8/12/2011
Sam's spam scam

I remember what Asia and I talked about a few years back, about people we know who aren't on the yearbook. Looking back, I thought, they were up to something.

Yesterday afternoon I got a text message from some guy. He apparently got my number from the DLSU yearbook. He was texting me to let me know of a wonderful opportunity to earn money while working at home, or something. Actually, I didn't read his entire message, not because I already knew it was spam (I don't know the guy, duh) but because he started off the message by appealing to my emotions.

"Please read this message with an open heart and an open mind..."

Options, delete, yes.

And then there's the fact that his text message was really, really, really long. It was so long, I think the mobile network decided to split it into five or six parts. Maybe seven. The first part ("an open heart and an open mind") came to me first, but the next message that came was the penultimate part, which supplied his email address - which wasn't complete. And then the second part came. The middle bit never quite materialized.

So imagine this. The guy decided to promote his get-rich-quick scheme by texting a very long text message - let's say it's seven parts, and let's say it costs a peso a part - to every number in the yearbook. Or, let's be conservative - he texted everyone who had Latin honors. I know of the powers of unlimited texting, but that costs a lot.

This isn't the first time someone used my DLSU identity to sell me something. I remember this guy who allegedly pulled my email from the DLSU database to sell me a house, not that I wanted to move out. And it's definitely not the first time some stranger texted me with some opportunity or whatever. My mobile's on a postpaid plan, and my father theorized that someone from my mobile network decided to give my number, and a bunch of others, to some spammer for money. Or maybe it's the raffles I've been asked to join. My week is never complete without someone offering me a low-interest car loan. Again, like I need to get a car.

But that's nothing compared to what I've been getting lately. The guy's very persistent - perhaps too persistent to the point of being absolutely stupid.

His name - ehrm, her name - is Sam. She, supposedly, is a 22-year-old based in Bacolod. She, supposedly, is a scholar of the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod. She supposedly has participated in several beauty pageants, and supposedly no longer has any parents. She supposedly has scored an interview with some big company here in Manila, but she can't pay for the flight, so here she is, texting me, a guy she doesn't know, asking me if I could help her.

"Gagawin ko po kahit anong gusto ninyo makarating lang ako ng Maynila," the text message went.

I don't know the person, so I immediately file it as spam, with other messages as "natanggap mo na ba ang package na pinadala ko?" or "anak, ito ang tita mo sa abroad, eto na ang bagong roaming number ko!" But the way he - ehrm, she - sends these text messages is funny.

Message one is a message built to tug my heartstrings, and perhaps my nether regions. She's Sam, she has this interview, she can't afford a ticket, she'll do anything. And then, this: "may [picture] and supporting [documents] po ako sa [insert website here], baka sakali makatulong po yung infos [sic]."

Message two is a biodata of sorts. Name: Sam. Age: 22. Birthdate: I don't remember. Parents: both deceased. Experience: beauty pageants. Picture: [insert website here].

So, if he - she - can't afford to buy a ticket to Manila, but can afford to pay a web designer, or at least pay for monthly web hosting and an Internet domain... actually, multiple domains, since in the few weeks he's been texting me, the web address seems to be different each and every time. No, I haven't seen how good the web designer was, because I don't want my PC infected with spyware.

Also, there was this one time when I got a flash message - you know, the messages that just pop up as notifications rather than regular messages - saying the same thing. This guy's got money.

And your responses...

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