Dr. Abu’s Triumphant Re-Return

Amazingly, incredibly, unbelievably, I have been contacted by “Dr. Abu” again.
To fully appreciate the Doctor, you’d have to be familiar with the Nigerian Email Experiment saga on Banterist. In the experiment, I managed to waste an incredible amount of a Nigerian con artist’s time by delaying his request for my bank information, phone number and everything else. I posed as a dupe named “Michael Bloomberg” from New York. As time dragged on the Doctor got more illiterate, and annoyed. Eventually he told me off and disappeared. It was gorgeous.
All I can imagine is that this nitwit got his cons mixed up again, as I assumed he did after the first time he re-connected with me. (See: The Return of Doctor Abu) These guys aren’t that bright, and they’re running several different cons at the same time. After all, they have to email blast half the planet for starters.
And so the con continues…

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The Cons of November

In the month of November alone, I received 26 solicitations from con-men seeking an ‘extremely urgent’ form of ‘business partnership.’ The nature of the partnership is that I would provide my bank account information to complete strangers who would then wire me millions of dollars from which I would get a percentage.
You would think that this was an incredibly obvious scam. Just like I don’t need gaydar to see that Liza Minelli married a homosexual, I need not have a Harvard PhD to see the amazing implausibility of this arrangement. But apparently it’s not obvious to everyone. The fact that they keep trying means it occasionally works, and that’s as amazing as it is troubling.
The Feds call it the ‘419’ in reference to the Nigerian legal code it falls under. I didn’t realize Nigeria had a legal code, so kudos to Nigeria – one step closer to civilization.
Not only is the 419 going strong, but more countries are getting in on the action, so it’s become a criminal franchise of sorts. Like an evil McDonalds. Or a more evil McDonalds, depending on how you feel about McDonalds.
After I tallied it all up, in the month of November alone I was offered a piece of over $601.6 Million Dollars of money that would have been considered ill-begotten or shady, if it actually existed. Not bad for a day’s not work.

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Doctor Who?

Studying the Fine Art of Bullshitting
A few years ago, a friend and business associate proudly announced to me that he had completed his Doctorate in Musical Theory and from that point onward would prefer to be addressed as “Doctor” in light of his accomplishment. Those better acquainted could presumably call him “Doc.”
This was very suspect as I had known this individual for some time, and had not known him to be the scholarly type. Indeed, he was the partying type, and during his off-hours I had never once seen him crack a book much less fret over an upcoming thesis. When not at work he was drinking. I know this because I was usually sitting across from him at the bar.
When pressed, he insisted that he indeed was a Doctor of Musical Theory and had a diploma that said so. When I asked where the diploma came from he told me “The University of Wexford at Zurich.”
The fact that the University of Wexford was located in Zurich was interesting to me. We did not live in Zurich. At the time we lived in Atlanta, and the commute would have been prohibitively expensive and logistically impossible as he had a full-time job. I asked how one gets a Doctorate in Musical Theory from a college 4,700 miles away and the answer was simple enough: correspondence.
At this point I was unable to stop asking questions. The good Doctor had dug himself a hole and it seemed that he would dig even deeper. After further interrogation, it came down to this: He received an unsolicited email about getting a diploma of his choosing. He paid several hundred dollars. After a brief telephone interview, the “University” staff felt that since he worked in the field of radio and music, his Doctorate was fully warranted. They processed his credit card and he was issued a PhD based on his “life and work experience.” Despite the absurdity, he continued to insist it was legitimate, that he was in fact a Doctor, and that the University of Wexford was an accredited institution.
At this point, I was intrigued. I had to learn more about the University of Wexford at Zurich. I did a little searching and eventually discovered their website, a brilliantly ambiguous work of art. Generic photographs of students were on every page. The “Alumni” page featured a vague statement along the lines of “Our graduates work in a variety of professions” surrounded by photos of people in various professions. The “Courses” page said the school offered a “diverse curriculum” for its students.
The fact that the website was void of any real details was curious enough. The site was registered in Romania with a telephone in Arizona, a fax machine in Massachusetts and a “campus” in Switzerland. All that was missing as far as warning signs go was a man standing atop my monitor screaming “Warning! Warning!”
A little more sleuthing, and I learned that the University was accredited by an organization of its own making. So they accredited themselves. This was pure gold.
I’m not sure if my friend sought to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. Certainly if that was his intention the attempt was very half-hearted. He crumbled under questioning, sucked up to the fact he’d been swindled and fortunately never asked us to call him “Doctor” again.
Certainly he wasn’t the only “graduate” of this institution. I was sure there were shameless folks out there who would have no qualms about placing their University of Wexford degree on a resume. Best of all, in this Age of Information, all I’d have to do was a little Googling to find my answers. In short order I discovered dozens of folks bold, brash and dumb enough put a make-believe University on their resume and back it up with a straight face.
Even better, there were some real humdingers, like the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in California’s 21st District, David G. LaPere. He lost the election, but the candidate with a “Bachelor of Arts” in “Political Science” from the “University” did manage to take 26.3% of the vote. That’s just plain scary.
The organizational consulting firm, Character of Excellence features the employee profile of a “Doctor” who, it is revealed, “earned her doctorate in Computer Sciences based upon her work experience from the University of Wexford in 1999.” Really.
Ah, based upon her work experience. At least she kind of came clean. But the “University” she “graduated” from wasn’t even online in 1999. Their internet presence didn’t start until 2001. Interesting.
There’s a “psychic” and “guide to intoxicating bliss” with a “Masters” in “Psychotherapy” from the virtual university. The accomplished lady is also a “D.R.S.”, “Ms.D”and a “Reverend.” She likes titles, I suppose. From perusing the website I believe her degree was warranted based on her obvious life experience in the psychotherapy field. As a patient.
And there are more. So many more. A job hunter’s website had one individual with a double Masters: “Engineering Management” and “Management Information System.” Way to go! There was also a “Masters” in “Computer Science” on the same site. I wonder if they ever crossed virtual paths on their way to virtual class.
And there’s the gentleman who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the non-existent University’s non-existent MBA program. Certainly someone so intelligent should have a job by now.
The University of Wexford’s internet presence is no more. That alone should tell you something. Undoubtedly their academic jig was up, discovered by one person by too many, and the Romanians running the place moved on.
For certain, there’s another “accredited” institution of higher learning out there, issuing degrees like New York City cops issue parking tickets. It makes you wonder who out there thinks they’re pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, laying claim to titles they purchased with a Visa card.
Fortunately, with a minimal amount of effort the answers are easy to come by. After all, discovering someone with a fraudulent “Doctorate” in “Physics” isn’t rocket science.

The Return of Dr. Abu

After my initial Nigerian Email Experiment, I had lost contact with my friend Dr. Abu. The duration of the lapse was long enough that I figured he was gone. Moved on. Caught on to my whole Michael Bloomberg thing. The rambling responses I was sending him. The fact that I never gave him the telephone numbers he was looking for.
But no.
I received an email from him yesterday that totally caught me off guard. ironically, right after I had begun a new email experiment with a con artist in South Africa.
So Abu is back. The tale continues…

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The Next Nigerian Email Experiment

In the intitial Nigerian Email Experiement, I decided to take the scammer up on his offer to wire $35,000,000 to me. I began an exchange with “Dr. Abu” that lasted a considerable time considering my correspondence as “Michael Bloomberg” was frequently nonsensical, and I had thought, obvious.
Eventually Dr. Abu and I lost contact. To heal my broken heart, I decided to engage a new scammer who identifies himself as “Dr. Zulu.” The good doctor hails, allegedly, from South Africa this time. His Modus Operandi is the same: He wants my bank account info in order to wire me $26,500,000 this time.
I love the fact that these guys always claim to be doctors. Even better that he chose the name “Doctor Zulu.”
Our adventure starts on 25 October with the receipt of the following email:

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Plight of The Average-Penised

Long before we all knew the perils of putting your email address out in the open, I gave my email address freely to anyone who wanted it. After years out there in the ether, it’s been acquired, traded, sold and borrowed. Now it appears on every possible junk email list known to man.
The end result is that I am absolutely assaulted with copious amounts of spam every day.
Yesterday set a record: 51 junk emails in a 24-hour period. Mind you, this is with Earthlink’s spam filtering turned ON. I can only imagine what would happen if I turned it off. In fact, I may out of curiosity.
Here’s a breakdown of yesterday’s spam deluge:
Breast enlargement for the boobs I don’t have: 1
Casino tips for the online casino I wouldn’t go near:1
Debt relief for the debt problems I’ve avoided: 3
Diploma for the teaching career I don’t want: 1
Exciting business concepts for Pyramid marketing losers: 2
Human Growth Hormone (HGH), the creepy drug: 2
Life insurance: 1
New car prices for the car I’ll never buy since I live in Manhattan: 2
Newsletters claiming I “Opted In” to receive shitty newsletters: 3
No idea what they were pitching because message was blank: 2
Penis enlargement for the penis I’m fine with, thank you very much: 8
Pornographic site with an exciting new vibrator: 1
Pornographic site with farm sluts: 3
Pornographic site with hot anal action: 1
Pornographic site with hot college orgies: 1
Pornographic site with hot twinks: 1
Pornographic site with hot young teens: 1
Prescription medications that do not require a prescription: 10
Radio control cars:1
Sales leads for the sales career I do not have: 1
Scam artist who wants to transfer $48 Million into my bank account: 1
Spam filtering software, with the irony not being lost on me: 1
Weight loss for the weight problem I do not have: 2
Yoga mat, for the trendy hobby I’ll never pick up: 1
A pox on these people. I heard mention in the news this morning of Anti-Spam legislation being tossed around Congress. It’s been tossed around before. Let’s hope it’s not tossed around too much longer. Being reminded on a daily basis that a “Penis Enlargement Patch” exists is unnerving and wrong.

The Nigerian Email Experiment, Part II

Incredibly, my correspondence with the Nigerian scam artist goes on.
So far, Dr. Abu has continued relentlessly to press me for my bank account information, claiming that he wants to wire $35 million into it for safekeeping. I continue to stall, trying everything possible to milk the comedic value out of this cow.
Even the most non-sensical dialogue seems to go right over the head of the good Doctor. Besides the fact I’m using the name “Michael Bloomberg” and ending letters with nonsense like “Praises and Yogurt!” he somehow doesn’t realize there’s a game being played at his expense.

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The Nigerian Email Experiment

The Nigerian email scam is the modern day version of the Nigerian Fax Scam which was once the modern day version of the Nigerian Letter Scam.
Basically, you get a letter from a Nigerian who wants to transfer millions into your bank account because he’s heard you’re trustworthy. You only need to provide a bank account number. You can imagine what happens as soon as you’re dumb enough to do that.
Apparently people are dumb enough, the scam works.
I receive several of these per week. Recently, I chose a Policy of Engagement rather than a Policy of Deletion, because I felt there might be comedic value in it. There is.
The following real correspondence is between myself (as Michael Bloomberg) and Dr. Abu Hassan, who trusts me and wants my bank account number.

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Answering Questions Posed By Spammers

Ever wondered what your spouse does online?
Most likely she’s checking her email. There’s also a recipe site she frequents. And some French newspapers. Are you saying I should be concerned?
having a hard time?
Well, I was honestly starting to worry a bit. But things definitely seem to be picking up. The stock market appears to be coming back, and commercial acting is picking up as a result of the economy in general coming back. So barring another economic downturn or nasty terrorist incident on our soil, I’m feeling positive. How are you?

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