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

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

Quiz by: rmd    

Description: Story about what happened when James replied to a spam email.
High Intermediate
Play Video: Keynote (Google I/O '18)
1. What kink of spam email, or junk mail did James receive?
2. Does James believe he will receive gold?
3. How much gold does James want Solomon to ship to him?
4. What will Soloman spend his commission on?
5. For how long did James email back and forth with Solomon?
6.) What is James doing?
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.

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.

And I said, "Solomon, Your email intrigues me." And
the game was afoot.

He said, "Dear James Veitch, We shall be shipping
Gold to you. You will earn 10% of any gold you

So I knew I was dealing with a professional.
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. The
worth should be about $2.5 million."

I said, "Solomon, if we're going to do it, let's go big.
I can handle it. How much gold do you have?"

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."

He said, "What do you do for a living?"

I said, "I'm a hedge fund executive bank manager."
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." -- This is what I
sent Solomon. --
I don't know if we have any statisticians in the
house, but there's definitely something going on. I
said, "Solomon, attached to this email you'll find a
helpful chart. I've had one of my assistants run the
numbers. We're ready for shipping as much gold as

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. It's going places. 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,

He said, "I have to go bed now."

"Till morrow. Have sweet dream."

I didn't know what to say! I said, "Bonsoir my golden
nugget, bonsoir."

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

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.

I said, "Solomon, I spent all night coming up with
this code we need to use in all further

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

I knew these were all words they use, right? I said,
"Please call me Kitkat in all further

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."

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. 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 -- 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 pounds via a Giant
Gummy Lizard."

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.

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 -- 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:

PRESIDENT." -- I was like, oh! that Winnie Mandela.
I know so many. -- "I NEED TO TRANSFER 45

Let that sink in. She sent me this, which is
hysterical. 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! 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."

That's the worst health condition you can have, not
being alive.


I said, "Of course. NO WOMAN, NO CRY."


I said, "no problemo.

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