Archive for the ‘Spam’ Category

New Netflix phishing scam

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

I just saw this warning on Terry Zink’s Cyber Security Blog. Click through for the details (short version – don’t click it).

I didn’t get one of these emails, but I know some readers who fall into the target audience for this one.


They are lying to you My Dear, from Steve

Monday, July 18th, 2011

How many ways can a non-American screw up a scam letter?  Let me count the ways…

Attn: My Dear,

I am Mr.Steve Morgan, I am a US citizen, 48 years Old. I reside here in New Braunfels Texas. My residential address is as follows. 108 Crockett Court. New Braunfels Texas, United States, I am one of those that took part in the Compensation in Nigeria many years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over $50,000 while in the US, trying to get my payment all to no avail.

So I decided to travel to WASHINGTON D.C with all my compensation documents, And I was directed by the ( F B I) Director to contact Mr.Kelvin Williams, who his a representative of the ( F B I ) and a member of the COMPENSATION AWARD COMMITTEE, currently in Nigeria.and I contacted him and he explained everything to me. He said whoever is contacting us through emails are fake.

He took me to the paying bank for the claim of my Compensation payment. Right now I am the most happiest man on earth because I have received my compensation funds of $15 Million Us Dollars Moreover, Mr.Kelvin Williams, showed me the full information of those that are yet to receive their payments and I saw your name as one of the beneficiaries, and your email address, that is why I decided to email you to stop dealing with those people, they are not with your fund, they are only making money out of you. I will advise you to contact Mr.Kelvin Williams.

You have to contact him directly on this information below.

COMPENSATION AWARD HOUSE

Name : Mr.Kelvin Williams

Email: fbiagnet.kelvin001@yahoo.cn

You really have to stop dealing with those people that are contacting you and telling you that your fund is with them, it is not in anyway with them, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you up until you have nothing.

The only money I paid after I met Mr.Kelvin Williams was just $290 for the paper works, take note of that.

Once again stop contacting those people, I will advise you to contact Mr.Kelvin Williams so that he can help you to Deliver your fund instead of dealing with those liars that will be turning you around asking for different kind of money to complete your transaction.

Thank You and Be Blessed.

Mr. Steve Morgan

108 Crockett Court.

Apt 303, New Braunfels Texas,

United States Of America

 I almost fell for this because of the “very convincing” non-US email address for “agnet” Kelvin.


Do Not Destroy. Urgent Documents Enclosed.

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

 Do Not Destroy

DO NOT DESTROY.  DO NOT BEND.

URGENT

DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED.

Yes, this is petty,  but it grabbed my ire today and shook it.

By no stretch of anyone’s imagination is a sale flyer from Dish Networks URGENT.  It strains our language to call this “DOCUMENTS”

Harumph.

Dear Postmaster.  Please do not destroy this letter, as I assume you do to those not otherwise marked.

AutoZone Thinks I’m Special

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Yeah, I know this is trivial.  But seriously:

“Only for me?”

I’m their “best customer?”

scan_pic0003-small.jpg

People Who Switched …

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

They claim:

People who switched to Allstate saved an average of $348

I guess most folks don’t realize how meaningless that is.  All the people who check and won’t save any money with <brand> DON’T SWITCH.  I suspect that many of the switchers made a stupid selection for their first choice, or they’re getting a different product after the switch.

I also just love the coupons I keep getting from Qwest for a “Free Account Review” – as if they wouldn’t do it for free without the coupon, and as if a sales pitch is for my benefit.

Dishonesty and the Misuse of Language

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

OK, that title is a little misleading, but that is what the post is about.

I got two phone calls in as many days from telemarketers using words, shall we say, loosely.

I’m writing because

  • These conversations amused me enough to share
  • I searched for information without a lot of luck and this will provide a resource for the next guy
  • It’s easier to write about this than some of the other topics in my queue

Conversation #2 – today, 9:00AM

I answer the phone.  They are already talking, sounds like I missed a couple of words…
“… courtesy call from The Rate Center … the letter you received or will be receiving … your rates have increased or will be increasing … we might be able to help with the rates.

Press 9 if you want to speak to a representative …”

What the heck.  I press 9 to see what it’s about.

“Would you like to talk to someone …”

me: “Who is this?”

“This is The Rate Center.” (the tone of voice says ‘Duh’)

me: “The ‘Rate Center’ for whom?”

<click>

Additional research says these folks are using a spoofed number in caller id and they won’t give out contact info.

“Do you have caller ID?”  “Then you should already have the number.”

http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/7780006544

I received a call this afternoon (8/20/2010, 4:50 p.m.) that not only was in violation of do-not-call regulations but was also misleading and dishonest. A recorded message was worded to sound as if it was from a credit card company we do business with and said that we would be receiving a letter about a rate increase, and if we wanted to negotiate a lower rate to press 9. When I pressed 9 (so I could get the name of the company and make a complaint) I was connected to a woman who wanted to sell me a new credit card at a purportedly lower rate of interest than my current card(s)?  The number showing on caller ID, 778-000-6544, is a sham. I asked what the name of the company was and she replied, “The Rate Center”.  When I repeated the company name back to her she became rude and raised her voice and hung up.
Caller: The Rate Center
Call Type: Telemarketer

We are supposed to assume that this is a call from someone with whom we have an account, and this is their ‘rate center.’

Conversation #1, earlier this week

I answer the phone

“May I speak with Elijah’s mom or dad?”

me: “This is his dad.”  I already smell a fish, but decide to play with him.

“… I’ve been assigned to Elijah … Your son checked off a box saying he was interested in <something about preparing for the SAT or improving his scores>”

“Has your son told you about the changes to the SAT format?”

No, he doesn’t typically talk about stuff like that, though we know all about them., “Why, no.  He hasn’t.”

I can tell he’s excited.

He tells me all about the new essay portion and how that makes it harder and increases the need for preparation.

“blah blah blah … self paced lessons on CD … twenty minutes two days a week … they will arrive in about 10 days … when you get them … if you decide to keep them …. just need to confirm your mailing address …”

Waitaminnit

me: “Hold on.  I never said I wanted these.  I have a few questions.”

me: “Where would he have ‘checked’ this ‘box’?”

“Perhaps at a career day at school, or after a practice test, or perhaps in the counselor’s office …”

We homeschool, and are pretty sure our son is not hanging out with any counselors or taking practice test behind our backs.

 “Hmm.  That sounds pretty vague, and none of those apply to my son.”  I wish I hadn’t said that – it put him on guard.

me: “So, you are ‘assigned to’ Elijah – by whom?”

he sounds a bit off guard

“Um ‘Student Services’ ” (duh.  and a good parent wouldn’t ask)

me: “‘Student Services of what?

<click>

This one really ticked me off.  They are preying on parents who want to believe their kids are striving to improve, and taking advantage of the fact that most of them don’t know exactly what is going on at school.  They are using words that imply association with the school without really saying so.

Again, further research shows that they don’t give out contact information, the return phone number does not work.  The cost (“$50” or so) turns into a monthly cost, and it’s near impossible to stop the recurring charges.  If your son or daughter is around to answer questions (such as where this ‘box’ might have been checked) they will hang up.

I’d kind of like to know the law on this one – if I can get them to send me something on trial without asking for it or saying I want it, and without giving out a credit card number (duh), can I keep it?

President Obama has taken a personal interest in my email account

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

My account is being threatened because of a complaint received by “the Administration“.  I’m honored at the attention.

Your profile will be locked in response to a complaint received by the Administration

From: Administration hotpop.com <support-148@hotpop.com>
Date: Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:02 AM
Subject: Your profile will be locked in response to a complaint received by the Administration
To: *****@hotpop.com

***This message was created automatically by mail-delivery software. Do not reply to this message.***

Hello!
Your profile will be locked in response to a complaint received by the Administration 29.01.2010 ã.
According to “paragraph 8 of the user agreement, hotpop.com reserves the right to suspend or terminate the provision of services hotpop.com, promptly notifying the user.

Refute the statement may be, following this link:
http://camedecide.com

If the application is not rejected within 7 days, your e-mail an account will be blocked.
It has a number 247939070296484.

In the near future we will contact you.
It takes up to 3 days to process your request.
Thank you!
——————————


Sincerely,
mail support service
hotpop.com

 If I refute the statement may be, hoping my application to be rejected in 7 days.

 

By the way, I do actually have a hotpop account, but I don’t use it any more.  This is a free service, and you get what you pay for — unexplained sporadic service outages and no customer support of any kind.  There’s an email address and submission form, but they’re black holes.

 

Frogs in my underpants – Redux

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Not too long ago, I added a live traffic feed to this blog.  I was quite surprised to learn that Frogs in My Underpants is one of the most frequently visited posts, often from Google.  Closer examination shows that it’s no accident — people are actually searching for “and never find frogs in your underpants“.  Now why would they do that?

I’m not the only one getting spam like this (no surprise).  I’m also not the only one to read through it (surprise).   Dave Gooch also ponders the meaning of this junk email.

However, that’s not the real reason people are searching.  It appears that this catchy little line is part of an Irish Blessing.  I found this version at www.crash-debris.com and in an article titled Underpants and Frogs on Riverwest Currents.

May the light always find you on a dreary day.
When you need to be home, may you find a way.
May you always have courage to take a chance.
And never find frogs in your underpants.

I also found a discussion on Snopes that included this version:

May you walk with the sunshine on your face;
May your moments be filled with gentle grace;
May you always give life a second chance;
May you never find frogs in your underpants.

Finally, there’s a children’s CD by “Livimack” called Frogs in your Underpants.

There.  Crash Debris edged me out for the #7 spot in the Google search order in the time it took me to write this (OK, to get around to writing it).  This information dense article should definitely push me up the list for all the folks out there wondering about “and never find frogs in your underpants.”.

It’s nice to be good for something.

(more…)

Comment Spam results

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I turned off all the anti-spam widgets on this site for about 2 days.  That’s quite long enough for a good sample.

In that time I got 106 comments with at least 5 links (and usually more).  I’m not allowed to view most of these at home and wouldn’t dare click them at the office.  Another dozen or so were realistic enough to get posted without requiring moderation.

All that for a tiny little blog with about 4 regular readers.

I think the point is not so much to be read as to affect search engine rankings.  The more links “out there” pointing back to your site, the more popular, and thus relevant, your content must be.

The filters are going back in…

Woohoo! I’m Popular. (hey — wait a minute…)

Friday, November 6th, 2009

I have a lot more visitors than comments.  I suppose that’s typical.

Nonetheless, I like comments.  I decided today to drop the bar on comment submission to see what will happen.  I took a look at my registered subscribers and got a shock.  I have 69 registered users!  Wow – I had no idea!

But wait a minute – take a look at the email addresses:

userlist23.png

I don’t want to expose any sensitive data on a real user, so I posted this as an image and obscured any data that looked legitimate. If you’re a real person, let me know and I’ll scrub the image some more.

I’m expecting lots of comment spam followed by a policy change.

At this point, it’s more than a guess.  I consulted my oracle on a few of these addresses (including Mr. Obama’s) and get  hits at BotScout.com (“We catch bots so you don’t have to”) and Stop Forum Spam.