Snake Oil from the 1890s

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.

Stay away from the snake oil.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Affiliate Marketing – How many lies can they cram in?

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

Countdown timer at the bottom of the page: Another 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:

16.7 I also acknowledge that I understand that by placing my order of Keto Pure Diet, I am automatically enrolled in the Keto Pure Diet health community program. I further acknowledge that I understand that my membership in Keto Pure Diet is included in my product purchase, that my complementary membership will remain active for as long as I remain an active custom of Keto Pure Diet, and that once I am no longer an active customer of Keto Pure Diet the membership dues shall, at my option, become my responsibility. I hereby grant authorization for the monthly membership dues to be charged to the credit card or debit card used to complete the purchase of Keto Pure Diet. I further acknowledge, agree to, and accept the Keto Pure Diet Privacy Policy, the Keto Pure Diet Website Use Terms and Conditions, the Keto Pure Diet Terms and Conditions, and the Keto Pure Diet Health Coin Terms and Conditions. I acknowledge that I understand that my Keto Pure Diet my Keto Pure Diet membership can be canceled at anytime by calling 1-888-628-6284, by emailing support@ketopurediet.com. Your Keto Pure Diet membership entitles you and your household dependents to consultation fee free calls with licensed doctors 24-hours per day, 365-days per year, as well as access to thousands of dentists with typical savings of 50% off regular bills, vision care savings, and prescription savings at most pharmacies in the US. To learn more value to the included Keto Pure Diet program, go to http://www.ketopurediet.com, and look for emails explaining the programs and services included in the membership.

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
  • Anything
  • Nothing

… 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.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The scammers are getting desperate

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.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The “computer services” refund scam

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.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Dear Beneficiary

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.

Dear Beneficiary,

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 (deborahhayes11111@gmail.com) 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.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Nigerian Scammers Still At It in 2018

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.

Image result for nigerian scammer

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.

Av.Bernardino Caballero.
Casi Piribebuy Bo San Pablo .
Presidente Franco.
Tel: 00595-61-572263
Fax: 00595-61-574599.
PARAGUAY.

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:-

MRS. CAROLINA ILBOUDOU.
Secretary of the (B.O.A),
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Email Address: (caro.ilboudouu@outlook.fr )

Yours good friend,
Dr. Youssef Bakary.

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.

Attention: 

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: 
servicedhlbfouaga@gmail.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.

Be very careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

No, I didn’t ask to cancel my Gmail account

Scammers

Subject: Request to Terminate Your account has been accepted
From: AccountUpdate qAvmWq4@zbikfv.uk via physics.metu.edu.tr
Date: Apr 26 (10 days ago)
to _To: millions of people

Dear Gmail Customer,

You submitted a request to terminate your Gmail mail account and the process has started by our Gmail mail Team, Please give us 3 working days to close your mail account.

To cancel the termination request reply to this mail.

All files on your Gmail mail including (Inbox, Sent, Spam, Trash, Draft) will be deleted and access to your Gmail mail account will be Denied.

If you wish to Terminate your Email Address, you can Sign Up for a new Gmail mail account.

For further help please contact by replying to this mail.

Regards,
Gmail! Account Services

Please watch out for emails like this. No, I didn’t ask for my Gmail account to be terminated, and neither did you.

If you respond to the email, you will be confirming that you are a live sucker to these people:

reply@positndor.net,
replyme@pinewbrokers.net,
reply@raintrature.com,
hello@cestaticket.com.ve,
peru@minedu.gob.pe,
marco@geturoffrsnw.win,
admin@betterwithfn.com,
comm@edukouvola.fi,
notice@myegy.com

And it’s a penny to a quid that every one of them is a scammer who will do their best to get your personal information or your money.

How do you know this message is not from Gmail? It was sent from The Gmail! account team (Gmail doesn’t use a “!” in their name like “Yahoo!” does. In addition to that, the return address is:

AccountUpdate qAvmWq4@zbikfv.uk via physics.metu.edu.tr

A double redirect, one from the UK and one from Turkey. No, Virginia, that’s not Gmail.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.