Here in Australia we are just a phone call away from India. And in the case of our house that phone call is at 4:05 every afternoon.
The amazing part is that it is a different caller each time – apart from the silent ones or the hissers – and there is a slightly different pitch thrown with every one.
Today’s was the ” NBN “- supposedly our developing national Broadband Network. It’s an ongoing fustercluck from both the federal government and a private quasi-corporation who pretend it is going to replace wires with optical cables and then up the speed of our internet connections. If it promised to connect us to unicorns and Judge Crater I would give it some serious credence, but as it is…
Now the Indian scammers have picked up on it and are ringing with either threats or promises to get us to allow malware to be installed in our computers. Today’s question revolved around technical work that was going on and what download speed we had. I suspect it was a complex shell game to allow some sort of ” test ” that would install a spyware program looking for passwords.
When the confused girl asked what speed we were experiencing I told her that we generally got about 350 MPH but this fell to 320 with drop tanks. Full throttle and water injection could up it to 385 but if you ran the computer too long at this setting the exhaust manifold would burn away. I was dead serious about this.
I’m not sure I cleared up her confusion.
It’s a sell, Mel.
It’s a scam, Pam. Oops, sorry, I should have said ” it’s a scamela, Pamela “. Didn’t mean to be overly familiar.
That great business opportunity that you discovered with the other seminar delegates at the holiday resort? That guaranteed opportunity of a lifetime? That golden road to riches, health, and moral re-invigoration? That weekend and an extra day high on marketing?
It’s a con, Don.
Don’t feel bad that you responded as you did. The whole event was structured to make you do so – it was developed as a way to envelope you in a message and to never let you see outside of that indoctrination. You would have had to dive through a window and run away as fast as you could – abandoning dignity, luggage, and any sense of personal worth – to escape it. If they had you on a cruise ship, even that avenue of escape would have been denied.
Whatever money you have given over to the organisers is gone. It will never come back to you. Abandon it to them but do not give them any more – even if they say that you are obliged to do so. Ignore their threats – none of those threateners could stand in front of a magistrate and neither can their demands. Shred anything that you have of their literature and dump it in the compost bin – you may get some value in a few months if it packs down and rots.
Take heart – you have had a valuable lesson. One you need not repeat, but one that you are honour-bound not to inflict upon others. You may not defeat confidence tricksters by yourself, but you must not strengthen their hand by inadvertently joining them.
Just flood spam messages into the rest of the world until someone sends you money to stop.
About 3/4 of all the replies to this and my other weblog columns seem to be people wanting to sell me programs and instructions on how to bother folks for money. I got news for ya – I knew how to do that long ago and discovered how ineffective a strategy it was compared to getting a job and actually working. If I managed to get to the point where I could do the job well, money was no problem.
Save your bandwidth, folks – I’m not interested in your get-rich schemes. If you were rich you would not be spamming me, so there’s the truth of it and of you.
On the other hand, I do not decry the value of good old-fashioned thievery. Even in an age of computers and on-line fraud there is still a place for someone willing to hold up pensioners at the Senior Citizens Centre or dig up the copper cabling at the power station to sell it for scrap. Just make sure the juice is turned off – apparently there are a lot of copper thieves in China that have made this fundamental error and are not drawing their rice ration any more.
I should be delighted to participate in any money-making activity that was not actually illegal, immoral, or fattening. Menacing people with painted chickens, for instance. Or reading Jane Austen on public transport until people pay to have it all stop. There’s gotta be money in that.
a. Invest in a scanner, computer, and printer. Scan your local currency and print the resulting files with the printer. Glue the front and back of the bills together. Scrunch up the result.
When you try to pass this counterfeit money do not be surprised if you are detained by the police and jailed for the crime. Or get away with it for years. It all depends on the people you shop with.
b. Sell people courses in how to sell courses.
This is the ” daisy chain ” theory of economic success. If you do not understand what a daisy chain is, you are a better person than I.
c. Threaten to expose people’s seamy history unless they give you money.
If they actually do have a seamy past, this is called blackmail and like ( a. ) above, will eventually lead to jail time. If they don’t, you just make one up and publish it anyway. This is known as investigative journalism and earns big bucks from tabloids.
d. Sell a food. Well, actually just sell the idea of a food. What you are selling need not actually be edible or nutritious or even safe. Let’s face it, you can serve nuclear waste dipped in weed killer to the right market – my local kebab shop does a big trade Friday night.
But if you are selling on-line you need something that can be shipped without leaking. Dried food powder is a good choice, and you can dry and shred gerbil droppings on a very economical basis. Then all you need is a slogan and a website.
e. Become mystical. Mystics can sell things for $ 39.95 like crystals, books, and healing incantations. Why people fall for this is a mystery, but as long as they are willing to act as cash cows, you just keep pulling the teats.
Or the Kalahari. Or the Gobi Desert.
Have you dreamed of a career in the mining industry – but have been put off by the appalling conditions in the places where the ores and minerals are to be found? Has the sight of the human slaves of the Brazilian gold mining industry endlessly struggling up out of craters in the earth horrified you? What you need to do is join BGACO – the commodities division of the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia. We can get you digging without all the flies, heat, and armed guards.
The multi-national data mining industry is one of the most energy-efficient ways of making money known to man. We do not need giant ore trucks, wheel excavators, dynamite blasting, or underground boggers. We don’t need to fly in and out constantly nor do we need to sleep in dongas. We don’t have to listen to an overfed chairperson tell us to tighten our belts while they pour themselves another champagne.
You can work from home, or the local library, mall, or coffee shop. You can work late at night without disturbing the neighbours. You have no-one trying native title rights claims on you and there is no Occ Health And Safety officer. You can live in a wet mess all day, if you wish.
All you need to start is a computer, tablet, or mobile phone and an enquiring mind. You simply think up an intriguing question, quiz, game,or challenge that will require people to divulge their secrets to you. If they do so to the rest of the planet is irrelevant – as long as you get the information about them you have a salable commodity.
Like zinc or copper ore it must be concentrated to make it worthwhile shipping. This is where you do the most work, compiling lists of the most relevant details for each person and putting these into blocks of information. These blocks can then be shipped over the internet to the advertising corporations who convert them into commercial weapons. What they do with those weapons is none of your concern. As long as they pay you per delivery that is all you need to know.
Occasionally you will encounter the information equivalent of iron pyrites – details that look like gold but are just valueless. Even here some profit can be made by connecting these individuals with the worse dregs of humanity – you’ll have a goodly dreg supply along with the paying customers. Eventually the word will get out that it is safer and easier to tell you the truth…
Generally we’re told that they do it better in wherever the speaker has been that you haven’t. If they are from an Old Country, the streets there were quieter, the people were smarter, and the bacon was crisper. It doesn’t matter which old country – just as long as the speaker isn’t there any more and they can’t extradite him.
The wise emigrant is a little cannier these days before beginning the brag. Once upon a time the local Australian listener was unlikely to have ever been in Lodz or Barcelona or Poughkeepsie and every place overseas could potentially be talked up as Faeryland. Nowadays cheap air travel may well have sent our locals through the very place that is being extolled and they have seen the fact that the streets were quieter because of the parked army tanks on the corners – or that the locals are smarter because the eugenic police have weeded out all the rest. And it is hard to brag about the bacon in Mecca…
To be fair, there are certainly places that do things better than here in Australia. We might learn from them sometimes…but we need to have all the facts about the supposed wonderland, and not just selected examples of glowing results at the end. We need to see the whole economic, cultural, and political picture before declaring it a paradise.
As a person who has not been shelled, gassed, taxed, mugged, or evicted recently – who can vote and read freely – who can afford food, water, shelter, clothing, medicine, and transport – well, I am pretty well satisfied with the portion of Australia I live in. If I cannot visit 500-year-old churches I shall not grieve – the attitudes and practices of the worshippers in those churches may also be 500 years old. If I am denied cobblestone streets and cramped cities I will make do with my own quarter acre of space and sunshine. And I need no political bragging at all – my own parliaments are as open to me as I need them to be. Without army tanks on the street corners.
Sparked by a website that purported to rank the world’s nations by their IQ…as a result of seeing an amusing display of Ghanaian military equipment…I fell victim to a 40-question IQ test.
It was free and an amusing exercise in spatial and pattern recognition. I dutifully plodded my way through it into the very hard ones, and finally got to the point where they were going to tell me my IQ.
All I needed to do to learn this was divulge my name, email address, age…and they promised to never use it for bad purposes. I declined to do so and clicked out of the site.
I found out how smart I am by doing this…but I also discovered that I am not smart enough, soon enough – I should have recognised the thing for the data harvester that it was at the very start.
It now calls into question the entire premise of its ” Map Of World IQ’s “. I shall think better of the nations who scored poorly, in the absence of better evidence. If they were smart enough not to participate in the thing at all, they are smarter than I.