The Optimistic Blackmailer

I am in constant awe of the endless creativity, and perpetual optimism, of the human race.  As a case in point, this amusing missive that dropped into my inbox a short time ago:

Hope you do not mind my language sentence structure, since i’m from Philippines. I infected your device with a malware and im in possession of all of your personal info from your computer system.
It previously was installed on a mature web page after which you’ve picked the video,  it, my software instantly gain access to your system.
And then, your webcamera documented you flying solo, also i documented a vid that you’ve seen.
Soon after a little while additionally, it picked up every one of your device contact list. If you happen to want me to get rid of your everything i possess – send me 410 euros in bit-coin its a crypto. Its my account number : 1PE16MrNtyzKMhntxa… [etc etc]
Now you have 22hrs. to make a decision As soon as i will get the transaction i am going to eliminate this video and every thing entirely. Otherwise, you should remember this footage is going to be submitted to all your contacts.

To receive an email like this that begins by apologizing for any language deficiencies is a nice touch. And sensible as well, to forestall my taking an editorial pencil to his prose:  Soon after a little while additionally alone would require a firm lesson in the benefits of brevity.  Although, perhaps those from Philippines—not Nigeria, not the Philippines—are raised to be generous with their time-referencing conjunctive adverbs?

But then we come to the heart of the matter, and the true mystery here: which mature web page have I inadvertently stumbled upon? Leaving aside the mundane searches for movie times and corn chowder recipes, a glance at my browser history does show: Criminal Statutes of Limitations; Latent Fingerprint Cards; the effects of temperature on DNA; images of dreadlocks; security gates; and synonyms for the word derisive. Which of those might be too mature for delicate eyes?

As for Flying solo, I believe I understand the coy reference here, but the author of this missive is clearly unaware of our lamentable download speeds, out here in the hills.

And when we reach at last the payment required, I admit myself baffled. 410 bitcoin euros?  Alas, I had not realized that those two currencies were synonymous!  In desperation, I turn to Google, which informs me that indeed, they are not: a single Bitcoin is the equivalent of no fewer than 2,960.61 Euros.  So, perhaps the kind gent is giving me the option?  Either to send €1,213,849—or if I prefer, €410? Oh, what a conundrum!

Finally, inquiring minds want to know, why 22 hours, and not 24, or 36?

So very many questions, from one innocent note out of the ether.

I will admit to a niggling sense of disappointment, and a hope that the sender does not mind my language value structure when I say: the quality of blackmail letters has taken a downward turn, in recent years.

So for the next 20+ hours, I will sit and wait with bated breath, for my solo flight to be distributed to all my contact list. And if you’re one of them, kindly let me know how I do on it.

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  1. Elisabeth on February 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Indeed I will! Thank you for this charming letter!

  2. Sylvia Cockerham on February 7, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    With all the robocalls and “spam” mail I’ve ever received, I’ve never even dreamed a rebuttal as eloquent as yours. I’ve no doubt that this is why you’re a best-selling author and I’m not.

  3. Julie Fore on February 8, 2019 at 1:52 am

    I would have to agree, the quality of blackmail letters has definitely fallen.

    I have yet to see your solo flight video.

  4. melissa on February 8, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I’m still waiting to see those photos/video!

  5. Suzanne Portello on February 8, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Wow! This (blackmailer’s missive) is even more grammatically wonky than most spam I have ever seen; that said, this (LRK’s response) is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. I really needed a good chuckle this am.

  6. Vicky on February 8, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Love your Books!
    In case you are blackmailed, again, I am writing to ensure I will be a listed contact.

    • Laurie King on February 8, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Hah! Though I can only hope you are disappointed in your wish…

  7. Sharon on February 8, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    HA! You, Jeff Bezos and Sherlock Holmes really know how to deal with blackmailers. Thank you for the belly laugh!

  8. Kim on February 9, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    *snickers* Ah, spammers these days. Of course, your lovely response to this idiot makes me wonder if anyone has ever tried this on our dear Miss Russell and Mr. Holmes. I mean, she has a Twitter page, so I assume she has at least something of an online presence… 😉

    Thanks for this! It totally made my afternoon! 🙂

  9. Kathe Gust on February 9, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    I got one of these too, they seem to be everywhere. Sadly, they did not seem to realize that I have no webcam on my cozy old desktop machine and the one on my laptop has a post-it note stuck over it unless I’m using it. Despite my bated breath, I did not become a YouTube sensation. Sigh.

  10. Lenore Garon on February 10, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    I am so jealous! I have received two of these, about a week or so apart (seeking $800 and $900, respectively), but neither of them purported to be from the Philippines or to apologize for anything! On the other hand, the second sender was so excited about the prospect that he (I am assuming it was a he) forgot to give me the bitcoin address to which I was to send the payment. I guess I have to take my little bit of amusement where I can.

  11. Barb on February 12, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Hi Laurie and all your repliers. Recently, I received a blackmail letter threatening to expose me on video as I was supposedly participating in a porn site. I forwarded the email to and then nuked it from my computer. I also have a post it on my PC webcam. As for porn sites, not my style. Indeed blackmail letters have taken a downward turn.

  12. Elizabeth on February 13, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Oh, heavens! I, too, have now been so honored, or maybe just noticed that all those spam messages from “me” were this honeychild. Alas, all he would be able to see, since that colored dot has fallen from my webcam (which I disabled a long time time ago), is my really messy tack board and the equally messy desk in my home office. Since I use my IPad now in preference to the Windows laptop, and now lean into the office to huck stuff at the desk, and, occasionally, to clean it up.
    Nothing fun, in other words.

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