To Catch a Spammer

Earlier this week, federal agents incarcerated the worst guys to ever crap up your Inbox. For nearly a decade, Seattle Spam King Robert Soloway sent billions of illegal e-mails via hijacked computer networks. Some believe this prolific punk sent tens of millions of e-mails every day.

Alas, one fed’s prediction that we’d all see a subsequent drop in junk e-mail was not to be. For every Spam King deposed, a jillion more are ready to hack his zombie network and worm their evil way into your computer with all-capped promises never fulfilled, twisting your technology until it mindlessly bends to their every desire.

Tonight, “Dateline NBC” takes on society’s most vilified scumbags in an undercover investigation so secret, it never even happened.

ANYTOWN, USA – “LittleRichard48” and “GulAbleGal,” their screen names, are from, an online vigilante group that for the last six days has been jerking around professional spammers when they’re not playing World of Warcraft. Our hidden cameras set up, the first pretender to the Spam King thrown arrives, but his excuses are less than royal.

V1AGRA_4_LESS: I didn't know it was illegal.

Chris Hansen, “Dateline” correspondent: You didn't know it was illegal to sell Viagra without a prescription?

V1AGRA_4_LESS: It's not real Viagra! I would never do that. I just wrote "Viagra" on the outside of this Dentyne Ice pack.

Chris Hansen: So it's fraud?

V1AGRA_4_LESS: No! I, um, I decided I couldn't go through with it. I was just coming in to tell LittleRichard48 that I couldn't sell this to him.

Chris Hansen: You came all this way to tell him that. And you brought the fake Viagra with you? In chat you told him, "you'll keep ur lady happy for hours! no more embarrassment!" How was he going to do that with a pack of Dentyne Ice?

V1AGRA_4_LESS: I'm just... I'm sorry.

Hanging his head in shame, a remorseful V1AGRA_4_LESS leaves through the front door where he is tackled and Tasered on the lawn by federal agents who whisk him away before our next guest arrives — a spamming suitor preying on the perceived insecurities of “GulAbleGal.”

GulAbleGal: I left my Weight Watchers 32oz insulated mug upstairs – be right back! Can I get you a Cherry Vanilla Zero Calorie Dr. Pepper?

Lost100lbs_AskMeHow: Um, sure. Okay.

Chris Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen …

Lost100lbs_AskMeHow drops his case of Venezuelan counterfeit XENICAL and runs out the front door, where he is tackled and Tasered on the lawn by federal agents. The crew enjoys a two-liter Cherry Vanilla Zero Calorie Dr. Pepper before the next scumbag arrives …

…and then something unexpected happens -- mortgage69 tempted GulAbleGal with promises of no money down, that her credit history doesn’t matter, that she is guaranteed approval. But when mortgage69 shows up, no one is prepared for what happens next.

Chris Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen …

mortgage69: What are you doing in my house?

Chris Hansen: Did you send GulAbleGal an e-mail promising “Bad credit? No credit? Foreclosure? Bankruptcy?  Mortgages guaranteed! We’ll mortgage ANYONE!” And in this same e-mail to GulAbleGal, did you enclose this picture of a split level ranch?

mortgage69: I am GulAbleGal. This is my house.

Turns out that what we’ve stumbled on more than simple case of mortgage fraud. This is Identity Theft. So clever is this cyberspace criminal that briefly, “Dateline’s” own Chris Hansen finds himself wondering why he’s in mortgage69’s house. Producers are even compelled to ask mortgage69’s permission to continue the sting operation -- mortgage69 gives them the okay.

But our next visitor comes to take, not to give.

Chris Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen, and you’re no ~RichNigerianWidow~.

~RichNigerianWidow~: I am Mr. President Chief Bashier ManuManu and I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction. We are top official of the federal government contract review panel who are interested in importation of goods into our country with funds which are presently trapped in Nigeria. In order to commence this business we solicit your assitance to enable us transfer into your account the said trapped funds.

Chris Hansen: Given that the current president of Nigeria is Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who are you really?

~RichNigerianWidow~: Okay, here’s the truth. I have being paid $50,000 in adbance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer, it’s one I believe you call a friend …

Chris Hansen: I see …

RichNigerianWidow~: Do not try to contact police or F.B.I. … Hey! Who’s that guy on the phone ordering the iJoy massage chair and Donald Trump steaks from the Shaper Image catalog?

mortgage69: I’m Chris Hansen.

Chris Hansen, having had enough of this nonsense, leaves through the front door where he is tackled and Tasered on the lawn by federal agents.

Don’t miss the next “Dateline NBC,” when mortgage69 investigates the case of Some Guy Whose Wife Died Suspiciously And He Says He Had Nothing To Do With It.