baratron: (corrosive)
Mystery bear is no longer a mystery. It's a clear case of identity theft, or fraud.

Some asswipe has ordered £278.30 worth of crap using my name and address details, and £277.28 worth of crap using Richard's. To get around the company's requirement that the first shipment must go to the same name and address that you've registered with, they sent us the ugly soft toys. And then the rest of the stuff has gone to them. The stuff ordered in Richard's name is especially hilarious, including 2 Chelsea shirts and 1 Man United shirt - allegedly ordered by one of the most anti-football men I've ever met!

You'd have thought that in a world full of identity theft and online fraud that the company would wait for payment for the first shipment before allowing a person to order any more stuff! Apparently not. Also, I didn't actually realise that it was possible to buy items online using credit set up with the seller, rather than using a credit card issued by a bank. That seems rather anachronistic, considering.

Grrr.

Apparently the address where all these £59 Fred Perry, Ben Sherman and Hilfiger shirts have gone is an address that the company "is currently investigating". If this turns out to be part of a mass fraud, I hope the bastards get what they deserve, which must at least include confiscation of the stolen nasty clothes and an exchange for fashionable prison wear :P
baratron: (baratron again)
Am I really the only person who thinks that Michael Jackson faked his own death? Read more... )
baratron: (corrosive)
Another fake internet death. Actually, this one was more of a fake internet coma, but they tend to end in fake internet deaths if the person's lies aren't caught in time.

This one didn't take place on a public forum, but in private email, so there's a limit to what I can say without infringing my friend (the victim of this fraud)'s privacy. But I suppose I can give you a general sketch impression.

So, my friend's friend, X - also an acquaintance of mine - is supposedly in business. (I say "supposedly" because the details of the company he allegedly owns reek of bullshit to me - but I can't go into details.) My friend got an email last week from X's "assistant" at "work", claiming that she was on the shortlist of people that the assistant should contact if anything happened to X. Apparently he had collapsed at work and was in a coma. But he was also described as being "stable" and in "good condition health-wise". That would be where my alarm bells started ringing, and I promptly spent a few hours with the Merck Manual to check things out.

Read more... )

It gets worse. My friend, quite distressed, emailed the "assistant" to ask for a hospital or other address where she could send flowers. She was told "While cards and gifts would be touching under normal circumstances, they could prove unsettling for him should he experience memory failure." Erm... I read the full text of the two emails together as implying that X knew there was something potentially wrong with him, and had left instructions in case the illness flared up. Even if that implication - that he knew about the illness - is wrong, we are talking about a single condition causing both coma and amnesia together.

Um. There's rather a shortage of those. Read more... ) Brain tumours could do it, so could strokes, so could being in a major accident that caused brain injury - but nothing where you were previously healthy and just collapse at work. Some serious illnesses like meningitis and encephalitis could do it - but you wouldn't be described as in "good health" in that case! If there is no real illness that could cause this, then my mind says it must be fake.

But it gets worse. My friend managed to find X's postal address that he'd given her once. We checked it out and obtained a phone number. She called the house and asked to speak to X. The housemate said "just a minute" then "I think he's still at work". As I said to Richard "you ring someone's house, ask to speak to the person, their housemate says "just a minute" then "I think he's at work", that means he's probably not in a coma, right?".Read more... ) Also, when my friend told me the email address X and the "assistant" had used to send the emails, I googled it along with "2007", and discovered that X had managed to make multiple posts to web forums despite being in a coma. The text of some of the posts were cached on Google, and they were apparently perfectly normal posts from him - and not his sockpuppet "assistant" posting on the forum to tell people he was in a coma.

What angers me about this is the sheer level of contempt that X had for my friend. He has totally underestimated her intelligence and resourcefulness, and the resources she has available. Once I had all of the information, it took me less than 5 minutes to discover that, far from being in a coma, he was still making posts on fecking Warcraft forums. But I still had the courtesy to take the time and effort to check up on his story, to make sure I didn't accuse him of lying when it was real.

Why do people play these kind of games? We have no idea what made him do it. They had been close friends, then they hadn't talked for a few weeks, then he pulls this stunt. I've read a lot now about "Munchausen by internet" and attention seeking behaviour on online forums, and I understand that some people find manipulation of real-life people's emotions fun. But I just can't fucking fathom it. It's bad enough when people do it to whole forums, but in private email? Why do that to someone who you previously called a friend?

I have some advice for the internet fake deathers. Go and play with sims. This kind of manipulation is for pixel people, not real ones. Even better, go make some friends in real life that you actually care about, rather than looking for attention online.

One day, you'll be on the receiving end of a prank like this, and it's going to hurt.

Footnote. )
baratron: (goggles)
I was recently the victim of an elaborate hoax. Some of you have read some of this already, but this is the full story.

The story:
A couple of months ago, I started going to a couple of new Sims 2 irc channels, where I met a woman who went by the net handle of Jorenne or Jojo. A few days after I joined the channel, Jorenne said that she was pregnant and showed us some blurry ultrasound pictures. She was very excited about the pregnancy - to the point I asked if this would be her first baby. She said this was her third pregnancy, but neither of the previous babies were still alive. She told us about her husband C, in the Army, and her ex-husband B, and his strange demands.

On Sunday or Monday of this week, Jo told us that C had been posted overseas to Kosovo. She was really worried how she'd cope with him away whilst pregnant. Then on Thursday night, she apparently went into premature labour and was rushed to the hospital. Her sister Julie logged on to the server to tell us what was going on, and F, a trainee midwife, told us what might happen. Everyone was quite scared and upset. On Friday morning, the baby Casey was born - at 26 weeks gestation, and a mass of 880g. He was in the neonatal intensive care unit, possibly unlikely to make it, and Jo herself would need to be kept in hospital until Monday or Tuesday.

The truth:
There was no pregnancy and no baby. There are almost certainly no two pre-existing lost children. We don't know if there's a husband or an ex-husband, or even the age of the woman concerned. We're pretty sure she is female and does live, or has lived in, Aldershot in Hampshire. And we know she plays Sims 2.

The warning signs I chose to ignore, why I chose to help, what I did... )

Proof of the lies and how I feel about it now. )

I've left this as a public entry with comments enabled because it is a cautionary tale. Yes, you may link to it. Yes, you may comment on it. But if I get abusive comment spam, I'll turn it off.

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