I'll Be Dawggoned...
My friend at the Denver Better Business Bureau sent me another email she'd received, suggesting that I needed to 'branch out' with my email scambaiting. The suggestion was made either ignorant of the fact I once fell out of a tree collecting firewood, or with tongue-in-cheek knowledge that I had done so. My BBB friend has that kind of humor streak in her.
See, she thought I should let a scammer 'sell' me a puppy. Witness the opening gambit by Dr. Benach Wuzzy (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Subject: adorable full AKC registration puppies for adoption
My name is Banach Wuzzy ,I am a consultant Gynecologist Surgeon and Oncologist Doctor i work for different prominent hospital and My late Grandma was a puppy breeder, She died about 4 months ago and she left 1 Female English Bulldog,2 Femaile Yorkshire puppies, and 1 male left behind one of which had a litter of 3 puppies, They are so cute Due to my job as a medical doctor do now allow me to take good care of these babies, I would have to love to take care of them by myself but i want to find them caring parent willing to adopt, i come across your email at online US Commerce of Chamber if you are interested please contact me immediate for details and information.
Dr. Banach Wuzzy (don't worry; the spelling of the first name will change to match the email address).
As I plotted my reply, I decide to stretch several angles of my reply, including involving (a) my pet rock (b) changing my name mid-scambait and (c) a sick twist at the end. What's the point of 'branching out', if I'm not willing to fall off the branch? Thus:
I absolutely love my pets. My cherished pet Seymour just passed away a few months ago, after 16 years in the family (note: Seymour's my pet rock I've only had for 8 years, and will out live me). I was devastated, and never felt I could have another like him (note: there's a whole lot like him, at the bottom of the rain gutter). Then I received your email, and something unexplained prompted me to reply (note: a good-natured *prod* from my BBB friend).
What are the details of your adoption process, and what do I need to do?
Jack N. Ewehoff
One day later, I get a positive response from Dr. BEnach Wuzzy, indicating that "I'm Locate somewhere around New Jersey State here in USA with the pups". Sounds like he attended Denver Public Skools when learning his geography. Anyway, he says that for a total of $345 (later $350, and then back and forth), I will receive "certified health certificate, vaccination and worming record, copy of USDA paper, AKC registration application for the puppy, its pedigree and your puppy's guarantee. also airline ticket, an approved carrier with a soft, comfortable bed, health certificate from my vet, a puppy pack including sample food your pup has been eating, a tube of nutri-cal, I also include a special gift to your puppy from me".
Whadda guy. And Banach/Benach -- hereafter Wuzzy -- will attach a photo of the puppy (supposed to with this email, but he forgets...repeatedly).
Well, if Wuzzy can change the spelling of his name, and be "Locate somewhere around New Jersey", I guess ol' Jack can make a few sudden changes too:
New Jersey? That's fine. I'm in Los Angeles, so air shipping will be easy, as I'll receive the puppy via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). And the price you've quoted -- $345 -- is quite reasonabull. I was prepared to pay more. However, you failed to attach the photo of the puppy. Send me the photo and a copy of the AKC registration papers you referenced. Once you've done that, I'll ask you for how/where to send you the funds.
Dr. Wuzzy didn't notice the change in name. In fact, in his next email, he urges me to send him my address, city, state, and nearest airport to ship the puppy. I fail to comply, telling him only that Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will serve just fine to send the puppy to. And while we're at it, you forgot to send a picture of the puppy again. Just like a gynecologist.
Wuzzy's reply ignored the gyne comment, but took a turn for the Wuzzy:
Hello thanks for the mail I went to Atlanta to see my vets doctor for a primate check up for the babies so that is why i slow to send picture, but now i send picture of your puppy how cute, yes. Vet check up is good so now we are ready for you to pay and ship the puppy and its good.
LMAO....the photo Wuzzy sent me was not of a Yorki (Yorkshire terrier), but of a bulldog. Granted, I have a pet rock, so what would I know, but Wuzzy doesn't know that. However, in the interests of keeping questions to a minimum, I let it ride:
Very good. Now, how do I pay for the puppy? You tell me when the puppy will arrive at LAX, and I'll send along the $345 (an everchanging figger).
Now Wuzzy introduces his equally-confused cohort, initially as Victoria Gladden:
Here is what to send the payment toward
Receiver's Victoria Gladden
Address 702 Marketplace Blvd
Locust Grove, Georgia 30248
Send Westin Union with test question In God, and test answer We trust
Time to let Wuzzy know I appreciate his effort to give me the business with a little hokum:
Thanks for the information, and ask Victoria Gladden to email me to confirm everything before I Westin Union. And if you'd forward this email to her, so that I can tell her on behalf of the whole family, thanks! My very precocious daughter has already named the pup "Wuzzles", after the guy that made this possible.
And that brings on board Victoria Gladden (email@example.com):
thanks for your prompt repond to me i will coming with your akita puppy as soon as you send me the $350 payment i will wait for the MTCN number and test question answer to verify this okay now.
I'm dealing with two rocket scientists, shore 'nuff. I send Victoria a quick affirmation, and await the next step in this farce, like what the puppy's gonna turn into next.
It isn't long in coming:
this victoria belly, the shipping person, i send you a mail though yahoo but i want you to add this mail to you contac this will be the mail you will use in any transaction now it will be the mail you will send me the info i ask from you on the payment transfer. do not reply to my yahoo mail again use firstname.lastname@example.org
"Victoria Belly"? New email addy? Okay, fine:
Okay, I have your new scheme. I'll notify you accordingly.
So the next day, I take an old Western Union faux receipt from a scambait in '05, resize it sufficiently to fuzzywuzzy it up, and send it along with this info to both Wuzzy and Victoria Belly-Gladden:
Here is MTCN: 7864278718
Amount sent: $345
I shall await your anticipated response (and do I ever anticipate a response).
Which isn't long in coming from Victoria:
Jerome I need the name of sender and also the info foward by wuzzy to you and the question (then this little unexpected addition) also you no more need talk to wuzzy again i will take that care myself
My response to Victoria:
Okay, no more Wuzzy. Now, what you say you need:
The sender is Jerome Howard...that's me
The test question is "how much is doggy"
The test answer is "in the blender"
I know...my bad...especially in Wuzzy's eyes:
we went to the bank to pick up money they told your order was not found why did you do this to me am very disapointed in you this waste a lot of my time bu why did you do that to us the shipping agent is with another two different puppy to ship and this makes much extra work you know. You must correct the ship and send correct information now okay. I don't want puppy to miss flight today.
The puppy missed the flight:
Wuzzy, nothing's wrong with the wire transfer, dude. It's exactly what you requested with some small changes, just like you changed my yorki to a bulldog to an akita. I suggest you take the receipt and go back to Western Union.
Now it's Victoria's turn, and she throws another twist in:
Jerome, what is going here? Bank says no money in receipt and Wuzzy is diapoint in you. you do this again please, but this time don't use usa address for Western Union. Send instead to
19 Sieward Road Garratt Lane
SW17 O1a, London
So kindly make the payment to day and I will come with your puppy. use same information you send me last to Western Union, okay. no need to tell Wuzzy this.
I decide to question the new instructions:
Victoria, just so I understand this here, you say the money didn't show up at your Georgia location Western Union? How odd. Even more odd to me, you want me to send it now to some raghead in London. As in London, UK? Would you please confirm this?
Victoria gets so excited, she returns to emailing from the yahoo address she told me not to use anymore, and again is Victoria Gladden:
Howard please what is go on i want you to know that i can no continue delay with you or do you want me call Dr. Banach to come pick her away? What is wrong with you now please fix this with no more dely.
Now my turn to get 'excited':
Now just back off, Victoria: I asked you to confirm the weird change in where the money was supposed to be sent, that's all. First you want it sent to Georgia. Then to some dubious raghead in London. And I'm buying a yorki, then a bulldog, then an akita! All I asked for is confirmation, and what do I get? A pissy PMS email threatening to spike the whole deal! Is that what you want me to do? Either CONFIRM THE INFORMATION I ASKED FOR OR I WILL CANCEL THE DEAL AND YOU CAN SHOVE THE PUPPY, WHATEVER BREED, WHERE THE FIRE HYDRANT DON'T THROW A SHADOW.
As usual, a little counter heat cools the scammer's jets:
Jerome, i do not mean to hot you up like this ok now. go ahead and send money to me here in Georgia and i will ship your puppy myself ok. please don't be hot with me now, just send money to me and will is good.
My chilled-out reply:
Okay, I'll not hot up...so I am to send you the payment again. Fine. Let's settle on two points: you're sending me a yorki puppy my precious little daughter has named "Wuzzles", and you want me to send you $345. Fine.
I wait a day, and then send the same fuzzywuzzy Western Union receipt to Victoria that I sent before, along with this personal note:
I am attaching a copy of the Western Union receipt. Remember, send the puppy to LAX. Chef Whack Dog Dung will be waiting.
A day goes by, and then I get a pair of emails. First, from Victoria (again) Belly:
but you promise me not to hot me any longer we go to bank to receive money out but we find out the same thing happen as you told us the last time i will you to know that i have not be dealing with a delaying business like this before and Mr. Benach wanted to be angry with the lady in the bank, the lady report us to their security and they wanted to lock us up or to jailus but am very disapointed in this work you have done here. why you hot me up like this?
And then comes Wuzzy's parting salvo:
am fully tried of this you send us the same fack tracking number and you amost get me jailed you are bad man and you no get puppy now.
Awwww...no puppy for me. The 'Puppy Nazi' hath spoken. My final reply to both had something philosophical to do with poker strategy, tells, and the failure of keeping one's head out of one's backside when trying to scam with aplomb.
Wuzzy had nothing more to add, but Victoria did send one last 'hopeful' query:
what poker you mean? you still want puppy please?
Imagine, if you will, my response.
And what was my friend at the BBB's response to all this? "You should get your own cable TV show!"
Yawp...How Much Is That Pup-py In The Scambait on Comedy Central. Woof.