Pls snd $$ to get $$$$$, tnx

The pitter-pat of bogus PayPal money requests, from lazy thieves seeking obliging victims, continues.

I like this one.

PayPal advance-fee scam

Yep, this dude's running an advance-fee scam. If I send him $US200, he'll allow me to "collect [my] money". Except, of course, there is no actual money. There never is.

What I particularly like about this version of the scam is its pared-down, minimalist nature. "Matt Arcay" never sent me an e-mail, or anything. Just this money request. I have received not the slightest hint of the amount or source of the promised "your money" - just this ridiculous "if you want to collect your money simply agree to this and send the money, so you can receive your money".

(I don't know where scammers learn that odd repetitive grammar that repeats because it is repetitive grammar and redundant and says the same thing over and over. I've received similar messages from different putative locations, like this guy allegedly from Puerto, I'm sorry, I mean PUERTO RICO.)

Perhaps Mr "Arcay" did e-mail me separately, of course, but that message was spam-filtered, so all I received was the accompanying money-request e-mail from PayPal.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the only way "Arcay" contacts prospective marks, though. If they reply asking what the deal is then he knows he's got a live one.

What he really hopes for, though, is a mark who just sends him the $200 immediately. That's probably because they reckon "Arcay" meant to send a ton of money to some other person but has accidentally picked the mark instead. So the mark wants to cash in before "Arcay" discovers his mistake.

In that case, "Arcay" has basically won the lottery. A cow like that probably has a lot more milk to give.

I don't know whether it's possible for a scammer in one of the classic famous-only-for-scams countries, like Nigeria or some other TPLAC, to open a PayPal account. This scammer could actually be in the USA - or "Arcay" could be a money-mule front man for a scammer in some other nation.

(There may be some way to report this blatant fraud to PayPal. I'm not eager to waste another morning trying to figure out how, though.)

Even if it's tricky for people in developing nations to run a scam like this, there's a huge incentive to do so. In urban Nigeria, many people don't even make 60,000 naira per annum, which as I write this is only about $US400. A Nigerian who makes $US1200 a year is doing pretty well, so it's hardly surprising that there's so much enthusiasm about chopping that much and more out of some dumb Westerner's giant wallet.

(The BBC's recent three-part documentary "Welcome to Lagos" is, by the way, excellent.)

My little-known Caribbean travel writing

I do like a nice slab of spam in the morning.

From: "Alex P. @ expo-MAX" <>
Date: 1 Dec 2009 10:56:37 -0600
Subject: Google Images search "walling's reservoir"

Hi there,

I came across your site while researching Google Images for keyword "walling's reservoir" and one of your pages ( was ranked on the 14th page of the Google Images search results.

I'm sure there are plenty of your other images in Google Image Search for many different keywords as well, it's just I came across this one first.

Really? You came across the FOURTEENTH PAGE of the search results... first?

(And, of course, my site deserved to be way down in the results for that search, because I have never written anything that has the slightest relevance to "Wallings Reservoir", which appears to be a place in Antigua. The closest I come to talking about it on that photo tutorial page is using the word "walling", as in "walling off", in one place on the page, and having this picture of a PC water-cooling reservoir somewhere else.

Oh, and note also that "Wallings Reservoir", the place in Antigua, has no apostrophe. More attention to detail from the good Alex P. at Expo-Max-dot-com!

Anyway, I looked through your site and correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like you are getting a lot of your visitors from image search, like Google Images, Yahoo Image Search, etc.

OK: You're wrong.

What if I told you that my team and I have developped a tool that reports on your site's rank (position) in all search engines for all keywords? Meaning, you know exactly where your site is ranked in Google, Yahoo, Google Images, Google News and so forth for each and every keyword.

Well, if you were to tell me such a thing, I'd say "I don't care. Get lost." It's lucky this is just a theoretical question, isn't it?

Alex's e-mail continued, with screenshots and stuff about what may actually be a perfectly good piece of free Web stats software. I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, though, because of how idiotic this e-mail is.

And it's so close to being good. Good grammar, almost-immaculate spelling, clear presentation of the product, no hard sell... all let down by machine-generating a form-letter top section and not running it past a human to see if it's ridiculous.

D minus. Must try harder.

UPDATE: Thanks to the obscurity of Wallings Reservoir, this blog post is now on the first page of the search results!

I'm still way down the image-search results list, but I think this is still a search-engine optimisation result for Alex to be proud of.

Look what happened when he just told me about his service! Imagine what might happen if I actually used it!

I'm also an expert on artificial flowers, oneiromancy and marmosets

From this morning's mail:

To: ""
Subject: Your Gambling Site
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009 12:27:36 -0700
From: Mark Jubenville <>

Recently I visited your website; while visiting your site I noticed that you link to at this address: As we are closely related to them, I would love to exchange links with your website, currently there are about 5,000 - 7,000 people per day that goto my site and search for information, Therefore I would to link to an excellent site like yours.

I have taken the liberty of adding your site to my home page: To determine if it is of any benefit to you, if you have a stats program you can check it and let me know. By looking at my stats, it looks like today I have sent you 37 visitors but it may change by the time you receive this email.

Some website owners do not like when other sites link to them so I thought I might ask first. I think the information on your website could be useful to my visitors; and maybe you could receive some extra relevant traffic if you want. Please get back to me when you have a chance to let me know if its ok to link to your website like this.

Have a good week,
Mark Jubenville
Ref: Mz9ah

This email was sent to, by
| 234, 5149 Country Hills Blvd N.W Suite # 306 | Calgary | Alberta | Canada

At first glance, this just looks like yet another schmuck who's letting Acme AutoLinkSpam 2000 send e-mails for him, without bothering to actually look at what it's saying on his behalf. Had Mr Jubenville (that is, just possibly, not his real name...) done so, he would have been able to see that my site, and Quatloos for that matter, have nothing whatsoever to do with his site,, which seems to be a discussion forum for poker players.

The hypothesis that he's a bit new to this game is supported by the fact that there is indeed currently a link to on the home page; it's above three links to sites that actually have something to do with poker. So this certainly doesn't look like the usual link spammer, with a huge site whose countless pages contain nothing but endless unrelated links and Google ads.

But perhaps Mr Jubenville wants us to read between the lines, here. A link-spam that's this random can't just happen by accident!

I mean, lots of link spammers have found the word "chicken" on my site and thus decided that my whole site must be relevant to the page on their link-farm about aeronautical bird-strike. The word "poker" appears on two of's more-than-a-thousand pages, as I write this, so there's nothing out of the ordinary there.

But the page that Mr Jubenville says piqued his interest was one of my numerous letters columns - it's the last letter on that page. That letter is about some nut who was selling purple aluminium that was supposed to have magical properties, which made him sound a bit like the Empower Modulator people. I linked to Quatloos because the guy selling the magic aluminium was connected to some other people with an interest in the proposed US "National Economic Stabilization and Recovery Act", which has been kicking around for rather a while now, and is a favourite of some scam artists. And Quatloos have a page about it.

(We haven't heard a lot from the NESARA scammers for a few years, but I bet they've gotten a considerable boost from the global financial crisis. The scam involves a "new Treasury Bank system, DEBT FORGIVENESS for all U.S. citizens, and abolishment of the IRS", which almost sounds plausible these days. I highly recommend Quatloos overall, by the way, especially if someone is trying to talk you into a sure-fire can't-lose money-making scheme having to do with legal loopholes which, to pick one common version, mean that nobody actually has to pay income tax.)

Clearly, nobody could really be stupid enough to think I have a "gambling site", and also think that Quatloos' page about the NESARA scammers is "closely related" to their site about poker.

Clearly, what Mr Jubenville is actually trying to tell me is that behind the apparently-valid message board, his site is actually some sort of great big scam!

Now, let's read every 13th letter of every post on those poker forums...

Library, bumper-sticker shop... what's the difference?

I get a lot of link-farm spam, of varying levels of ingenuity.

This one's got a new twist, though.

From: Alicia
[sending server located in some craphole]
Subject: An Idea/Suggestion for 404 link on
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 2009 08:10:42 -0600 (CST)

Hey :-)
I happened to noticed that on the page you have an outgoing external link to, however I found that it is a broken link (doesn't look like that page exists anymore or is temporarily down). I found this page to be a good replacement if you just wanted to change the link.
Hopefully this adds another resource to your page if anything.

Hope this is of some help, thought it was a good site to reference. Hope it proves to be useful


This really does look like an actual e-mail from a human being, doesn't it?

Of course, a human being would probably have noticed that although the Internet Archive's moving image collection page has moved since I wrote that review in 2004, the old URL redirects to the new one.

A human being might also be able to detect a slight difference in content between the place I was linking to and the place "Alicia" wanted me to link instead.

The Internet Archive moving image collection lets you download, for free, tons of movies that're out of copyright or otherwise free to distribute. Nosferatu, His Girl Friday, Night of the Living Dead, Reefer Madness, old computer TV shows, cartoons, vintage educational films, "ephemeral" films; you name it. It's great., in contrast, is pretty much what you'd expect to be. The page "Alicia" wanted me to link to isn't the usual meaningless link-farm robo-content, though; it's about "The Evolution of Horror Movies", and seems to be a perfectly valid page with real content. But it also seems to not be in the Google database at all, which suggests that it's brand new.

Perhaps the idea behind this spam is to make actual valid content pages on sites that want the PageRank boost that all link schemes are about. Then you scan for broken links on Web sites and shoot off these seemingly-from-a-human e-mails, suggesting people update their link to point to your page.

The only problem is that, as usual, it's all based on software that's trying, unsuccessfully, to find targets that're relevant to the stuff the spammer is trying to advertise.

If this really is the scheme, it's a step forward from normal link-farm sites, which exist only to trick searchers into clicking on ads. But I'm still not going to help "Alicia" do it.

Posted in Scams, Spam. 4 Comments »

But what if it gets sunburn?

Presented as received, emphasis theirs:

From: "rachel" <>>
To: <>
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2009 01:39:08 +0800

Dear Dan,

Have a nice day£¡

I am happy to present hot selling items for you reference. A lot of clients are interesting in this item, so I try to send them for your reference. Hope it is helpful for you!

Here is our Solar USB Dick for your reference,hope you are interexted in.

Feature:Animation Display
Operating sysrem:Windows 98/SE, Windows ME, 2000 XP and Mac OS9.1
Drivers: Only Windows 98/SE need the driver

Logo is made by Pc software and displayed on LCD screen, when there is light logo blink thus to attract people's attention.

[blah blah blah, picture of USB thumb-drives with a solar-powered capacity-display thing on the side]

Pirce: FOB shenzhen

128MB USD3.15
256MB USD3.45
512MB USD3.75
1GB USD4.25
2GB USD4.65
4GB USD7.60

MOQ:500pcs , More qty will be more cheaper.
Product material: Plastic Housing
Product size: 62*25*13mm
Packing: each in a color box,100pcs/48*36*29cm; G.W./N.W.:12.5*11.7

This offer is firm for 1 week.
Please add USD0.30 for ROHS.
Printing logo: logo set up charge: USD100.00/design.
Sample delivery time is 3-5 day after order confirm.
Delivery time: 7-10 day after sample approval.

Should any of the items be of interest to you, please let us know. We shall be glad to give you our lowest quotations upon receipt of your detailed requirement.

IFS electronice company limited

Solar dick!

Yep, that's an electronice solar dick all right.

(I bet they'll print whatever famous computer-product-company logo you like on your 500 solar dicks.)

Still smarter than most spammers

There's an "Ask Dan" button on all of Aus PC Market product pages, that allows people to ask me stuff about AusPC products, in the hope that I may perhaps answer them and then put the correspondence on my site as an Ask Dan page.

We haven't been able to make it completely clear that this feature is for people asking, for instance, whether Video Card A or Video Card B is better for Fallout 3, rather than stuff I don't know like how long something's power cord is. But even without a How Not To E-Mail Me scare page, by and large the Ask Dan buttons work quite well.

In the last few days, some spambot has latched onto Ask Dan. It's clearly mistaken the send-me-an-e-mail form for a Web-forum comment form, and is attempting to use it to post comment spam.

So now I'm getting mail from and and so on that says stuff like

<a href=|viagra for
woman ></a>
[url=|viagra for
woman][/url] <a href=|viagra price ></a>
[url=|viagra price][/url]
<a href=|viagra generic
></a> [url=|viagra


<a href= >on line casino</a>
[url=]on line casino[/url] <a
href= >no download
casino</a> [url=]no
download casino[/url] <a href= >online casino
[url=]online casino
gambling[/url] <a href=
>casino game online</a>
[url=]casino game

(The above is quite heavily abridged.)

The funny part is that the spambot has decided to post its mis-aimed comments in the Ask Dan form for exactly one AusPC listing, for this defunct server. Because that product is no longer available, the product page now has no Ask Dan button on it; there is no way for anybody to actually navigate to that product's Ask Dan form. And yet, the spambot keeps Asking Dan about it!

So somehow it's gotten it into its tiny little brain that the Ask Dan page for that product - URL, which I just created by pasting the server's product ID in place of the ID of another product - is the gateway to bold new markets for online casinos and pills that probably aren't Viagra.

I hope it doesn't discover any of the thousands of other Ask Dan forms. It's much easier to filter this way!

You're a mug if you just get the Rohypnol

From: "Bao Nguyen" <>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 11:39:25 +0200
To: "Dan" <>
Subject: Heroin (DISCOUNT 25% IF GET 0,5 Kilo)

Online Store

Hello, we sell some drugs :

- Club Drugs (GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol)

- Crack and Cocaine

- - MDMA (Ecstasy)

- Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP

- Heroin

- Inhalants

- Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications (FREE SHIPPING !)

- Methylphenidate and Amphetamines (ADHD Medications) - BUY 2 GET 3 !

- Heroin (DISCOUNT 25% IF GET 0,5 Kilo)


- BUY BUNDLE MDMA + LSD and RECEIVE Methylphenidate for FREE !

Contact E-Mail:

I presume these spammers just wait for someone to be dumb enough to actually order illegal drugs from them, then keep the money.

What are you going to do, complain to Western Union that your half-kilo of heroin never showed up?

Not a jury in the world would convict you

Given the desperation of the various cop shows to find new stories "plucked from the headlines" (translation: "we'd rather not have to write our own plots"), I'm surprised that none of them seem to have featured Awful Vengeance wreaked upon a series of spammers.

I remember one Law & Order SVU episode (well, that's probably what it was, they all kind of blend together) featured a child molester tempted into offending again by "Lolita" porno spam. This episode was of course every bit as plot-holed-below-the-waterline as every other computer-related plot on mainstream TV, but I'd forgive the usual "I tracked his traceroute to a ping from 374.257.-111.999, which means he's using 5-bit ASCII..." stuff as long as enough spammers were finding other spammers' ears in their mailboxes.

I've got the plot outline for them right here.

Former Special Forces guy loses a leg somewhere he's not at liberty to talk about, uses his disability payments to start a little Internet Service Provider in his home town, and gets into one of those horrible legal battles with a spamming customer who forces him to keep hosting their server. Then goes on murderous crusade.

He can't just kill the guy he's having problems with, of course. He'll be the first suspect. If he kills eight other spammers first, though, then keeps on killing more spammers afterwards, he'll be harder to catch.

(Preferable murder technique: Cutting something valuable off the spammer and commenting on how it doesn't seem nearly as big as the advertisements promised, while they bleed out.)

The actual spammer-homicide rate is miserably low. There was that one Russian guy in '05, and a couple back in 1999, and that's about it as far as I know. (Anybody know of any others?)

So if nobody can make this happen in the real world, it should at least happen on TV.