Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal.



  • hover – remain in one place in the air
  • afoot – in preparation or progress; happening or beginning to happen
  • bullion – gold or silver in bulk before coining, or valued by weight
  • tug at heartstrings – to cause strong feelings of affection or sympathy


Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause at times indicated in brackets.

  • What does James imply we all want to do when we receive a spam email? (0:55)
  • What were the details of the business offer James received and how did things develop? (2:23)
  • What was “the visual” James sent to Solomon supposed to illustrate? (3:30)
  • Why did James come up with a code? What was the result? (6:49)
  • Why did James reply to the scam email? How does he justify his actions, and what does he encourage others to do? (7:54)
  • What did Winnie Mandela ask James to do?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the words in CAPITAL LETTER used in appropriate forms.

Crazy stuff happens when you start replying to scam emails. It’s really difficult, and I ________ HIGH 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 ________ SCAM. 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 ________ SAVE, right?

And if you’re going to do this — and I highly recommend you do — get yourself a ________ PSEUDONYM 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 ________ LARGE, only one of which was a ________ LEGITIMACY response.


Correct the sentence below:

  • You will earn 10% of any gold you distributes.


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