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back to article Oil heir loses $6m in 'CIA-Opus-Dei' malware murder scam

A pair of US conmen managed to swindle $6m from a jazz pianist through one of the strangest virus-related blackmail scams imaginable. The odd tale began after the great-grandson of an oil industry tycoon, jazz pianist Roger Davidson, brought his PC in for repair back in August 2004, believing it to be virus-laden. Computer …

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Bronze badge

I am torn...

... it's always wrong to fleece anyone. Theft is theft. It is even more wrong to take advantage of the vulnerable and the foolish. We frown on taking candy from babies. And yet...and yet...

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Stop

you're so close....

to advocating evil. The method chosen, the slight-of-hand differences, make no difference at all. The person chosen, and their particulars, make no difference at all. There are some absolutes, and if you don't understand what taking advantage of the helpless means, you're lost.

"... notes that the scam illustrates how conmen can use lack of knowledge about computers to scam the unwary - a reason why the more internet savvy need to keep an eye out for their vulnerable (possibly elderly) relatives."

Some people have lack of knowledge about roofs, chimneys, plumbing, foundations, pavement, taxes, legalities, ... and all these have been the wedge conmen have used to spring savings into cash in their palms. No detail makes a difference to the result, such as retirements gone to dust.

Yes, watch out for each other. There are evil people out there.

And you don't want to have to look someone in the eye who has lost 3/4 of everything just to say "I'm so sorry". (We did more - we bought her piano to help her satisfy her tax bill - but it would have been nice to catch it all before...)

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WTF?

The guy wasn't elderly...he was stupid

58? I can understand lack of computer knowledge, but when introduced to an FBI agent and asked to pay $160K/mo, wouldn't the average person ask to see an ID? Or, maybe. ask for a contact number, then check it out with the local FBI office?

And I can understand procrastination, but 6 years? All them ore reason to instill in your offspring a healthy sense of skepticism.

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FAIL

reminiscant

of the barman telling those people he was an sas member and they were on an ira hit list.....

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Thumb Up

WOW

This must be the best social engineering tale I have ever read.

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$160,000 a month???

Hells bells...

That's $11,520,000 over 6 years.

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$6m?

Over $160,000 a month for six years is about double that.

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WTF?

WTF?

How on earth can a jazz musician afford $160K a month?!?

Sorry; I've just removed my tongue from my cheek.

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Anonymous Coward

"conmen can use lack of knowledge about computers to scam the unwary"

Knowledge about computers? Christ a little common sense wouldn't go amiss.

You don't end up paying some stranger $160,000 a month protection money as the simple result of being computer illiterate. Seems to me that this guy was just highly gullible. I bet he spent a fortune on dictionaries trying to get one with the word "gullible" in it, and probably spent months looking for his Gay Card.

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New plan...

>> "The scheme ran for a scarcely believable six years before it unravelled - we suspect after a relative of Davidson got wind of the scam - and the authorities were called in to investigate. Bedi and Invarsdottir were subsequently arrested last week, just as they were preparing to leave for Iceland."

Note to self:

When intending to scam someone, plan the escape trip to Iceland after 2 or 3 years of regular blackmail cash collections. Leave the country no later than the 5th year.

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Is the guy receiving psychiatric help, or did he just not care?

FBI plot aside, if my granny took her kitten to the vet because he was ill I would not expect her to be gullible enough to give him compensation for other infected kitties. This sounds less like a clever "technology" based scam and more like a mentally ill individual being controlled or someone acting under duress.

I'll admit my experience is limited -- but I'd say the older and less techy people I know would spot a "high tech" scam as well or better than the younger "more technologically literate" ones.

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WTF?

6 years? Jeez...

I understand people can get taken in by a scam (if set up properly, maybe even one as unbelievable as this) but for 6 years?!This takes gullible to new levels....:(

Anyone want to buy a bridge?

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Paris Hilton

mmmmhhhh!!!

So they led the guy to believe that, although apparently IT cognizant, they were stupid enough to connect an infected machine to their network and infect all of the machines on it and yet they were clever enough to identify a top secret CIA/Opus Dei plan!!?! With a plot hole this size it could be a Dan Brown novel....Dan...are you reading this? Credit me in the next one. On the other hand, I have little enough street cred as it is, please don't!!

Paris? Well just because she wouldn't (and there's not many things you can say that about in relation to her)

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Alert

you have to follow the NY Times link

it gets funnier, its sounds like a BOFH story

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Funnier or More Tragic?

I guess it depends on how you feel about vulnerable people being taken for a ride.

Let's not forget that $160,000 a month is a small fleecing compared to the trillions tax payers handed over for a war based on non-existent WMD.

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I hate scams

and this was clearly outright fucking fraud with felonious forethought. An element of menacing too, by the looks of it. The victim probably told them who he was and not to worry about the bill etc due to his fortunate inheritance. This pair of petty thieves turned into leeches then vampires. A stake to the heart of all scammers ! ( and scanners ! )

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