Aug. 8th, 2010 05:45 am
skyring: (Default)
I've often wondered just how people could fall for email scams. The language is mangled beyond repair, the presentation woeful, the offers are unbelievable, and the technical details risible. Frankly, bank managers don't go around offering five million dollars of their clients' money to random people on the internet, not if they want to stay out of prison, nor do they have the English skills of a chimpanzee and a Hotmail address consisting of letters and numbers.

Yet, according to an article in The Weekend Australian, 50 000 Australians a year treat these things as if they are genuine. That's a thousand a week, one every ten minutes. People are gulled into sending thousands of dollars in "transfer fees" or "export duties" before the millions are transferred into their accounts. Or, if they are really stupid, they provide login details and passwords in order to make the process as easy as possible.

The article makes all sorts of recommendations, beginning with this: "Clip this handy guide to recognising scam letters and attach it to your fridge."

Nigeria must be a real haven for greedy bastards aiming to get something for nothing, yeah?

To my mind, the whole "Nigerian scam" phenomenon merely indicates that across the world, people are people. There are clever dicks and there are stupid chumps everywhere.

What it emphasises is that, despite our common humanity, the world's resources are unevenly distributed. A clever Nigerian does not have the career prospects of (say) a clever Australian. A profession, a secure lifestyle, a comfortable house and a healthy family are the prospects of an intelligent, dedicated, industrious child in the Western democracies, but for most of the world's youngsters, these are only dreams. The chances do not exist in the Third World, where nepotism, corruption and injustice have more to do with who gets ahead than do talent and skill.

Small wonder that clever but poor Nigerians will set their sights on rich but gullible Australians. It's a matter of global justice and fair shares - at least to the Nigerian scammer.

Doubtless the Nigerian authorities share these views, perhaps with their own share of the bounty.

In the end, I find it hard to lay the blame for these scams on Nigerian people. If there is cause and effect, the cause of these things lies in the rich nations of the West, content to keep their poorer cousins on the other side of the world that way.

Poor and distant. Why should we condemn our fellow humans so?
skyring: (Default)
This just in. Reproduced as is, complete with spaces, misgrammars etc. I've slightly modified the link just in case anybody fees the insane urge to click on it.

Hello, Pay`Pal |nc, Member, May 2010.

It has come to our attention that your Online account information needs to be updated.
If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and update your personal records,
To continue please click the link below: Click Here Link,

Thank you for using Service Online

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you will not receive a response.
For assistance,log in to your Online Account and click thec Help link located in the top right corner
Accounts Management As outlined in our User Agreement, Service Credit Union will periodically send you information about site changes and enhancements.

Copyright © 2008 Service , Click on the following link to review or obtain a copy of our
Privacy Policy Statement

If you fail to provide the required information your account will be automatically
deleted from the , Database

Note: We will be upgrading our yearly SSL EncryptedServer to prevent fraudulent
Reference ID:

What half-ass numbskull is going to fall for this? PayPal is a reasonably professional entity and this email is so far away from the sort of communications I expect from them that it is an obvious fake from the first few words.

The wildly different treatment of commas makes it partly funny, but what really got me rolling my eyes was the utter lack of any attempt to disguise the goto link. It's SUPPOSED to be from PayPal, not some off-the-cuff domain!

Maybe these things are so wildly woeful because the scamsters don't want people with actual brains clicking on their links and maybe sicking the cyberfuzz onto them. They only want doofusses.

But for me, and I regard myself as someone with half a brain, it's just an annoyance.


Mar. 23rd, 2009 10:42 am
skyring: (Default)
I bought my first iPhone in Hong Kong last February. Very happy with it, especially with the cool design, ease of use etc. It was software hacked to allow it to work with Australian SIMs, a vital feature as no Australian carrier was yet offering iPhone plans.

I set it up, imported my contacts, assigned ringtones to them, started building up a library of music and movies. Making it my own.

When I returned to Australia, I bought something, I dunno, an ice cream, a drink, a packet of chips, that had a voucher for a free ringtone. Great, I thought, I can assign a cool ringtone to one of my contacts, rather than the standard ones supplied with the iPhone.

So I went to the website, entered my code number, my phone number, a few details, clicked ok on the terms and conditions, and hit the "Download Free Ringtone" button. I got an error message, and figured that the ringtone didn't work with the iPhone or there was some other problem. Oh well, didn't cost me nothing. And I forgot about it.

The iPhone was on my regular Telstra plan, which hadn't included internet access. Telstra didn't sell the iPhone at that stage, so they didn't have the plans in place to support all the features of the iPhone, the Google maps, the email etc. Not without charging extra for data.

However, once the international calls from Feb-April had been charged, it worked out that I was still using data and being charged for it. Just using the weather app would download a block of data. I'd drive around the city and the iPhone would chatter into electronic life, causimg a burst of interference on the radio and costing me another dollar or so.

Over the coming months, I tightened everything down as far as it would go, short of actually turning off the phone functions, but still I was being charged an alarming amount for data.

When the iPhone 3G was released last winter, I wondered about upgrading. But the frenzy was such that there were long delays for handsets, and prices were high. And still I was paying about a hundred dollars a month. For an iPhone I couldn't upgrade because that would break the software hack.

Eventually I cracked. My codriver bought a 3G iPhone and filled it up with all these cool apps. Things my phone couldn't do.

I went into Telstra and got a new iPhone. On a forty dollar plan, with 150 Megs each month.

But still my phone bills were twice what they should have been.

I took a look at the latest one yesterday. The phone plan and the data looked about right, but there were eight items listed at five dollars a shot:
MBLOX MTDADA. What the heck was this? I'd figured that these charges were for data blocks, but when I went googling for information, i found a different story.

Turns out that they were premium rate SMS messages I'd been supposedly receiving. Messages with no content, so they never showed up on my phone. It was all linked to that "free ringtone" offer of many months ago. When I clicked the terms and conditions box, it was for continued access to some website, and I was to pay for the subscription through premium SMS charges.

Very clever. I never entered my credit card number, so I didn't think I was going to have to pay for the ringtone, even if it didn't work.

Even if I never accessed the subscription site, I was still being charged for it. With no chance of a refund.

The site had been fined for not supplying details of how to unsubscribe, and even when i finally worked out what was going on, I still had to jump through hoops to get out of it. The method that finally worked was to text "STOP" to the SMS number. And I suspect that I'm still going to be charged the next week's subscription while they process my request.

There's a lot on the Internet, actually. I'm not the only person been suckered into this scam. I doubt there's too many people happy to pay ten dollars a week for ringtones, screensavers, games and so on.

So, may I ask my readers to check out their phone bills. If you see MBLOX or MTDADA anywhere on the statement, and you aren't a regular traveller to a website for fresh ringtones, cancel the subscription immediately.


skyring: (Default)

September 2010

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