There is an occupation that Skunkfeathers has been engaged in for a long time called “Scambaiting.” Basically what you do is take one of those spams that you get from the Nigerian Banker and answer it. Not giving any real information, of course, as these people are, in fact, criminals. People who engage in scambaiting see themselves (and properly so, in my opinion) as crimefighters. They use up the scammers’s time and resources so they have less to work with to try to score the naïve and innocent and, frankly, stupid people that answer these things. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but who ever heard of a total stranger in a foreign country giving you tens of thousands of dollars to help them commit a fraud that they could perpetrate using their own countrymen or henchmen?
There are many ways these crooks try to hook you. In fact I recently read of a scam where they call you and say they are with your bank’s fraud department and then read your credit card number to you, “Is this your card?” Well, it is, and they say that there has been suspicious activity on the card and could you please verify that you have the card by reading the 3-digit CV code to them off the back. That number is used for a variety of purposes and is as important as your PIN and card number because many transactions cannot be completed without it. Get off the phone and call back to the number on the card and tell them what just occurred.
Most scams are not as sophisticated as all that and they are not all Nigerian. Some will want to send you a money order that they cannot cash for whatever reason and have you deposit it in your bank, keep a percentage and wire them the rest. Great way to pick up an easy thousand dollars, except that by the time the bank has gotten the M.O. returned and you are overdrawn by $10k and in trouble with law enforcement for fraud your new-found friend/long-lost relative/banker with a mysteriously large deposit is gone. The last one is one of the most common. A Nigerian banker had a wealthy customer with no relatives whose entire family has been killed in a car crash/plane wreck/some other heart-rending tragedy and now there are millions of dollars in his bank that are due to be taken over by the government and lost. The crash victim? Just so happens that they had your same last name (Sackett – lol) and if you present yourself as the next-of-kin there is money to be had by all. Of course there are legal fees which his attorney has incurred by drawing up the necessary papers and he is demanding to be paid up-front and could you, well, you know, to show that you are serious in helping, could you please send the money to cover those expenses. Wire the cash Western Union, please and hurry, time is running out to get the papers filed. You can read about the various types of scams and some of their victims (Yes, soft-hearted sometimes equals soft-headed) and what some of this is all about at The 419 Eater http://www.419eater.com/ the “419” refers to the Nigerian law covering this sort of fraud. There used to be stories about real victims but I didn’t find that page. The website, “Crimes of Persuasion” http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/index.htm has some, though.
Since I have told you all about my young friend, Ali, http://miracleali.org/ who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and is still having problems and needing help, you can imagine how I felt when I received a letter from a “millionaire” who is dying of cancer and needs my help to disburse his wealth to various charities. If you can’t imagine how mad I was then you will see that I went to the trouble of creating a whole new character, a brother to one of my most beloved Sunday School characters, Fritz Von Googleheimer; Frederick. I think I overdid it, though, since I only had two episodes with him. You’ll see right where I made my mistake or I’m sure I could have gone further, but I will next time.
Anyway, Skunk is hysterically funny when he does it and I hope that you will find something humorous here as well.
Remember, the Good Book says, “Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.”