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Would-be Phishers Foiled By Grammar Inabilities

March 14, 2005

Like most of you, I get a daily parade of phishing e-mails. Many of them have become hysterical in tone: "You must gimme your debit card NOW or we gonna lock you out of yer akkount!" (I don't know what's making the losers who perpetuate these schemes so hysterical. Perhaps "business" isn't good and they'll soon have to get legitimate jobs?) Lately, I've taken to reading a few of them because they're so entertaining. Here's the language in one e-mail I received today, supposedly from "PayPal":

Dear PayPal valued member,

On the date of 12th of March there was a login attemt from a foreign IP address which resulted with your account temporary suspension.

If you weren't accessing your account while travelling you will have to immediately reactivate your account and then change it's password to a harder to guess one.

Oh, no. A "harder to guess" one. I hate those. It must be frustrating for a criminal who can't write, spell or observe grammar rules to be foiled by his own language inabilities.

While doing household chores yesterday, I was idly listening to the movie "Red Planet" on the Sci-Fi Channel. This movie is hardly a classic, but it does have one great line. Val Kilmer's character is attempting to save himself and his colleagues by pinpointing their location on the surface of Mars, using a reverse image on a three-dimensional map. After doing some calculations, he jokes, "Well, this is the moment our teachers told us about in high school, when algebra would save our lives one day."

As the risk of sounding sanctimonious: For those of us who paid attention in English class, it's entertaining to see the pathetic and unsuccessful attempts to fleece the world by the kids who sat in the back and carved their initials into the desktops during verb declensions.


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