Pity poor Hormel. For years and years they have sold a canned pork product called Spam®, and while not everyone loves it, particularly now in this post-Python era, at least it had never been what we tend to think of as a four-letter word. These days, though, for reasons beyond Hormel's control, their trademarked term has become attached to some extremely unsavory stuff, a particularly egregious example of which I slice and dice herein for your amusement. Not only is it a small-s spam, but it's also a scam.

Allegedly, this came from <sahazali@ew.mimos.my>, though a cursory glance at the mail header reveals Authenticated Sender is <user122@ybakers.net>. Taking a hop, not through Malaysia, but through Brazil, User 122's little screed wound up on my desk, offering to help me "Find out what "They" don't want you to know!!!" And whoever 122 is, he's also appeared in other guises and with other probably equally-bogus email addresses. Does a legitimate businessperson have any reason to keep changing email addresses? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Punctuation, such as it is, is as it is in the original as received, with formatting anomalies courtesy of Microsoft Internet Mail; my comments appear in italics.

Dear Friend:

If you have already responded to the following announcement a few days ago, that means your package is already on its way and it should be arriving soon! If you have not responded to this before, please pay attention to it now. This is very important!!!
 
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I've counted correctly, that's 226 exclamation points. Did James Joyce use that many in Ulysses?

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
IMPORTANT ACCOUNCEMENT

Well, one or the other, I suppose.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Your future May Depend on it !
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Over 450 now.

Before you know about this 'Important Announcement',
you must first read the following 'Editorial 
Excerpts' from some important publications in the 
United States:

NEW YORK TIMES: "In concluding our review of Financial organizations to effect change in the 90's, special attention should be called to a California based organization, 'WORLD CURRENCY CARTEL'. Members of this organization are amassing hundred of millions of dollars in the currency market using a very LEGAL method which has NEVER been divulged to the general public. While their purpose is not yet known, their presence has most certainly been felt".
NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: "Members of 'World Currency Cartel', who always keep a low profile, are considered to be some of the most wealthiest people in North America".

Neither The New York Times nor MSNBC seems to know who on their premises might have said these things, and you'd think surely someone at NBC News would have edited out the reference to "the most wealthiest people," a construction used only by the most illiteratest people.

More excerpts later, but first let us give you 
this very 'IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT":

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''
We are glad to announce that for the first time and for a very short period of time, WORLD CURRENCY CARTEL will instruct a LIMITED number of people worldwide on 'HOW TO CONVERT $25 INTO ONE HUNDRED OF LEGAL CURRENCY'. We will transact the first conversion for you, after that you can easily and quickly do this on your own hundreds or even thousands of times every month.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS "SECRET FLAW" !

"For the first time"? This has been kicking around for about eight years now.

************************************************
************************************************
************************************

It is even more explosive than we have yet disclosed. While currency does fluctuate daily, we can show you 'HOW TO CONVERT $99 INTO $588 AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT'. That means, you will be able to EXCHANGE $99, AMERICAN LEGAL CURRENCY DOLLARS, FOR $580 OF THE SAME. You can do this as many times as you wish, every day, every week, every month. All very LEGAL and effortlessly!

Well, is it $588 or $580?

It takes only 5 to 10 minutes each time you do 
this. You can do this from home, office or even 
while traveling. All you need is an access to 
a phone line and an address. Best of all, you 
can do this from ANY CITY ON THIS EARTH!!!

Again, we must reiterate, anyone can do this and the source is NEVER-ENDING. For as long as the global financial community continues to use different currencies with varying exchange rates, the "SECRET FLAW" will exist.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
As we said earlier, we will do the first transaction for you and will show you exactly how to do this on your own, over and over again!
The amount of exchange you would do each time is entirely up to you. Working just 2 to 10 hours a week, you can soon join the list of Millionaires who do this on a daily basis many times a day. The transaction is so simple that even a high school kid can do it!

Actually, it is possible to turn a buck taking advantage of currency fluctuations - but you need to do a whole lot of it at high speed, and you'll more likely get $100, not $580, for your $99.

We at the World Currency Cartel would like to 
see a uniform global currency backed by Gold. 
But, until then, we will allow a LIMITED number 
of individuals worldwide to share in the 
UNLIMITED PROFITS provided for by the world 
currency differentials.

We will espouse no more political views nor will we ask you to do so. We can say however, that our parent organization, NDML, benefits greatly by the knowledge being shared, as we ourselves, along with YOU, benefit likewise. Your main concern surely will be, how you will benefit.

NDML? No Damned Money Lost? Nerds Demanding More Leniency? Naturally Destructive Marketing Losers?

As soon as you become a member, you will make 
transactions from your home, office, by 
telephone or through the mail. You can conduct 
these transactions even while traveling.

Don't believe us? Experience it for yourself!
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;;;;;
Unlike anyone else, we will assure you great financial freedom and you will add to our quickly growing base of supporters and join the list of MILLIONAIRES being created using this very "SECRET FLAW" in the world currency market.
*************************************************** *************************************************** ******************************
DON'T ENVY US, JOIN US TODAY!!!

Unless you look really good in an orange prison jumpsuit, I don't have any reason to envy you.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

There is a one time membership fee of only $195. BUT, if you join us by June 29th, 1998, you can join us for only $25 administrative cost.
Your important documents, instructions, contact name/address, phone number and all other pertinent information will be mailed to you immediately. So take advantage of our Anniversary date and join us today.

"Anniversary date"? Not bad for a "first time".

(If you are replying after June 29th, you must pay 
$195.00 for the membership fee. NO EXCEPTIONS, and 
no more E-mail inquiries please).

"Don't you dare ask us any questions about this!"

Upon becoming a member, you promise to keep all infos
CONFIDENTIAL!

"I'm sorry, Mister District Attorney, but I can't testify against the World Currency Cartel. I promised!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Should you choose to cancel your membership for any reason, you must return all papers/documents for a refund within 60 days.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~--
IMPORTANT: **************** 1...Please write your name & mailing address VERY CLEARLY on a paper 2...Below your mailing address, please write your E-mail address 3...At the top left hand corner, please write the words "NEW MEMBER" 4...Attach a CHECK or MONEY ORDER for $25 + $10 for the shipping and handling of documents (TOTAL = $35.00) Outside US add $10(TOTAL = $45) PAYABLE TO "EBSN" and mail to:
EBSN PO BOX 66 ROSELLE PARK, NJ 07204

EBSN? Extremely Boring Spam Net? Enterprise By Soaking Newbies? And whatever happened to NDML?

 
}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Here are some more 'Editorial Excerpts': ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WALL STREET: "A discreet group of Americans, operating under the guise of World Currency Cartel have recently begun making rumbles in world finance market. While at this time, their game is not completely known, they certainly will be watched by those making major moves in the currency contracts".

Who is this "Wall Street"? It's certainly not The Wall Street Journal, and Dow Jones would sue the fiduciaries off any publication with a name like that.

FINANCIAL WEEK: "Watch them, monitor them, 
extract their knowledge and try to become one 
of them. That is the soundest financial 
advice we could give to anyone".

NATIONAL BUSINESS WEEKLY: "While this reporter has been left in the cold as to its method of operation, we have been able to confirm that 'World Currency Cartel' and its members are literally amassing great fortunes overnight".
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$END $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
We thankfully credit DIAMOND INT. for the content of this IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT.

If push comes to shove, it's not our fault - it's theirs.

 

Updates:

New, January 1999:
Since the first appearance of this page, I personally have received five more copies of the WCC spam, two from that first address mentioned (<sahazali@ew.mimos.my>), one from <currency25100@prodigy.com>, one from <lhto@euronet.nl>, and one from <mr@ep.se>. The latter two were apparently sent by the same person, <user799@isleweaverr.net>, about 30 hours apart. The dates, of course, keep changing. Now, if I'm getting hit by this regularly, presumably so are a lot of other people, so it doesn't surprise me that I've received a great deal of feedback, mostly along the lines of "I didn't trust this thing when I got it, and now I really don't trust it." Much of this is coming from America Online, partly because it is the largest single group of Net users, and partly because AOL members seem to get more than their share of spam. A number of new email addresses for the senders have been reported, including <wcrc@cst2.com>, <wcc@ca.net>, <wcrn@crc03.com>, and most recently <Presidnt-zz@d-int-zz.com>. Both EBSN and Diamond International have apparently been shuffling through email addresses with blinding speed.

It is worth noting that the general technique of exploiting currency valuations is not, in and of itself, illegal. On the other hand, it can be used as part of an illegal scheme. According to this US Treasury report, an extant black market in the exchange between US dollars and Colombian pesos is being exploited by the various drug cartels, who are using the market as a means of laundering drug proceeds. The WCC guys are probably too small-time to be involved in this sort of thing — for one thing, they don't go to enough effort to appear legitimate, at least judging by the sloppy stuff they send to you and me — but I'd be suspicious of any proffered scheme that didn't at least offer a prospectus, and of some that did.

Then again, these guys aren't really doing anything with currency valuations at all. The estimable Rolf Schmidt (I think that's his last name), founder of a very useful site called The MMF Hall of Humiliation — MMF, for all you Dave Rhodes fans, means "Make Money Fast" — suggested that the operation of the WCC is much simpler. In Rolf's own words:

"If you're lucky, when you send them your money, you get back one hundred units of currency from some far-away land where they still sell leaded gasoline and the water may or may not be drinkable -- perhaps from a backward, third-world country like Suriname or Canada. You might get a hundred Burundian Francs, which have a total value of about twenty-five cents."

Just so. A reader of this page offered to send me a copy of the WCC materials as furnished by EBSN so I could see for myself, and sure enough, amid a ton of other mail-order schemes, there was a letter from one "Bob Colby", presumably at the Cartel's World Headquarters (PO Box 4036, Miami, FL 33116), thanking our reader for his patronage and enclosing, not merely a hundred, but a thousand Italian lire, worth somewhere in the vicinity of fifty-six cents American.

But the Cartel doesn't leave you hanging there. In fact, they show you how to do unto others the way the Cartel hath done unto you. Once more from Rolf:

  • You rent a PO box.
  • You spam the ad.
  • When suckers mail you their $35.00, you go to the bank and buy, say, $100 in Guinea-Bissau Pesos, which will cost you somewhat less than the price of a Snickers bar.
  • You mail the suckers 100 Guinea-Bissau Pesos each, along with a copy of the instructions you received.
  • You emit a fiendish cackle and go spend the $35.00 on a Playstation game.

The man does have a way with words. Do visit the site. While Rolf himself seems to have retired to contributing-editor status, his fight against scamsters goes on.

Besides a foreign banknote and spam advice, EBSN also sends you a semi-lovely clip-art certificate (warning: it's about 93k) and material for something called Marketing Alchemy, which you buy for $89 and which presumably can be resold for $139, leaving you fifty bucks for yourself, which you really ought to spend on a copy of OFS's Offshore Special Report Number 5599 — geez, how many Offshore Special Reports can there be? — which they'd be more than happy to have you duplicate and resell for that same $50. How they make more than $50 on that deal is less clear, although this may be that ever-popular form of alchemy which, instead of turning base metals into gold, turns your cash into waste paper. If you'd like to see all this dreck for yourself at minimal expense, drop a line to irg@ix.netcom.com and tell 'em you read about it here.

On the mailing front: One of the overseas affiliates of WCC is apparently obtaining email addresses from PostMaster Direct Response, an email marketing firm which claims to limit its lists to those who have signed up for information of a specific kind. Assuming no one actually requested information on how to send money to scamsters, I'm inclined to think that this WCC outpost might be misusing the PostMaster service. This easy-to-spot introductory section comes with PostMaster's mailings:

This mail is never sent unsolicited.  This is a 
PostMaster Direct mailing!
UNSUB ALL: -forward- this entire message to 
deleteall@PostMasterDirect.com
(be sure to *forward* the ENTIRE message, or it 
will not unsubscribe you!)
To review your subscription:
http://www.PostMasterDirect.com/review
MAIL TO LISTS: http://www.PostMasterDirect.com/

100% OPT-IN(tm)

If you're unfortunate enough to receive the WCC mailing from PostMaster Direct, you might try their forward-the-entire-message service. There is a footer (as distinguished from a header) which contains information they say they require. The sender of the first such mailing I saw was identified as <admin@maritime.ch>, one "Eric Flotron". Switzerland being about as much of a maritime power as Kansas, I've got to assume someone is doing the transatlantic chain-yank. Mr Flotron wants you to send your hard-earned bucks to:

BULKCONSULT SA
CH. DU CLOS DE LEYTERAND 11
CH - 1806 ST. LEGIER
SWITZERLAND

I, of course, suggest you do otherwise.

The latest new wrinkle is "check-by-fax". According to the version of the WCC spam ostensibly sent by <bbonilla@gnwmail.com>, presumably a minion of NDML, you can actually send them a check (to 212-208-3050, for those keeping score) over your fax machine. In fact,

"We WILL be able to cash the check you send us 
by fax, you do not need to mail us a check. If 
your check is dark, please PRINT ALL OF THE 
INFORMATION ON THE CHECK ONTO THE PAPER YOU ARE 
FAXING US so that it is clearly legible!) Please
allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. No shipments will 
be made until the check has cleared."

Of course, your average automated clearinghouse, which relies on MICR encoding or the ability to read the MICR characters using some form of OCR, is going to choke on this for sure. The reader who sent me this version observed, "Now you can FAX your money. It is much faster and so much easier. So we go from mail fraud to wire fraud." Yep.

And NDML doesn't stop there, either. Another one of their myriad myrmidons, this one posing as <jventura@gnwmail.com>, is offering a CD-ROM full of email addresses for a mere $199.00. Among the benefits of this particular package, says this blurb, is:

A "daily updated" anti bulk email list of terrorists
and general anti-internet advertising extremists was
used to rid our lists of those people who, in a cowardly
and deliberate manner, attack all marketing people who
choose to utilize the greatest marketing discovery of all
time -- DIRECT EMAIL. Our database of these individuals is
the largest one maintained worldwide and it keeps our lists
of undesirable and extremist elements.

I am, of course, incensed that I am not included in the list of "terrorists".

New, 24 October 1999:
Those wonderful folks at the Urban Legends Reference Pages (www.snopes.com) have now incorporated a page regarding the WCC, which you can read here.

New, 21 September 2000:
This theme has spawned many variations over the years. The one I received yesterday, ostensibly from <Alice0916@arabia.com>, was sent under the dubious subject "<(©¿©)> People In The Know, Know This!". According to "Alice", The Cartel Formerly Known As WCC is now apparently doing business as "International Exchange Alliance", acting through some combine called "CILS" (Coming Into Large Sums? Can't Idiots Learn Sometimes?), and is accepting checks by fax only (it says) at 435-408-7613 (in historical Roosevelt, Utah) or 612-632-2759 (the Twin Cities, Minnesota). "Alice" does get around, I'd say. In fact, today's email from "Alice" offers a whole new scam — "just a small start-up and NO monthly purchase requirements", a phrase that tends to set off the warning buzzer in my head, anyway — which I can join by calling 720-535-3350 (Denver, Colorado). Apparently this was the sad fate of Triplicate Girl.

New, 28 February 2001:
A reader checked in with a version from <taniagoring@arabia.com> (what is it about arabia.com anyway?) that invites the recipient to send $25 plus a whopping $16 for shipment — by courier, yet — to something called "HELP" (Hardly Even Legal Profiteering? Help Evade Lawful Provisions?). HELP takes checks by fax, too: at a different Utah number (801-749-2429) or the same Twin Cities number as "Alice", supra. Nice going, "Tania". Don't quit your day job.

The Vent

#104
7 June 1998

Updated 28 February 2001

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