I have collected together in one place some of the many parodies that have arisen from the Nigerian email scams. I begin with my own contribution to the genre: Nigerian Shakespeare Spam.
I BEG DEAR SIR FORGIVE ME THIS INTRUSION
ODEKI FALSTAFF MARLOWE IS MY NAME
AND THOUGH IT MIGHT AT FIRST CAUSE SOME CONFUSION
THIS SOLID PROPOSITION IS NO GAME
I AM A BLOOD DESCENDANT OF THAT BARD
WHO TRULY AUTHORED ALL OF SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS
AND I HAVE SEARCHED MOST PATIENTLY AND HARD
TO FIND A MAN OF TRUE AND UPRIGHT WAYS
WHO’S WORTHY TO INVEST A CERTAIN SUM
REQUESTED BY MY LAWYERS IN L.A.
WHO GUARANTEE THAT ROYALTIES WILL COME
BUT NEED A SMALL DOWNPAYMENT LATE TODAY
FOR WITNESS FROM ESTEEMED AND LEARN-ED SCHOLARS
THEY NEED TO PAY TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($200,000.00.00)
SIR CHRISTOPHER WAS TROUBLED MUCH AT COURT
AND SO HE FAKED HIS MURDER IN SOME PUB
HIS PUBLIC LIFE IN ENGLAND WAS CUT SHORT
AND OFF HE FLED TO LAGOS – THERE’S THE RUB!
HIS FUTURE WORKS HE WROTE IN SHAKESPEARE’S NAME
AND SMUGGLED INTO ENGLAND ON THE SLY
THE SWAN OF AVON’S DESTINY WAS FAME
WHILE MARLOWE’S CHILDREN SUFFERED BY AND BY
YET GREW IN NUMBER ‘TIL WE FORMED A CLAN
THERE’S EIGHTY OF US NOW, ALL PLAYWRIGHTS TOO
AND RECENTLY WE CAME UP WITH A PLAN
THAT NEEDS AN HONEST FELLOW SUCH AS YOU
THE ROYALTIES WITH INT’REST ARE A TRILLION ($1,000,000,000,000.00)
OF WHICH WE’RE PLEASED TO OFFER YOU TEN BILLION ($10,000,000.00)
OH THINK OF THE INJUSTICE OF OUR PLIGHT
WHOSE FATHER GAVE YOU HAMLET AND MACBETH
WE EIGHTY SHARE JUST ONE ELECTRIC LIGHT
OUR INTERNET CONNECTION SUCKS LIKE DEATH
WE NEED SOME RUNNING WATER AND A FRIDGE
THE BABIES NEED WARM BLANKETS AND SOME COTS
THE KIDS NEED SHOES, THE RIVER NEEDS A BRIDGE
AND THEN PERHAPS SOME AIR-CONDITIONED YACHTS
WE ONLY ASK TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND SMACKERS ($200,000.00)
MY BANKER NEEDS TO CALL YOU UP TODAY
SPURN NOT THIS LUCKY OFFER, DON'T BE CRACKERS!
JUST EMAIL BACK YOUR NUMBER RIGHT AWAY
TAKE ARMS AGAINST OUR TROUBLES, BE COURAGEOUS
I PROMISE YOU THE FORTUNE IS OUTRAGEOUS
Historical Note: The link between Christopher Marlowe and Nigerian spam email is stronger than one would suppose. The Nigerian spam emails derive from an older con known as the Spanish Prisoner. Apparently, the Spanish Prisoner scam can be traced back to Elizabethan England and to the coney-catching pamphlets of Robert Greene, who was one of Marlowe’s drinking buddies. More on the mysteries surrounding Marlowe’s death here.
Some Classic Nigerian Spam Parodies
A Spam salad:
THIS IS A PERSONAL EMAIL T0 YOU ONLY. I AM THE SON OF SPAM SPADE, THE FORMER LOAN OFFICER OF NIGERIA, WHO WAS KILLED BY A RUSSIAN LADY WHO WANTS TO MEET YOU. HIS MORTGAGE RATES WERE SUPERB, BUT HIS PENIS WAS TOO SHORT, SO HE ORDERED 60,000,000 VIAGRA PILLS AND BEFORE HE COULD TAKE THEM HE WAS ASSASINATED BY 5 MILLION EMAIL ADDRESSES AT NO COST TO YOU. NOW I HAVE THESE 60 MILLION VIAGRA PILLS AND SEEK YOUR HELP IN TRANSFERING THEM TO YOUR ACCOUNT. Link.
The lost Nigerian astronaut:
I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home. Link.
George Bush spam:
I AM GEORGE WALKER BUSH, SON OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, AND CURRENTLY SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT MET NEITHER IN PERSON NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING MAXIMUM CONFIDENCE.
I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN ACQUIRING OIL FUNDS THAT ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ. MY PARTNERS AND I SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN COMPLETING A TRANSACTION BEGUN BY MY FATHER . . . Link
Landover Baptist takes up the offer:
In the e-mail, Basher explained that he knew that Pastor and those who received the e-mail message would be surprised to hear from him, but assumed that the Landover Baptist Church was already aware of a financial dispute between his family and the present civilian government of Nigeria. Basher conveyed that due to circumstances beyond his control, his father's bank accounts in Switzerland and North America were frozen. He went on to solicit the Church's confidential assistance in taking custody of thirty million United States dollars (US$30,000,000.00). "Naturally, that bountiful sum caught my well trained eye," said Pastor. "And we didn't get to be the richest church in America by asking a lot of questions when folks wave a fistful of cash in our faces." Link.
Iraqi Oil for Food Spam:
Because of recent poltical events which you may have seen about in international media, my country is rocking by turmoil. My former strong man, General Uday Hussein al-Tikriti, was murdered, and somebodys is responsible. Before he expired in tragedy (peace be upon him), respected General Tikriti (pridefully rewarded Arafat Medal for Services to Martyrdom Operations, Ramallah Campaign) entrusted me the sum of FORTY SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS United states dollars mandated ffor distribution for food and medical equipemt for Iraqi people by the United Nations Plaza.
My esteemed colleges and me, AFTER careful determination, have decided to appoiont OFFICIALS FOREIGN REPRESENTATIVES to take safekeepering of said moneys as beneficiaries of the fund. Link (scroll down).
A subgenre: spamming the spammers:
I tell them I’m Herman Munster. No problem. Barney Rubble? No problem. I tell them my name is Wile E. Coyote, and that I make my living selling anvils, explosives, and giant magnets, and that I was hospitalized after following a highway center line someone had redirected into the side of a giant rock. Unbelievably…no problem. Although one spammer balked when I asked for a photo for my attorney, Mr. Elmer J. Fudd. That was because she didn’t have a camera. Hilarious link.
And of course the unforgettable 3rd Nigerian Email Conference.
My sonnets about the other kind of Spam are here
The Daily Farce reports on a surprising development: In an incredible turn of events, Markson Camara, the only son of late former Director of Finance, Chief Vincent R. Camara of Sierra-Leone Diamond and Mining Corporation, has held a press conference this morning in Nigeria announcing that "I'm tired of everyone thinking I'm a fake! I'm not. I have real money and I need to transfer it to an account in the United States!" Link.