The FBI is writing to me

… from Benin.



To: undisclosed-recipients:

Attn: Beneficiary,

All the people that have their names in the list would be inset in our website any moment from now because we are charged to wipe away all the fraudulent transactions being held on the internet in which many people have lost their lives and properties. So it will be better for you to update us on the actual date in which you would be able to make the payment of $85 Usd to the agency over there in Benin for them to issue the FRAUD CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE to you because that is the only guarantee that would make us believe that your name and ID was really forged and not real as claimed because the German Business Man has contacted all the Crimes Agency on this matter and it was your ID that he has placed in all the Crimes Department for a search of you.

This Certificate will be attached along with the previous Clean Bill Certificate so that the attorney who is handling this process could get everything mandated as you have only 48hours to co-operate with this directives and this last Certificate as stated by the issuance department would cost you the sum of $85 Usd and this fees should be paid within a short while from now on.

The payment should be sent through either Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram Transfer with the below details:

Receivers Name: Simeon Ekwe
Location: Cotonou Benin Republic
Text Question: WHAT FOR
Text Answer: GOOD
Amount: $85 Usd.

The payment details should be sent once the payment has been sent and don’t forget to include the Senders Name and Address and the MTCN NUMBER.

This is our advise to you and we do hope to get a positive feed back from you as soon as possible.



Never fall for these scams. Never send money via Western Union to a stranger, especially in a foreign country, especially in Africa. Just don’t do it.

Be careful out there

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The watercolors of Beth Trott

I get pleasure out of sharing and promoting things which I enjoy. Yesterday on reddit the husband of watercolorist Beth Trott shared this lovely image:

Livvy and the Zombie

It would be difficult for me to love this picture more than I do.

Ms. Trott is also a very serious artist:

From a window in venice

Venice is one of my favorite cities in the world – I spent a night in what was once Tintoretto’s studio (or at least, one of them) so this picture captured my attention immediately.

See more of this lovely work at I have dreams of being able to create such lovely things, in perhaps a million years or so.

The Old Wolf has spoken.



“A Safe Place to Play,” says the caption. That’s what the playgrounds I remember used to look like.


Awesome rope swing


Don’t forget the merry-go-round, that could fling you off with great force.


Look at this beautiful old slide from the NYU playground project.


And, of course, the swings.


Wow. We never had anything like this. And still, somehow, we survived. There was the occasional bump and bruise. Someone would show up at school with a broken arm, and everyone would ooh and aah over the cast, as happened to my own son after he fell off a jungle gym. It happens. We didn’t even think of calling a lawyer.

Even as late as the 1980’s, playgrounds could be awesome:


Sadly, even looking at pictures like this is enough to give tort attorneys an orgasm thinking about all the billable hours they could earn, which is why modern playgrounds look like this:


Safe and boring.

Thanks, legal profession.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

How the Search Engine Scammers Get Your Money

Earlier I posted a warning about the “Search Engine Registration” scam. As a follow-up, here’s an illustration of what happens if you happen to fall for this camel ejecta.


Of course, the email you received includes a coupon code. Wow. Such deal.


Not only are they offering you a worthless service, something that happens automatically with the largest and most-used search engines, they’re asking you to pay $97.00 to make “nothing” happen even faster.


Good, you’ve taken the bait. Let’s see how far they can push you. For $197.00, they’ll keep offering you “nothing” forever.


Not content to scam you out of $300.00 thus far, they now want you to shell out more money to “register” your website. Bang goes another $97.00.


But wait! There’s more! Not only will we charge you $97.00 to make “nothing” happen to your website, we’ll also charge you $49.95¹ to do “nothing” every month. Thanks for being such a fine sucker!


Now that we’ve squeezed your cojones so hard that you’re singing soprano, we’ll finish off by kicking them through the top of your skull. For another $297.00, we’ll send 10,000 “visitors” to your website. These, if they even happen, will likely convert into zero additional sales.

So let’s sum up: If you’re a big sucker, you’ve spent $737.95 (plus another $49.95 monthly) to do something that would have happened automatically for exactly 0¢. Probably not the best expenditure of your hard-earned money.

Stay away from scams and cons like this, run by people who have the morals of a honey badger.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


¹ If you’re really old, like me, you’ll recognize this as the price of that charcoal-grey suit you keep getting icky-sticky gook all over.

Those dratted robocalls

Got one today from 906-209-8746, and as usual, no one was there.

I have written about this scam before at “The FTC vs. The Hydra,” but an excellent description of these calls was left at by user NAS about one of those never-sufficiently-to-be-damned “credit card services” calls. It was valuable enough I thought I’d repost it here to give it wider exposure.

Unsolicited/Nuisance/Fraud/SCAM/Prank telephone calls are here to stay.  Robotic calling technology is readily available and unscrupulous people will exploit it.  Get a life and deal with it.

Being on the National Do Not Call Registry will NOT stop these calls.  Most of them come from overseas operations that are spoofing numbers in the United States.  They are outside of US laws and jurisdiction.  Your government is NOT the least bit motivated to protect you from this kind of harassment, either on your land line or cell phone.  The Registry only blocks a very tiny percentage of potential callers.  The legislation was written to protect political interests, not your privacy.  It is basically worthless.

Do not be surprised (or upset) if/when the caller hangs up as soon as you answer.  When your phone rings, they have completed their job.  These callers are NOT interested in talking to you.  They get paid for each phone connection made.  Any engagement of you in conversation takes away from their time to call other numbers.  What they are doing is compiling a list of “live” numbers so they can sell it to other scammers.  They are also looking for “dead” numbers to spoof for their future calls.

A hang-up call can also be an overseas “one ring scam” to get you to call back and sock you with exorbitant international or premium service call fees.  Typically those scams target cell phones, and originate form area codes 242, 246, 264, 268, 284, 345, 441, 473, 649, 664, 758, 767, 784, 809, 829, 849, 868, 876, and 869.  (You don’t have to dial a country code to call these international numbers.)  If you don’t recognize who is calling, forget about it.  Don’t answer.  DO NOT call back, unless you’ve got $20.00 per minute to burn!  If it’s important they’ll leave a message and/or call again.

What can you do?

1) Block the calling number.  Most cell phone service providers (and some cell phones themselves) have blocking services.  Many land line phone providers also have blocking services.  Contact your service provider (cell or land-line) to find out how to do it.  For a nominal one-time investment you can purchase a simple plug-in add-on device that allows you to manually block numbers to your land-line (Google “call blocker”).  Note that these callers don’t use a number very long before they switch to another and hit you again.  Get used to it.  It’s an unadvertised perk of having phone service.

2) If you do answer a call and get a real person talking to you, you have established a “business relationship” which takes you out of any Do Not Call Registry restrictions with them….as if they were abiding by those regulations anyway.  Engage them in non-committal conversation as long as you possibly can.  Act VERY interested.  Mess with their minds.  Give them phony credit card numbers.  Give them fictitious addresses.  Make up names.  Consume as much of their time as you can.  While you are taking up their time they cannot harass someone else, so you are performing a vital civic service.  When they do finally hang up, block their number on your phone.

3) DO NOT call them back!  DO NOT select the button that is supposed to remove you from their database.  These actions only registers your phone number as valid so they can add it to their list to sell to other scammers.  Such action also establishes that you have “done business with them before” which takes you off of the Do Not Call Registry for them….as if they would even consider abiding by the law anyway.

4) Telephone communications are regulated by state and federal governments.  Carry a card with the phone number of your State Attorney General (who has the responsibility of enforcing telecommunications laws).  When you get an unsolicited call tell them that they have caught you on a phone that can’t be used for personal use (or they’ve caught you on your cell) and ask them to call back on a different number.  Give them the Attorney General’s number, hang up, and immediately block their number on your phone.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

No, this is NOT the Ambassador to the Benin Republic

It should go without saying. It’s so blatantly obvious. But sadly, people still do fall for this. I post these in the hope that even a single soul, somewhere, who has received this same message will do a search online and find this post.

These ignorant criminals, sitting in rat-infested internet cafes in various places in Africa, don’t give up because people continue to fall for their lies. These people have no morals. Please protect yourselves and your loved ones from the activities of these scum-sucking bottom-feeders.




From: James Knight <

To: undisclosed-recipients:;


US Ambassador to Benin Republic

Without mincing words, I am convinced 100% that you have had bitter experience with various ‘scammers’ claiming to be high government officials and thereby defrauding you of your ‘hard-earned money’. The activities of these scammers has changed your perspective about conducting business on the internet, and you now believed there is no genuine business that can be conducted on the internet anymore. Well, I am an American and the internet was created by Americans for the purpose of creating awareness for your products/services and conducting genuine business with easy. I am fully committed to deliver the “diplomatic consignment” to you in the United States in order to differentiate myself from the many Benin Republic you have dealt with. I am a full citizen of the United States , but I was on a Foreign Mission here in Benin as an US Ambassador. Hence, I am making every efforts to ensure that no citizen of the United States is cheated by Benin Republic .

Therefore, I need your utmost support and understanding to actualize this dream. I also want you to understand that I do trust you and I expect you to show me the same trust and respect in return since trust is a 2-ways street, On the other hand, trust is a relationship of reliance, Trust also means being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur.

Trust is both an emotional and logical act. Emotionally, it is where you expose your vulnerabilities to people, but believing they will not take advantage of your openness. Logically, it is where you have assessed the probabilities of gain and loss, calculating expected utility based on hard performance data, and concluded that the person in question will behave in a predictable manner. In practice, trust is a bit of both. I trust you because I have experienced your trustworthiness by merely believing in what I have said, even when you have not seen me, and because I have faith in human nature.

Frankly speaking, I understand that anyone in your shoes will feel betrayed, but I still want you to show me your trust by giving me the benefit of doubt on this delivery arrangement. My identity and personality is verifiable, and I promise to deliver the consignment to you in the United States without any hitch. Please do not allow this mission to die off because of US$145.00 TO REGISTER YOUR PACKAGE AS AN AMBASSADORIAL PACKAGE, I meant so well for you and I believe you will appreciate me more when you have finally received your partial payment of US$2,5Million upon my arrival with the package in United States . I will use my position and personality to deposit the US$2,5Million into your bank account in the United States without questioning from the financial monitoring authorities, since all documentations proving the legitimacy of the funds has been processed.

Please don’t see me as one of the numerous dubious Benin Republic you have dealt with in the past. I am a different person entirely and I came from a different continent. I have the American spirit in me and I hate cheaters. I promise to always uphold the national unity of the United States . Please reply back ASAP and let me know your possibility of sending the US$145.00 today.

You can send it via western union Or Money Gram with below name.

Reciever’s name………Simeon Ekwe
Country……….Benin Republic,
Text Question…….God?
Amount ……..US$145.00 Only
Sender’s name…..

Note that you are expected to send the fee right immediately to enable me register your package as an AMBASSADORIAL PACKAGE because once i package that it will give me ability to pass through every Custom offices without interception of the package.

Respectfully yours,

Mr.James Knight
US Ambassador to Benin Republic

“Ambassador to Benin Republic”. Right. You can spot the bad English of these filthy criminals a mile away if you are in the least familiar with their scams.

Be careful out there and protect yourselves and your loved ones.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

An Open Letter to Western Union, Moneygram and Moneypak


I am beyond furious.

A loved one of mine was just scammed out of $2,000 that she can ill afford, being a recent college graduate struggling to find work and make her own way in the world.

She was stung by the “we’ll send you a check, please forward part of it to XXX for [insert reason here]” scam. She thought she was being offered a sweet job, and instead handed two grand to some scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, camel-raping lowlifes somewhere in the world.

And you are all complicit. You are confederate. You are equally guilty.

Oh, yes – I know your websites make all the right noises about never sending money to strangers, list all the scams, and provide all the required legal disclaimers. I’m here to tell you:

Watch this for the full hour. Perhaps it will sink in.

Your services are used by criminals worldwide to promote their nefarious schemes and take advantage of the gullible and the trusting with almost total impunity. And it needs to stop.

You need to be regulated in the same way as pawn shops. You need to take photographs and fingerprints of everyone who receives money from a transaction, and make this data available to law enforcement agencies, just like pawn shops.

Look at a summary of rules and regulations that the pawn industry (still thriving, in case you complain that this will put you out of business) must adhere to:

Federal rules:

  • USA Patriot Act, designed to stifle terrorism-related activities. For you, it means you can’t do any business with a pawnbroker unless you have a government-issued picture ID, like a driver’s license, and you may have to give a fingerprint
  • Truth in Lending Act (TILA). The pawnbroker has to explain to you clearly and in writing all of the terms of your loan, such as interest rate, fees, etc.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Safeguard and Privacy Rules to protect your personal information – including your name, address, phone number, and bank and credit card account numbers, etc.
  • Federal firearm laws, including record-keeping and background check requirements for buyers/sellers
    IRS rules on reporting cash transactions over $10,000

State rules:

  • Licensing and registration. In most states, pawnbrokers must apply for a license or register with a state agency – like the state consumer protection agency or state tax department. In some states, brokers need a license from the city or town where they do business
  • Interest rates and fees on loans are capped or limited in practically every state. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from 3 to 25 percent in interest on your loan. On top of that, most states let pawnbrokers charge a service fee in money (like $10) or interest (20 percent), each month
  • Records. Usually, pawnshops have to keep detailed records of everything they buy or take as collateral – serial and model numbers, brand name; precious metal type, gemstone description, etc.
  • Reporting. In some states, pawnshops have to give reports of their purchases to local police to help identify stolen goods. In other states, a shop has to honor your request to check their inventory for stolen goods if you give it a police report on your stolen property
  • Pawn tickets. If you take out a loan, the pawnbroker must give you a ticket showing what item you pawned, how long you have to repay, how much you have to repay, etc.
  • Grace periods. In some states, you’re automatically granted a grace period – usually 15 to 30 days – after your loan period expires. You have that additional amount of time to pay your loan and reclaim your property before the shop can sell your item.

You may think your army of industry lawyers and lobbyists will be enough to shield you from greater regulation designed to protect your clients, but don’t be fooled. The river of ill-gotten gains must be stopped, and you are direct participants in countless felonies.

You have been put on notice.

The Old Wolf has spoken.