Noble Experiments

Did You Hear About The Guy Who Took On The Nigerian?

Longtime reader Mick sent me this Vanity Fair piece by Ted Travelstead wherein he takes on a Nigerian email scammer. Mick was reminded of something done here six years ago, and then again, and again, and again and again, and again, and again.
Thanks for remembering, Mick. I may be years ahead of Ted in this case, but he’s smarter as he managed to actually get paid for it.

Craigslist experiment: The Trans-gendered Proofreader

Theory: An advertisement soliciting a trans-gendered proofreader will offend someone who has their original genitalia, and that person will claim discrimination.
The Ad:
“I am in need of a transgendered proofreader capable of editing a novel over the next six months. English must be your native tongue and you should be specifically good with spotting where commas go because my computer’s comma key is broken. In my estimation the work will take you 4-5 hours per week. You can do it at home or I have a kitchen. Pay commensurate with experience. You will need to sign a traditional non-disclosure form about the book’s plot and me. The book is about a Spanish boy and his adventures being elsewhere.”
Posting: 8:09 am
First response: 11:26 am
The self-demeaning approach:
“If you could consider a boring old straight person, I’d love to hear more. If not, good luck on your project.”
Have original equipment but I’m good approach:
“Would you consider using a highly experienced (fourteen years) proofreader who isn’t transgendered?”
“Would you consider a good but non-transgendered proofreader?”
The brown-noser:
“I did see that you are seeking a transgendered proofreader, which I am not. However, I am sensitive to the transgendered community, so this would not be a problem.”
The faulty use of the “if not…” construct coupled with the I’m-on-to-you-but-just-in-case approach:
“I’m an open-minded, if not transgendered, proofreader. I’m proficient with punctuation, and have experience proofreading creative and academic writing. I thought your post was a bit bizarre, so I’m not sure if it’s serious. If it is, I’m interested and capable of doing a great job proofreading your novel.”
Scoring lower on the reading comprehension scale:
“I am a degreed, published, open minded writer/translator who would be pleased to proofread your manuscript about the transgendered Spanish boy for the next 6 months.”
And the amazing realization that such a person actually exists:
“I am a transgendered proofreader of superior skill and am interested in hearing further about your novel and what your needs are in completing it.”
Results: No hostile emails claiming discrimination were received during the course of the experiment. Every email was a bona-fide job application. All, save one, were from people who were technically qualified but who totally ignored the job criteria since they had their original Peters and Pineapples.
Conclusion: This experiment suggests that the general population is terribly afraid of the trans-gendered and will not say anything, even if he/she blatantly advertises non-equal opportunity hiring practices.

The Craigslist Euthanist Theory

THEORY
A public job listing for an animal euthanist will go over poorly.


SCIENTIFIC STUDY
1:17 PM – The following is posted in the Jobs section of Craigslist:
Seeking Experienced Euthanist for Animal Facility
New Jersey animal science facility seeks an experienced Euthanist. You should be skilled in euthanizing not only standard test dogs and cats, but also horses, pigs, rabbits, monkeys and various rodentia, some birds. If you do not have this experience we will be willing to provide training to an individual with the right qualifications.
This is a full-time job with health benefits. You should be prepared to euthanize 50-250 animals per week, depending on current testing conditions. Please be prepared for this – our last three euthanists have been unable to perform to our standards.
Please send resume and salary requirements. Thank you.

1:45 PM – Email Received:
Greetings….
Could you please consider me for ‘ANY’ job on full time/part time/project basis.
I have been working as a data entry/bookeeping clerk and a website developer for over five years.
If I am not fit for the job posted by you then kindly consider me for any other opening.
My rates are:
$5.00/hour for contract job
$120/week for part time service and
$259/week for full time service (8 hrs)
I can only telecommute, as I am physically disabled and is located “FAR AWAY” from your place.
I am equipped with a Pentium IV PC and 24 hours net connection.
If you have a computer microphone then you can give me dictation to type.

2:02 PM – Someone posts the listing in the “Pets” forum.
“Did you SEE THIS???”

3:03 PM – Email Received
YOUR FAMILIES SHOULD BE EUTHANIZED!
You disgusting excuse for a human being.

3:10 PM – Someone posts the listing in the “Pets” forum.
“Attention all animal lovers…”

3:11 PM – Email Received
how horrific. please stop this animal testing. be kind.

3:19 PM – Email Received
what are the qualifications, ice water for blood?

3:26 PM – Email Received
This ad is very upsetting for any animal lovers. I would remove it if I were you. It makes me sick just thinking about it.

3:44 PM – Email Received
I am very interested in this job. I have many years of experience as a med tech taking blood from humans in a human hospital and am sure that I can perform the necessary work needed to facilitate your research regarding the proper humane discard of animals.

5:00 PM – Email Received
Good Afternoon
I just came across your ad on Criagslist seeking an experienced euthanist for animals for your company. I am experienced in working in an animal hospital where I assisted in euthanasia procedures on a constant level. I was employed there for over 2 years. I enjoyed my work immensely and wish to return to this line of work. Many may call me morbid for enjoying euthanasia procedures, but I explain it like this. An animal in pain or suffering should be given the mercy of peace by euthanasia. I would truly like to be considered for this position and would like very much to be trained to properly perform up to your company’s standards.

5:29 PM – Email Received
You’re disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourselves

5:38 PM – Post “flagged and removed” by users of Craigslist.

RESULTS OF STUDY
Lifespan of job posting: 4 hours 21 minutes
Summary: There is sufficient reason to believe that job listings for Animal Euthanists are not popular, and most likely will not be productive.
However, even a nauseating job listing will attract some interest from Indian guys offering to work for $5 an hour or job-seeking Sodium Penobarbitol enthusiasts.
Furthermore, it is apparent that the Craigslist community is somewhat censorious, and will vote to remove a job listing for a job they do not agree with, even though it may be a legitimate listing.

A New Nigerian Counter-Con

It’s going to be hard to top the Dr. Abu exchange, but there is no shortage of con artists on whom the art of the counter-con can be perpetrated.
The latest round involves ‘Graham Dasuki’, whose familiar form letter includes references to doctors, alleged bigwig Nigerian politicians, and, of course, millions and millions of dollars they’ll wire to me as soon as I provide my bank account information.
Mind you, people do fall for this con. Some people have gotten so involved that they’ve lost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. A few people foolish enough to go to Nigeria to get their money back have even been murdered ‘ recently as a matter of fact. These are bad guys, and they prey on the greedy and the not-so-bright.
But they’re not so bright either, as well see ‘

Continue reading…

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…

Continue reading…

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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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…

Continue reading…

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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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.

Continue reading…