Saturday, August 1, 2009

A "Royal Garden" Party

Just when I was beginning to think they had no new scam ideas left to float to me, I can always count on the scammers to try one.

Got invited to a garden party,
to spend some time with some new friends,
and a chance to spend two weeks abroad,
and getting had again...

There I was, just getting over laughing my butt off about how Facebook had decided to make me "engaged", when I got the most curious email from a "foundation" about a "conference". A two week-long conference. In London, UK.

And I was invited? *Snort*...what was this, a conference of bloomin' idiots?

Well, not quite...but it sought some. To be scammed. And I was being invited. Well, not quite invited: I had to apply to be accepted to be invited.

That made it even better.

Of course, there was a chance -- a sub-atomic particle of chance -- that this was an authentic email, simply misdirected to someone of no import whatsoever. I satirically note that mistakes happen. Besides, it was the most *professionally-written* email I'd seen from anyone remotely scammish in the last few minutes.

So on the off chance this were so, I gave them the benefit of the doubt: I filled out the application as Eric Cartman, age 8, and sent it back.

Before I get to any reply I might have received, here's the seminal gist of the inaugural email from the Apex Foundation:

Hello delegate, This is an all for participation in an international conference of Ngo's holding from 10th of August till the 23rd of August 2009 in London, United Kingdom. where as many as 250 participans from across the world including health practitioners, professionals in relevant fields, lawyers, psychologists, women and youth development groups, government officials, donor agencies and participating Ngo's will mee to discuss issues pertaining to the welfare of the needy and also to meet others like yourself; to learn, teach, inspire and being inspired. This event will be exploring the potential of a practical approach that will unleash and nurture the human capacity to create, collaborate and change positively the world at large.

* Note to White House press of your aides is moonlighting* But I digress.

It goes on to address the objectives of the meeting, in part "to provide a medium where participating individuals, groups and Ngo's will convene to aaddress and discuss ways of improving key humanitarian issues and topics with much emphasis on human rights, gender equality, peace and security, social and economic development, youth and children, health education, ethics and value and environmental protection. Participating Ngo's have direct access to grants by international donor agencies".

And it titillates the email recipient further by noting "the opening lecture will be held by Dr. Mrs. Artemisia Franco who is the president of the center for human rights research and development, Maputo-Mozambique. The program will include:
- thought-provoking plenary
- in depth breakout and dinner sessions for strategy development
- capacity and skills-building sessions; and
- debates to stimulate discussions

It added further enticements, like that the Foundation would pay for the airfare and visa/travel paper costs for each delegate, leaving only the lodging fees to be paid by each delegate. *Possible TOING* And it concluded with an application to become a delegate. Which, as noted above, I filled out as Eric Cartman, noted savant and animated cartoon character, emeritus cussalottus.

The response from the Apex Foundation's managing director, Kelvin Hook (two days later), was both concise and convinced me to work into the text h'yar a parodied slaughtering of Garden Party by the late Ricky Nelson (scattered throughout the text):

Hello delegate Eric Cartman,

After a meeting of the executive committee for delegate selection to the Apex conference in London UK, we have unanimously voted to accept your application and welcome you to the Apex conference! We congratulate you on your noted background and skills you bring to the conference (these guys are killing me h'yar).

To confirm your attendance at the conference, you are directed to at once contact via email the Royal Garden Hotel, London UK at (an email address that ended in the same, and upon receipt of reservtions, forward a copy of them to us for confirmation.

When I got to the garden party,
I already...knew their game,
they didn't recognize that..
for them a f***ing shame.

Before sending off an email as directed, I went online to find both the Apex Foundation and Royal Garden Hotel; both apparently exist. So I sent the real ones emails inquiring as to the authenticity of the conference (to Apex) and booking of said conference at the hotel (to the Royal Garden Hotel). Both of which I noted had differing email addresses than those of Kelvin Hook and the Royal Garden Hotel I was dealing with.

Neither of the authentic entities responded to my inquiry to authenticate anything, which is not unusual with the number of scams running rampant out there. Had either bothered to respond, they might have just denied any knowledge of what I was inquiring about, and suggested I "delete" the inauthentic emails, anyway. Killjoys.

I was free to play it my way ;-)

After a couple days to await any comment from the 'real' entities -- and getting none -- I fired off a request for reservations to the 'faux' RGH, requesting a "king room with a view, single occupancy, with a working dunny".

What I got back was a formal, and again reasonably well-written email from the 'faux' RGH (using the authentic physical address), with a price list of rooms, from a 'single' at 98 UKPS (UK Pound Sterling) per day, up to the 'Executive Double' at 153 UKPS per day.

I decided to let Eric live a little, and requested reservations in the top-drawer category, the 'Executive Double'. Later that day, I received an email that confirmed my reservation for August 10-23, in the 'Executive Double', single occupany, for a total cost of 2,142 UKPS.

Payable in advance via Western Union....*TOING CONFIRMED* What was better, it was payable to the General Manager of the Royal Garden Hotel, Graham Bamford. But NOT at the listed address for the hotel (on Kensington High Street).

An earlier scammer -- using the "you have an ATM card with millions in the account" ploy -- had sent me (aka Eric) a photocopy of the ATM card, faux account number and all, so I thought it worthy of a try to use that to "reserve and hold" my reservations. It would have been a coup de chicken to dupe one scammer with another scammer's photoshop handiwork.

Alas, Mr. Bamford was insistent that the RGH's policy was "cash in advance via Western Union". Probably the only hotel in the world that has such a requirement, and of all the hotel gin joints et cetra that I could have been duped by, I hadda be duped by this one-of-a-kind. Dang.

So I made up my Western Union receipt to send Bamford, and made up an impressively bad reservation confirmation email from Bamford, to send to Kelvin Hook, showing my good faith in obtaining the hotel reservation.

Within a day of sending each their respective receipts, the game began to go south a tad, first with Bamford and the RGH, whose quality of email writing took one of those predictable nose dives as Eric led them off-script:

Mr. Cartman, what is the nature of this pleese? i get from western union that they cant authorise pay on receept that is unreadable. send to me MTCN and amount send soonest if reservaton to get hold.

From Captain Hook, I got...confusion:

delegate Eric Cartman,
I am receept of your confirmed, but i am not clear what is why this is provable from hotel to confirm. please to resend and ak the hotel to dupicate for me.

I love script makes for such amusing emails. And such similarity in the email styles, too.

To Bamford and his RGH, I sent back Graham, dude, yer breakin' my balls hyah...I've always found that a scanned copy of the Western Union receipt was good enough for average folks to take to Western Union and cash. I guess you ain't average, dude. So here's the information that was on the receipt, which I'll print in upsized font for you (and I did, using the largest font size my email would support, to send him a bogus MTCN number). Take that and shove it under the nose of your illiterate Western Union clerk.

To Hook, I sent dude, what is this babble you write to me? You asked for confirmation of my reservations from the Royal Garden Hotel....I sent you my reservations for confirmation from the Royal Garden Hotel. This is what you required. This is what I did. I mean, what the f*** more do you need, a seeing-eye dildo to read it?

From Hook, I get back a snarky reply: cartman this not autentic confirm for hotel i contact hotel and they clam you send them bad wire transper numbers i am most angered to you with wast of my value time. unlest you repare matter soonest your delegate sttus will be revoke.

A day afterward, I get this from Bamford: you faud!!! western union say this numbers no good for money and they insult me for this of you!!! i know you not reel you stupid person!!!'s smartass reply to Bamford goes without further deteriorating comment; but Eric does make one effort to save and extend the game with Hooky:

Kelvin, would revoke my status as a delegate to possibly the most mundane conference London has never seen? That is so lame, dude. You made me a delegate. You said I had a noted background and skills to bring to the conference. How can you yank my invitation now? Think of the fame your conference will lose, not having ME at your conference! I would bring genuine animation to the proceedings, and draw a lot of interest thereto. See what I just did there? Dude, ya gotta keep me on the delegate list. I'm waaay more kewl than that stupid beeyotch you had scheduled to start the conference. I can speak to a wide range of subjects, from why dolphins are soooo stupid, to how rainbows crawl up your leg and bite the inside of your ass, and what it feels like to have an alien probe implanted in your butt, causing you flaming gas. And how about the time I got the best of Bin Laden, using Loony Toons tactics, eh? And made Sally Struthers give up her warehouse full of stuff for poor kids? Dude, I got 14 seasons of achievements way more kewl than some bimbo from some backwater country that doesn't know sand paper from toilet paper! Ya gotta keep me on as a delegate, dude. Your conference will flop like a carp on hot asphalt if you drop me, you butt licker! I'll bet Kyle put you up to this, right? I'll bet you ARE Kyle, aren't you? I'm coming over there and kick you right squah in the balls, Kyle!

That was apparently much too much for ol' Hook to comprehend, as my last communique from him was you stupid person stop now all emale.

So I sent him and Bamford a three page MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I mean, shouldn't we end this all laughing and jovial?

Apparently, they didn't think so.

At the end of the garden party,
they were mad enough to spit,
angry and all offended,
I didn't give a sh** ;-)


Blogger Andy said...

Skunks, I enjoy your hobby vicariously...always a hoot to read the latest! I actually did mess with one Barrister Joseph Olimujo (or something) a few years was fun.

I own a business that receives online credit card payments. I once got an order for $5,000 worth of my product to be shipped to Lagos, Nigeria. The credit card belonged to some guy in Utah. I got the guy's phone number from Directory Assistance and called him up. He was more than grateful that I gave him the heads up, canceled his credit card, and he later called me back to thank me.

When I e-mailed the fake "purchaser," declining to fill the order I got into one of the funniest e-mail back and forths in my life. Finally, the guy e-mailed me a list of about 30 VISA card numbers, telling me "use one of these for fill order to Nigeria."

I contacted the FBI Internet division in New Orleans, and forwarded them the e-mails...don't know if they ever did anything or not. In my last e-mail to this guy I notified him that the FBI had identified him, and Interpol had been be waiting for a knock on his door.

I got one more e-mail from the joker. "You are one in trouble with internet law for not fulfill order! You will be report to internet!"

Sorry for running on so long Skunks. I really enjoy your work/hobby.

But this is a creative one. You really should stop wast they value tim though. Nyuk!

01 August, 2009 08:57  
Blogger Pixster said...

LOL why is it that no scammer can spell worth beans? :P

02 August, 2009 17:48  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Andy: that makes you a veteran scambaiter ;)

Pixster: the scammers attended outcome-based education that puts self-esteem ahead of standards.

02 August, 2009 20:00  
Blogger Cheffie-Mom said...

Very creative as usual! Great comment on my Holy Plungers Post - LOL! Frozen poo! Oh no!

03 August, 2009 08:42  
Blogger Seane-Anna said...

They revoked your, I mean Cartman's, invitation to be a delegate? The FIENDS!!!!!

03 August, 2009 21:14  
Blogger Seane-Anna said...

Oh, and Skunky, Jane's back. Come on over to PGZ and give her some of your love and understanding. Hee, hee.

03 August, 2009 21:16  

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