Two new scams - one may be coming your way!

Man - the scammers are really starting to irritate me.

1. I just got a "PayPal" scam that is very sophisticated and I feel could fool many innocent people and cheat them out of lots of money.

2. This Web site has been attacked by a new form of spam that feels - from my perspective - like a home invasion.

First the PayPal stuff because I think it's more important. Once more, the abusers are looking for personal, sensitive information. The rule is - be wary of any email that asks for this. Don't do it. No matter how real it looks. In this case, the email I just received looked like this:

Paypal scam

Are they trying to get people to go to their home pages this way? NO! What they are trying to do is fool the search engines into thinking their Web site is a lot more popular than it really is. Here's how it works: Search engines, such as Google, look to see how often a Web site is linked to from other Web pages. They use this to help evaluate and set a "rank" for the Web site. Web sites that rank high turn up at the top of the list when you search on a particular topic. People woould kill for thta kind of ranking - others earn it by doing something worthwhile.

These folks clutter my Web site (and other web sites) with nonsense comments in order to make themselves look better to a search engine.

This, of course, challenges the pacifist in me. You work your tail off to produce a nice Web site and they come in and trash it for personal gain. There should be a digital equivalent of drawing and quartering - if I knew it, I would do it to them, kindly soul that I am ;-)

Anyway - Movable Type is aware of this and rushed out an upgrade to their software - which I have now installed - so that it blocks most of this junk. But that's a purely defensive measure and, of course, it cost me a couple of hours to download and install.

In my philosophical mode I know this is the price you pay for living on a frontier - the law hasn't come to this part of the West yet, so you have to protect yourself, but . . .

Anyway - the PayPal scam (and similar stuff) is much more damaging. This is just one of my pet peeves. Greed - it's everywhere.

Oh - and did I mention that some guy called the other day asking us to leave money on our door for the "Massachusetts Veterans Association?" They insisted we gave them $100 last year. We didn't. I checked them out. Not legitimate. I told the newspapere and they did a story. So this junk happens in the law-and-order "real" world as well. A fool and his money . . .

Oh yeah - and a friend just got caught by an innocent-lookjing email rant which she forwarded to several people. It claimed that Congressmen and Senators weren't interested in Social Security because they had a sweetheart deal. It went on and on and sounded fairly valid - and irritating. Especially if you're in the mood to believe the worst about your government and as we continue to kill innocent people and make the world a more dangerous place, I'm in such a mood. The bottom line - lots of unscrupulous people wander about abusing the net this way to promote their own causes - in this case it was right wingers. This particular email is loaded with errors. How can you be sure? If you get something like this, go to the Urban Legends page and check it out. (

Posted by Greg Stone at February 22, 2004 02:40 AM

I've received that paypal scam quite a bit and fortunately realized what they were doing right off. Unfortunately paypal is not the only target

Below is another I reciently received:
Dear Citibank Member,

This email was sent by the Citibank server to verify your E-mail
address. You must complete this process by clicking on the link
below and entering in the small window your Citibank ATM/Debit
Card number and PIN that you use on ATM.
This is done for your protection - because some of our members
no longer have access to their email addresses and we must
verify it.
looks real enough BUT it is NOT. In seconds you could give out your ATM information and it could be a month before you realized your bank account was dipped into.

The internet has expanded almost every aspect of our lives. We have instant access to a world library, music, art, literature, catalog after catalog listing every item imaginable to purchase, but unfortunagely it has also magnifided our exposier to the criminal side of life.

Posted by: Bruce at February 22, 2004 09:44 AM

When you mentioned "scammers" I thought you were speaking of our current executive officeholder.

In any case, for the website scam you might try the plugin MT-Blacklist. I haven't looked into what the new MT updates are doing, but MT blacklist is like a really good spam filter for your website comments. Not only does it filter your comments, it also makes it very easy to delete and rebuild entries on the occasions that spam does get through.

I have it running on my site.

The longer you allow spam on your site, the more spam you will get, so it's important to delete it quickly. (When spammers get a hit through your site, they note it in the referrer logs)

Now I'm off to look into this MT update you mentioned...

Posted by: James at February 22, 2004 10:21 AM
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