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SEOgrandmaster2203 goes legit
May 17, 2012 5:05 AM   Subscribe

Flabkiller Acai Berry Extract Helps You Lose! Make big money from home with Envelope Elf! iPads for just $39.99 at Deals R Us!

Don't worry, my account hasn't been hacked. These websites are part of a new educational campaign from the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs to warn about common internet scams. Clicking on any of the links takes you to information about the type of scam and how to spot it.
posted by Horace Rumpole (43 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
*twitch*

Don't DO that!
posted by zarq at 5:07 AM on May 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


Heh. I had just finished slaying a couple of Nigerian All-Natural ADD Remedy spammers on another forum, when I clicked over here and saw the FPP. Talk about a fright!

Kudos to Mass for taking this approach.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great idea for getting this message into the right eyeballs.

Now you'll excuse me while I "spam" some friends with this stuff.
posted by Mercaptan at 5:17 AM on May 17, 2012


I almost flagged this.
posted by azarbayejani at 5:33 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's amazing how long the "work at home stuffing envelopes" thing has been around. I remember seeing want ads in newspapers at least thirty years ago with that scam.
posted by octothorpe at 5:47 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. They fall down a bit when they list under 'other things to avoid':



  • Websites that don’t have reliability seals such as Verisign Trust, BBB Accredited Business, or McAfee Secure Trustmark



  • Incredibly easy to fake all of these, and you don't even really need to - they've rubber stamped some right scammy sites more than once.
    posted by pahalial at 5:57 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


    This has also been done at the Federal level. Perhaps, one day, all the internet scams will be nothing but redirects to government sites telling people they are scams. Sadly, when that day comes, the government will probably have been replaced with internet scammers....
    posted by GenjiandProust at 5:58 AM on May 17, 2012


    Soooo, are they going to illegally mass spam mail these out, and create an app that ninja links it on Facebook? Because I am pretty sure without the extra-legal distribution methods, these are probably not going to make a dent...

    Hi, I am pazazygeek, and I am no fun.
    posted by pazazygeek at 5:58 AM on May 17, 2012


    My wonderful grandfather got sucked into an envelope-stuffing scam in the last years of his life. He had developed some cognitive problems in his later years and began to accumulate papers and other ephemera, but so slowly and gradually that no one noticed or was willing to point out what had become an 800 lb gorilla until it was way, way too late. When we went into his house to take care of his estate, it was in impeccable order, with the exception of the office and basement, both of which were stacked wall to ceiling with stuff, with a tunnel cut through that an adult man couLd just barely squeeze through. In going through those papers, we discovered that he was (literally) neck deep in a letter stuffing scam. My grandmother ended up spending a couple of years stuffing envelopes to recoup the significant investment he had made and pay off the enormous debt that he had been hiding from her. What a way to spend the years after your husband's death.
    posted by quiet coyote at 6:02 AM on May 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


    I'm kind of disappointed that they didn't explain how bidding fee auctions work, since those seem to be a popular source of the "$18 iPad!" bullshit lately.
    posted by ghharr at 6:03 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Hi, I am pazazygeek, and I am no fun.

    You can help fix this flaw in the system by sending an email with your name, address, daytime phone number, social security number, and bank account information to....

    Everyone Can Be a Winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    posted by GenjiandProust at 6:06 AM on May 17, 2012


    You left off the address!

    You can help fix this flaw in the system by sending an email with your name, address, daytime phone number, social security number, and bank account information to....

    And send one dollar to HappyDude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield.
    posted by Mezentian at 6:10 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


    this is fucken bullshit wheres my free iPad goddammit
    posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:15 AM on May 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


    I plan on talking about this tonight at Outback Steakhouse to which I am about to get a free gift certificate from Bill Gates for forwarding this email to twenty people.
    posted by shakespeherian at 6:22 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


    The Acai berry scam advice is very close to the broadcast advertising code on weightloss products here in the UK.

    It's amazing how long the "work at home stuffing envelopes" thing has been around. I remember seeing want ads in newspapers at least thirty years ago with that scam.

    I was really confused by this as a kid, as I could not for the life of me work out why putting something in an envelope and posting it would make some money. I had heard about piecework (ie. people assembling items at home and posting them out or sending them to a manager) but not pyramid schemes, so I imagined soon to be millionaires surrounded by towering stacks of envelopes. The more you do, the more you make, right?
    posted by mippy at 6:43 AM on May 17, 2012


    Hey, does anyone know what $5 wrinkle trick that mom discovered? It must be good if all the dermatologists hate her for it.
    posted by orange swan at 6:45 AM on May 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


    That's a pretty neat program by Massachusetts. Good for them.
    I find some of these types of online scam fascinating. The FBI's Internet Crime Report 2012 has more details on a few more. Especially the money mule phenomenon is interesting - an evolution of the "work at home" scams like the envelope stuffing one.
    posted by gemmy at 6:48 AM on May 17, 2012


    Hey, does anyone know what $5 wrinkle trick that mom discovered?

    Lots of Scotch Tape.
    posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:45 AM on May 17, 2012


    Now, if only the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs big scary THIS IS A SCAM wasn't so shittily programmed and scammy looking itself.

    I know a non-trivial number of people who after going through that process wouldn't think "oh, thank you for that lesson in spotting scams" but rather "my computer has a virus, i'mma pay some tech support people 100 bucks an hour to fix it."
    posted by cirrostratus at 8:08 AM on May 17, 2012


    Huh, is this what the Hot Singles! in my neighborhood have been up to?
    posted by maryr at 8:30 AM on May 17, 2012


    Huh, is this what the Hot Singles! in my neighborhood have been up to?

    Thanks for reminding me; there are six girls in my town who want to chat RIGHT NOW!
    posted by bondcliff at 8:36 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Can someone explain to me why so many of these scammy ads mention "one weird trick"? As in, "local mom discovers one weird trick for a flat belly" or whatever. It's clearly not an idiomatic english phrase, and I'm wondering where it comes from and why I see it in so many disparate places and different advertisements.

    My current theory is an AI that taught itself english, but I'm open to something more plausible.
    posted by vogon_poet at 8:52 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


    The Weird Trick is the beginning of a powerful magical ritual - completing it begins your transformation into a higher level being, one who is in your town and available to chat right now. That's why no matter where yo travel, the local singles all look alike, they are created beings, mutated into chatty availability by the dread Weird Trick.
    posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:58 AM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Way to go, MA. This is brilliant. They even got the dodgy Web design down, too. Impressive stuff.
    posted by HostBryan at 9:05 AM on May 17, 2012


    quiet coyote: My grandmother ended up spending a couple of years stuffing envelopes to recoup the significant investment he had made and pay off the enormous debt that he had been hiding from her.

    I don't understand. How did you grandmother pay off the debts by stuffing envelopes?
    posted by Frayed Knot at 9:07 AM on May 17, 2012


    What about those five foods you must NEVER eat if you want to lose weight (one of them being a crudely-drawn banana)?
    posted by surazal at 9:08 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


    INCREASE YOUR EJACULATION 581%!!!!
    posted by thewalrus at 9:08 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


    vogon_poet said:
    My current theory is an AI that taught itself english, but I'm open to something more plausible.

    I can't find the article right now, but you're more right than you might think. Basically there is no "weird tip" at all. The language is produced by an algorithm that puts together sentences and sentence fragments along with images (which is why sometimes the accompanying images seem so unrelated) and remembers which ones get the most hits. What's behind the links has nothing to do with the content of the ads.

    So it IS evolving. Yeah dude.
    posted by i'm offended you're offended at 9:15 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


    The correct spelling, grammar, and capitalization made it too obvious that these were scammy scams.
    posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:18 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


    And so skynet came into being...
    posted by MartinWisse at 9:18 AM on May 17, 2012


    This has also been done at the Federal level.

    Forget SEO, I want to see this done with election platforms. "Whoa there, the candidate you're voting for isn't real. We added this platform with FAKE promises to help warn and educate citizens about the SCAMS that exist in today's campaigns."
    posted by ceribus peribus at 9:33 AM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


    It's amazing how long the "work at home stuffing envelopes" thing has been around.

    The Nigerian Scam predates the Internet too - my grandfather used to get actual letters from Africa with the same pitch 30 years ago. He'd save them for me to look at because I loved the stamps.
    posted by Blue Meanie at 10:17 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


    It's amazing how long the "work at home stuffing envelopes" thing has been around.

    The Nigerian Scam predates the Internet too - my grandfather used to get actual letters from Africa with the same pitch 30 years ago. He'd save them for me to look at because I loved the stamps.


    I got an physical letter for the ______ Lottery I won and needed to send money to in order to claim my prize about 6 or 7 years ago. It made my day.
    posted by Gygesringtone at 11:19 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I really don't understand how people can trust websites like the ones that you posted. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

    I know certain companies make their scams and websites appear 'legit' but there are others like the three websites that you posted which scream SCAM-SCAM-SCAM. Poorly designed websites like the ones you shared are only good for one thing-tricking their 'audience.'
    posted by livinglearning at 11:23 AM on May 17, 2012


    Frayed Knot, my understanding is that the letter stuffers get paid per envelope stuffed, and the people who get caught up in these scams put money down which they then are told to recoup by stuffing envelopes.
    posted by quiet coyote at 11:32 AM on May 17, 2012


    If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

    But that's undermined every time you read a story about how people can lose two billion dollars and still not only not get fired, but get paid millions plus a bonus.

    At some point people start thinking, hey, maybe it's my own idea of common sense and propriety that is holding me back. Maybe they're skeptical; they realize that the claims are greatly exaggerated. But then, even if it works a fraction of "as advertised," that's still more than zero, right?

    (wrong, usually)
    posted by ctmf at 11:46 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Thanks for reminding me; there are six girls in my town who want to chat RIGHT NOW!

    Hey there, sexy! Hope you don't mind that I emailed you like this, but I'm from Pittsburgh, too. I'm feeling playful and was wondering if you'd like to check out my profile - it's fun and easy to do! Click here: 54kjyje9iuyeioj9e4tueije9teje.hotcams.rt.457.cn and chat with me LIVE!!!
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:33 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


    You, [subject name here], must be the pride of [subject hometown here]!
    posted by thewalrus at 2:54 PM on May 17, 2012


    Take your damn big government out of my free market affairs!
    posted by davemee at 5:55 PM on May 17, 2012


    I stuffed envelopes for money at home in college. I did just a couple of batches but if you worked out a system you could really do it fast. It prepared me for some periods of mind-numbing temp work.
    posted by longsleeves at 8:14 PM on May 17, 2012


    "Hey there, sexy! Hope you don't mind that I emailed you like this, but I'm from Pittsburgh, too. I'm feeling playful and was wondering if you'd like to check out my profile - it's fun and easy to do! Click here: 54kjyje9iuyeioj9e4tueije9teje.hotcams.rt.457.cn and chat with me LIVE!!!" ~ Marisa Stole the Precious Thing

    ♪ Met her through a cam site in old SoHo
    Where you drink champagne
    and it tastes just like cherry cola.... ♫
    posted by zarq at 9:03 PM on May 17, 2012


    The examples of scams found on the Envelope Elf link describe a community college pretty well. Hmmm..?
    posted by Kale Slayer at 10:35 PM on May 17, 2012


    It's weird to see açaí marketed as a magic weight loss trick, here in Brazil it's just... food, kind of a a beach/surfer culture thing. We eat it as an icecream-like cream or smoothie, usually with guarana syrup, banana slices and granola. It's really sweet, and CALORIC AS HELL! But so good!

    Not a traditional recipe though, the original Amazonic recipe includes cassava flour and fish.
    posted by Tom-B at 7:17 PM on May 18, 2012


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