A probation officer from Surrey has accidentally stumbled upon his true identity as a ‘spambot’ – built to randomly email strangers with barely legible special offers and enticing opportunities to work from home.
Donald Phleg (50) of Worplesdon began his voyage of discovery after attempting to purchase a pair of Michael Buble tickets online, for himself and his wife. Having entered the desired number of tickets and seating location, he was taken to a Captcha form, designed to ensure that Mr Phlegg was a sentient being.
‘I actually think I got the first one pretty much correct: I knew the words ‘Bougainville’ and ‘Bulbous’ but must have spelt one of them wrongly. After that the so-called ‘words’ that popped up just became more an more ridiculous: ‘Encribulantical’ and ‘Stoorf&889 , what the buggery are they? No matter how much I screwed my eyes up I couldn’t make them out; was that an ‘m’ or an ‘r’ and an ‘l’ butted together?’
Finally after twelve futile attempts to read and replicate the jauntily-angled words, the truth finally dawned on Mr Phlegg: ‘I must be an automated spamming device, cunningly programmed like that Harrison Ford chap to think that I was human. I mean whaat a piszEr!!! AMAZING DEALS SAVE $$$... sorry, what was I saying?’
Friends and family have rallied around to offer support to Mr Phlegg, who describes himself as ‘Clearly shaken but otherwise lacking any human emotions’. His wife Deidre has said that she will stand by her email-harvesting hubby, now that he has been fully tested for malicious viruses.
Donald’s employers have, however, given in to public pressure and ‘retired’ him. ‘To be honest I feel terrible letting him go’ admitted the head of Surrey Probation Services, Stanley Derek ‘But only this morning, I got a personal Twitter message from him. He told me that he had ‘already made $970 this week, lol!’ so it sounds like he’s doing just fine.’