I saw this today over at Teresa’s Frog Applause strip, and thought I’d share it just because I found it fascinating.
Phytolacca Decandra, if you were not sure, is pokeweed – a toxic plant with no known legitimate medical uses and a host of applications in folk medicine.
It’s poisonous. That’s all I need to know about it. Unlike the fugu (puffer fish of Japan) which is supposedly delicious if prepared properly and fatal if not, this stuff really has no compelling reason to eat it unless one were starving, much like the pioneers in Utah who survived on sego lily bulbs after their arrival in the Great Salt Lake basin. It did keep them alive, but I’ve never been tempted to try them.
As I mentioned in earlier articles, thanks to cable television and the internet, there seems to be a new “hot” thing every year or so, hawked by the likes of Dr. Oz and a horde of affiliate marketers – green coffee extract, garcinia cambogia, exogenous ketones, chitosan, bromelain, coral calcium, the list is endless.
Take a pass on any remedy that claims to allow you to lose weight effortlessly. Just don’t waste your money. None of them work. It’s a sad fact that most of us love to eat, that the most comforting foods are high-density carbohydrates (often cooked in delicious, satiating fat), and that pounds are frightfully easy to put on and frightfully hard to take off. The only way to release weight consistently is to live with a caloric deficit, even a slight one. Eat a healthier, more balanced diet, burn more than you eat (exercise helps in a lot of different ways, but pushaways are the best dinner-table exercise you can do), and you will drop pounds.
I’ve written before about affiliate marketing, and what a plague it is on the internet. I just had a tab pop up on my browser – despite two ad-blockers being active – and I thought I’d share an image or two.
Health experts recommend losing between 1-2 pounds a week for healthy weight release. This claim amounts to close to 1 lb per day. Ain’t gonna happen, unless you’re eating 500 calories per day and burning 3,500. In addition, this claim is not backed by Fox News (as disreputable as they may be in other areas), the NY Times, Today, Oprah, Style Watch, or Redbook.
This is not going to happen in 22 days. Look, children, this is what we call “a lie.”
Limited time only: Lie Only 4 Bottles Still Available: Lie 40% discount: Negated at the purchase page. Offer ends Today: Lie
Let’s look at the purchase page:
This page claims to send you free bottles: Lie Only 241 promotions left: Lie Endorsements: Lie Lose weight without exercising: Lie
So if you want that free product and provide your information (which, by the way, will be sold to every marketer with two coppers to rub together), you get this:
Oh look, you’re being charged $59.95. That’s not free, nor is it the 40% discount promised on a previous page. And if you don’t notice that the 6-bottle option is checked, the charge on your credit card is going to be horrendous.
But wait, there’s more!
Buried deep on the purchase page in light gray print is the link to “terms and conditions,” which very few people will bother to read. If they do, they’ll find a wall of text, which includes these hidden gems (there’s a lot more of it)
Terms SCOPE & APPLICATION 1.1 You expressly agree and accept the Conditions set forth herein unconditionally as a binding contract (“the Agreement”) enforceable by law… (How well this load of BS would stand up in court is an open question)
PRODUCT AND BILLING 2.1 All product purchases made from this website are required to be paid in full. For more information about our products, please visit http://www.ketopurediet.com. 2.1.1. The prices for the products are as follows: $199.99 or $28.57 each for the 7 bottle package;$149.95 or $29.99 each for the 5 bottle package; $99.99 or $33.33 each for the 3 bottle package and $69.99 each for the 1 bottle package, plus $7.95 shipping and handling. Shipping and handling is non-refundable. 2.2 You authorize us to initiate a one-time charge to your credit card as indicated upon your purchase. (So, not free at all)
This next one is a real treasure:
Notice that if you stop ordering this product, you have just given permission for monthly dues to some worthless program to be charged to your credit card, and nothing is ever said about how much those monthly dues are until you’ve bitten the hook.
There’s a lot more legal noise in those terms and conditions, which mostly assure you that the company has all rights and that you have very few.
But what about the product itself? Is it any good? will it work? Wow, it’s so easy:
The ketogenic diet has been around for a long time. There is a massive body of information out there about it, some positive and some negative. While the marketeers would have you believe that exogenous ketones (i.e. the stuff that comes from outside your body) can put you into a state of ketosis in minutes, that’s highly debatable. So if you want to release weight with a ketogenic diet, follow step 2 above (but be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any program of this nature.) Step 1 can be safely replaced with:
Singing opera 10 minutes a day
Painting with Bob Ross
Learning to speak Turkish
Taking homeopathic weight loss drops
Not taking homeopathic weight loss drops
Standing on your head and spitting nickels
… and you’ll get exactly the same results, whatever those are.
The Internet is awash with pages like this, because most affiliate marketers will say absolutely anything to get you to buy the product, for which sale they get a commission. And most affiliate marketers have the ethics of an angry honey badger.
Don’t be taken in by “offers” like this from sleazy, irresponsible salespeople. Stay away from any product that claims to help you lose weight fast.
A friend of mine in Finland just got one of these, it falls into the same category as the sextortion scam about which I have already written: desperate bad guys blasting out millions of emails to the entire world, hoping to catch the handful of people who *do* visit adult sites, have unsecured webcams, a guilty conscience, and very little education.
In this case, they’re hoping to snare the fearful and gullible segment of the world’s populace. It astonishes me that people could be so foolish as to fall for these kinds of scams, but if it didn’t work at some level, the bad guys wouldn’t do it.
But the takeaway here is the same as always: This is a scam, there’s no truth to it, and you should never send money to criminals. Please keep your loved ones, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, educated and protected.
A new sort of scam call has been infesting my phone in the last week or so. The number calling is 405-493-8251.
If you answer, you hear a recorded voice with a heavy female India accent telling you that “our company is closing and you are due a refund for computer services. Please press 1 to speak to an executive.” If you call back, the ringtone changes to an international-sounding one, and you are put in touch with someone in an Indian boiler room who asks you how much you paid for computer support last year.
Following the scam down the rabbit hole, I told the individual that I had paid $495.00. I was told, “I will refund you that amount right away.” I was then given step-by-step instructions to download and run either Supremo or TeamViewer, which would give them complete access to my computer.
It goes without saying, never do this! If you allow criminals to have total access to your computer, they would steal information or upload malware or ransomware to your machine. Any legitimate organization would not need remote access to issue a refund for something.
These drones are targeting anyone gullible or uninformed, but specifically people who were scammed by a previous con for fake computer assistance.
Be careful out there. Protect your elderly or vulnerable loved ones, and make sure they understand that things like this are the worst kind of scam.
I often post scam emails that I get, but this one came to a friend and I saw it show up at his virtual home on Facebook. Posting it here just as a reference in case anyone gets something similar and wonders if it’s real.
It’s not. It’s a scam. Don’t answer. Serously. You could lose every penny you have.
I hope that this correspondence is received with the urgency and expediency required.It has come to the notice of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Reserve Bank here in Washington, D.C. that your present inheritance claims application being handled by the Remitting Bank in Nigeria is experiencing some man made irregularities. To this effect, it has become necessary for the Board of Trustees to assign trained Fund Transfer Specialists from the United States to resolve and regularize your fund release with immediate effect.
We at Deborah L. Hayes & Corporate Affairs have been duly consulted by the FRB Board of Trustees. We have been fully informed about how the staffs of the remitting bank has been taking advantage of you by telling you to pay unnecessarily exorbitant charges which will only make your fund payment a long drawn out process. Due to this development, we have been assigned to step into the immediate processing of your fund transfer to enable your funds to be transferred to you within the shortest possible time. To implement this, you are to get back to us immediately without needing to pay all the huge sums of monies that are being demanded from you by the previous handlers at the remitting bank. All processes to have your funds paid to you immediately through the CBN’s Liaison Remittance Office in New York have been initiated to cut out unnecessary costs. You are advised to treat this communication with the urgency and seriousness required as the Board of Trustees of the Federal Reserve Bank has mandated us to resolve this fund payment within the next three working days independent of the office of the Remitting Bank in Africa.
Furthermore,you are hereby advised to pay no further fees or charges to the Remitting Bank in Nigeria as they shall no longer be handling your payment process. We shall await your immediate correspondence with your direct telephone numbers to my private email address at (firstname.lastname@example.org) for re-confirmation so that we may conclude your payment immediately. Yours Sincerely, Deborah L. Hayes Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs
It surprises me that scam emails of this nature continue to be a thing. The only reason they continue is that they must, somehow, inexplicably, be profitable. I guess if there are people stupid and evil enough to make a living this way, there must be people stupid and gullible enough to send them money. But if posting things like this can save even one person from being taken advantage of, the effort is worth it.
I don’t get much spam these days with Gmail, their filters are pretty good at sifting out the chaff. But I still have an account with another provider that lets a few things through.
The first one I saw this week was the old “Nigerian Prince” ploy, it amazes me that people are still trying this one.
I am contacting you to see if we can make a business together, My names are Suvo sarkar the Chief Executive Director of Emirates NBD in United Arab Emirate U.A.E. I discovered a dormant account with a holding balance of US$63M in the bank where I am working in United Arab Emirate U.A.E, Actually I do not have to involve myself officially because of my job and position in the bank, but I know what will be required to release the fund to you as I will present you as next of kin to the inheritance. I know all about the depositor who has passed away leaving no beneficiary to the account he deposited the funds.
Please get back to indicate your interest so I can give you the full details of the transaction for us to commence immediately.
Best regards, Suvo Sarka
By now, everyone should know about this kind of thing – but just in case, this is 100% pure bull manure – there’s no money, you’re not next of kin, and if you respond, there will be “taxes,” “fees,” “bribes,” “administrative stamps,” and other things to be paid until you run out of money, time, or patience.
These people are criminals, thieves, bad actors with no conscience and no morals. Many of them justify their theft by saying to themselves, “The White Man plundered our country, it’s only fair to take their money.” Others are just evil men with no conscience. Do not interact with them.
The second scam, commonly known as “sextortion,” was more interesting, I had not seen one of these before.
From: nightmarе <email@example.com> To: <redacted> Subject: You are my viсtim.
Hi, my prey.
THIS IS MY LAST WARNING!
I write you because I put a virus on the web page with pornography which you have viewed. My trоjan caрtured аll your рrivate dаta аnd switсhed on yоur сamеrа whiсh rеcordеd thе act оf yоur solitаry sex. Just аfter thаt thе trоjаn saved your contact list. I will erаsе thе cоmрrоmising videо rесords аnd informаtiоn if you send me 750 USD in bitcoin. This is address fоr pаymеnt : 1PLtH8HPHQLboeFvrBN2XJPJz99TxayGCo I give you 30 hours after yоu opеn my mеssаgе fоr making thе payment. Аs sоon аs you reаd thе mеssаgе I’ll sеe it right аwаy. It is nоt nесessаry to tell me that yоu hаvе sеnt mоney to mе. This аddress is connectеd to yоu, my systеm will еrased autоmаticаlly after transfer соnfirmatiоn. If you nеed 48h just Opеn thе calculatоr on yоur desktор and press +++ If yоu don’t раy, I’ll send dirt tо all your contасts. Let me remind you-I sеe what you’re dоing! Yоu cаn visit thе policе officе but anybody cаn’t help you. If yоu try to dеceivе me , I’ll know it immediately! I dоn’t live in your cоuntry. So аnyоnе cаn not trаck my lосаtion еvеn fоr 9 mоnths. byе. Don’t fоrgеt аbоut the shame and tо ignorе, Your lifе сan be ruined.
This is sheer nonsense, blasted out to all and sundry with harvested or leaked emails in the hopes of catching a scared victim. Because some people do visit adult sites, and some people do have webcams, and it is possible for hackers to access these cameras remotely if people are foolish enough to download the appropriate malware.
I don’t have a webcam, I don’t visit adult sites, and my computer is well-protected against malware, so all his noise about trojans and “compromising video records” are nothing but lies.
Opening a calculator app and pressing “+++” could not possibly interact with an email program to let a scammer know that I needed 48 hours instead of 30 to send him his blackmail money.
You can go to https://bitcoinwhoswho.com/ and look up bitcoin addresses like the one the scammer lists above. According to the report generated, this particular address has been reported multiple times for fraudulent activity, always the same sextortion scam but often with varying messages
You have the last chance to save your social life – I am not kidding!! I give you the last 72 hours to make the payment before I send the video with your [indecent activity] to all your friends and associates. The last time you visited a erotic website with young Teens, you downloaded and installed the software I developed. My program has turned on your camera and recorded your [indecent activity] and the video you were watching. My software also downloaded all your email contact lists and a list of your Facebook friends. I have both the ‘Info.mp4’ with your [indecent activity] and a file with all your contacts on my hard drive. You are very perverted! If you want me to delete both files and keep your secret,you must send me Bitcoin payment. I give you the last 72 hours. If you don’t know how to send Bitcoins, visit Google. Send 2000 USD to this Bitcoin address immediately: 32u7BDdEb48LXNTDDTe9q9Nce5Z9QAJG1g (copy and paste) 1 BTC = 3470 USD right now, so send exactly 0.588241 BTC to the address above. Do not try to cheat me! As soon as you open this Email I will know you opened it. This Bitcoin address is linked to you only, so I will know if you sent the correct amount. When you pay in full, I will remove both files and deactivate my software. If you don’t send the payment, I will send your [perverted] video to ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES from your contact list I hacked. Here are the payment details again: Send 0.588241 BTC to this Bitcoin address: 32u7BDdEb48LXNTDDTe9q9Nce5Z9QAJG1g You can visit the police but nobody will help you. I know what I am doing. I don’t live in your country and I know how to stay anonymous. Don’t try to deceive me – I will know it immediately – my spy ware is recording all the websites you visit and all keys you press. If you do – I will send this ugly recording to everyone you know, including your family. Don’t cheat me! Don’t forget the shame and if you ignore this message your life will be ruined. I am waiting for your Bitcoin payment. Ma Anonymous Hacker
P.S. If you need more time to buy and send 0.588241 BTC, open your notepad and write ’48h plz’. I will consider giving you another 48 hours before I release the vid, but only when I really see you are struggling to buy bitcoin.
And one more:
From: nightmarе To: [redacted] Subject: You are my victim.
Dо nоt mind оn my illitеrасy, I am frоm China.
I uрlоаdеd thе mаliciоus рrоgram on your systеm. Sinсе thаt mоment I рilfеrеd аll рrivy bасkgrоund frоm yоur systеm. Аdditiоnally I have somе morе соmрromising evidеnсе. The mоst intеrеsting еvidenсе thаt I stоlе- its а videоtаpе with your [indecent activity]. I аdjustеd virus оn а роrn web sitе аnd аftеr yоu lоadеd it. Whеn yоu dесidеd with thе vidеo аnd tарpеd on a рlаy buttоn, my dеlеtеriоus sоft at оncе sеt up on your systеm. Аfter adjusting, yоur саmerа shoоt thе vidеоtаpе with your [indecent activity], in аdditiоn it saved рreсisеly thе рorn vidеo yоu were watching. In nеxt fеw dаys my mаlwаre cоllесtеd аll your sociаl and wоrk сontaсts. If yоu wаnt tо dеlеtе thе recоrds- pay mе 340 еuro in BTC(сryрtосurrenсy). I provide you my Btc number – 1JRMsH8xnm2Uk3XZQfS63woi4uFyM2gBLC Yоu hаvе 24 hours after rеаding. Whеn I gеt trаnsfer I will dеstrоy the videotaрe еvermоrе. If you need 50 hours just Open the calculator on your desktop and press +++ Оther way I will send thе tаpе to аll yоur cоlleaguеs and friеnds.
Again, these messages are sheer nonsense, but might well frighten some people into paying. The criminals who are perpetrating these scams are very evil. Never respond to them, never send any money to them.
Ransomware that encrypts your data is a different kind of beast, and it is more prevalent, and easier to be affected by even if you don’t visit infected websites. Don’t open attachments from unknown senders, regardless of how innocent or official they may look. Verify first.
This is an example of a ransomware scam:
From: “Troy Almaguer” <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Wire Transfer To: <redacted>
Did you authorize a wire transfer to our accounts? We have acquired a sum of USD $2000,00 from your bank account and we do not understand what the funds are for. We do not have any purchases with your firm that we know about. So why are you generating settlements to us? Please see the attached remittance files and double check with your corporation and bank. Password is 1234
[Attached Document with clickable link]
It looks really official, and an administrator, or assistant, or secretary might be easily fooled into clicking on that innocent-looking attachment. Don’t ever do it, you’ll likely end up with all your data encrypted and no way to get it back unless you have robust backups.
There are a lot of scumbags out there. Be careful, practice safe computing, and don’t let the criminals win.
Received in my spam folder just today, but I’m astonished that the stupid and the criminal are still trying these tired old campaigns, hoping to ensnare the foolish or the desperate. Be careful out there.
The bad English [as soonest as you contacts her] is a dead giveaway. Talking about money (that doesn’t exist) is a dead giveaway. Never respond to solicitations like this. There is no “Chashier’s Cheque” waiting for you. Ever.
Casi Piribebuy Bo San Pablo .
Dear Good Friend,
How are you doing today, I hope you haven’t forgotten me? I am Dr. Youssef Bakary, the former manager at the Bank of Africa (B.O.A) Bank in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso over there in West Africa, who has contacted you some time ago to assist me in order to secure the release of a deceased customer’s fund into your bank account.
Though, you weren’t able to assist me up to the conclusion stage in that transaction by then, I am very much happy to inform you about my success in getting the fund transferred under the assistance and co-operation of a new partner from Paraguay.
Presently, I am in Paraguay for investment projects with my share of the total sum.
Meanwhile, I didn’t forget your past efforts, and attempts to assist me on the transferring of the fund, and I makes sure that you aren’t left behind or out from the benefits of the transaction. Hence, I have kept aside for you the total sum of: $1,675,000.00 (One Million Six hundred, and seventy-five thousand, Usa-dollars) in the ‘CHASHIER’S CHEQUE’.
My new partner and I have agreed to compensate you with that above said amount for all your past efforts and attempt to assist me in that past successful matters. I have appreciated your kind efforts at that time very much, so feel very free to contact the bank’s secretary via her below email address, and the name of the secretary of the (B.O.A) is MRS. CAROLINA ILBOUDOU.
And make sure that you instructed her on how to send the ‘CHASHIER’S CHEQUE’ to you, and please do let me know immediately you receives the ‘CHASHIER’S CHEQUE’ so that we can share the joy together after all the stress at the past times.
At the moment, am very busy here in Paraguay because of the investment projects of which my partner and I were having at hands presently, and finally remember that I had left an instruction to the secretary of the (B.O.A) MRS. CAROLINA ILBOUDOU.
Therefore, as soonest as you contacts her for the said ‘CHASHIER’S CHEQUE’ to be sent to you, she will surely send the ‘CHASHIER’S CHEQUE’ to you. Below is the contact of the secretary of the (B.O.A) Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso over there in West Africa .
Contact this below person immediately for your cheque:-
Edit 7/18/2017 – I thought I’d tweak these cretins a bit.
I responded in my usual manner:
Dem no born u reach, onioburu. U no fit comot face, just skip along. Mugu no chop my dollar, chop only black powder and death from Olumba Olumba Obu.
If you’re not up on Nigerian pidgin, this says, in effect, “Don’t even think about it, you gong-farmer. You’re not worthy of showing up in public, away with you. You fool, you won’t get my money – you’ll only get cursed by Olumba Olumba Obu.” (Obu was the founder of The Brotherhood of the Cross and Star (BCS), a religious organisation in Nigeria. Obu was believed to have miraculous powers.)
And hilariously, I got a response – clearly the scammers don’t even bother to read any return messages they receive.
Thank you for your prompt mail been received by me, and also as you have contacted me for your confirmable bank Cheque of $1.675,000.00 United States dollars only. I was in our bank’s reconciliation department with the Cheque to confirm if the Cheque has expired or getting near to the date of expiration, and Mrs. Mary Ouattara, the directress of the reconciliation department of our bank here told me that before the Cheque will get to your hand that it will expire as I don’t actually know the exact day and when you will contact me for your confirmable bank Cheque, because it has been more than two weeks which your partner left the Cheque with me.
Therefore, I quickly told Mrs. Mary Ouattara, the directress of the reconciliation department of our bank to cash the $1.675,000.00 united states dollars, and she has converted it into a cash payment since one week now and this is to avoid losing this fund under expiration of the Cheque as your ex-partner who dropped the Cheque has travelled for business trip, and might not return back here again as he said, and according to my personal decision, I decided to send the cash payment to you through dhl courier company in a consignment packaged as an African Clothes box because I cannot keep those funds with me to avoid any suspicious from my Bank.
What you have to do right now is to contact the dhl courier company as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your consignment to you, but make sure you did not disclose the content to dhl because I told dhl that the content is African Clothes.
You have to quickly contact the dhl courier company with your home address and telephone number for the delivery of your consignment to your door step, but do not allow DHL Company to discover those funds in your consignment because I registered your consignment as African Clothes’ content. HERE IS THE DHL COURIER COMPANY CONTACTS
The Dhl Office Manager’s Name: Josaine Sawadogo Zagre.
The Dhl Office Of The Manager’s Telephone Number: +226 74 85 38 20.
The Dhl Customer’s Service Telephone Number +226 50 311947 or +226 50 335171.
The Dhl Courier Company’s Customer care Email Address: email@example.com
The Dhl Courier Company’s Web-Site: www.dhl.com/en/bf/country_profile.html
Note this is very clearly, the dhl courier company does not know the content of the box, I have registered it as a box of African Clothes, they don’t know that the content is money, and this is to avoid them delaying with the box from delivering.
Make sure that you follow up these above instructions carefully in order to get your package (your fund) delivered at your door step in your country.
Congratulations!!!. Good luck as well. Contact the dhl courier service company right now for your consignment (your fund).
I will send to you in my next email your consignment’s Certificate of Deposit which I received from DHL Burkina Faso on the day which I deposited your consignment in their custody.
Contact them right now!!!
My best regards,
Mrs. Carolina Ilboudou. Secretary of the Bank.
I wrote to the indicated address, saying “I am supposed to contact you regarding the consignment of a box.” I’ll report back if anyone responds.