It’s the over 70s I worry about. Take my mother, who’s well over 70, but got herself on a computer course and started writing emails. She called in a panic, and I had to explain to her that an email about her Barclays account being blocked wasn’t real. (She didn’t even have an account with Barclays, but still thought she’d done something horribly wrong.)

‘It’s people trying to swindle you,’ I said.

(Swindle is a good word that needs a regular airing, along with hoodwink.)

‘But how did they get my e-number?’ she asked.

Like I said, it’s not you and me who need the help.

I like to keep an eye on what the online swindlers are up to. They can easily steal your logo and copy your typeface. Your tone of voice is harder to imitate. Take this one, from today’s collection:

Dear Customer,

Your Amazon account including order (#206-520728-378921) has been placed on hold as we require further verification to allow us to process your order in a timely and secure manner.

We are unable to verify your address as your card issuer has declined your payment, as a result your amazon account has been temporarily locked until you complete the folowing verification checks.

Please Click Here to confirm your account.

Your Amazon account and order will remain locked until we can verify this information. Failure to verify your account within 7 days will result in your account being permanently closed.

Kind regards,
Richard Gail
Account Specialist

First of all, it’s now in almost perfect English, something the scammers have improved over the last year. But it’s not in Amazon English. They also spell Amazon with a lower case ‘a’ at one point, and following with one l.

Now Amazon’s writers are quite formal, but they don’t use passive language. At the risk of helping the swindlers, I’d say that the real Amazon would be more inclined to write something like:

As long as you verify your account in seven days, we can keep it open for you.

So how’s your inbox looking?

Spotted any good spam recently? Or worse, have you spotted anything leaving your organisation that’s so different from your usual tone of voice that people might mistake it for spam?