How many times have you checked your email
to find 15 messages waiting - one genuine email and 14
MAKE MONEY FAST scam letters?
As it gets progressively easier
to get onto the 'net, the gullible and the immature have arrived in their
millions and proceeded to get duped by Multi-Level Marketing Schemes
and Chain Letters.
Probably, like me, you usually just delete these
junk emails, and sometimes fire off a letter of complaint to the culprit's
service provider. But why not get a bit of on-line entertainment at the
expense of these idiots? They've wasted your time and money by sending you
their rubbish, so waste some of theirs in return!
I DRINK BEER, ME.
On 19/09/97 I received what must have been my 100th copy of the Christopher
Erickson Chain Letter Spam. Having recently come across the excellent
Make Money Fast Hall of Humiliation on
the web, I decided to follow the advice of the sites founder, and have some fun at the
expense of the spammer.
The email which I had received appeared to have come from "Sam Adams" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
however knowing spammers tendancy to use throw-away accounts, I decided to check DejaNews for other postings Sam
might have made to usenet, from a different account. Using his 'company' name 'Eaglehead Enterprises', I found that Sam did indeed have another
account: "Sam Adams" (email@example.com)!
As this point I have to say I thought I was dealing with someone called "Sam Adams", not being aware of the popular U.S beverage of the same name.
Just in case, I visited Sam's ISP web-page at delanet.com who conveniently have a customer lookup service.
Pop in Lagerhed, and hey presto, we find "Sam" is actually Harry Jones!
Okay, now for the fun bit... I now sent an email (click to view) to Harry (at his REAL address) to express my fascination with his 'system'.
While waiting for a reply, a quick visit to Four11.com showed that there was indeed a 'Harry Jones' living in Newark, Delaware however not
at Harry's address (he gave the city and state in the original email - to send the cash to)
I decided to try this address on Harry to see if it was the same guy, however I took a note that Four11.com indicated that there was someone else living at the address on his
original email, to protect the innocent, their name has been omitted here, but you can find it for yourself at four11.com anyway.
Harry's Original details (given by HIM on original junk mail):
10 Berwyn Hall
English Village Apartments
Newark, Delaware 19711
Results from Four11.com indicate that Harry still lives with his parents...
[I later discovered that there probably is another Harry Jones in Newark Delaware,
so all his address details have been
removed from the correspondance]
The next day Harry, apparently shocked by the fact that someone actually fell for his scam wrote back. (View it) Somewhat suspicious he refused to
answer my questions until I told him where
I had obtained his email address. Apparently however, he had sent out so many chain letters that he had forgotten who he had sent them to, and from which account, because only
a few hours later, he gave up waiting and answered my questions anyway. (View it)
Encouraged, I wrote back, introducing his first problem - whether to accept cheques as payment or not (View it).
This problem caused Harry a lot of worry, he
wrinkled his brow, closed his eyes, and concentrated hard before emailing me to say YES (View it), then NO (View it), then YES again!
(View it) - all in the space of an hour! (Do you think Harry has made many corporate decisions before?)
Having established that Harry wasn't too hot at the old quick-thinking, I decided to forget the cheque problem and worry him with something else - the illegality of
his system, and chain letters in general (View it). To help reinforce the point, I borrowed an idea from Harry himself, and opened a new email
account under the name 'Mike_Z_Thornton@hotmail.com' from the hotmail.com site. Turns out, Mike is a good friend of Al's, and is also a legal expert!
Just in case Harry was ready for this, I hit him with another problem (View it) - The bank will not give me $5 dollar notes, the lowest denomination
they have is $10 ! I offered to send the entire $20 to Harry, bypassing everyone else on the chain, to see if he really is the trustworthy and honest businessman he claims...
In the meantime, Mike is getting concerned about the legality of the scheme. He emails Harry quoting legal texts (View it).
The next day Harry gets back to Mike, trying to explain why this is not a chain letter (View it). Apparently the fact that
Sam will send a worthless report on how to run a business like his means that this is not a chain letter! If he were to ask people for money for nothing,
then it would of course be illegal, but he's not running a business like that, no way! He also takes the time to email me to accept my idea of sending him the entire $20,
and goes on to explain his opinions on lawyers (View it).
Mike wasn't particularly satisfied with this answer, so he clarified the legal position to Harry, this time getting a slightly less polite response (View it)
(Mike's email included in reply).
Harry must have been getting pretty annoyed by this point, as he not only asked Mike to stop emailing him with legal advice, but wrote to Al to complain about it as well! (View it)
Not wanting to upset the proprietor of such a renowned business, I immediately emailed Harry with an apology (View it) for my friend Mike's behaviour. Just to make sure
Harry didn't start to relax though, I mentioned Mike had found out the address and
telephone number of 'Harry Jones' in Delaware, and quoted them to him under the pretence of no
longer knowing where to send the $20 to... Let's see if this is the same Harry Jones...
Mike didn't give up either, he wrote back to Harry (View it) to clarify some of the points he had made in his earlier email, and to point out that Harry is in fact lying, he has
junkmailed to newsgroups, and also point out his hypocrisy. (Harry once posted a message to a newsgroup to complain about someone else's advertising, calling it a 'crazy business'!)
Now Harry is REALLY MAD! So mad he emails Mike a sweary message IN CAPITALS! Unfortunately, he is also getting rather confused, and seems to lose his train of thought quite regularly
(View it) - perhaps he was having to stop typing to wipe the foam from his mouth, I don't know...
In an attempt to make Harry's brain implode with rage, Mike tries one more email (View it) ridiculing Harry's attempt at coherent argument.
Unfortunately, at this point, I decided to tell people what I was up to, and someone wrote to Harry and blew my cover (View it).
Luckily, by this time, Harry had got speaking to Marcos, another newcomer to the net, who was trying to decide whether to take part in Harry's scheme (View it). Marcos decided
against the scheme, but mentioned to Harry that he had seen a posting on the newsgroups where Harry's company had been placed THIRD on the list - by the time that happened Harry should have made several thousand dollars!
Having read Marcos' email (which included the letter with Harry's name at #3) Harry immediately wrote (View it) to the sender of that posting, one Francine Morasse, a gullible French girl with very little grasp of English. Had Harry taken
the time to read her posting properly he might have noticed she was something of a bizarre individual, apparently sending her copy of the chain letter to
the 'rec.games.chess.play-by-email' newsgroup, the 'comp.sys.mac.misc' newsgroup, and somewhat surprisingly the 'alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.facials' newsgroup!
Francine wrote back, but unfortunately her grasp on English was such that she thought Harry wanted to BUY a report from her (View it)!
Harry wrote back to Francine to clarify his original message (View it), but annoyingly Francine got it wrong again (View it), however this time she did give him the information he required.
Doing his bit for American-French relations, Harry then told Francine exactly what he thought of her (View it). Not one to pass up an opportunity, Francine writes back
again, trying to sell Harry one of his own reports, and insulting him in French (translation provided) (View it)!
Having got the information he required, Harry hammers off an email to the guy who gave Francine the letter, and did not send $5 to Harry, one Terry Blackthorn (View it).
Terry wrote back, to elaborate on the concept of supply and demand (View it) - apparently his business had UNDERCUT Harry's! Terry is offering ALL FOUR reports for $5 basically
cutting Harry's profits to nil. Not one to pass up the opportunity of making a fast buck, Terry also offers to let Harry in on this NEW business - for another $5 (View it)!
Harry soon writes back (View it), but he is having problems understanding the changes that Terry has made to the system, but then, he probably has other things on his mind, having
just received another email from Francine - she's concerned because she has been told to change Harry's address on the chain letter by someone pretending to be Harry (View it) - who
would do such a nasty thing? - why none other than Harry's old lawyer friend - Mike_Z_Thornton!
Harry goes mental at this point, and writes to Mike threatening to tell the police on him (View it)! He also emails his new-found friend Terry, in an attempt to change his 'company' name,
and so shake Mike off the trail (View it).
Just in case Harry was telling the truth, and the address I had was infact ANOTHER Harry Jones in Delaware, Mike wrote back to apologise for his mistake, and quote Harry's REAL address and telephone number (View it) (these details were definately
linked to Harry, as they matched the information on his original chain letter).
This time Harry wasted no time getting back to Mike, claiming he didn't know the person who LIVES AT THE ADDRESS he quotes on his emails (View it)!
He goes on to claim that the address is now OWNED by his company 'Eaglehead Productions'!
Mike replies, demanding an apology. If he does not get an apology from Harry, he is going to phone up and tell Harry's mum that Harry has been using that address to promote an illegal business to people all over the world (View it) - and she will no doubt smack Harry's bottom!
Harry, proving beyond all doubt what a gullible fool he is, is still writing to Terry, and thinking of REJOINING the scheme, sending off ANOTHER $5. Not only that, but this time
he lets slip that so far he has made the grand total of $0 !!! That's right, for his initial investment, Harry has made absolutely nothing, and will hopefully suffer a stress related ulcer by
the time he's 25 (View it)!
Sam writes back to Mike, to assure him once again that 'Eaglehead Productions', or 'Dunlap Marketing' (his new name for his 'business') is a
legitimate company. He also explains why this company is not in the phone book, and witters on about the last known resident at this address (View it).
I was getting fed up with Harry by this point, and so Mike writes a final message to him (View it) pointing out how dumb he has been. I will leave it to someone else
to elaborate on the details, but please don't tell him the URL for this page. Let him try and figure it out for himself.
This site was announced to the world on 1st October 1997. It got in excess of 200 hits a day, however I was then contacted by my ISP and asked to remove it. Well, not so much asked, they removed it for me...
A quick glance at the log statistics show the reason why:
(Times are UK times)
Someone tells Harry about the web page, he takes a look for the first time:
Sep 30 23:45:22 modem81.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Harry logs off and thinks about it for a while, then he logs on again
and takes another look:
Oct 01 00:28:33 modem15.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Logging off, he thinks about it again, then half an hour later he
checks to see if the page is still there...
Oct 01 00:56:17 modem25.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Oct 01 00:56:33 modem25.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
He logs off again, and thinks about it for a while, then looks again:
Oct 01 01:15:41 modem93.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Logging off he thinks about it AGAIN, and then takes ANOTHER look:
Oct 01 01:35:51 modem147.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
After thinking for TWO HOURS, he logs on again, and this time he
manages to click the HOME button and get to GonadoVision homepage,
then he works out who I am.... He then hammers off some words of wisdom to me (View it) -
attaching a picture he found on my web site, before taking a last look and going to bed!
Oct 01 03:48:45 modem172.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Oct 01 04:01:10 modem172.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Next day, Harry presumably contacts Compuserve, to complain
about this free advertising for his scheme.
Oct 01 22:05:27 modem24.delanet.com Win95 Netscape 4
Harry checks back and sure enough, by 8:57pm (UK time) the site has
gone down... However he loads his cached copy, or he has actaully
saved the page, because the counter (which is on a different site),
continues to log him everytime he looks at the page...
Oct 01 22:57:58 modem147.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Yup, definately gone down.
Oct 01 23:45:40 modem34.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
5 minutes later he checks again, just to make sure...
Oct 01 23:50:08 modem90.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
He logs out, then logs on again 10 minutes later for another look.
Oct 02 00:01:12 modem30.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
And again 50 minutes later...
Oct 02 00:52:27 modem234.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
And an hour after that....
Oct 02 02:04:47 modem17.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
This time he manages an hour and a half before taking another look.
Oct 02 03:26:19 modem173.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Another hour and a half passes, better just recheck that it's still
Oct 02 05:05:33 modem110.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Three and a half hours later, maybe Harry doesn't realise that the
page has been down for 12 hours, and he's probably looking at his cached copy,
wondering why the page is still there....
Oct 02 08:24:19 modem160.delanet.com Win 95 Netscape 4
Since my ISP removed the page, I have had several offers from people to host this page for me, on their own server. It is one of these versions that you are looking at now. As long as ISPs continue to be afraid of legal action by
these spammers, we must rely on those brave enough to expose them to show us what kind of person is polluting the internet with this garbage day in, day out. Many thanks to those who have been willing to host this material for me, and thanks also
to all those who took the time to write to Compuserve and complain about their stance on this issue. I'm not naive enough to think that this page will stop Harry from his net-ripreneurial ways, but perhaps it will make other spammers think
twice about getting involved in an illegal scheme where 'you just can't lose'.
If you want to email Harry anonymously, change the Mail Identity in your browser, and then click on the link below. Alternatively, open an email account at the hotmail.com or mailexcite.com sites.