Thursday, July 6, 2017

Proofreading and Attention to Detail - Spam or Scam

Many times documents are created but the finishing touches aren't added. Most of the time the reason for the lack of attention to detail is because the writing is simply a reminder to self or a quick note to a friend. Those are instances when the errant misspelling or incorrect punctuation can be forgiven. Additionally, the circulation is negligible, if any at all.

But there are communications such as business letters, proposals, articles and blog posts intended for generating new business, and even term papers (not to mention books), that demand attention to detail. The typos, misused words, and so on, detract from one's credibility.

Lately a large amount of spam and scam mail has been reaching my mailboxes. Much of it presents itself as emanating from a legitimate source. Well, that comes into question when reading the message starts. Here is one example. I've added proofreader comments as we move through the text so that all of us can benefit from this exercise. Please also note that this post is made with the assumption that the name of the person at the end of the message is fictitious although the intent of the message becomes clear by the end.

Sent: Sunday, June 25, 2017 11:38 PM
Subject: <<<< [brackets should not precede the content of the subject line]From U.S. Department of the Treasury [The name of the agency sending the message will not be in the subject line. The subject line denotes what the message is about.]


Your credit payment file have been [should read "has been"] added and opened,[This should be a period followed by a space to start the new sentence. ]We received an email from Mr Fred Atkinson [titles that are abbreviations such as "Mr.", "Ms.", "Mrs.", or "Dr." are followed by a period to show they are abbreviations.] today that you had an accident and died in the act.. [only one period at the end of a sentence.]
Mr [title] Fred Atkinson claim [should read "claims"] to be your lawyer and he is ready to claim your funds related to your compensation funds of $500,000.00 (five hundred thousand United State Dollars [the amount should be initial capitals; the name of the nation is plural]) that has been with us for three months now which you refuse to claim. he has also agreed to pay the fund release charges of US$460 [consistency of reference].

So we write to confirm if you are DEAD OR ALIVE, [punctuation] if [first word of a sentence is capitalized] you fail to reply back within 48hrs [space between number and word; "hrs" should be spelled out], We [improper use of a pronoun as a proper noun] will assume that what Mr Fred Atkinson said about you is right so we have no other alternative than to believe that you are truly dead according to Mr Fred Atkinson . [no space between last word of the sentence and the closing punctuation]

After 48hrs of no response from you, We [improper use of pronoun] will start the transfer and the delivery of your funds to your next of kin account which he claim to be [parenthetical phrase should be set off by a comma; end of sentence should be closed with a period]

IF YOU ARE STILL ALIVE, YOU ARE ADVICE [wrong word] TO GET INTOUCH [should be two words] WITH US BY A REPLY ON [should be "by"; unclear] MAIL OR GIVE US A CALL AS FAST AS YOU cell phone. [numerous errors: One period followed by a space; first word of a new sentence is capitalized; reference has changed from "plural pronoun to singular] +1 484-305-9864[end a sentence with a period before starting a new paragraph.]

Take note that Mr Fred Atkinson has agreed to pay for THE RELEASE CHARGES, if you refuse [punctuation; new sentence] to get back to us, am afraid [missing pronoun; improper verb] we shall give him the go ahead with the release chareges [spelling] payment and then the fund transfer will be made to his Name and Account [no initial caps].

NOTE: He has drop is ["dropped his"?] account details and his home address for delivery of the funds into his International [no initial cap] ATM card and he promise [tense] to make the neccessary [spelling] payment.We are writing to confirm if all he said was [tense] true because he want [tense] us to start the transfer ASAP [should be spelled out].

You are to send a scan [tense] copy of your driver's licence [this is the British spelling of the word that is used by an American government agency] or national ID [abbreviation improper] for proper confirmation.Please ,get back to us as soon as possible to know if we are to get Mr Fred Atkinson Arrested [lower case] for trying to claim your fund illegally.note that you have been given just 48hrs to get back to us .

fill the Information Below. [incorrect use of capitals]
House Address:
Phone Number:

We await your swift response in regard to this news we received from Mr.Fred Atkinson

U.S. Department of the Treasury
Sanusi Kayode.

In addition to the numerous composition errors, Mr. Kayode does not provide his title. His email message did not contain a reply address. And he does not indicate which Treasury office location is where he is located. The Treasury Department has at least one office in each state.

There are a number of ways to contact the Treasury Department by phone. Mr. Kayode's phone number doesn't seem to match any of the ones listed.

The Treasury Department also has a division that can be contacted to learn whether it is holding unclaimed federal funds for individuals. Their website can be searched. It should also be noted that each state has a department for unclaimed funds.

Incidentally, a lawyer does not have a right to a client's (current or past) unclaimed property. To claim the property would be a form of unjust enrichment. It isn't clear why Mr. Kayode is giving legal advice in his letter of notification. He does nothing to identify himself as a member of the legal staff in the Treasury Department.

After experiencing this correspondence, there are probably questions going through your mind about various forms of property, such as
  • life insurance benefits
  • real estate
  • intellectual property rights
  • tax refunds
  • insurance overpayments
and other types of funds and properties. There is a page on that provides many answers to these types of questions. We've meandered away from copy editing and proofreading but when your writer comes from many backgrounds and wears several hats, you get bonus information. No matter what, do your own research to confirm that the information is correct.


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