Book Club: Dot Con
Dot Con by James Veitch
I’ve been following James Veitch’s comedy since I first discovered his hilarious TED Talk about responding to scam emails. He’s gone on to perform on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien’s shows but I’ve always come back to his “Scamalot” channel on Youtube where he details how he responds to scam emailers. When I first heard he had a book out on his exploits with email scammers, I knew I had to read it to get the deets!
Dot Con is the story of what happened when James Veitch decided to play the scammers at their own game providing a hilarious showcase of the conversations he orchestrates with online impostors. Naturally James replies with an offer of help ready to wire money by Western Union (it's always Western Union) safely and securely but not before the recipient has given something in return. Whether it s his long-lost love recounting tales of their favorite moment together or the business man providing a quote for James' new book it s amazing to see how easy it can be to scam the scam artists.
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As much as I love James Veitch’s comedy, I’m not sure I loved this book. Maybe it’s because I scoured the web for all of his scam email videos and how he responds to them (and they really are hilarious), this book fell a bit flat. Each chapter is a different scam email he has received and how he responds to them. Now, don’ get me wrong - his responses are belly-bustingly funny. He really seems to take the scammers on a ride and really takes advantage of the fact that the scammers themselves don’t always know who they’re emailing either. He’s witty, he’s funny, and you really root for him to waste as much of the scammers’ time as possible because ever minute they’re emailing him is a minute they’re not emailing vulnerable adults out of their savings.
The problem is with me. I watched so many of his Youtube scam videos that I know generally how most of the correspondences end. Now, he gives a bit more details in his book that you never see in his videos but there is definitely a reason he left them out - they don’t really add anything to the narrative. There were a few scam emails that I never got to see at all in his videos but frankly, the emails are all so similar and the way he responds is also similar so it starts to feel a bit like reading variations of the same joke over and over.
I gave this book 3.5 stars out of 5 (rounded to 4 stars) on Goodreads because it was funny and I like Veitch, I just felt the emails could have been collected and compiled a bit better.