Monday, August 6, 2007

My Pee Wee Iz Sad

A few days ago, I posted a few e-mails I received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (riiiiiight). Anyone who has ever opened an e-mail account and been spammed has seen this. In the event someone somewhere out there is reading this and has not, the e-mail purports to tell you that millions of dollars are due you through either some obscure business contract or inheritance. Once you engage in communication with these guys, they will ask you to wire them a fee so they can release the funds to you. The fee is usually a few thousand dollars, which is peanuts compared to the millions coming your way.

My initial plan was to string them along as much as possible and getting as absurd as possible along the way. I even gave them the phone number to Empire Carpets as my own. I felt like a hot chick at a bar giving a loser my phone number.

I've decided to back off from this plan when I discovered many others before me who have done it better than I ever could. I was surprized to discover it even has a name! Scambaiting.

Check out these two websites...

Advance Fee Fraud (AFF) is known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes. The above picture is from 419 Eater's Trophy Room. Scambaiters will ask their scammers to send them pics holding signs they compose to prove it's really them. Usually, the sign is the fake name of the scam baiter, in this case, Peewee Izad.

I love what these people are doing and applaud them. If you decide to follow in their footsteps, read their tips page first. You are, after all, dealing with criminals. You need to protect yourself.

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about what they do. Yes, it is absolutely wrong and criminal. However, it's also very boneheadedly simple to see through the scam. Hmm, the president of the Central Bank of Nigeria has a Yahoo account? Hmm, a financial institution with international dealings, can't hire a decent English translator who knows how to use spellcheck? Plus, in order to try to cash in on your millions, you need to lie to the liars and tell them that, yes, their records are correct, and they owe you millions of dollars. A sucker is born every minute and a fool and his money are soon parted.

In my last response to these guys, I straight up told them I knew it was a scam and sincerely asked them some questions about what they do - Where are they really? How much do they pull in from this? Do they work alone? - stuff like that. I haven't heard back from anyone yet. Probably won't.

By the way, this scam existed way before the internet. I fell for it myself in college. I received a postcard in the mail saying I definitely won one of several valuable prizes ranging from a brand new Fiero (which I was really jonesing for) to new appliances or a vacation. They would send the prize to me, but I wouldn't know what it was until I received it. Oh, the suspense! Not sure how they would pop a Fiero in the mail, but I just knew one was coming my way. In order to pick it up at the post office, I needed to pay an "insurance fee" for my valuable prize. The fee was $300, which really set me back big at the time. I was so excited, I opened the envelope right there in the post office. It was the one thing on the list I wasn't interested in. Valuable gems! They weren't. They were a few pieces of colorful cut crystal tinier than a mole on my butt. I felt so humiliated. I pleaded my case to the postal worker at the counter and she said she couldn't help me. They asked for a fee for me to pick up the envelope and I paid it. Simple as that. I felt like such a chump and I should have seen it coming.
A sucker is born every minute and a fool and his money are soon parted.


On Saturday, I asked...

"A new sex education program in Maryland is coming under fire. Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum claim it does what?"

  • Promotes Promiscuity - Nope. Being a teenager with a boner is what promotes promiscuity.
  • Promotes Birth Control - It does do that, but that wasn't the complaint.
  • Means the students are getting it on more than their parents - This is a given. These people are uptight and need to get jiggy.
  • Promotes Homosexuality - Tah-Dah!
According to the Washington Post, the new sex ed curriculum for Montgomery County in Maryland supports tolerance, which, as far as the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum are concerned, promotes homosexuality. One of the statements in the curriculum they really have a problem with is “Children are not born hating; they learn to hate and fear from messages they receive growing up”.

Maybe we should leave education to the educators.