Archive for Scams and Spams

I’ll consider myself peered

I don’t know if this was translated from Urdu into Dutch, or what, but it showed up in the spam bucket last night:

I am really impressrd wit your writing tzlents as wekl as
witth thee strudture onn your weblog. Is this a paid subject orr did you mdify
it yiur self? Either way stay up the nice quality writing, itt
is uncommon to peer a niice bog like this one
today..

A niice bog indeed.

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Tastier phish

Remember that jaundiced eye with which you review your incoming email? Get ready to go Full Yellow:

Pretty much ever since the new top level domain (TLD) “.biz” went online a couple years ago, and the only ones buying domains in this space were the scammers, we kinda knew what would happen when ICANN’s latest folly and money-grab went live. It looks like a number of the “new” top level domains, like “.support”, “.club”, etc have now come online. And again, it seems like only the crooks are buying.

Okay, that’s to be expected. But was this?

But wait, there’s more! Since the crooks in this case own the domain, and obviously trivially can pass the so-called “domain control validation” employed by some CA’s, they actually managed to obtain a real, valid SSL certificate!

And we all know what that means:

Addition of SSL to the phish means that another “scam indicator” that we once taught our users is also no longer valid. When a user clicks on the link in the phishing email, the browser will actually show the “padlock” icon of a “secure site”.

Honest-looking thieves! Who knew?

(Via SwiftOnSecurity. She knew, for sure.)

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Maybe they need fiber

Somehow I suspect this will not sell any product:

[Home DIY Network Presents]
Build Anything with Success and ease
The Faster & Easier Way To Woodworking
————————————————-
Over 16,000 Step-by-step plans

Put yeast into a small bowl with 1/4 cup warm water, 110-115 degrees F, for about 5 minutes and let it foam. In a large mixing bowl put the hot milk, hot water, salt, sugar and shortening and let it cool to lukewarm, add yeast and 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth.

You have to see how cool this is…

I swear, the spammers aren’t even trying anymore.

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Must be the drugs

This bit of weirdness was submitted to another site I run — strangely, or maybe appropriately, to a post called “Unconscious hilarity”, which was about, you guessed it, comment spam.

I can only affirm three answers, (2, 6, 8) and with serious qualifications on #2 (if it weren’t for my wife and sons I would have no pets).

Christopher Street West, Town of West Hollywood, spouse organizations, supporters and sponsors all contribute to support and celebrate the June 28, 1969 anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in Ny.

An important aspect of buying real estate is feeling at ease with the professional who’s helping you.

The intended link was to a site named for a diet pill; methinks the bots have had too much exposure to drug-addled humanoids.

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More than just a weird trick

Actual subject line from yesterday’s mail: “This Simple Action Poisons Your Organs (On National TV)”.

Inevitably, there’s a questionable link, with this text: “Why Eating Salad Makes You Old.” I rather suspect that I’d be old even if I’d never had a salad in my life. (Last actual salad: last night.)

And the sender, it says, is “Reverse Disease.” Um, what about all that organ poisoning?

There are, say the experts, people who respond to these things. How? Surely they’re dead by now.

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Semi-useful household advice

I’m not sure why this was stuck onto a My Little Pony-related post, but what the heck:

Watch for chewing, especially around items such as electric cords. Ferrets are also prone to certain illnesses — and injuries — and may also require emergency services. Don’t make any sudden movements as you don’t want your boa constrictor to bite you as boas are sensitive to humans and can easily feel threatened.

And sometimes they’re hungry.

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Untrue to its contents

This spam was from, it said, “Cable Service,” and the subject was “Optimize your viewing experience with cable TV.”

Then followed three links, anchored as follows:

  • Greencard
  • Need a Greencard? Get help from experienced US Attorneys – Attorney Advertisement
  • Work legally with a greencard.

And, you know, the CableCARD is dead.

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Recapture clause

Freshly spammed my way: a method to get one’s ex back.

No, really:

My system is rooted in behavioral psychology. By combining this with text messages to deliver the message, the result is a system that is so powerful, it has worked for more than 10,000 people!

Text messages are direct, non-confrontational, and can be responded to when it is convenient to the person you sent it to. They are especially effective when dealing with the situation in person, could be too risky.

Let Justin Sinclair, personal relationship expert, show you exactly what messages you need to send your Ex, and how to send them. You’ll be blown away when your Ex starts talking to you again and eventually asks to see you.

Believe me, if Jimmy Webb can’t do it, nobody can.

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You can practically see the wagging finger

This “Peter Carter” fellow claims in his subject line that there are “issues” with my Web site. The major issue, apparently, is that he’s not getting paid:

I thought you might like to know some reasons why you are not getting enough Social Media and Organic Search Engine traffic for dustbury.com.

1. Your website dustbury.com is not ranking top in Google organic searches for many competitive keyword phrases.

2. Your company is not doing well in most of the Social Media Websites.

3. Your site is not user friendly on mobile devices.

There are many additional improvements that could be made to your website, and if you would like to learn about them, and are curious to know what our working together would involve, then I would be glad to provide you with a detailed analysis.

Our clients consistently tell us that their customers find them because they are at the top of the Google search rankings. Being at the top left of Google (#1- #3 organic positions) is the best thing you can do for your company’s website traffic and online reputation. You will be happy to know that, my team is willing to guarantee you 1st page Google ranking for most of your targeted keyword phrases in our six month ongoing campaign.

Bite me, Pedro. Your Google ranking is going up just from this mention. I’ll send you a bill when I get around to it. That was “Peter Carter,” right?

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The wonderfulness of me

Roberta X used to have a category called “the wonderfulness of me,” and the name was intended, I believe, neither as irony nor as humblebrag: it was simply handy. It’s not a term I’d use myself, though: my own shtick calls for somewhere below Whitmanian celebrations of myself but at least slightly above “wayward guttersnipe.”

From some gutter in a 107 IP comes this attempt to butter me up:

I’ve been browsing on-line more than 3 hours lately, yet I never found any fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful price enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the internet will probably be a lot more helpful than ever before.

I dunno how excellent the content is around here, but there certainly is a lot of it. And there’s a reason for that, for which I turn to Gagdad Bob:

“Only the unexpected fully satisfies. Nothing that satisfies our expectations fulfills our hopes.” This is why I so enjoy this medium of expression. If someone were to offer me money to write a commentary on Don Colacho’s Aphorisms, I would be miserable. Blogging is only fulfilling — and it is, very — because there is absolutely No Plan. Every morning, I can’t wait to wake up and accomplish nothing, only maybe a little more deeply this time!

Says it all, or at least rather a lot of it, as I probably did.

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I need a video

Says so right here in this piece of spam:

Do you know that having a Video for your website is the best way to grow your business and expand your reach. People love watching videos rather than reading websites these days. Other benefits are:

1) Conversion Rate of website increases by upto 75%

2) You website gets 100% more views and 30% more clicks

3) Search engine ranking increases by upto 50%.

The sender, identified as “Shelly Johnson” — recent English major, am I right? — has no idea what would happen if I actually followed these instructions. And I’m not particularly good at predictions, especially about the future; but I’m pretty sure the phrase “WTF is the deal with the video?” will resound from sea to snoring sea.

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Fake tolls for thee

Something claiming to be from E-ZPass — it wasn’t, of course — sent along this phishy business:

Dear customer,
You have not paid for driving on a toll road. This invoice is sent repeatedly,
please service your debt in the shortest possible time.
The invoice can be downloaded
here.

Hey, service this, pal.

The link (under “here”) goes to a .eu domain with a long Teutonic name out of a wp-content directory, which practically screams Malware!

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They just said Hi

And then there was this one line:

It is better that the other processed rubbish on the market.

In other news, there are quality standards for processed rubbish.

Oh, they did throw in a link, to some .pl site with a page called “oprah.html,” which all by itself is enough to raise the storm flags.

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Dried-up spring

Some minor objections to the text here, from some bogus individual identified as “Lourdes” (!) linking back to some questionable Facebook profile:

The very heart of your writing while apipraeng reasonable at first, did not settle perfectly with me after some time. Somewhere throughout the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer but only for a while. I still have a problem with your leaps in logic and one might do well to help fill in those breaks. In the event that you can accomplish that, I will undoubtedly end up being fascinated.

I’m guessing that “praeng” is the name of the API that produced this boilerplate, because no actual human with any knowledge of the language would spell “appearing” that way.

IP is 159.255.2.137. Feel free to ban it, because nothing useful is ever going to come from there.

Update: The next spammer was kinder:

What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience concerning unexpected emotions.

Exactly the kind of preserveness I’d like to preserve.

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Clutch this, pal

This item dropped into the spam trap late Friday night:

I’ll immediately clutch your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me understand so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

No, she doesn’t find my ideas intriguing; the link she gave me goes to some place where you can buy Instagram followers.

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UnCooperative

Have you ever been spammed by an auto dealer? Rob O’Hara has, and he’s tired of it:

I’ve had a gmail address for a long time — I got it back when gmail was invite-only, in fact. Shortly after signing up for gmail I began getting spam e-mails from a Mini Cooper car dealership located in Peabody, Massachusetts named Mini of Peabody. Just to be clear: I have no interest in Mini Coopers, have never owned one, never plan to, and never signed up for Mini of Peabody’s e-mail newsletter.

The monthly e-mails from Mini of Peabody are big and colorful and hard to miss. I deleted the first one and the second one and the third one. The e-mails suggested that I add [address redacted] to my address book to ensure that I received their e-mails, but instead I did the opposite and added [same address still redacted] to my spam list. I also clicked on the “report this e-mail as spam” button in gmail. Still, somehow, the e-mails get through.

You don’t suppose this might be some of Google’s doing, do you? I mean, gmail is at least as important to their world-domination schemes as the tracking cookie.

Anyway, their ideas are not intriguing to him, and he does not wish to subscribe to their newsletter:

Back then I was naive enough to believe that clicking “unsubscribe from this newsletter” worked. It doesn’t, or at least didn’t in this case. I clicked their “unsubscribe” button, followed the weblink, entered my e-mail address to remove it from their mailing list … and still, the newsletters came. I have tried this multiple times.

And finally:

In October of 2013, a representative of Mini of Peabody contacted me personally and said they would remove my e-mail from their mailing list. They didn’t.

I wonder if escalation might be useful here. Anyone had any experience dealing with BMW of North America?

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Writerly speaking

All four of these came in within 45 minutes of one another, all bearing the same email address, all linking to a Wikipedia page in Finnish, and each with a different IP address. Still, they make a sort of coherent query, so let’s have a look:

What are some good wordpress themes/plugins that allow you to manipulate design?

If you know what you’re doing, you can manipulate the design just by editing your existing theme. Of course, you can do that if you don’t know what you’re doing, but the results are likely to be suboptimal.

I’m an aspiring writer — of all literary trades (journalism, screen writing, satire, etc) — but I want to start a blog for some adult oriented, romantic fantasy literature. Anyone know how I can start a blog that will allow me to do this? I believe I’ll need a warning page before entrance, and I want it to come up on search engines…

Any old blog platform can do this; setting a splash page — if you’re on Blogger, Google will probably inflict one upon you — is fairly easy.

If I publish my articles to my school paper are they copyrighted or do I have any ownership over them?

I don’t think school-paper stuff counts as “work for hire,” though I hasten to add that I am not any kind of lawyer, copyright or otherwise.

What are good blog posts for a writer who wants to start a blog that even non-readers might want to visit?

If they’re truly “non-readers,” you might consider a photoblog.

There were further items in the series, but by that point it was starting to get repetitive.

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Some weird hybrid appliance

This particular example of comment spam is perhaps a tad less illiterate than average, and each paragraph can stand on its own — but the combination of the two makes no sense:

So no matter how large your laundry load is, rest assured that every article of fabric is going to be getting thoroughly washed. When you have a washer that is this massive, you will likely be able to wash up to three times more laundry in comparison to a top load washer. This system actually helps you save money by conserving your water and use.

It will depend on the screen size and also the whether the device is standard resolution, the kind of backlighting (LED, plasma, or fluorescent), and the size in the TV.

Of course, a top-loading washer has room for a TV screen on the front, but — dear God, what am I thinking?

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A yearn for the terse

I’ve gotten some pretty long-winded spams stuck in the spam trap over the years. Seldom, though, do I see anything like this:

“Hello. And Bye”.

They should all be so short. I mean, think of the disk space it would save.

Addendum: I did finally think of the disk space it would save, and it’s not really that much: the entire system database is only 75 MB, of which 20 MB or so is comments, and actual comments have somehow outnumbered spam comments 4 to 3, so if I’d kept all the spam I’d have a 90-MB database. Considering the fact that the site takes up well over a gigabyte, this should be considered potatoes of insignificant dimension.

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From the Sez You files

Received in the comment-spam trap:

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to read?

This might have carried some weight, except for the following minor details:

  • The post referenced in the comment contains no video;
  • The “name” of the alleged sender is “Prolexin Reviews.”

I mention “Prolexin Reviews” here, not because I plan to review Prolexin, which seems to be an extract from the velvet of deer antlers sold as a supplement, but because I’d like to crowd my way into their search results. Spiteful, I am.

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On the upside, it’s nontoxic

Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, “Wouldn’t it be great if I had an extra inch or two?” Now I wouldn’t know, personally, but vendors of dingus-embiggenment stuff have reason to think there’s a customer born every minute:

A man who purchased a penis enlargement device online had a rude shock when he received a magnifying glass instead of the device he thought he had purchased.

MCA Public Service and Complaint Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong said Tuesday that the disgruntled customer, known only as Ong from Seri Kembangan, had paid RM450 for the penis enlarger.

“When he received the package, he was shocked to find a magnifying glass inside. The instructions that came with the package merely read ‘Do not use in sunlight’,” he said.

Not that Ong is likely to get any satisfaction out of this incident:

Lawyer Alex Kok said that unsatisfied customers who wished to sue these scammers would find it difficult to do so due to the dubious nature of the business.

And you have to figure that it’s cheaper than putting a curved mirror on the ceiling and stenciling it with the legend ITEMS ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR.

(Via Fark.)

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Damned with faint damns

This isn’t as funny as one Lynn got yesterday, which raises the bar for all such word salad, but by the standards of the stuff I’ve been getting lately, it’s not bad:

I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish.
nonetheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further
formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

This came from somewhere in 23.94.*.*, which entire range is now banned from the premises, since they produce the same sort of crap nearly very often.

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Speaking of ancient themes

Not long after I wrote the previous piece, this landed in the spam trap:

I aЬsolutely lߋve yοuг website.. Pleɑsant cοlors & theme.
Ɗid you make this amazing site yourself?
Please reply back aѕ I’m wanting to create my own personal site and
would love to find out where ƴoս got this from orr exactly what thе tɦeme
is named. Many thanks!

(Must be viewed in UTF-8; other encodings are garbled even worse.)

Weirdly, every other spam from about that hour linked to a YouTube video which purported to sell a car.

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They make it up in volume

Over at Language Log, Mark Liberman finds a piece of comment spam worth quoting:

Ginger ultimately struck North Carolina on September 30 as a chinese culture massive disappointment.

The resulting embryo is afterward transported to tissue may occur, either acutely or chronically, over hundreds of times, sometimes with a little more.

This is right up there with the best ones I’ve received, though this remark of Liberman’s disturbs me:

Among the approximately 15,000 spam comments directed at LL over the past 24 hours, this is one of the few that made it past the filters to be dealt with by human moderation.

Fifteen thousand? In one day? And this estimate may be conservative:

That might be a low estimate — there have been 4,574 comments caught by the spam filter in the past 105 minutes, which would translate to 62,729 per 24 hours.

I don’t know how many of those might have been wrongly trapped, because there are far too many for me to check them manually, as I used to do when there were only a few hundred a day.

Since the fall of 2008, I have had 34,817 comments caught by the spam filter. Total. Admittedly, I draw a lot less traffic than Language Log — whose ancient WordPress theme, incidentally, is also my ancient WordPress theme — but still: 4500 in less than two hours? That’s scary.

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Save your lectures, pal

Being one of those people who persists in keeping the mail client set to No Graphics Ever, I’m used to getting great heaping wads of text prefaced by “You must use an HTML-capable mail client to view this message correctly.” Were it not for the fact that it would do no good, I would happily crank up the autoresponder: “I have no intention of viewing this message, correctly or otherwise. Now FOAD.”

Something called “OnlineDatingInternetCorkboard” apparently didn’t pay their boilerplate license this time around, because what they sent me is this:

Not Able Too understand the advertisement below due to no images showing Better redirect here.

As you may have already figured, we’re not gonna take it. And as Tommy once said, “You know where to put the cork.”

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Yeah, like that’s gonna happen

“Make women want you,” said the come-on, so to speak. This showed up as a bogus pingback; WordPress, as it does lately, disclosed that there really was a page with something like that as the title.

I decided to look at it. It’s on Blogspot, there’s only the one post, and it consists of several paragraphs of questionable how-to-get-the-girl advice, interrupted a couple of times by a big DOWNLOAD NOW! box. It is implied that there’s a PDF under that link. There isn’t. Instead, it’s a fairly stock-looking phishing lure.

This thing came to me from 23.94.99.70, but I suspect that copies of it are scattered all over Botsylvania.

Addendum: A few hours later, there came an email spam offering me a “Love Spell.” I suspect such a thing would take more magic than can be packaged in a mere executable.

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Just gimme the Book of Numbers

Someone yesterday dropped a link for what is described as “The Penis Enlargement Bible,” which prompted an immediate “testament” joke that didn’t make it to this post.

I didn’t follow up, of course, so I couldn’t tell you if the information contained therein can heal the sick. (Raising the dead would seem to be above its pay grade.)

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Insulinsulting

Last few days, I’ve seen a curious sign planted at various places along Classen: “CASH FOR DIABETIC TEST STRIPS,” followed by a phone number. This made little sense to me until I hit the search engines and came up with this story from a few years back:

To people with diabetes the little strips are certainly worth something. They cost only a few cents to make, but sell for $1 or more each.

With a markup of up to 95 percent it’s not difficult to understand why a black market of sorts has sprouted up for the strips. On eBay [there were] hundreds of offers for diabetic test strips starting at a fraction of the retail cost — and on Craigslist as well.

Apparently they’ll even take — and subsequently resell — expired strips.

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that a scam that makes money at Point A will be replicated at Points B through Z inclusive.

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So usual; very spam

Spam from dating services fell below the dime-a-dozen threshold years ago. The only reason I looked at this one — “Want to meet singles over 50? See photos!” — was because of the URL buried in the links, a subdomain of DogeUsedWow.com, which actually exists. (I suppose there’s bonus levity in the fact that Whois points to a contact person with an aol.com address.)

Maybe they’ll offer to set me up with the Queen of Shiba.

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Stall that install

A legitimately interesting question, actually posed by a spammer (probably inadvertently, I think), as retrieved from my Akismet trench:

Now first ask yourself, if you were trying to sell an antivirus program and you wanted people to try out your software, would you make the trial version poorly so it didn’t work very well.

Don’t they do that already?

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