So many people, so why are so many scams?  

LovToPleasureYou 41M
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5/15/2006 11:55 am

Last Read:
5/15/2006 11:57 am

So many people, so why are so many scams?

"Oh brave new world, that hath such people in it!" - Shakespeare, The Tempest (act 5, scene 1)

I've been a gold member of AdultFriendFinder for about two weeks now, and I've sent a number of emails, understanding full well that the vast majority of them are likely to be ignored, no matter how sincere or well-written they may be. That doesn't really surprise me (much).

What has caught me off guard somewhat is that of my 15 total responses, all but three of them turned out to be phishing attempts. For those of you unaware of this phenomenon, here's a snippet from the "phishing" entry from Wikipedia:

In computing, phishing is a form of criminal activity using social engineering techniques. It is characterized by attempts to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, such as by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an apparently official electronic communication.

As I've come to learn, these boils on the ass of the Internet tend to follow the same (very successful) pattern: they create a profile for a beautiful 20-something, include a generally believable image harvest from some obscure location on the Internet, and wait for the inevitable deluge of mails from horny men, few of whom are thinking with the big head. The men are naturally soon rewarded with a probably-too-good-to-be-true response inviting them to email the imaginary vixen. When the men send their ill-fated email, the social engineering begins. Watch any edition of Nightline in the last 15 years for the details.

The solitary saving grace of these things is that they're a cinch to spot once you get a few of them. Here's how:

  • The first hint is in the wording of the letter. Does she immediately offer to meet up for drinks, or suggest that she has nude pictures to show? Is the tone much too friendly for a first response? Remember, men outnumber woman by a ratio of 20 to 1: every single woman on AdultFriendFinder is buried in mail, and they're accordingly difficult to impress.
  • If the letter is a response to your own letter, did it not use the "reply to" feature? The lack of a "re" in the mail heading suggests an automated response. Be wary. Here's an example of a typical phishing response, pulled from my own vast archives:

    Hey sexy! Im so excited to be hearing from you so soon. what kind of activities did you have in mind as far as us? Would you want to meet sometime for a drink? Maybe something more? Im up for anything, so if you want to reach me more easily i have a yahoo email address at {omitted} ... Thats what I check most often. If you could send me a message with a way to contact you I would love it. I Hope your as excited as I am and I hope to hear back soon!! Looking forward to meeting you!!!

  • Did the enthusiastic responder listed in your "who's viewing me" list? If not, that's a gimme. Nobody's that impressed by the first letter.

    Well, dear reader, I hope that you found my little primer on the detection of phishing emails on AdultFriendFinder to be at least a little helpful. Who knows, maybe I'll expand on this in the future, but probably not.

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