Category Archives: scam

Scam alert–are you getting flooded with spam email?

Are you getting a sudden deluge of spammy emails? Like you’ve been signed up for every mailing list and catalog in the universe?

The first impulse is to bulk delete and curse the clown who did this to you.


Curse away, yes, but comb through those emails with a gimlet eye to what actually may be important. Someone has done something underhanded and is relying on the flood of spam to bury an important notification.

Something where you really want to know: a Paypal transaction you didn’t authorize. A credit card transaction for something you didn’t buy and will never see. A notice that someone has applied for Covid-19 benefits in your name.

That last happened up in Canada to an acquaintance, who fortunately spotted the email in the heap of trash and is now recovering the account and unwinding the changes in their CRA account.

That so easily could have gone undetected.

Constant vigilance.

Smishing, and why it’s not always a loving hug

I haven’t deconstructed a scam in a while. No bandwidth, and nothing new coming along. Until tonight.

I got a text purportedly from Uber, a service I haven’t used in months.

Antennae up!

Since I’m socially distancing like a champ, plus I like my own cooking better than most restaurants’, I have no reason to interact with Uber tonight or in the recent past.

They, whoever “they” are, sent me a code, with instructions to text “Stop” if I didn’t want continued contact. What does that do? Tells whoever’s on the other end “here’s a live number.”

Well, no, I don’t want any further contact with these bozos, because they certainly aren’t who they say they are. Uber might send you a code if you’re setting up a new account, but you’d know you did that. Same for anyone else you’re starting to do business with. But out of the blue? Not hardly.

What is smishing? We’ve met phishing, emails trying to get you to click somewhere and divulge passwords and personal info. Smishing? Smash together SMS, one of the systems text messages work on, and phishing, and you get smishing.

This makes me sad. Smishing for me used to mean warm, squishy hugs given over the internet. No longer: it’s a cyber weapon.

So, best course of action? Delete, block, ignore, mentally consign to the outer depths. Texting “Stop” will do anything but. At best you’ll you deluged with “offers”, and at worst, you’ll have connected to a premium number that charges via your phone bill. A sum small enough that you might overlook it, or not find it worth your time to contest. Multiply a buck or two times many people, and it adds up.

Or it might be the kind of premium number that gets expensive fast.

The only way to win is not to play. The easiest way to win is not to play.

If you want the game to not come to you, be wary of giving out your phone number. Everyone asks, but “No” is a complete sentence. “I don’t give it out” is milder. That’s the sentence that’s probably defended me from encountering this scam until now.

And as for that Uber scammer? I hope they develop an itch in a place they can’t scratch.

Oh hell no

noOh, hell to the no.

This scam is so damned stupid I feel the need to fisk.


Good morning!

Your fiscal information for February 2014 in the attached scan. (I’m anxious to see what I get because I know I did business with a company called Australia Construction!)

PASSWORD 1234  (Ooooh, STRONG!)

You should to write in questionnaire before May 22th, 2014. (Whut?)
Your identification number is: 1324932. (Of course it is.)

Yours very sincerely, Chief accountant. (Who isn’t signing his name.)
+1 (913) 955-30-85 (Because I’m in Kansas too. Not.)

To unsubscribe our notice, please send us email with “Unsub” in subject. (The email didn’t actually seem intended for me, since the addy was a couple letters off. And you want me to confirm you got a live address. Riiiiight.)

No threats found in this notice. Checked by NANO Antivirus. Mon, 19 May (Ooh, I believe you!)

And of course they give me an attachment, called, fittingly enough, Attachment.rar.

RAR is a torrent type file, which could be filled with any damned thing, none of which will be allowed into my system. I’m not entirely sure that I could get it open, although Windows 7 opens lots of things now, but this is Pandora’s box.

Exactly how stupid do they think I am?

Wait, don’t answer that. But however stupid I really am, which on a good day is “only a little,” I’m not gullible enough to unleash this scam  into my computer.

I haven’t written about scams in a while, because they’ve all been depressingly the same old, same old. Mr. Farouk Al-Imacrook wants my help in getting millions out of some African country, Mrs. Bebe Willyoufallforthis is dying and has selected me to distribute her great wealth. That hoary old chestnut where an acquaintance gets hacked and that email sends out pleas of “Help! I’m in Djakarta and my wallet was stolen!” made the rounds again. I suppose it’s a function of using what works just often enough.

But this one is a new low in “We couldn’t deliver your package.”


Our courier couldnt make the delivery of parcel to you at 30th April 2014.
Print label and show it in the nearest post office.

  Print a Shipping Label NOW

USPS | Copyright 2014 USPS. All Rights Reserved.

BBC Latest News:

Girl dies after alleged bullying attack
Authorities are investigating whether it was an extreme case of bullying that led to the death of a 17-year-old student in Argentina, after she was attacked by two women and another girl last week.


Fascinating. Like this would get you anything besides a blank look at the counter? It’s called “prior plausibility” and as far as getting me to click on that button? Not happening. The Post Office doesn’t work that way. (The button’s fangs have been pulled: Lord knows what sort of mayhem was waiting at http:// Not to mention the weirdness of getting BBC news from this source. The typo is theirs, and the wording betrays unfamiliarity with local conventions.

Besides, we may outsource a lot of customer service in the US, but the Post Office to a place where the return address is Puhlease.

This scam has the novelty of a clickable link for trouble rather than an attachment with an exec file hidden inside, which makes it harder for the filters to catch and quarantine it.

People do receive packages all the time, so not being able to deliver one isn’t out of the question, but we know how it’s done, and it isn’t like this.

Kick this one for plagiarism

I haven’t received any noteworthy scam mails for a while, just the old standard wheezes. This one turned up in the spam box. I began to wonder if the return addy belonged to a real person who was being used in a shady scam, so I googled.

The Internet never forgets, does it?

Andreaw Fraser & Associates
Fax: + 44 203 004 2365
Address: 33 Bedford Row London Wc1r 4jh, England.

On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Engr. Juriaan Kugger. I once again try to notify you as my earlier letters were returned undelivered.

I wish to notify you that the late Engr. Juriaan Kugger made you a beneficiary to his WILL. He left the sum of Thirty Million, One Hundred Thousand Dollars (USD$30,100.000.00) to you in the Codicil and last testament to his WILL.

This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely travelled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good.

Engr. Juriaan Kugger until his death was a member of the Helicopter Society and the Institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers. Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, Endeavours to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job.

You are advice to contact me with my personal email:

Await your prompt response.

Yours in Service,

Barrister Andreaw Farser Esq.
Principal Partners: Barrister Aidan Walsh Esq. Mr. Markus
Wolfgang, Barrister John Marvey Esq. Barrister Jerry Smith Esq.

So out comes my editor’s red pen. Hmmm, can’t spell the name twice the same way.  I’ve actually seen that in published stories, makes me flinch every time. And no, I can’t find a real Andreaw, but I did find that this exact letter, names and all, has been going around since at least 2009. Guess old Engr. Juriaan’s millions are still going begging, heh heh, possibly because no one wants to send  information to a throwaway addy.

Toss this one for plagiarism.