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December 17, 2012

Darn it! Missed the Deadline!
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:28 PM * 52 comments

Oh well, Mr. FBI Man, I guess you gotta arrest me…..

See also: What the Email Fairy Brought

Obvious Nigerian Scam is obvious. As discussed here, Study: Obvious Nigerian scam emails appear that way for a reason, they’re obviously, stupidly, crudely, fraudulent so that the scammers won’t have to waste their time with people who aren’t completely gullible.

(Did you know that the word “gullible” isn’t in the dictionary?)

Anyway, back to cases. Seems the FBI is poised to arrest me. Found in my spam folder (printed in full with complete headers below the fold)….


To: (no to)
From: “FBI OFFICE”
Subject: FBI NOTICE KINDLY ++++READ MESSAGE FOR MORE DETAILS TO AVOID ARRESTING YOU
Date Sent: Sun, 18 Nov 2012 20:36:22 -0800
Date Recd: Wed, 21 Nov 2012 08:34:48 -0600
Spam ID: [Headers]: Missing or invalid TO address
Received: from mail.dubricks.com (mail.dubricks.com [65.182.107.158])
for 1 recipient by smtp.sff.net (Greyware Mailman 1.5.b.20120320R)
with ESMTP ID ;
Wed, 21 Nov 2012 08:34:45 -0600
Received: from User (adsl-99-101-135-250.dsl.lsan03.sbcglobal.net [99.101.135.250]) by mail.dubricks.com with SMTP; Mon, 19 Nov 2012 08:36:24 +0400
Reply-To:
From: “FBI OFFICE”
Subject: FBI NOTICE KINDLY ++++READ MESSAGE FOR MORE DETAILS TO AVOID ARRESTING YOU
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2012 20:36:22 -0800
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
charset=”Windows-1251”
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
X-Exempt-Data: No
X-Exempt-IP: No
Message-ID:
X-rDNS-Check: mail.dubricks.com
X-Envelope-From: ic3[fbi.gov]
X-Renamed-Executables: No
X-Disabled-Scripts: No
X-Spam-Identifier: [Headers]: Missing or invalid TO address

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division
Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.

20535-0001
Website: www.fbi.gov

Attention Beneficiary

This is the final warning you are going to receive

from me do you get me? I hope you understand how many

times this message has been sent to you?.

We have warned you so many times and you have decided

to ignore our e-mails or because you believe we have

not been instructed to get you arrested and today if

you fail to respond back to us with the payment

details below,then we would first send a letter to the

MAYOR of the city where you reside and direct them to

close your bank account until you have been jailed and

all your properties will be confiscated by the FBI,CIA

and other enforcement agency. We would also send a

letter to the company/agency that you are working for

so that they could get you fired until we are through

with our investigations because a suspect is not

suppose to be working for the government or any

private organization.

Your ID which we have in our database have been sent

to all the crimes agencies in America for them to

inset you in their website as an internet fraudsters

and to warn people from having any deals with you.

This would have been solved all this while if you had

gotten the CERTIFICATE SIGNED,ENDORSED AND STAMPED as

you where instructed in the e-mail below. This is the

federal bureau of investigation (FBI) am writing in

response to the e-mail you sent to us and am using

this medium to inform you that there is no more time

left to waste because you have been given a mandate.

As stated earlier to have the document endorsed,

signed and stamped without failure and you must adhere

to this directives to avoid you blaming yourself at

last when we must have arrested and jailed you for

life and all your properties confiscated.

You failed to comply with our directives/instruction

and that was the reason why we didn’t hear from you,

as our director has already been notified about you

get the process completed yesterday and right now the

WARRANT OF ARREST has been signed against you and it

will be carried out in the next 48hours as strictly

signed by the FBI director. We have investigated and

found out that you didn’t have any idea when the

fraudulent deal was committed with your

information’s/identity and right now if you ID is

placed on our website as a wanted person, I believe

you know that it will be a shame to you and your

entire family because after then it will be announce

in all the local channels that you are wanted by the

FBI.

As a good Christian and a Honest man, I decided to see

how i could be of help to you because i would not be

happy to see you end up in jail and all your

properties confiscated all because your information’s

was used to carry out a fraudulent transactions, i

called the EFCC and they directed me to a private

attorney who could help you get the process done and

he stated that he will endorse, sign and stamp the

document at the sum of $98 usd only and i believe this

process is cheaper for you.

You need to do every possible thing today and tomorrow

to get this process done because our director has

called to inform me that the warrant of arrest has

been signed against you and once it has been approved,

then the arrest will be carried out, and from our

investigations we learnt that you were the person that

forwarded your identity to one impostor/fraudsters in

Nigeria when he had a deal with you about the transfer

of some illegal funds into your bank account which is

valued at the sum of $10.500,000.00 usd.

I pleaded on your behalf so that this agency could

give you till 11/26/2012 so that you could get this

process done because i learnt that you were sent

several e-mail without getting a response from you,

Bear it in mind that this is the only way that i can

be able to help you at this moment or you would have

to face the law and its consequences once it has

befall on you. You would make the payment through

western union money transfer with the below details.

RECEIVER’S NAME: UZOUKWU CLETUS

ADDRESS: LAGOS NIGERIA

TEXT QUESTION: IN GOD

ANSWER: WE TRUST

AMOUNT: $98

Senders Full Name:

Sender Full Address:

MTCN:

Send the payment details to me which are senders name

and address, mtcn number, text question and answer

used and the amount sent. Make sure that you didn’t

hesitate making the payment down to the agency by

today so that they could have the certificate

endorsed, signed and stamped immediately without any

further delay. After all this process has been carried

out, then we would have to proceed to the bank for the

transfer of your compensation funds which is valued at

the sum of $10.500,000.00 usd which was suppose to

have been transferred to you all this while.

Note all the crimes agencies have been contacted on

this regards and we shall trace and arrest you if you

disregard this instructions. You are given a grace

today to make the payment for the document after which

your failure to do that will attract a maximum arrest

and finally you will be appearing in court for act of

terrorism,money laundering and drug trafficking

charges, so be warned not to try any thing funny

because you are been watched.

THANKS FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION.

ROBERT S. MUELLER III
FBI DIRECTOR


Comments on Darn it! Missed the Deadline!:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 10:16 PM:

Dude! They’re gonna sic all the crimes agencies on you!

#2 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 10:50 PM:

Didn't know the mayor of Colebrook had the power to shut down bank accounts. Is he also the owner of the bank?

#3 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 10:51 PM:

Yeah, I know. And just because I didn't pick up the $10.5 million I had coming to me.

Tell you what, FBI. Keep the money. Put it toward the national debt or buying emblematic playing cards for Air Force One or something, 'kay?

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 10:53 PM:

Obvious spam is obvious. But amusing, for some values of amusing.

I wonder if they've ever sent it to any actual FBI employees?

#5 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 11:29 PM:

Every so often I am very tempted to answer one of these letters just for shits and giggles. I love the fractured English and explanations of what the problem is, like the ladies who have cancer and are dying in two months. I know there are people who believe these things and screw up their lives but I find them to be great entertainment.

#6 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 11:41 PM:

Did you know that the word "gullible" isn’t in the dictionary?

Yes, actually. It was removed on 04/01/1998.

#7 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 11:53 PM:

PurpleGirl @5, are you familiar with guy who answered back, claiming to be a character from HP Lovecraft?

#8 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 12:03 AM:

Avram -- I didn't know about that one. I know other people(fans) have answered and kept the correspondence going for a while. They make me laugh. I'll read the Lovecraftian example. Thanks.

#9 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 01:02 AM:

While flawed, the epic poem FBI NOTICE KINDLY ++++ can be considered a modern conceptual guerilla poetry; a Nigerian e.e. cummings, if you will. It's an inspired work, falling just short of brilliance.

The poem opens with a desperate pean to the reader, trying ineffectually to bridge the gulf between strangers:

"This is the final warning you are going to receive
from me do you get me? I hope you understand how many
times this message has been sent to you?."

Breaking the 4th wall, the author then moves on to self-referential irony, criticizing the reader in their own place, incorporating the theme of the dehumanization of the modern, technological age:

" Your ID which we have in our database have been sent
to all the crimes agencies in America for them to
inset you in their website as an internet fraudsters
and to warn people from having any deals with you."

Then the author proceeds to express the yearning for a common moral frame of reference in a modern, amoral age:

"As a good Christian and a Honest man, I decided to see
how i could be of help to you because i would not be"

If there is one element which prevents FBI NOTICE KINDLY ++++ from achieving true masterwork status is its resort to a metaphor of Christian salvation in the conclusion, which seems cheap after its radical, materialist opening:

"You are given a grace
today to make the payment for the document after which
your failure to do that will attract a maximum arrest"

Still, an excellent work and well worthy of its pending publication in the New Yorker. We look forward to the author's upcoming bound volume, PLEASE RESPOND URGENTLY PLEASE!!!!

#10 ::: Josh Berkus has fallen afoul of the Gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 01:03 AM:

Unsurprising, given the length of the comment. Hopefully I shall be freed soon! I bring sardines and Hob-Nobs as bribes!

#11 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 07:10 AM:

Google "fbi anti-piracy virus computer locked" for examples of a more credible attack (or follow this link for a description, and advise how to remove it once it's struck).

This particular virus locks your computer screen and redirects your browser to a bogus FBI Anti-Piracy screen where you're told unauthorized copyrighted material (or depending on the version of the virus, child pornography) has been detected on your computer, and you have 48 hours to pay a $200 fine (via MoneyPak) to unlock it.

Needless to say, this is a bad idea for several reasons.

Saw this at work recently — the victim, an intern, was certain his job was at risk and was set to pay the $200. He was talked out of this, and the IT department was able to get a grip on it. They said it most likely came from an infected website, and probably loaded itself in the background without any action on the part of the victim (i.e, he did not need to click on any links or open any files).

One of the other links I followed up on my Google research suggested that the virus (or at least one of its versions) uses Flash, and would turn on your webcam (telling you the FBI could use the video as evidence to identify the guilty party). It sounded like a Flash-blocker on your browser would provide protection.

#12 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 07:35 AM:

I love the implication that the Director of the FBI[*] is suffering from some kind of extreme split personality disorder, to the point where he's calling himself up on the phone ("our director has called to inform me that the warrant of arrest has been signed against you").

[*] Of course the email is from the Director -- he signed it himself! What more proof do you need?

#13 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 08:57 AM:

I got one once which claimed to be from someone who had been hired to kill me, but they had had a change of heart and were willing to give it up and hand over all the evidence implicating the person who had ordered the hit so I could sue them for a 5 figure sum. I was also instructed not to go to the police as they were watching me.

I'm not dead, so it must have been a scam. Also, if I had evidence that someone was trying to have me killed? Sueing them would not be in the top 5 things I would do. Maybe after they've been covicted.

#14 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 09:37 AM:

I think you don't have to pay the money, "because you have been given a mandate." Everyone knows that if you have a mandate, you can do whatever you like with no consequences.

Josh Berkus @ 9: I find it reminiscent of the work of the poet Ewan McTeagle.

#15 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 12:10 PM:

Be very wary of the Owerri folk.

#16 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 01:22 PM:

You would make the payment through western union money transfer with the below details.
RECEIVER’S NAME: UZOUKWU CLETUS
ADDRESS: LAGOS NIGERIA
TEXT QUESTION: IN GOD
ANSWER: WE TRUST
AMOUNT: $98

I find this "text question" puzzling. Is this part of the protocol for sending money by Western Union?

#17 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 01:40 PM:

Bill Higgins -- the text question is an alternate option for recipients who can't provide photo ID.

#18 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 04:33 PM:

Here's the thing... when you identify their targets as "completely gullible", that sounds suspiciously like victim-blaming to me. I'd say they are targeting people of doubtful or compromised mental competence. (I say "compromised" to indicate temporary impairments or excursions, such as stress or crisis situations.)

#19 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 04:44 PM:

...that sounds suspiciously like victim-blaming to me.

Well, it isn't. Your suspicions are unfounded and, frankly, insulting.

#20 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 05:26 PM:

I apologize for any insult I may have given, and I assure you it was unintentional. (My preceding note was dashed off as I was getting dragged out for a walk by my dog, so, hasty.)

My point remains that the degree of gullibility needed to be taken by one of those, would at least raise suspicion of actual impaired judgement, and a lot of the stories I've heard involve just that -- one type includes elderly people edging into dementia, and folks with a history of being cheated big-time. But the other type is more interesting... that's people who are panicked -- they're already scared about some life situation, and that's left them with their critical faculties suppressed. Poverty is an obvious risk factor for that, but... well, these days there's plenty of fear and anxiety to go around.

#21 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 05:30 PM:

There are also people so completely honest themselves that they can't imagine someone lying.

#22 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 06:49 PM:

Jim Macdonald #21: There are also people so completely honest themselves that they can't imagine someone lying.

Jim, the consequent there does not follow.

I'm closer to that than most folks -- you may recall I'm on the autistic spectrum. But even the most honest person will eventually be lied to, and most will discover that not every claim made by a stranger can be trusted. I was late learning that, but I did get there eventually. No matter how honest someone is, the incapacity to learn (even delayed) that others sometimes aren't, is a significant mental deficit in its own right. (Yes, that sort of thing is part of what makes autism a handicap or disability, according to degree.)

I seriously resent seeing these shysters explicitly target my own "there but for the Grace of God" crowds, including not only "more autistic" people, but folks with compromised judgement by various causes. Interestingly, the biggest con I ever fell for wasn't that sort of bold-faced deceit, it was a hormone-assisted hard-sell on a overpriced "dating service" (that didn't provide much actual "service"). Still sleazy, but it doesn't offend me half as much as the Nigerian pattern.

#23 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 07:31 PM:

Still, the scammers need a mechanism to rapidly discard the people who won't send them money. If they can do that early, so that they'll only hear from the people who are likely to send them money, that saves them time.

How are we to describe the folks who don't see through these things instantly? Or the ones who truly believe that they won a lottery that they hadn't entered, or who wind up sending thousands of dollars to beautiful young ladies (or handsome young gentlemen) that they met on-line?

No one says they're at fault; the scammers are, and the scammers are constantly working on perfecting their art. The misspellings, the tortured grammer, then, are put in place to keep away the folks who will only waste the scammers' time rather than send money.

The reason marks are called "marks" dates to the old days of carnivals: As each person paid their dntry fee, the fellow at the ticket booth would run a simple, deniable, short-change scam on them. Those who didn't catch on, a big bluff fellow would come along and slap them on the back, leaving a chalk mark on the person's shoulder. That mark would alert all the other grifters that here was a pigeon ready for plucking on the grounds that someone who would fall for one scam would likely fall for another.

#24 ::: Dan Boone ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 08:44 PM:

PurpleGirl #5 wrote: "Every so often I am very tempted to answer one of these letters just for shits and giggles."

There is, or was, a whole community of people who do/did just that. Their specialty was reverse-scamming the scammers into taking humiliating photos of themselves, as facilitated by language barriers and cultural unfamiliarties. One URL that will probably make excellent gnome-food:

http://www.419eater.com/html/trophy_room.htm

#25 ::: Dan Boone fed some 419Eaters to the Gnomes, with predictable results ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 08:45 PM:

Whoopsie. :(

#26 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 09:20 PM:

Jim, it's just predatory behavior, looking for an "easy kill": that is, the most vulnerable among us. Your (interesting) origin for the term "mark" amounts to the same thing with a cooperating pack.

But to steal a line from Teresa's quotefile, society is meant to be more forgiving than a state of nature. This sort of victimization is the antithesis of protecting our weak, and dammit, I want there to be something we can do about it. :-(

#28 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 09:23 PM:

Dave, part of what I'm doing with this is putting up the full text of the spam so that anyone Googling on any of the key phrases will find it here, clearly labeled as a scam.

One of ML's areas of interest is fraud.

That's my small part of trying to protect folks. Knowledge, power, you know.

#29 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 09:56 PM:

"There are also people so completely honest themselves that they can't imagine someone lying."

I don't believe that.

#30 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:05 PM:

Dave Harmon@18, Jim isn't saying that the scammers are looking for somebody who's gullible because of some specific personality defect; they don't care about that unless it lets them roll a better story. This isn't about "gullible-with-negative-connotations", or victim-blaming, it's victim-choosing strategy about "will they believe our scam and send us money without us wasting too much of our time?"

Some Nigerian scams are intended to get some money in one transaction, such as getting bank account information so they can steal all the money. The bigger scams are intended to find a victim and keep deceiving them into sending more and more money. Because getting to the big payoff takes time, effort, and often multiple actors, they only want to do that much work if they have somebody who will believe their lies and not back out before sending the larger chunk of money at the end.

I think Jim's probably right that the bad spelling is a deliberate selection tactic. Painful as it is to read, it's a really quick way to identify that kind of spam.

#31 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:06 PM:

"Still, the scammers need a mechanism to rapidly discard the people who won't send them money. If they can do that early, so that they'll only hear from the people who are likely to send them money, that saves them time."

It sure sounds reasonable when you say this but...

How much does the obviously fraudulent nature of the messages spur people to craft false replies in order to goading the scammer such as we've seen in this thread? I would think that the idiotic ones are more of a prompt to false replies because they seem funnier and of course when one reads them there is a sense of dealing with an idiot which makes people feel more powerful and able to fool their correspondent.

So if they want to get rid of gullible people what does it say that they are so seemingly gullible themselves to spend so much time on obviously fraudulent replies?

I'm guessing that the scammers are themselves being scammed by some higher ups, that these are the gullible get rich quick nigerians who have bought the equivalent of a work from home for 3 hours a day and earn 20,000 dollars a month booklet.

#32 ::: Jeremy Leader sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:11 PM:

bryan @31: That's an interesting idea, supported by the fact that the spam I see seems to come in waves, with variations. This suggests that every so often a new edition of "Make Money at Home via Email" comes out, gets sold to a bunch of people, they all implement their own variations of the recipes in the book, and perhaps the cleverer ones do A/B testing on variants of the recipes. So I'll see a batch of "The FBI's going to arrest you" variants, then a batch of "I'm dying of cancer and want to send my money to a charity", and so on. Some of the buyers of the books are more persistent than others, so any particular style of letter tends to linger on even after most of the scammers have moved on to the next recipe.

#33 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:17 PM:

Jeremy, did you really see spam?

#34 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:22 PM:

No, sorry! And I just did that on 2 threads, didn't I? (What's the emoticon for a sheepish face?)

#35 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:24 PM:

Jim #28: Ah, I had not thought of your posting in that light... thanks for doing what you can!

The other thing about these predators is they don't actually need a weak victim, if they can catch their victim at a weak moment.

As they say, anyone can fall for the right con, at the right moment. Here at ML, the misspelled 409 scams are entertaining, but I suspect for most of us, Fletcher & Co. strike closer to home.

And everyone has weak periods. I'm dreading that my Mom will get conned as she ages. Probably not by one of these, but there are other categories she might be more vulnerable to, and I'll leave it there. Even for myself -- I'm partly protected by poverty (as in "I can't afford it" is somewhat reflexive), and have a pretty good bullshit meter, but I have my own vulnerabilities too, and even know some of them. ;-)

#36 ::: Dave Harmon has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:27 PM:

Probably spaces. Crackers with Speculoos butter? I finally got to the new Trader Joe's yesterday... "near me" across a godawful highway intersection.

#37 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 10:34 PM:

Jeremy Leader #32: Some groups may also be coordinated by gang leaders or the equivalent. There's clearly some adaptation to current U.S. conditions, IIRC we've seen waves of house and job spam as those became bigger issues, and disasters get their waves too.

#38 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2012, 12:13 AM:

Dave H., #35: Other things that lead to increased gullibility are lack of computer-savvy and a reflexive belief in the probity of Authority. I give daily thanks that my father died when spam was still just about selling crappy products rather than phishing -- all it would have been taken would have been ONE phish e-mail claiming to be from some entity with whom he actually did have an account, and he'd have been as cleaned out as Mother Hubbard's cupboard. After all, why would his bank (or whatever) lie to him?

I'm also curious about whether it's as painful for someone with dyslexia to read these things as it is for me.

#39 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2012, 08:46 AM:

Lee #38: Lack of computer-savvy is why I worry about my Mom -- she's pretty canny in RW situations, but on the computer she has real trouble with "modes" and frames, and little sense of "what belongs to who". Somehow she's managed to avoid Trojans so far....

I suspect dyslexics would find them about as frustrating as I find listening to heavily-distorted speech/song.

#40 ::: Sandra Bond ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2012, 08:20 AM:

Jim@23: hadn't heard that particular etymology before, so thanks. But it does raise the issue of why it's a bad thing, rather than a good thing, to be called a "no-mark".

#41 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2012, 12:00 PM:

Sandra, I'm afraid I don't know what "no-mark" means. Context?

#42 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2012, 09:53 PM:

There are also interesting combinations of those risk factors, too. The elderly mother of a friend of mine nearly sent $16,000 overseas a few months ago, having been fooled by the "Help, I'm stuck in [European country] and my passport and wallet were stolen" scam. The lady whose email account the message came from is also elderly, lives in a rural area and never travels, so Elderly Mother picked up her phone.

Coincidentally, something had gone wrong with Elderly Friend's phone line that day, and when she didn't answer, that confirmed Elderly Mother's fears. My friend and her mother are kind, generous, honest souls, only computer literate enough to check email, and it didn't even occur to them that it might be a scam.

Thankfully someone stopped Elderly Mother before she sent a good chunk of her savings to a scammer, but the incident made it much easier to see how people can be taken in. It doesn't even take stupidity; the right combination of naivete, a false sense of urgency and luck (on the spammer's part) does just as well.

#43 ::: Sandra Bond ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2012, 02:16 AM:

Jim@41: to be a "no-mark" means that you are a person of no great account, though with overtones of wishing that you were, or believing that you are. "I'm not going to the Underbelly tonight. All the bands playing are no-marks." (See also this citation).

#44 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2012, 04:58 AM:

Just saw your post Jim. Wow, just wow. I never get such epics in my spam box. What I get is these annoying e-mails saying that my Yahoo e-mail is about to be canceled if I don't contact them---which is read online in my Yahoo mailbox. If there actually was an issue, Yahoo could open up a chat window and tell me about it. Other spam is of the "Men with bigger breasts" variety.

Meanwhile, I have survived 12/21/12, or the world ended and we're all in a simulation of some sort.

#45 ::: Wyman Cooke has been gnomed for the first time ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2012, 05:02 AM:

I have apparently used Words Of Power. Now, if only I could use them to grow my bank account....

#46 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2012, 06:34 AM:

Wyman Cooke @45
Now, if only I could use them to grow my bank account...

Step away from the precipice, Wyman.

#47 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2012, 03:51 AM:

Persephone @42, that happened to my mother. It was just plausible enough, and the vile people who run these cons are very, very good at picking up on what's said by their mark to reinforce their story. Mum was totally ready to send a wad of money to what she thought was a police station in Vancouver to free her grandchild from official clutches until she hung up the phone and thought, "This isn't right." And so she called me instead.

I was livid. They didn't get her money, but they made her feel afraid and foolish. It wasn't her fault, and so I told her. There'd been a rash those sorts of calls at the time, it was on the local news so I'd been aware it was happening. Interviews with bewildered elderly people who'd sent their savings off to strangers, thinking they were rescuing a loved one in trouble.

I have no words strong enough to describe what I think of people who would do such things for money.

#48 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2012, 07:56 AM:

Teresa (and others) wrote a bunch of Nigerian-scam poetry in this thread from 2005.

#49 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2012, 05:01 PM:

I got a genuine 419 letter on paper with a stamp a couple of weeks ago! Maybe I should frame it.

#50 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2012, 06:21 PM:

Shortly after Katrina, we entered our household in a listing of available temp crash space for evacuees. Thus we crossed paths with a perpetrator of one of the frequent scams of that situation.

The would-be roommate offered to send us a rent check if we'd specify how much we expected. After I wrote back saying that no rent was required, she vanished from all correspondence.

At the time, I had no clue. Only later did I realize that our correspondent was probably trying to run this sort of scam. The email I received enjoyed better use of the language and her attendant grammar than most examples, but many of the other dots lined up.

Apparently I was gullible enough to fall for it (or at least to not clue in until later), but not interested enough in the bait to suit the scammer's purposes.

#51 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2012, 07:23 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little #50: Yeah... there's a formal name for that type (trying to trade a bad check for good money), but it escapes me at the moment. Amusing how it gets foiled by genuine charity.

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