Lileks: Too dumb to be true? Don't click it
- Article by: JAMES LILEKS
- Star Tribune
- August 11, 2012 - 9:39 PM
KSTP news made news when KSTP news said: Uh, about those e-mails from us that promised you a thousand dollars? Never mind.
I'm paraphrasing. Apparently some hacker in a Bulgarian basement figured out a way to make the e-mails look like they were coming from KSTP, but nay: spam, probably trying to get you to buy male enlargement pills. Because if there's anything that really works, it's tricking people into going to a site that sells pharmaceuticals that contain ground yak glands and arsenic. Organic arsenic, but still.
I fell prey to this awhile ago. Clicked on an e-mail that looked legit -- you have 1,754 Facebook notifications pending! -- and was sent to a site with a name like best-fly-fishing-lures-ever.ru. Brilliant! Most people who expect to go to Facebook would be pleasantly surprised to discover a new source of fly-fishing equipment, and promptly hand over their credit card to a Russian website.
Best Buy has been plagued by a text scam as well. Perhaps you've gotten the message: Congratulations! A struggling company trying to figure out its 21st strategy has decided just to throw money at random strangers. (I'm paraphrasing again.) If you reply to the text -- I think you type IDIOT -- you're asked for a code. Huh? I don't have a code! OMG -- WHERE DID I PUT THE CODE? Don't worry: Just send them your name, cellphone number and birthdate, and they'll send it.
Annnnd now you're signed up for a horoscope service that costs $9.99.
This is where some people think: Well, I don't get $1,000, but at least I'll know when Mercury is in transit, because I'm always so gullible during that phase.
A recent study of Nigerian scam-spam looked at the crudeness of the come-ons and deduced that it's intentional. The mispelings the worser grammar -- it's all designed to weed out people who are too smart. But still, some people tumble, which is why I offer this handy tip:
YOU HAVE NOT WON ANYTHING.
Cut that out and paste it on your monitor. If you're reading online, get a Sharpie and write over the letters above so they'll always be there, even after you leave the page.
You didn't do that, did you? You did? OK. You've also won a thousand dollars. Send me $1,500 and I'll tell you how to collect it.
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