Assassins aren’t after you

There are approximately 204 million emails sent every minute. The majority of these are spam/phishing emails. The 1st spam ever sent was in 1978, the year I was born. Coincidence?

The sheer amount of spam/phishing emails means that some work and that someone is making money. Please do your part and tell your less technologically inclined friends and family that they’re not getting emails from real Nigerian princes. Also, explain that there is a variety of tactic out there, such as false emails from banks, etc.

Talking about phishing emails, this is a real story that took place a few years ago now.


I received a call from a co-worker (let’s call her Sonia) one morning. She was visibly shaken. Her usually positive voice trembled on the line and she was whispering.

Sonia explained that she received an email informing her that someone had paid to have her killed, but if she gives her credit card information, the assassin, will take double the payment offered by the first party and let her live. She goes on to explain that there are strict instructions not to contact the police and that he is watching her.

I knew right away that it was a phishing email and there was no real threat other than the attempt to rip her off. Without thinking, my sarcasm got involved and I asked her how he knows that she isn’t on the phone with the police right now. She immediately hung up on me.

I made my way to her cubicle knowing that I would find her frozen in her seat unsure what to do. I really should have known she wouldn’t hear the humour in my voice when I replied. It was obviously a phishing email and I couldn’t believe that anyone would actually fall for it.

I get to the department and the three employees working in that area are visibly shaken and afraid to move. I was hoping that at least one of them would be the voice of reason. Sophie is in tears. She is certain she will die. I tell her there’s nothing to worry about. No one has actually paid an assassin. That it’s spam. She still doesn’t quite believe me.

The only way to calm her down is to positioned my body between her and the window and she ran to safety. After reassuring her that if it was an assassin, I would have been shot by now and showing her how to tell if an email is a phishing email, she calmed down and then got furious that someone would do something like this.

I’ve got to admit that it was an original one.

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