Friday, July 15, 2011

When Scammers Go Too Far . . .

Global Piece and Such Stuff . . .
(Image from Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I received a piece of scam spam that announced:
2011 International Seminar invitation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!..
That line started off soberly enough:
2011 International Seminar
But began to lose the plot by falling into the miniscule:
And abruptly and entirely forgot any proper demeanor at all in its greed to impress:
Before recalling its intended propriety, adding two full stops to restrain its enthusiasm for whatever it's angling after:
Then adding that this message was sent to me from the:
Unity for Peace Building
Oh, they've got a 'Building' for that, have they? Well, I suppose I can support unity for something as focused as a building -- if that's what they want. Or do they mean "Unity for Building Peace"? That would be somewhat more diffuse. But anyway, there's nothing quite like the personal touch, punctuated with a significant period:
Dear Sir/Madam.
Full stop there. After which, I'm finally informed that I'm being extended an invitation:
The Unity for Peace Building Organization is extending to you an invitation to attend the international seminar meeting on Global Peace and Health Security that will commence from 22nd August to 26th August 2011 . . .
That must be one helluva commencement if it takes five days! I wonder how long this "international seminar meeting" itself will last.
. . . at 4047 West Palm Drive Florida City, FL 33034 United States of America.
Wow! I might get to visit the United States of America! I've always wanted to visit the US for about a year now since my last visit! The folks at the "2011 International Seminar" like to emphasize this American angle:
It is our great privilege to invite you to attend this international seminar with us here in United States of America.
Fine. Glad to. But what's this specifically about:
The seminar meeting will contain various discussions and mini workshops related to the issues of Global Peace and Importance of Health Security. For registration guidance Please contact the conference secretary for more details.
Not sure what the mini has to do with peace or security -- miniskirts have always tended to leave me antsy and unsure of myself -- but the conference secretary will likely explain all:
Head of secretariat
External Affairs Director of UPB
That is puzzling. No name. Just a 'Head'. I wonder how literally I'm to take that -- hopefully not so literally as the "Head" of NICE (National Institute of Coordinated Experiments) at its Belbury mansion in Lewis's Hideous Strength!

But perhaps it's merely a horse's head . . .

Wait, there's a note:
Note: you will be provided with visa assistant for only those that needs the United States visa in their passport to attend this meeting with us, and air round trip tickets to attend this seminar will also be provided by this organization to all interested participants. The Workshop welcomes paper presentation from any interested participants. Do contact the conference secretary for guidance regarding registration.
Great! They'll pay my way -- not just there, but even there and back! Best of all, I need not even present a paper. I'm merely welcome to. And they're happy to do all this:
Once again we thank you for the interest to attend this meeting with us.
And to show their sincerity, they sign off 'Sincerely':
Yours Sincerely,

Ms. Oprah Walton.
Well, who could distrust an 'Oprah' -- especially one related to the Walton Family! Wait, what's this:
This email has been sent using the SAIL RDCIS, Ranchi Jharkhand , Webmail. "SAIL RDCIS - Jharkhand, INDIA"
Organized in the US, outsourced to India? Sorry, but I support American labor, so I won't be attending this 'Seminar'.

Besides, I've always been taught that one should use exclamation marks sparingly, whereas these folks use fourteen of them: "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".

That's goes just a bit too far for a reserved fellow like me . . .

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At 5:42 AM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

There's a super-famous and unfailingly-quoted scene in an old Italian movie, starring Antonio De Curtis (Totò), "Totò, Peppino e la Malafemmena," where they write a letter like that.

"... semicolon... No, wait, three semicolons! Don't skimp, let us not show ourselves as small-town people!"

It's to be found on YouTube, of course.

At 5:50 AM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

ahem, I quoted one of "popular" versions of it. The original sentence 'reads':

"... full stop... semicolon... full stop AND semicolon!"

At 6:07 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That was an amusing video . . . and I can't even understand Italian!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:09 PM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

Totò is a National Heritage :-) Many sentences from his movies have become common phrases.

A funny detail in his biography: he was born in a poor quarter in Naples, but he had the title of no-less-than Prince of Byzantium.

He his the one who dictates the letter in that footage. The other actor, the one who writes it, is Peppino De Filippo, the brother of the great playwright Eduardo De Filippo.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

So, "he had the title of no-less-than Prince of Byzantium"?

That's quite impressive. I happen to be known as the Wizard of the Oz-Arks.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:06 PM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

I mean, that title was true... even if it looked like a joke taken from his movies. An interesting insight into this paradoxical reality we live in.

The web title I have been given is The New and Powerful Lord of Void Events (mocking my lectures etc.)

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

My title is also true. I entitled myself to it.

"Truth is subjectivity" - Kierkegaard

I feel the truth of that statement!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:35 PM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

My title too is true... unfortunately :-D

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Lord of the Void has a certain ring to it . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:44 PM, Anonymous Tom Ball said...

But, back to the Unity for Peace Building seminar...

This can't be a scam. They have a real website. And their mission statement is identical to the Alliance for Peacebuilding, which is certainly real. I mean really identical.

Apparently this meeting is happening at the Sarah Kang Hotel in Florida City, Florida, which appears to have been created for the sole purpose of hosting this seminar. What could be more impressive?

At 12:03 AM, Anonymous tom ball said...

I beg your pardon for my typo. I meant the luxurious SANDRA Kang Hotel.

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous tom ball said...

I would like to point out that as a recommendation for the Sandra Kang Hotel, its website describes the exact degree of luxury one will find on the website of the Hotel Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, India.

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Tom, for the additional research.

Looks as though the scammers behind the Unity for Peace Building were clever enough to avoid ridiculous English on their website by copying the mission statement on the website of the authentic Alliance for Peacebuilding, as you've noted.

I wonder if I could make a lot of money by offering my editing services to scammers, who just don't seem to get it about how to write an 'authentic' email. They make such basic mistakes that they have engaged my sympathies for their causes . . . i.e., making money, lots of it.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Tom Ball said...

Something else they could use a hand with...go to their "events" page and look at the portrait of "Catherine Craver."

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Now, now, Tom, let's not ridicule cross-dressers . . . or those who've undergone a sex-change operation . . . or even those whose incompetence results in switched photos, or switched names, or switched whatevers . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:05 PM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

*hot news* I have just been given (on the same website as before) the title of Admirable Lord of Off-Topics.

Right here is a sample.


At 8:44 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

As 'Admirable', you must steer the ship of state . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently the August meeting went fine, because I myself (!!!) have been invited to the next meeting:

Warm greetings from Foundation for Peace Building Florida U.S.A! We are organizing one week seminar event on "Health Security and Social Welfare" from 21st to 25th November, 2011, venue Kang Sloe prop Hotel Florida City.

I'll mark my calendar!!!! But, I didn't know Arizona wasn't part of the U.S.A.(!) and I would need my passport.

(The first match I found when googling this email was your blog, and not, surprisingly, the website for the Kang Sloe Hotel. They need a better web presence.)

At 4:16 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Another "one week seminar event," already? Maybe it's the entire event this time, not just the commencement . . .

Thanks, Anonymous, for the heads up.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> 4047 West Palm Drive Florida City, FL 33034

No such street-address exists.
East of West Palm Drive is East Palm Drive, i.e., 100 West is adjacent to 100 East.
Going west, 900 West is the last block before you continue onto a State Road, where the street-address have a minimum of 18700, i.e., threre is a deliberate discontinuity in addresses, putting 4047 somewhere in that gap.

At 4:35 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, I had wondered how much these scammers were inventing.

This could make for an interesting Twilight Zone episode in which the scammers wake up in an alternate reality in which such an address actually exists, as does their conference, and they are forced to follow through on all their promises!

Jeffery Hodges

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