to Disney Land" will result in my computer (and all of the computers of anyone on my contacts list) being hacked and the zero sector of our hard disks being wiped, or that each person that I forward the email to will result in 1p being donated to charity that sends badly maimed and whimpering children for a free trip to Disney Land.
Being as logical as the day is long, I always wonder how this could possibly work (there is no zero sector on a hard drive and who is keeping count of all of the forwarded emails? And why Disney Land every time?). But apart from being logical I have a keen aversion to being conned.
All the same, this really didn't look like a chain email and wasn't full of emotional blackmail either. Very clever. So let's take a closer look at Mr O'Brien's amazing offer....
- Everett O'Brien Solicitors do not appear in the results of a google search.
- Tyes Court (his office address) in Northampton looks suspiciously like a housing estate on google maps.
- Mr O'Brien's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org - strange email address for a professional.
- When I hit reply (yes, I was going to send a 'What a crock of shit' email but decided to spend the energy on blogging instead) the email address is email@example.com. Creative, huh?
- Mr Daniel Rookie apparently "worked as an independent oil magnate in my country". Shit - so he must be LOADED!!!!! (Hang on a minute.... an independent Oil Magnate... in England???)
- My surname is not that uncommon. I spent an entire weekend a few weeks ago with bundles of Rookies, and yet the embassy could not give any other names. Gosh, how lucky I am that he found me first!!!!
- Mr Daniel Rookie, independent UK (??) Oil Magnate left a sum of 38 million US Dollars. I guess that is possible.
- Everett O'Brien is insisting on complete confidentiality. Oh crap - looks like I blew that one.
If that's the case, I want half....
p.s. feel free to spam either of the above email addresses on a regular basis.