A new kind of spam?

I received the following two emails, from two different senders, nine minutes apart today:

Dear Researcher,

My name is *** and I am a 2nd year student at Aga Khan
University Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan. I am looking for a 8
week elective (July-Aug 2008) research experience under your
supervision that will give me the opportunity to gain an extremely
valuable learning experience while at the same time being able to make
a constructive contribution to your project. I believe doing research
in a foreign country will give me invaluable experience and broaden my
horizons. I am hopeful that you will be able to provide me with some
assistance in this mission.

I came across your research profile during recent literature searches
and your area of interest attracted me immensely. My own interests lie
in the same field as yours. I have been reading up on your projects
and research and am really fascinated by them. Even though they are
very complicated and as just a 2nd year student I am unable to
understand them fully. Still, I am confident that if given the chance, I
can prove to be a valuable asset to your team.

I am attaching my resume and hope that you can find the time to look
through it and accommodate me in your project.

Thank you for your consideration.


Dear Professor,

I hope this letter finds you in the best of your health and spirits!

I am a second year medical student at the Aga Khan University School of Medicine, Karachi, Pakistan. I am extremely interested in completing my upcoming summer research elective at your Department.

Sir, I came across your research profile while going through recent literature and was really impressed by your research work. I really want to learn more and gain experience in this field, so I would like to apply for a position of a research assistant in your research team, for a period of 4-8 weeks, starting from 25 th June 2008 onwards. I am currently doing research on virulence markers of H.Pylori here at the AKU School of Medicine and am familiar with most basic lab techniques-my full credentials being in my curriculum vitae which I have attached to this e-mail. Working at your renowned institution will be an honor and an extremely valuable learning experience for me. I am also confident that I shall be able to become a useful and effective part of your research group. I would really appreciate it if you could help me in this regard.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

With best regards,

The first letter is amusing in that it has no content whatsoever; the second seems to more traditional spam in that it picks an arbitrary topic (“H.Pylori”) in the hope of grabbing a random reader of the email.

Needless to say, I didn’t open the “Word document” attachment of either email!

6 thoughts on “A new kind of spam?

  1. Seems like spam for the reasons that you outlined, but I wonder if we should expect to see more resumes being sent by the thousands from developing countries as the residents there become more educated.

    My father received one very similar generic email from Bangladesh (?) a couple of months ago and he didn't know what to make of it. He replied with some links to the sender that might help them find suitable research opportunities here in Canada.

  2. I wonder what form of scam this might be.

    At the simplest level, it might be somebody looking to get a job/sponsor so they can get to the states.

    But it might turn into one of these Nigerian-type scams — e.g. getting a "check" to buy an airline ticket here and send it to him, etc.

    Or, it might be a virus-type scam, with the enclosed file.

    I'm curious … but not THAT curious!

  3. I used to get quite a few of these from India a few years ago and somebody explained to me that they are obliged to study abroad for at least a few weeks. Certainly not every student has to do it, but I guess it might increase their chances to get a stipend, some position or something like that.

    Is there anybody from that part of the world reading this blog?

  4. Yes, I am indeed form that part of the world that the professor received emails from. And to speak of the truth, we are not sitting idle out here sending spams and virus-scams. In my case, I have seen that we have few opportunities in lab research and that's why I wanted to apply to the States. I did get a few encouraging replies, but not stipends and the professors said that they would be unable to fund because they would better like to fund their local students. I mean what selection criteria is this, when every medical school website says that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin. Some of us students are actually quite hard-working but do not have enough finances to support ourselves that's why we ask for stipends… Let's see who is more broad-minded, after years of hard-work professors often forget how they themselves started off!

Comments are closed.