The amateur scammers.

Lately I have seen my email fill with some pretty pathetic attempts at scamming. The big giveaway is that the scams arrive in batches of up to ten, but the scammers aren’t even trying that hard any more.

Today’s was five notifications from Lloyd’s bank concerning transactions. As with the previous batch of Barclays ones, they can transact whatever they want – I don’t have an account there either. When they finally hit on the right bank it’ll be far too late. I’ll be expecting them. Oh, and the Nat West credit card alert? Nope. Don’t have one of those either.

One of the five came ‘from’ Lloyds. It didn’t – that was just what appeared in the list. The others came ‘from’ various random names with Yahoo email accounts. I mean, come on, put a bit of effort in, guys.

On the blog, the babbled nonsense that couldn’t pass itself off as a real comment even if I drank a whole bottle of whisky and rubbed chili sauce in my eyes continues to flood in.

There is a new one. A while back someone called ‘The Real Mandy Dee’ asked if she could refer to a post on her Twitter account. Seemed harmless. The link went to a real Twitter account with possibly the most bland and uninteresting page the Web has ever seen. I let it through. Then there was another request from the same person, which seemed odd.

That bland Twitter page had become a sex-chat contact page. I didn’t delete the comment. Instead I edited the link attached to it so it now goes to Lolcats.

For the last two weeks, the ‘Real Brett Rossi’ has been trying to get through the Spaminator with a link to another, identically bland and uninteresting, Twitter page. It looks to me as though they spam blogs for links then change their page when they have enough links. I might let him through eventually. One can never have too many links to Lolcats.

It also looks to me as though it’s stopped working already. The Mandy Dee one only took a few days to change. This latest one still links to blandness after two weeks.

The spams that really baffle me are the ones that are just a random jumble of letters, interspersed with links that are also random jumbles of letters. How could anyone ever be daft enough to click those links? Oh wait, I’ve met people who might be…

Is it really a load of terrible amateur spammers or is it a clever ploy by the criminals? Not all criminals are Dwayne the Pinhead from Inbreed Estate. Some are really very clever indeed. If you want a convincing spoof to work, one way to do it is to flood the spam-waves with this pathetic tripe until everyone thinks that’s what the phishers and the virus-spreaders and the spammers are all like. Then your carefully crafted letter from Not A Real Bank is more likely to be taken seriously.

Could be, you know. Could be. It’s hard to believe that anyone dim enough to think people will be fooled by an email from their bank that uses a Yahoo or Gmail account would ever make any money from scamming – but I’ve been getting five to ten a day for months. Sometimes it’s HMRC telling me they want to give me a refund (as if! If they owe you, you have to ask for it, and they already paid me back what they owed me for this tax year), sometimes it’s PayPal telling me I have spent the nothing in my account, sometimes it’s a vast purchase on a credit card I’ve never had or the best yet – notifications from the Scottish Procurator Fiscal’s office that I have to appear in the Court of London (yes, that’s what they call it) in three days. I might be fooled into opening the attachments if the antivirus hadn’t already deleted them.

Either these are persistent idiots or they are deliberate haystacks to hide a needle. Make the saps think that all scams are run by easily-spotted amateurs so that the one real scam can slide right on through.

They won’t catch me. My bank does not email me. My bank does not have my email address and I don’t bank online. No need – as I’ve said before, I pass it twice a day. It’s between my house and work! I know how much I have in PayPal. Nothing. Haven’t used eBay for about a year. The recent insistence that HMRC want to give me money is frankly comical. The tax year hasn’t ended yet, the forms are not ready to fill in and as I am still half self-employed I still keep accounts. Aside from the lab and the tiny amount of retainer from one company – it’s the books. They earn piddling amounts, but it means my tax code is split between work and self-employment so I still have to fill in the forms every year. Not a bad thing, the half of my tax code put onto self-employment means I get a tax rebate. Which buys some whisky.

It’s nice to get something back from the biggest scammers of all. Okay, the criminal scammers are unpleasant but the legal scammers have more thugs to beat you up if you don’t pay what is ‘owed’. Seems to me that being caught out by a scammer means you can shrug it off, learn from the experience and move on.

Paying taxes to the legal Government scammers is like paying someone to shit on your face. Every day. Especially if you like to smoke or drink or eat the non-approved stuff.

So for now, I will remain a janitor and leave the real work dormant. Also, although I will continue to write stories and books (slowly, I have been on a 7-day week for almost a month!) I will also continue to not bother about earning much just yet. I have enough to live on and enough left over for booze and baccy so I’m a could-be-well-off guy hibernating at the moment.

The one real bugger in it all is that the American share-scammers who keep phoning to sell me shares in Totally Useless Business only see ‘doctor’ in front of my name and will not believe that I have no money.

So I keep them on the line. They’re paying for the call, and probably paying more per hour for that call than I earn. One day I will tell them that. One day.

 

Nah. They are trying to scam me so they are legitimate targets for torment.

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8 thoughts on “The amateur scammers.

  1. ” If you want a convincing spoof to work, one way to do it is to flood the spam-waves with this pathetic tripe until everyone thinks that’s what the phishers and the virus-spreaders and the spammers are all like. Then your carefully crafted letter from Not A Real Bank is more likely to be taken seriously.”

    Very interesting point!

    Sadly though I’ve seen some blogs out there that don’t realize what’s going on when they get those generic “I am so happy with your wonderful blog and its very insighting contents! I will tell all my bloggers about it so they will come here to.” messages. If it’s a blog I like I’ll try to leave a note for the owner. If not… ahh well…..

    :>
    Michael

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  2. Some of the spammers / scammers are getting quite clever. They know that a small percentage of their mails will land in inboxes where the owner is actually having a dialogue with the bank / company / government office they purport to represent.

    A while ago, I had applied for a replacement EU health insurance card (handy to have if you happen to be travelling in Europe), and shortly after I had done so I got an email supposedly from a government office (unspecified, but with a quite convincing origin address – none of your ‘@yahoo.com’ baloney) telling me my recent communication (again unspecified) could not be processed. There was an attached zip file.

    Had it not been for the fact that I’m a suspicious bastard when it comes to emails that arrive in my inbox, and that I doubt very much that any government department would send any zipped files, I might have opened it. So I ignored it, and sure enough, my card turned up a week or so later. But someone less cynical than me could well have been tempted to open the file, because the contents MIGHT have been important. And that’s how they catch ’em. Links are easy, because you can hover the cursor over them and see bottom left of the screen where they lead, but zip files will only reveal their contents if you open them.

    And of course by then it’s too late.

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    • In the MS-DOS days there was a program that let you see the file list inside a ZIP file without un-zipping it. Surely, by now, there’s a program that allows a more detailed inspection of the contents without letting them loose?

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  3. I don’t get spam on my blog. I have three layers of protection and Cloudflare before that. it’s the online equivalent of a moat, portcullis, archers, burning oil razor wire and alligators. Works just fine.

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    • The WordPress spaminator does a good job, it only occasionally catches the innocent. Then there is first comment moderation so even if they dodge the spaminator, I’ll still have to decide whether to let it through.

      That’s OK with me. Some of the spams are funny.

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  4. It amazes me, that people who would tell you to fuck off, should you knock on their door and ask for this information, give it over the web as if they were talking to their Solicitor, or something.

    HEL! I would not give this info to my BRIEF, yet the idiots fall for it.

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