"Funing" With Scams Amok
Besides the usual fare I receive online, I've received some via known persons:
-- three different folks I know personally have had their email programs corrupted by email spam viruses, that get into their email address books, and send out, from their email, spam links for online pharmacies of dubious antecedence. Worse, if one clicks on the link when receiving the email, you likely wind up perpetuating the virus in your own system, and onto your own email address book.
-- another friend has learned a lesson about how rife scammers are on Craigslist.
-- and another had her email hacked into, and thus all of her email address book received a plea from 'her' for money, after being stranded in London on vacation, because of being mugged. Except she wasn't in London with her family; and anyone paying attention would have noticed -- if they thought to click on the email to reply to it, though not doing so -- that the reply address was different than the sending address.
I received the aforementioned email from her hacker; my reply was in keeping with my knowing my friend, knowing she wasn't in London, and thus, in having some fun with her scammer. Fun that they, the scammer, chose not to reply to.
On other scam fronts:
-- I've managed to get told to do something procreative with a family member, by another scammer who didn't like my sending them a faked Western Union receipt; still another scammer sent me another of those luverly implied 'death threats', for my having 'dissed' them. I'm still waiting for them to knock on my character's door. Granted, it's an abandoned house in another county, but I digress.
-- I've even had a scammer try me on the phone recently: a limited time offer to reduce my credit card interest rate to as low as 6.something %. So I played along, pushing #9 as instructed, and being transferred to 'a live operator'.
Calling from India, I think.
The background noise was that of a very busy, and unsophisticated, call center; lots of ringing phones and chattering persons in the background, with a heavy metallic echo. My operator had a very heavy accent, almost akin to Fischer Steven's character in the movie Short Circuit. I let him babble through his programmed presentation, such as it was, up to the point where he asked me for my credit card number.
The conversation went (downhill) something akin:
Him: please give me now your credit card number you wish to negotiate a lower interest rate on, please.
Me: Well, you should already have that; remember, you called me.
Him: sir, I do not have that information in front of me, I must have you confirm your information.
Me: Why must you have me confirm my information? You called me, so obviously you have it. Asking to confirm my information suggests you DO have it.
Him: sir, we do not operate like that. I need you to confirm your information for security purpose.
Me: Ohhhh, the old security purpose ploy. Well, let's just say that since you called me, I must assume -- with assumption being the mother of all screw ups -- that you knew who you were calling, and were authorized by the credit card company to contact me for this purpose.
Him: Sir, we do not work for the credit card company. We are independent of them.
Me: Ohhhh, the old independent of them ploy. Well, then how do I know the credit card company authorized you to contact me?
Him: Sir, do you wish to discuss lowering your credit card interest rate or not?
Me: I'm happy to discuss it, AFTER you define your bona fides.
Him: My what?
Me: Your bona fides. Y'know...your credentials that authorize you to contact me on behalf of my credit card holding company.
Him: Sir, I am not having time to discuss this...
Me: Ohhhh, but you DOOOO have the time. I'm giving you the time. So you just go right ahead and tell me about my credit card company. Tell me who issued my credit card, and under what name it was issued, and how long I've had it, and all that good stuff....
Him: Sir, you are not understanding how we work...
Me: Ohhhh, I think I understand just fine how you work. Here, let me go get some popcorn and a soda, then you tell me all them little things I asked you, that if you were legitimate, you would have the answers to...
I don't think this person liked me vewy well.
-- and finally, I'm also still dealing with a scammer who required me to -- in order to receive $5.5 million USD from an account in Hong Kong, belonging to someone who allegedly died in a meadowlark crash or something, back in '06 -- set up an off-shore bank account with a bank purportedly in London, UK. Granted, my character didn't set the account up, but he did correspond with the bank. And then sent the scammer the 'account information' (that my character made up). And when the scammer challenged that the 'account information' wasn't 'accurate', I provided him all of my email exchanges with the bank.
In other words, I took their one reply, and redated and rewrote it a number of ways, and sent it to my scammer.
Three months later, the scammer is still querying me on if I'm still in contact with the bank, and I am assuring him that I am, the bank having offered me all kinds of banking services, and me picking and choosing those that I like.
He is terribly confused by all this, as is evidenced by some of his emails; my replies aren't apparently helping clear his confusion:
jack, what is this other services you say bank is offer?
Shung, the bank offers a wide variety of services: investment accounts, retirement accounts, certificates of deposit, keoghs, 401k and IRA plans, revolving credit. You recommended this bank to me? Why is it you don't know this?
jack, what is go on with bank and you?
Whaddaya mean, "what is go on with bank"? They're offering me services beyond simply setting up an off-shore account; they're a BANK. It's what banks DO, Shung. Were you born in a rice barn?
jack, you not say what adjustable rate CD program with bank is. what is on with account you open?
Oh for eggroll's sake, Shung...an adjustable rate CD program is one of the many saving and investment options a diversified bank offers. Really, are you intellectually akin to a door knob?
jack, is you hear from bank lately?
Multiple times, Shung. We're reviewing my opening a revolving line of credit, in addition to my off-shore savings, checking, and CD accounts. Thanks for recommending this bank to me, by the way.
jack, why is bank ask you for more services they offer?
Well DUH, Shung: they're a BANK. They're in the business to MAKE MONEY. They MAKE MONEY by attracting DEPOSITORS and customers. Then they take the money and loan it out, collect interest, etc. Really...are you seriously telling me that you don't know this? Are you dumb as used chopsticks?
jack, are you have funing with me?
Shung, what do you think? YOU contacted ME. YOU recommended I open an offshore account with THIS BANK. THIS BANK is doing what any reputable bank does: offer services to their customers. WHY? TO MAKE MONEY. What your point of your contacting me was supposed to be all about. Am I having funing with you? Only in so far as you demonstrate the understanding of a panda turd about all this.
At any rate, that's my writing life at present.
At any rate, be on your guards this holiday season, against scammers by phone, computer, even door-to-door. 'Tis nearing that time wunst agin. Bank on it...pun somewhat intended.