Published: June 13, 2002

Most felicitous greetings and please excuse in advance my intrusion into your present attentions! For some reason unknown to anyone, this is how we Spamanians syntax when proposing most critical business dealings to kind strangers. Thank you, yes!

Begging your allowance to introduce myself, for I am Igbay Uckersay, under-assistant secretary for foreign money transactions in the treasury department of Spamania. And I come to you this day with a very exclusive proposal for great mutual benefit. If indeed you are the morally superior person our investigations have indicated, you will not delete this message and move on to the next penis-enlargement or breast-enlargement e-mail offer. You will for now keep your small penis or small breasts as currently sized and allow me to relate my situation in full for your explaining. Thank you, yes!

During a routine audit of the provincial treasury of the Upper Spamanian Plateau region, my department came across a very large surplus fund kept over and hidden by the corrupt and discredited previous regime. These funds, which accrued from excise tax, general duties and flat-out bribes from select wool gatherers and snipe hunters in the Upper Spamanian Plateau now total $14M (Fourteen Million United States dollars, thank you, yes!) Very sadly, the treasury officials of the corrupt and discredited previous regime experienced a series of tragic and invariably fatal falls, accommodated most righteously by peasant cadres of the Upper Spamanian Defenestration Front. With the USDF now in disarray and former treasury officials not among us, this surplus fund now resides in a numbered account overseen by myself and other trustworthy officials.

Now, you may ask yourself: ''Why is Igbay Uckersay, an important under-assistant secretary of a prosperous foreign government, aware of my e-mail and wishing to message me? What have I done to merit the attention of the Spamanian government?''

We cannot, for national security reasons, specify exactly what actions have caused us to believe that you are a highly trustworthy person. But our selection process has been rigorous and we have been resolute in our determination to locate only the most highly qualified foreign partner. It is possible you did a kind turn for someone recently and were observed by an agent working in concert with our government and although you were unaware of it, your valor and trustworthiness have been noted. Perhaps something like that, thank you, yes!

You may naturally wonder if any person of sanity and clearmindedness would respond to the so-called ''Nigerian Letter'' scam. (''Scam'' is not a very nice word and we object most vigorously to it!) You should know a recent study by the FBI's cyber-fraud complaint Web site at found that more than 15 percent of all online fraud that gets reported consists of variants of the ''Nigerian Letter.'' (''Fraud'' also is not a very nice word and we object most vigorously to it!) And the median value of the cases reported to the complaint site was more than $5,000. We are not making this up. So yes, many thousands of your fellow citizens answer these letters every year!

Now I am privileged to extend this genuine opportunity to you! As a civil servant, I am not allowed to transfer these funds directly to bank accounts held by me within my nation. However there is NO PROHIBITION against you sending funds FROM a foreign account to me to hold in trust in anticipation for the time henceforth when I shall remit to you remainders of said trust.

Because you are so qualified as a trustworthy person non-native and non-resident to Spamania, it is not necessary for you to remit this in cash. We trust you to complete your end of this transaction. To facilitate this deal in utmost confidence and efficiency, please only supply by return e-mail your checking account number, credit card numbers and expiration dates, mother's maiden name and information on where we may obtain title to your primary residence or the indentured servitude of your firstborn child. This is all we require, thank you, yes!

Under no circumstances should you need to contact authorities in your government that protect the terminally clue-impaired against Internet fraud. That would only confuse them. We have cleared this confidential transaction with them already and have highest assurances of our satisfaction.

Our strategic agent in the United States, representing most confidentially our back-channel interests in Spamania, is deep undercover as an ordinary journalist -- a mediocre Internet columnist who amuses himself by dabbling in satire! (It is sad, no?) If you shall wish to expedite this arrangement, very kindly send all surplus funds immediately to this intermediary utilizing the contact information supplied below. Is he of deserving condition, you ask? Perhaps not. But with your kindness and support he may make it through another week, deeply grateful for any consideration, thank you, yes!

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