back to article Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

First, an apology. Allow me to express my sincere regret for any offence caused by the videotape you will soon be receiving of your faithful servant buffing the old banana, courtesy of some mysterious stranger. Well, perhaps not so much offence as surprise. After all, it is jolly unusual to receive a videotape in the post …

  1. iwi

    I'm sure the blackmailers only have simian heath concerns at the heart of everything they do. They want to save all those monkeys from being spanked.

  2. TonyJ Silver badge

    I've seen a definite uptick in these

    Had a few land in my spam folder this week.

    They all use the same throwaway password I only use on websites that insist on registration but hold no other information beyond an email address, password and login name.

    Honestly though, I guess I fall into the lucky-enough-not-to-care bracket, although I do understand there are poor souls for whom such a threat must be awful.

    It's clever though, when you think about it - pull an email address and password out of one of the large files of them out there and spam away. The addition of the password adds a certain level of believe-ability that would otherwise be missing and I can see how it would fool a lot of people.

    1. Joe W

      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

      ... and to boot, it was not even one of the throwaway $(servicename)_$(qualifier)@$(mydomain) ones I expected.

      (and now if they could give me pointers on how to get the front cam running reliably on my laptop I'd be chuffed, might even send them money for a coffee...)

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        10 minutemail for those websites. my main personal email address was somehow harvested with a throwaway password i use. no idea how those two were connected as i only use my main email for proper logons (which i use password mangagers).

        muat have missed a random site in the early days.

        1. K Silver badge

          Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

          Little tip if you use Gmail... you can add indicators to your email address by using a "+", such as if you address is JimBob@gmail.com -

          JimBob+Pr0nhub@gmail.com

          JimBob+H0tBears@gmail.com

          JimBob+NaughtyMLFs@gmail.com

          Google will effectively ignore the +<word>, so emails still arrive. But it will show in email details. So not only can you filter (make rules etc) on it, but by setting the <word> to the site name you entered it into, you know exactly where they sourced your email from (Little trick I learnt from the GApps team at work).

          1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

            The username+something@domain is called plus-addressing and has been available in sendmail (among others) since before gmail was a thing.

            Don't try claiming that it's a unique gmail feature.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              Well it certainly aint a Yahoo!! feature I was disappointed to find out.

              1. pyroweasel

                Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                Yahoo does have a similar feature, although you have to create a myprefix-<throwaway>@yahoo.com mailbox before you can use it, rather than Gmail's instant madeup-on-the-spot address.

                Yahoo's advantage (Yes, there is one...) is that if you get spam to that mailbox, delete it and you get no more.

                Other mailboxes are available

                P~

            2. Giovani Tapini

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              I for one didn't know it was a feature at all! I don't think I would have ever had cause to consider it.

              A day when I learn something is (at least mostly) is not wasted.

              1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

                Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                A day when I learn something is (at least mostly) is not wasted.

                ===

                unfortunately, for me, the learning has been all about the new ways to describe mans oldest addiction :o)

            3. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              The username+something@domain is called plus-addressing and has been available in sendmail (among others) since before gmail was a thing.

              Don't try claiming that it's a unique gmail feature.

              I don't think poster was, specifically, although the wording could be interpreted as though it's a Google mail only feature.

              It's a good tip, that I'm sure there are more than a few that pass by here don't know about.

              I recall reading about it (sendmail docs) years ago, I didn't know Gmail included it.

              1. fattybacon

                Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                It's a shame a lot of regular sites view any email address containing the '+' as invalid. Despite it being whatever RFC for the last 400 years. Trying to get my free BT Sport was a joy, they accepted it but the BTID system didn't, so I was registered with one arm of the behemoth but unable to verify my id so couldn't ever use it.

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                  Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                  It's a shame a lot of regular sites view any email address containing the '+' as invalid.

                  $name.$service@$domain should be accepted, and I haven't found any site that doesn't. Currently I simply have a catch-all on my domain, and some local processing using procmail. Works a treat.

                  1. anatak

                    Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                    My hosting company decided not to support catch-all anymore.

                    Could you tell me what hosting you use ?

                  2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                    Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                    "$name.$service@$domain should be accepted, and I haven't found any site that doesn't. "

                    as I said YAHOO dosent . One of the biggest email hosts in the world.

                2. dcluley

                  Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                  Yes - I have had a number of these claiming they have my webcam pictures. Minor problem is that I do not have a webcam.

                  On a separate point of invalid email addresses I remember when I was still working as a lecturer in a FE college trying to get on a news list from a website which needed my email address to complete the form. It complained that my email address was invalid. My email address was david.cluley@<college>.ac.uk - a perfectly valid address which had no trouble receiving emails. The web site in question? IBM. You would think that they might have got some idea about how the email system works.

                  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                    "IBM. You would think that they might have got some idea about how the email system works."

                    Having had dealings with IBM and emails, no I wouldn't think that at all.

                    1. Scunner

                      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                      "IBM. You would think that they might have got some idea about how the email system works."

                      You've clearly never used lotus notes then... <shudder>

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                        "IBM. You would think that they might have got some idea about how the email system works."

                        You've clearly never used lotus notes then... <shudder>

                        That kinda proves his point :).

                        That said, once you mastered the setup it was quite robust (and very safe), but boy was it a swine to use. cc:Mail was similar, but a tad easier to coax into work.

                  2. onefang Silver badge

                    Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                    "Minor problem is that I do not have a webcam."

                    I don't either, and if I did, all it would see if trying to record from it while I was surfing porn sites is me searching for more porn to download. I never watch it direct from the site. I'd likely even have all my clothes on, and not touching him who rules with his little head from downstairs.

                3. onefang Silver badge

                  Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                  "It's a shame a lot of regular sites view any email address containing the '+' as invalid."

                  I've recently tried to get Tinder to send a verification email, so it will notify my via email when things happen, instead of failing to notify me on my phone. It entirely failed to even attempt to send any emails to my own email server, which are not on any spam blacklist that I check regularly. Everyone else can send to that server fine. I tend to use individual addresses for individual sites / services, so this was to tinder@... They didn't say why it failed, just that it did. No attempts spotted in my logs. Perhaps I'll try this + trick, see what happens. Or create yet another throw away gmail account.

                4. gnarlymarley

                  Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                  These emails say all the same thing, even though both my phone and computer have no camera on them.

                  That malware make your front-facing camera capturing video

                  The other thing I find interesting is that they are sending it to an alias account for automation that has never had a password. Oh well, I guess they will keep sending it directly to my spamcop forwarding script.

                  1. onefang Silver badge

                    Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                    "That malware make your front-facing camera capturing video"

                    Hmm, the front-facing camera might only capture your face, not what your hand that's not holding the phone is doing. Maybe they need to capture video from both cameras? Or, if you are like me, and the only porn you watch on your phone is VR porn, both cameras have a very close up view of the inside of the VR headset, and nothing more.

            4. K Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              @AC - Who said it was unique to Gmail? I certainly didn't... I merely know its a trick you can use with it, huge difference!

              So get the bee-out-of-your-bonnet, Its Friday, so go have a pint!

            5. TonyJ Silver badge

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              I didn't know about it either. That is excellent for folks who don't own their own domain and mail server.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                "That is excellent for folks who don't own their own domain and mail server."

                It only costs a few quid a year to own your own domain and you don't need a mail server. Either get a mail service from your domain hoster (again not expensive - even I do it) or simply get it all sent to your free gmail or whatever mail service.

                1. onefang Silver badge

                  Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                  "It only costs a few quid a year to own your own domain"

                  You can get freebies to, from places like freedns.afraid.org.

                  As for your own mail server, if you have a typical Linux or BSD installed, chances are you already have a local only email server. If you have a static IP, open it up to the world, done. Oh, and turn off relaying, or find yourself on spam blacklists fairly quickly.

            6. Nick Kew Silver badge

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              Don't try claiming that it's a unique gmail feature.

              It was a feature back in the days when email addresses cost money, some people wanted more than one address, and neither security nor spam were issues.

              It was a minor feature of my mail-by-web software from 1997. Back when webmail and other web-based office facilities like docs and calendars looked like a cool new thing people would find useful.

            7. ibmalone Silver badge

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              The username+something@domain is called plus-addressing and has been available in sendmail (among others) since before gmail was a thing.

              Don't try claiming that it's a unique gmail feature.

              I always wonder that spammers must surely catch on and work out it would be a good idea to strip the sub-address. You could always blacklist anything not containing one I suppose, but would need to be pretty disciplined about it. The other stumbling block are websites with home-made field verification that rejects emails with subaddresses as invalid.

              1. onefang Silver badge

                Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                "You could always blacklist anything not containing one I suppose, but would need to be pretty disciplined about it."

                That's what things like mailfilter are for.

                1. ibmalone Silver badge

                  Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                  "You could always blacklist anything not containing one I suppose, but would need to be pretty disciplined about it."

                  That's what things like mailfilter are for.

                  To clarify, I was thinking about discipline in only handing out sub-addressed addresses and refusing to accept mails not including them. Becomes more difficult when giving your email in person or dealing with sites with broken mail validators. As soon as you start accepting some without the sub-address you are back to having to look at them at least some of the time to figure out if you need to update your whitelist.

          2. MrBanana

            Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

            "Little tip if you use Gmail... you can add indicators to your email address by using a '+'"

            It's a good tip, which I try to use as often as possible. However, many websites have email address checkers built into the web submission form that reject the '+' character as invalid. I've tried emailing site owners with a link to the RFC that defines valid characters for email addresses, but haven't had much response. By not much response, I mean absolutely nothing, not a single reply.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              "I've tried emailing site owners with a link to the RFC that defines valid characters for email addresses"

              To be honest it might be more productive to search Stack Overflow for "email address validation" and reply with corrections to the (presumably several hundred) crap answers that don't permit a plus sign, coz that's where all those crap websites got their code from.

              Even more productive still would be to post an answer saying "Please don't even try to validate an email address. You *will* get it wrong.", because not allowing plus signs is just one of the common mistakes. (Ask anyone with an apostrophe in their name, for example.)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              "However, many websites have email address checkers built into the web submission form that reject the '+' character as invalid."

              Microsoft Office 365 email service rejects incoming traffic which uses a plus modifier on an otherwise valid alias address for my account. Pity - it looked like a way to make identified addresses without setting it up as one of the maximum 100 aliases.

              1. Andy A

                Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

                "Microsoft Office 365 email service rejects incoming traffic which uses a plus modifier on an otherwise valid alias address for my account."

                Weirdly, Hotmail, which presumably shares code with Office 365, seems to process plus signs properly, even passing things down to an Outlook 2010 client.

            3. onefang Silver badge

              Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

              "I've tried emailing site owners with a link to the RFC that defines valid characters for email addresses, but haven't had much response. By not much response, I mean absolutely nothing, not a single reply."

              Probably coz they thought the email address you used to send that email was considered bogus, and it went straight to their spam folders?

          3. Criggie

            Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

            Sadly it is turned off in my corporate gmail account. :-\

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "muat have missed a random site in the early days."

          This and/or BT/Yahoo just lost it all themselves. That's what happened to me.

          I still need to do more than a private/public email split. As lots of companies want a more private one. I need a public, private, personal, and then company independent and/or throw away ones. Looks like there is a hole in the market for a product there!

          [edit] Ah, on I've been pwned it shows Adobe being hacked. I guess that was where I lost one of my accounts, password must have been the same in error.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "muat have missed a random site in the early days."

            "As lots of companies want a more private one. I need a public, private, personal, and then company independent and/or throw away ones. Looks like there is a hole in the market for a product there!"

            It's a market niche but not a hole as there are several mail service providers who will provide domain and email hosting facilities. Just set up a series of addresses all forwarding to one inbox. Make some long term use case specific (bank, family and friends etc.) and a throw away one that runs for a few weeks and then gets torn down.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        ... and to boot, it was not even one of the throwaway $(servicename)_$(qualifier)@$(mydomain) ones I expected.

        In my case, $servicename == monsterboard. Nothing else.

        Hmm, do they still exist? Apparently, yes. So I try logging in: nope. Password reminder? "No account associated with that mail address" or something like that.

        And harvesting my contacts from there (insofar as they can actually do so, given a non-existent account) would yield a dozen or so spammy recruiters I haven't had any contact with for the past fifteen years, so I doubt they still work where they did back then.

      3. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        I've gotten a few of these. I suspect if there was any plausibility to this, most people would have a blackmail recording showing whatever porn side by side with a chin-up view of various facial contortions as the rocket clears the tower. (also known as your "Oh! Face") :-)

        For me, I generally don't look at anything too interesting, but since I usually use a desktop at home with no microphone or camera, the show would be extra boring. Maybe porn with an anthology attached.

    2. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

      TonyJ : "Had a few land in my spam folder this week."

      We've moved on to euphemisms for the women now, have we?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: euphemisms for the women now, have we?

        "scrolling your mouse wheel" was one I recall hearing a while back :-)

        1. Def Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: euphemisms for the women now, have we?

          scrolling your mouse wheel

          This is almost certainly scandinavian in origin where they favour the term 'mouse' over 'pussy'.

        2. Thomassmart

          Re: euphemisms for the women now, have we?

          Funny coincidence, "mouse" is the Chinese version of our feline euphemism. "Bird" being the male chicken equivalent.

      2. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        "...Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        TonyJ : "Had a few land in my spam folder this week."

        We've moved on to euphemisms for the women now, have we?.."

        You're going to have to explain this one to me, I'm afraid.

        1. onefang Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

          "You're going to have to explain this one to me, I'm afraid."

          Youngsters, and those that want to avoid seeing "interesting" descriptions of genitalia should stop reading now.

          "Had a few land in my spam folder this week."

          "We've moved on to euphemisms for the women now, have we?.."

          One euphemism for labia is "beef flaps / roast beef flaps / meat flaps", particularly those with, shall we say, a lot of external structure and definition. One of those "opened up" for the activity that is the subject of this article may look like an open folder. Spam is also a sort of meat, allegedly. "a few land in" could be rather descriptive of what happens with the various objects that women might use for said activity. Do I need to go deeper? Er, in my explanation I meant.

          Paris, coz she might know all about these things.

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        he is now panicking about the time he accidentally filmed himself in 4K while having a shit.

        This is far too much information.

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

      Hmm, I have just Autumn cleaned my spam folder and I have absolutely NOTHING of this sort. I think it's a generational thing. I'm a crusty 52 and can remember the web being invented and what went before like Fetch.

      My eldest was always complaining her email accounts kept being unusable because of spam but she was the only family member so afflicted. We all had addresses on the same ISP, all dependent on my main account but only her's was so afflicted.

      I take perverse pleasure in going elsewhere if you require me to create login just to browse and get uppity on there not being a guest login feature.

      Also I use a different password for each site, they are all phrase initials and I use a variety of them. Except my banking logins are different again, they are quite abstruse.

      It's like sex and disk sanitation back when we were always putting discs into machines. I remember when AIDS developed as well as nVir (so date me).

      As a matter of interest my login here is really ancient, from way back before I got all initialised. Knowing that one will only allow you to impersonate me on here. Others of that vintage are probably associated with work email addresses long defunct so no use to man, beast or cybercrook.

      I remember when, having JANET accounts (Big Fat Pipe) we used to threaten spammers with humungous email files unless they desisted. How the world changes.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        I think it's a generational thing. I'm a crusty 52

        I can assure you it's not.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Devil

          Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

          Perhaps a particularly crusty 52 might want to wash the bishop after he's bashed it?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        "I'm a crusty 52"

        Another youngster.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        sadly at 68 I am getting more of this spam than ever.

        I usually respond saying that

        (a) Proof of my continuing ability to achieve any kind of sexual arousal would be helpful

        and

        (b) nothing would amuse me or my friends more than widespread circulation of any attempts.

    4. Josh 14

      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

      I've been seeing a few of these as well, but the password that they were claiming to have was one that I had used in the past on sites that I didn't care about.

      Checking if the email that they came in on was in the Have I Been Pwned (https://haveibeenpwned.com/) lists, it turned out that it was in three of the databases that were hacked in the past, ~10 years back.

      The sad part about it is, when I inspected the blockchain activity for the wallets of the 12 different attempted extortion emails, most of them had suckers pay up, though likely a very small percentage of the recipients of the messages.

      You could see the activity for most of them had seen between $2-5K worth of BTC deposited, and then transferred out.

      One still had ~$8K in the wallet, but there were a few that were never paid in the list as well.

      Edit: I just checked the spam folder on that account, and found that I now have 15 such emails, with demands varying from $480 to $4000 depending on the email, and I may have missed some, as I was just checking the obvious ones that I supposedly sent to myself.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        with demands varying from $480 to $4000 depending on the email, and I may have missed some, as I was just checking the obvious ones that I supposedly sent to myself.

        Have you had your accountant inquire about these yet? "Umm, that $4000 transfer to yourself with the description 'Blackmail'? What is that about, if I may ask?"

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

      I have been getting a few of these - from the details they used I know that the source of the leak is LinkedIn. It doesn't matter how good your password is if websites just give them away.

      1. Rasslin ' in the mud

        Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

        Recently a site at which I had registered through their "secure server" returned a clear text email with my login credentials, including my Carefully Crafted Unique Password (TM!). When I poked the site owner, he responded his IT staff said it was impossible to retrieve a password. Obviously someone was lying.

        My point is many site owners are PHB's who are out of their technical depth on any matter relating to actual system operation.

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

      "They all use the same throwaway password I only use on websites that insist on registration but hold no other information beyond an email address, password and login name."

      Yeah, I got one like that too the other week. Most interestingly, it was addressed to SVP@mydomain, an address used exclusively for dealing with SVP. I stopped using that address and dealing with SVP after I started getting spam to that address and on contacting them, they claimed they'd not been hacked. The webcam spam, as with yours and others, included the password I used there too. That pretty much proves they did get hacked and then lied to me about it. svp.co.uk are still in business, but I'd certainly never deal with them again.

    7. AK565

      Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

      As one in the lucky-enough-not-to-care category, I'd be more concerned with obtaining a share of any click-generated income from vids of my 'activities'.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I can't wait to design the logo."

    In the 1970s a Swedish magazine used to have its adverts on street giant billboards in Stockholm. Its display area was mostly covered with their logo - which was a Simpsons' yellow phallus. Not sure if it is still published.

  4. Fading Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    What with my TV...

    Spying on me (https://www.itv.com/news/2017-03-08/samsung-urgently-investigating-smart-tv-spying-claims/) - Chinese hackers recording my web cam (non-existent but those hackers can do anything can't they) and Alexa recording all my private moments (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/24/amazon-alexa-recorded-conversation)

    I'm surprised there is anyone left in my contact list that hasn't been exposed to my [cough] exposure......

  5. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Devil

    I get a lot of these. Fortunately for me I'm one of those irritating people who's always used a different password for each site, so I go "ah they got that from hacking Gawker" and "this one must be from ... MSN Messenger? Isn't that dead since a few years ago?".

    The most obvious ones are when they send email from an email I own and say "I have complete control of this email, you can see that because I sent from it". Yeah, I can fake the sender on Thunderbird, too, dontcha know...

    I'm also amazed they use Bitcoin, when the blockchain makes it so easy to track. Other cryptocurrencies that offer much greater privacy are available...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Same here. I also like the mention of "the timer started ticking as soon as you opened this mail". Sure it did. And sure, you took over my PC without me noticing. And sure, you made the video camera I don't have in my Iiyama screen record what you said.

      Oh, and that password ? I have never, ever used it for any mail account I have. At any time.

      So I look forward to seeing whatever video my "contact list" - on my phone, apparently - is going to receive.

      Way to undermine your message, buddy. If I clicked the link on my PC, you can't access my phone, and vice-versa.

      You'd have to be a moron to be impressed by this drivel. Unfortunately, there's one born every minute.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The latest version of Skype on my PC has added a new entry to the top of my contact list. It is showing a "1" - which usually indicates a person's communication with me.

    Does that mean "Cortana" is now listening to my room sounds via the laptop's mic?

    Definitely time to ditch Skype - not that any of my contacts have been active in recent months.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Or if for some reason you don't want to ditch Skype you can use 2FA.

  7. Dwarf Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Damn

    You mean that I wasted all that money on nothing ?

    I'd better wait for one of those "did you sign up for X and receive bad advice" type companies to be on the radio or give me a call sometime next week, I bet they can get my money back, I have got the other guys e-mail address after all.

    This remind me of one of the quote from years gone by - How gullible are you ? Send £20 for our questionnaire.

    Whats more worrying if that there must be a percentage of people who are silly enough to fall for all of these schemes to make them financially viable enough for the scammers to invest their time in.

    I too have received a number of these over recent months, most start with "Dear victim" which I thought was a quaint touch as it shows they definitely know loads and loads about me, so it must be genuine.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Damn

      "How gullible are you ? Send £20 for our questionnaire."

      Obligatory Dilbert: http://dilbert.com/strip/1996-06-09

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge
        Holmes

        @Doctor Syntax

        Re: historic Dilbert. How the **** do you dig those up seemingly to order? Do you just have a few favourites bookmarked and in memory? A lot of time on your hands to search? Or something fiendishly clever?

        Damn, I'm setting myself up for a put-down here. Go on ... I can take it ... story of my life ...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: @Doctor Syntax

          "How the **** do you dig those up seemingly to order?"

          That particular one - I'd clicked on someone else's obligatory Dilbert, either yesterday or this morning and, as one does, gone forward and forward and .... it's surprising how quickly time flies. That was one I went through so it immediately came to mind as soon as I read Dwarf's post, and a quick search for dilbert gullible brought up a list of possibles - it was about fourth or fifth.

          A few Dilberts stick in the mind and then it's just matter of Googling for key bits of dialogue & dilbert. Sorry, no magic involved, just serendipity. Another nice one from that sequence can be found with dilbert "law school" "ant farm"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damn

      IIRC the "That's Life" TV programme filmed one of their presenters stopping people in the street - offering to sell them £5 notes at a discount. He had no takers.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Damn

        "offering to sell them £5 notes at a discount"

        In reality I expect it was only the attached film crew that stopped him from having his collar felt. It could be a way of cashing in on forgeries.

    3. smudge Silver badge

      Re: Damn

      How gullible are you ? Send £20 for our questionnaire.

      Years ago, one of my mates actually underwent the "free personality test" that the Scientologists on Tottenham Court Road in London offered to passers-by.

      They told him that he was guillible, and easily led.

      But that they could help him with that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Damn

        "Years ago, one of my mates actually underwent the "free personality test" that the Scientologists on Tottenham Court Road in London offered to passers-by.

        They told him that he was guillible, and easily led.

        But that they could help him with that."

        I once did one of those, my only excuse being that I was bored and in Birmingham at the time. After a few minutes of their test the pod person running it was looking very uncomfortable - every single question was trying to lead me to an obvious answer, and every single time I pushed back with an honest but non-conforming response. The pod person seemed very relieved when I left - for some reason they didn't try to offer me anything.

  8. Cuddles Silver badge

    The Coffin' Henry approach

    "Now that I think about it, perhaps I should begin threatening to send these videos out myself. It could be like a protection racket. Or a kind of crowdfunded auto-boycott. Pay up or witness a middle-aged British IT journalist tucking into a bit of beef jerky! I could have a website, an e-zine and everything!"

    Sir Pterry already figured that one out. "For sum money, I won't follow you home. Coff coff." Perhaps we should be thankful Discworld never developed an equivalent of the internet, or even VHS.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Discworld never developed an equivalent of the internet?

      The clacks in Going Postal.

      Also see Moving Pictures.

      1. agurney

        Re: Discworld never developed an equivalent of the internet?

        The clacks in Going Postal.

        It good to see that El Reg is keeping the X-Clacks-Overhead going.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: The Coffin' Henry approach

      Sir Pterry already figured that one out. "For sum money, I won't follow you home. Coff coff."

      Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayalls Dangerous Brothers :

      Sir Adrian Dangerous claims he could 'pay a hitman' to take out his partner by the granting of sexual favours* - Promising 'never ever, ever, to get into bed and do squidgy things with him'

      * Not flavours

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Spam & Phishing

    Almost all the evil emails I get are addressed to the address that ICANN insisted on exposing. Which isn't used for anything else.

    If I was idle and rich I'd sue them for distress, bandwidth used, storage and time wasted since technically that's been illegal for 12 years.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Spam & Phishing

      But they're probably e-mailing from a place that's hostile to Western sentiments, meaning any kind of a legal threat would be answered with a "Go Ahead and Try!"

  10. Franco Silver badge

    It's a good thing I've got so much money coming from the accident I had, my PPI refund, boiler scrappage, kitchen scrappage and that Nigerian prince, I'll easily be able to pay the black mailers.

  11. DropBear Silver badge
    Trollface

    "Dear Firstname Lastname,

    unfortunately I cannot possibly afford your otherwise entirely fair and reasonable ransom, so your deportation of my naughty files is a given. That said, could you find it in your heart to forward my email address to any contacts that might have clicked "like" upon witnessing mentioned materials? I feel a bit lonely these days, it would really mean the world to me..."

  12. magickmark
    Paris Hilton

    #Metoo ... please??

    Paris has her eye on your ... ===================>

    Damn I've never received one of these, I seem to miss out on all the fun!!!

    A bit of Derek & Clive - NSFW!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DkuXBsHytE

    Now I need to clean up my keyboard and screen..... coffee everywhere!!

  13. Alistair Dabbs

    Racist?

    My editor is worried that this week's column is a bit racist. This wasn't my intention. Is it racist? Let me know.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      Bit 'racey' in places though.

      Maybe.

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      Nope. Your editor needs to get new glasses, or a life!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Racist?

        Nope. Your editor needs to get new glasses, or a life!

        If the editor needs new glasses, then it's probably due to too much time spent administering corporal punishment to the bishop.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      Any email has to come from somewhere and if you're running a scam making it seem to be from somewhere safely foreign is a good idea, even if you live next door to the would-be mark. After all you don't want the plod getting involved which they might do if your text is in perfect English.

      And in any case one has to abide by tradition: financial scams are obligatorily Nigerian, SEO proposals just have to be Indian etc. It would be unfair to leave the Chinese out of it - that would be discriminatory at the very least.

      1. Black Betty

        Re: Racist?

        Poor syntax and grammar are deliberate. They're used to weed out those who might stop and think "hey just a sec" halfway into the scam, thus wasting the scammer's time. They want seriously clueless people who'll pay up without question.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Racist?

          They want seriously clueless people who'll pay up without question.

          And they'll get a free garnishing of people who are intent on wasting the scammer's time.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Racist?

          "Poor syntax and grammar are deliberate. They're used to weed out those who might stop and think "

          People say that but I'm not convinced. I sent back a wind-up to one of the Indian "improve your website" spams (originating IP address from an Indian ISP. OK?). This eventually lead to a reply assuring me they had English and Australian offices. StreetView revealed the English branch to be at the same address as a language school (the irony!) in Longsight, Manchester and they listed a number of sites as examples of their work.

          The writing varied from almost idiomatic to totally unique. The worst one appeared to have constructed sentences by making lists in random order of the words needed in the sentence, starting to arrange them and after the first two or three abandoning the job as too difficult, leaving the rest where they lay and moving on to do the same with the next sentence.

    4. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Racist?

      in what way?

      I honestly can't see anything racist about it. Are scammers a "race" now? I

    5. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      How does accurately recording the places that people claim to be from become a race thing ?

      Its the same as saying "that's wet" or "that's dry", its simply a statement of fact and not at all moisturist.

      Dear editor - please get a coffee and relax !

      Don't forget that they are lying about where they are from anyhow - how would you compute what you are supposed to be offended at. What if they were a Dwarf claiming to be Chinese to scam an English man. Would it be OK to scam one of those Nigerian Princes in the same way ??

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Racist?

        Please can I give Dwarf a second upvote for "moisturist"?

    6. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      You seem to be making fun of a Chinaman. That is not cool dude.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Racist?

        >> You seem to be making fun of a Chinaman. That is not cool dude.

        I believe that's what the problem was. I hadn't intended to make fun of the scammers for having Chinese ethnicity. For all I know it could be Russians claiming to be Chinese. BTW I thought "Chinaman" was an outmoded term with Empire-drenched connotations, so I avoid using it. Maybe I am mistaken about this too.

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: Racist?

          Perhaps replace China with La La Land?

          Being an old white bloke, I have ingrained attitudes that went out with the Ark. As a result, I have to be careful when dealing with people who are not the same sex as me, and people who don't have the same country of origin or ethnicity as me. Things have moved on from my youth, which is mostly good for people who are not white blokes, but it sometimes makes things (quite rightly) uncomfortable for me. Social attitudes have moved on. A lot.

          NN

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Racist?

            "Being an old white bloke.... As a result, I have to be careful when dealing with people who are not the same sex as me"

            Just accuse any complainants of being ageist, sexist and/or racist depending on which of their personal attributes differs from your own. It's a game that can be played more than one way.

            1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: Racist?

              Dr Syntax, as much as I respect you and always enjoy your comments, it's really not a game. What does a white straight male win if he 'games' someone is is not and who has had a lifetime of being made to feel second-class? Why can't straight white guys just be civil and realise not everyone got handed a golden ticket at birth? I speak as someone with a visible disability.

              1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

                Re: Racist?

                > golden ticket

                Unless you're one of those who pick recyclable cardboard and plastic from my rubbish bin--and I take my hat off to them--I'm willing to bet (a small amount... according to my means) you're middle class like the rest of El Reg commentards. Which suggests you're somewhat naive when your reading steers you to see the members of the modern pseudo-nobility as one of 'us'.

                And 'white' isn't a race. Englishmen are saxon mongrels--the lot of us (I could equally call myself a Nordic mongrel).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Racist?

                  "Englishmen are saxon mongrels--the lot of us [...]"

                  Some of us appear to have a Norman heritage*** - and I don't think they were Saxons when they invaded what is now France.

                  ***The family name is 11th century Norman - although the matriarchal one is Viking. My blood group indicates a mixing from east of the Caucasus. Mongrels we are indeed.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Racist?

                  "I'm willing to bet (a small amount... according to my means) you're middle class like the rest of El Reg commentards."

                  What is middle-class? People nowadays seem to equate it with a particular education level - or an occupation - or affluence - or lifestyle. All of which are not necessarily related. Like "race" - many of us 1940s Baby-Boomers in "middle class" occupations are class mongrels from various levels of working class backgrounds.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Racist?

                "Why can't straight white guys just be civil and realise not everyone got handed a golden ticket at birth?"

                Not meaning to upset you but there are those who will automatically take anything said by a white male as being suspect. No, let me rephrase that: who will automatically assume anything thought by him will be suspect even if he harbours, let alone voices, no such thoughts. Such an approach is, of course, just as sexist and racist as that of which the victim is being accused and it's appropriate to point that out, along with the casual ageism which usually accompanies it

                Your implied assumption that every straight white guy got handed a golden ticket at birth* is just an example of this. White male children from poor families in the UK today are reported to be the most disadvantaged in terms of educational outcomes. It's contrary to that applied assumption but it would be equally wrong to assume that each such child will inevitably go on to become an illiterate benefits dependent.

                *Speaking personally I grew up for the first 14 years in a house which had no electricity, no mains drainage, initially no mains water, few books, not enough bedrooms for the three generations of extended family it housed and in which the cooking facilities were a double gas ring and a C19th coal-fired range replaced eventually by a second hand 1920s model. Could have been worse, many were. While the competitive Yorkshiremen is an amusing sketch there was an underlying reality.

              3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Racist?

                "What does a white straight male win if he 'games' someone is is not and who has had a lifetime of being made to feel second-class?"

                Way to go with the generalisations and stereotypes!

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Racist?

          BTW I thought "Chinaman" was an outmoded term with Empire-drenched connotations, so I avoid using it. Maybe I am mistaken about this too.

          I've not heard not heard that term since Bernard Manning era stand-up comedians.

          So that'd be a yes.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Racist?

          "Maybe I am mistaken about this too."

          If one of the professional umbrage takers are after you it doesn't matter what you write they'll put their own twist on it. The best way to deal with them is probably Dr. Johnson's: https://artsandculture.google.com/theme/UgKSIabPSjsSLw

        4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Racist?

          You seem to be making fun of a Chinaman. That is not cool dude.

          These blokes would probably be offended to be called Chinamen...

          https://www.news24.com/xArchive/Archive/Taiwanese-men-to-pull-plane-with-their-penises-20010108

          May be you can redeem yourself by participating in their next stunt, subject to prior approval from Mme Dabbs

      2. EJ

        Re: Racist?

        Frank Ly - Don't worry, I got your irony.

      3. gcla72
        Pint

        Re: Racist?

        Did said Chinaman pee on The Dude's rug?

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: Racist?

          "Did said Chinaman pee on The Dude's rug?"

          He better not have done. That rug really tied the room together.

          White Russian icon required for the 20th anniversary and I am referring to the beverage in case I am next to be accused of racism.

      4. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: That is not cool dude.

        You seem to be making fun of a Chinaman.

        Well, if a Chinese man* is being a prick (ahahahahaha) why not make fun of him in any way one can?

        *I believe "chinaman" is regarded as racist these days.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: That is not cool dude.

          I believe "chinaman" is regarded as racist these days.

          Not so: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-arm_unorthodox_spin

    7. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Racist?

      Racist?

      Making fun of a poorly phrased (and thoroughly unconvincing) email?

      Mine's a "No" vote.

      That's for you --------------------------->

      // old white guy, so please correct for inherent cultural bias and historical oppression, if any

    8. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      My editor is worried that this week's column is a bit racist. This wasn't my intention. Is it racist? Let me know.

      It depends on the pertinent definition of racism. In this case, probably the definition used by the police and the CPS "covered by legislation (sections 28-32 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and sections 145 and 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003)":

      "Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person's disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity."

      There is no legal definition of hostility so we use the everyday understanding of the word which includes ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike.

      According to the Equal Opportunities Commision, the Equality Act 2010 gives a definition of race as:

      Race means being part of a group of people who are identified by their nationality, citizenship, colour, national or ethnic origins. If you belong to any one of these groups and you experience discrimination, it would be counted as race discrimination. It also counts as discrimination if you are not part of any one of these groups but someone discriminates against you because they think you are. This is known as perceived race discrimination.

      Race discrimination that occurs within any of the subsequent settings is unlawful:

      - In the workplace.

      - In any educational institution.

      - Housing.

      - When providing services or goods such as in the banking, entertainment or transportation industries.

      - Any activity performed by any of our public authorities like the police, prisons, the NHS, local authorities and government departments.

      Also, irrespective of whether the race discrimination was deliberate or unintentional, it would still count as discrimination and be deemed unlawful.

      So unintentional racism is still caught. If what you wrote is perceived by someone in England&Wales from China to be motivated by prejudice, it could possibly be argued as being a racial hate crime (given the above definitions and legislation).

      It is also worth reading the CPS's "Public Statement on Racist and Religious Hate Crime", and the CPS's "Racist and Religious Hate Crime - Prosecution Guidance".

      This is where the crack legal team of El Reg should be advising you. I'm not legally qualified, and don't have any connection with the criminal justice system, so my advice probably has negative value. If you are unsure, consult someone who is qualified to opine. Not doing so could, possibly, be an expensive mistake.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Racist?

        Of course not, me old china.

        Most likely the poor unfortunate illiterate was attempting a spot of Cockney rhyming slang to reassure you they are genuine, bu got it as garbled as the rest.

        Disclaimer (for the benefit of your editor): I have no prejudice against illiterates, Cockneys or online news editors and regard them as my equals in all pertinent respects. What I say should not be taken as criticism against them, especially editors, in any way.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Racist?

          "regard them as my equals in all pertinent respects."

          It depends on which respects you consider pertinent.

    9. xeroks

      Re: Racist?

      I didn't see it as racist, just reporting the facts and language as stated in your email. But I'm not of chinese origin,

      I've had them purport to be from Ukraine, Russia, and India, but not China. The most recent one started with "Howdy", so I assume it was intended to be from the US. I suppose it could have been someone pretending to be someone pretending to be from the US. These would-be blackmailers can devious in their usage of broken English.

    10. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      In a word, No. Now relax, join me at the pub, & we'll take turns pretending to be shloshed, throwing darts at imaginary dart boards, & betting on if we can clear the pub before they throw us out. I call dibs on the lawn darts! =-D

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Racist?

        "throwing darts at imaginary dart boards"

        So long as those imaginary dartboards are not the type of thing that tends to bleed when you throw darts at them.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Racist?

        Sorry not playing darts with Shadow Systems.

        Not safe!

    11. EJ

      Re: Racist?

      As a white hetero I'm unable to rule on that, but it was otherwise brilliant.

    12. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Racist?

      Damn right it's racist. All of the text there is black. I demand an equal amount of white text in future articles. And a smattering of yellow, to appease the jaundice race.

      And some slanty text for the Mediterraneans. Oops, sorry, that's italics, not italians. Always get those mixed up.

      Then there's all the inter-racial connotations of having black text on white background. Why is it always that way around? Perhaps whitey wants to be on top sometimes. We should also note that it would be more representative if there was a lot of white-on-white and black-on-black.

    13. smudge Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      My editor is worried that this week's column is a bit racist.

      Shouldn't your editor have worried that before the column was published?

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Racist?

        >> Shouldn't your editor have worried that before the column was published?

        He did, and as a result the Father Ted clip I'd included was cut. You know the one, where he's doing a coolie impersonation for Dougal, only to notice that some Chinese people are watching him through the window, appalled. Ted then has to spend the rest of the episode trying to convince everyone he's not racist.

    14. Patrician

      Re: Racist?

      Racist? Not in the slightest.

    15. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      Don't worry, Alistair.

      Your editor doesn't have a Chinaman's chance of making that "racist" charge stick.

    16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      "this week's column"

      I thought you'd decided your column couldn't possibly have appeared in the video.

    17. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      Down sir! BAD columnist. Fishing for compliments! You know answers posted here will be overwhelmingly either supportive or humorous - and even the latter collect downvotes (c.f. Frank Ly).

      OK, on a more serious note, this would look racist if and only if it became a recurring stereotype of your unappealing eastern correspondent. Which would also be tedious. As far as I can tell, the only regular stereotype in your column is its author (and possibly his missus), and that's what we're here to read.

      Having said that, I'd've left out lampooning the language. There's enough in those emails to make an article without it!

      As for your editor? El Reg seems to have acquired some SJW police - possibly emanating from San Francisco. Your editor may be quaking in fear of them.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Racist?

        "El Reg seems to have acquired some SJW police - possibly emanating from San Francisco. Your editor may be quaking in fear of them."

        I suspect some of the moderators are just as fearful.

    18. David Roberts Silver badge

      Re: Racist?

      I think it's probably all white.

    19. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Racist?

      you mentioned "Chinese". This is clearly racist. I bet you also mentioned a woman, or two, which I would find terribly offensive. Now, as for the clergy...

    20. FrankeeD

      Re: Racist?

      Racist? No. But your editor reminds me of the organization for which I do some part-time online library reference support. They offered sensitivity training to prevent us from committing "microaggressions" against those using our service. Given that microagressions by definition can only be committed against a marginalized group and the fact that the reference service is totally anonymous, I declined their training offer.

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    run the scam backwards

    Dear Friend,

    we have malware installed on your computer, we've recorded over 1000 hours of you in front of your computer, and yet, you have never burned a load so to speak. I need 500 in BC to keep this information private. I'm sure you wouldn't want anyone to think there's something wrong with you...

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: run the scam backwards

      @Chivo243: indeed, and an even more shaming one: "we notice that you have a very old-fashioned PC and screen without a webcam at all. As you are an IT professional, you wouldn't want this fact to get out, now would you?"

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    A Bargain at Any Price

    Would you consider paying on my behalf, perchance?

    I'll pay! For the love of all that is good, I'll pay!! Please don't send that thing to me!

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Beautifully and well done. We salute you, Dabbsy!

  18. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    Obvious fake news

    It's impossible to sing badly to Nine Inch Nails, even a randy cat would improve the sound.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Obvious fake news

      I beg to differ. I can sing along to Every Day is Exactly the Same.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Obvious fake news

      a randy cat would improve the sound.

      Yuck, never liked that mushy romance music.

  19. lsces

    Who do I send the compensation bill to?

    Anybody got an address to send the legal paperwork for the currently 148 counts of extortion currently sitting in the bitcoin extortion folder on my in box. Certainly while it's sole claim to fame is to fund illegal activity it should be made to pay?

  20. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    But Why?

    No buses for three hours and then 50 turn up. Presumably multiple, 50, independent dick heads have been on the 'dark web' buying up bulk e-mail lists along with a, piss poor, ruse template and lists of open relays. Set phasors on stun and launch the scripts..... Profit!

    It can't be the same person... can it? I mean what sort of dick head sends sends the same message from multiple sources 50 times expecting me not to notice something strange could be going on and then does the same thing every day for a week... because I did not respond to the first 50?

    Now I have 50 individual dick heads a day telling me they have hacked my webcam and I'm "I don't care about your shit English but I don't have a fucking WebCam!" prior to deleting the messages and blocking CIDRs via IPTables.

    I mean why not try to sell me a WebCam instead when your hackware noticed I did not have one or does that only happen if I buy a WebCam and no longer need one... I stop getting blackmail and the advertising guys move in to take up the slack?

    Unfortunately some people must respond to this sort of rubbish because... level playing field or something.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: But Why?

      "It can't be the same person... can it?"

      It'll be the same person selling the list and text to 50+ hopefuls. Guess who's the real scammer and the real scammed.

  21. Dr_N Silver badge

    "Hang on... I think I've come up against a snag. "

    Fnar.

    "singing badly to Nine Inch Nails”

    Oh the humanity! I'd pay not to see that.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Confusing

    I've been getting these to and find it very worrying. You see, I don't have a smart phone, and only go on the net with an ordinary computer. It doesn't have a camera at all, nor anything plugged into the audio inputs.

    I can only guess that they have found a way to send ultrasonic signals from my (very cheap) speakers and somehow measure the infinitesimal change of loading caused by the interference patterns of my {cough} activities.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Confusing

      "It doesn't have a camera at all, nor anything plugged into the audio inputs."

      You can turn a speaker into a microphone by reversing the polarity or something. Then record your heavy breathing. Which I'll admit has gotten me into trouble in the past, but I'm asthmatic, heavy breathing is what we do.

      1. Persona

        Re: Confusing

        "You can turn a speaker into a microphone by reversing the polarity or something. "

        Sigh. You can use a moving coil speaker as a microphone, but only by putting it into a circuit that does the exact opposite of the electronics used to power the speaker. A circuit that goes DAC -> amplifier -> speaker is more than just a "polarity change" to go to speaker-mike -> amplifier -> ADC

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Confusing

          I guess my post about "reversing the polarity or something" should have had the joke icon, I was referencing the Doctor Who trope.

  24. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Have fun with scammers!

    Take the contact email from one scammer, configure your email client to use that as "your" outgoing ID, & then reply to a different scammer as if you were the first one. If Karma has Her way then the two scammers will waste all their time trying to scam each other.

    Then switch email ID to the second scammer's contact details, reply to a third scammer, & on & on & on & on.

    Chaos, confusion, & consternation: my job here is done. Now let's go to the pub - it's got to be BeerO'Clock somewhere & the first round is on me! (Probably literally when the waitress trips over the banana peel I tossed into her path & she spills my beer all over me.)

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Have fun with scammers!

      That would be good, but wouldn't work in this particular case as the "From" email address is your own.

      One day we may have an unspoofable email address scheme running worldwide, but don't hold your breath in the meantime. And, regarding spam in general, I seem to remember many years ago (14 to be exact) that a certain person was saying that spam would be dead within 2 years. Oh yes, here it is:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/01/26/well_kill_spam_in_two/

      Looks like he may have been a tiny bit out with his predictions!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Have fun with scammers!

      "Take the contact email from one scammer, configure your email client to use that as "your" outgoing ID, & then reply to a different scammer as if you were the first one."

      I've tried a variant of that by replying along the lines of that sounds very interesting but I'm too busy to deal with it at present, could you contact my colleague ....... While typing this I've just realised I slipped up. It should have been "one of my colleagues" and given them a list.

      SEO and similar scammers are requested to send the results of "our" self-assessment questionaire (supplementary questions can be added prompted by particularly egregious lapses in spelling, grammar or punctuation):

      1. Is the candidate a company registered in accordance with the legislation of the country in which it's based?

      2. Is the company name given in the proposal?

      3. Does the company have its own domain and website at that domain?

      4. Does the website appear on first page in Google when searching for "first place in Google"? (Very important - if it can't promote itself it can't have any credibility for claims to promote others.)

      5. Does the company use its own domain for email correspondence?

      6. Does the proposal list the website(s) for which they're making a proposal?

      7. Does the company buy cheap and utterly useless spam lists?

      8. Did the proposal arrive in my spam bin address at .......@hotmail.co.uk rather than one of my real email addresses at my own domain?

      9. Does the company actually write its own proposal email or did it buy it along with the cheap and utterly useless spam list?

      10. Was the email unbelievably lucky to make it through Hotmail's spam filters?

      11. Is the proposal from an out and out liar who lacks any competence to do the work themselves but is just generating leads to sell on?

  25. Baudwalk
    Gimp

    You must have vanilla tastes...

    ...in carnal entertainment, Mr. Dabbs.

    My blackmailer wrote: "I am in shock of your fantasies! I've never seen anything like this!"

  26. Giovani Tapini

    "dancing in the dragon's fiery breath"

    You should wash your hands after making that Chilli - it certainly doesn't sound comfortable.

    I too have seen these emails again this week. Although how they harvest contacts from social media sites I have no presence on is a feat.

    I would also say the scam is self destructive. Where would they host thousands of these videos? that would surely eat their income if left up for long. Also there would be so little chance of your video being found among the thousands its an empty threat.

    Therefore scammers, you can take the video you made from my PC that has no camera attached, the contacts you harvested from social media companies I have no presence on, and spend your own cash hosting the video. Please send me the link...

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: "dancing in the dragon's fiery breath"

      "Where would they host thousands of these videos?"

      On the porn sites they allege they caught you watching. Then they can catch other people watching those videos, and threaten them, rinse, repeat, until they end up threatening the originals. Thus turning it into a complete circle jerk.

  27. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Headmaster

    " a cautious $0.0001"

    Whoah! Lets not go crazy , that could soon develop into a habit!

    Do that 500 times and you'd have spent a nickel!

  28. eswan

    I got one of these this week. Well, actually it was addressed to the web server but I handle the email for it. So I guess the web server was browsing porn? Maybe pictures of servers with their covers off? Oh wait, maybe that was me.

  29. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Pity the scammer doesn't use a proper email address - he'll get a good close-up selfie of Cap'n Browneye.

  30. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Pikers!

    The emails I received requested $6000 and $7000. I don't remember whether they specified country of origin, but the English was definitely a cut above what you got.

    I think your editor is unduly nervous.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Pikers!

      The emails I received requested $6000 and $7000.

      In US dollars? There are other currencies that also use the '$' sign, but whose currency units are more like zlotys, drachme or lire down to Zimbabwean dollars.

  31. Patrician

    I've had a couple of those over the last few weeks, to an email account that is never used; threatening to send the video to all the contacts on that account. That would be a stupendous feat as there are no contacts associated with that account, not to mention they captured the video on a PC that has no webcam. So, yeah, go for it.

  32. steelpillow Silver badge
    WTF?

    Seriously though

    Given the endless variations on a single theme, I find it hard to believe in a shedload of earnest monkeys churning out this below-par crap. Could this be some schmuck developing an AI spamming system that is slowly training itself to improve its click-through rate?

  33. DaveCummings

    I want one

    I want one of these just so I can see how far they will take it if I respond... oh wait...

  34. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Holmes

    If not I will deport the videotape to all your contacts.

    VHS? Betamax? Betacam? V2000? V1500? Ampex? Some other open-reel format? Then, PAL, NTSC or SECAM?

    It's going to cost more in tape and postage than those BTC(USD600).

    I'm also curious how a laptop that doesn't even have a cam can view me defragging my hard drive, but I'm willing to be enlightened. Never mind that SSDs don't need defragging anyway.

    1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

      Re: If not I will deport the videotape to all your contacts.

      I beg to differ... SSD's need defragging just as much as a spinning platter drive--just that the order of magnitude of access means you don't notice the fragmentation. Also the writes required would deteriorate the life.

      Have you never heard of memory fragmentation?

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: If not I will deport the videotape to all your contacts.

      I once bought a N1502 but a head snapped off the drum.

      Never got it to work.

      I would insist on a PAL Beta copy.

  35. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    At least your Vindows aren't virusing the internet, Alistair. Mine apparently are, as the nice Indian man explained to me in a phone call last week. If only I'd had the foresight to give him my bank account number and my computer passvord so he could fix them instead of hanging up on him.

    8o(

  36. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Thank you Google

    While nearly every service that they offer seems to have become useless, I will applaud Gmail"s spam filtering as still superb.

    It is exceedingly rare to see spam in my in-box, and the filtered spam folder almost never includes a false positive.

    I would dearly like to remove myself from Google's clutches, but the thought of hundreds of spam every day is a big disincentive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank you Google

      "It is exceedingly rare to see spam in my in-box, and the filtered spam folder almost never includes a false positive."

      Office 365 email service has lots of false positives that it relegates to the imap junkmail folder. Rarely is there a genuine scam email in there - although no doubt they silently discard the most egregious universal ones.

      It puts Royal Mail tracking notifications in there. Also most of the "picture update form" emails generated from a web site I manage. Those all have a format which will be similar every time - although the content will be different. However it was a surprise to see it do that to an email that was the final exchange with the genuine Duracell helpline telling me they had deposited the promised refund.

    2. Olivier2553

      Re: Thank you Google

      I beg to disagree. I have seen two of these extortion messages in my Gmailbox recently and I never fail to browse the spam folder for it way too frequently has false positives that may be of some importance to me.

  37. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    I'm pink, therefore I'm spam

    As René Descartes used to say while bashing the bishop

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PAY UP OR ELSE

    Since you are reading this I know who you are. Unless you send dabsy the price of a pint, in whatever currency suits you, I will send each and every one of you the video of me giving the missus a good and proper shagging. Of course we are both over 55, not exactly what you would call fit. Also good and proper could be a little subjective. Not to worry though, the video is only 3 minutes long, but I did record it in HD 4k.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: PAY UP OR ELSE

      "video is only 3 minutes long, but I did record it in HD 4k"

      Glad to see you included the foreplay, and a little cooling off time after.

  39. John Miles

    Been getting them for a while

    They started with an email address and password that linkedin leaked, but have been seeing a few from Adobe leak. The so called self described hacker on darknet was so good they sent loads of them with your password is but no password.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    dash your doodle

    ..... worth the bitcoin ransom just for introducing us to that new expression.

    I Googled it and it seems to be pretty unique, though there is a Facebook group called "Doodle Dash"

    Could it be related?? Here is it's intro .......

    "Please come and join us for the ever so popular Doodle Dash. Great fun for your doodles to burn off their energy meeting and playing with other doodles."

    !!!!!!!

  41. Curtis

    Oh noes! I got one too. 4 days ago. With a 2 day deadline...

    Hello!

    I'm a hacker who cracked your email and device a few months ago.

    You entered a password on one of the sites you visited, and I intercepted it.

    This is your password from <my email> on moment of hack: <password I've never used>

    Of course you can will change it, or already changed it.

    But it doesn't matter, my malware updated it every time.

    Do not try to contact me or find me, it is impossible, since I sent you an email from your account.

    Through your email, I uploaded malicious code to your Operation System.

    I saved all of your contacts with friends, colleagues, relatives and a complete history of visits to the Internet resources.

    Also I installed a Trojan on your device and long tome spying for you.

    You are not my only victim, I usually lock computers and ask for a ransom.

    But I was struck by the sites of intimate content that you often visit.

    I am in shock of your fantasies! I've never seen anything like this!

    So, when you had fun on piquant sites (you know what I mean!)

    I made screenshot with using my program from your camera of yours device.

    After that, I combined them to the content of the currently viewed site.

    There will be laughter when I send these photos to your contacts!

    BUT I'm sure you don't want it.

    Therefore, I expect payment from you for my silence.

    I think $821 is an acceptable price for it!

    Pay with Bitcoin.

    My BTC wallet: 1YnYAxprVrTo1WzPPzMo86ste5Ssp4xsy

    If you do not know how to do this - enter into Google "how to transfer money to a bitcoin wallet". It is not difficult.

    After receiving the specified amount, all your data will be immediately destroyed automatically. My virus will also remove itself from your operating system.

    My Trojan have auto alert, after this email is read, I will be know it!

    I give you 2 days (48 hours) to make a payment.

    If this does not happen - all your contacts will get crazy shots from your dark secret life!

    And so that you do not obstruct, your device will be blocked (also after 48 hours)

    Do not be silly!

    Police or friends won't help you for sure ...

    p.s. I can give you advice for the future. Do not enter your passwords on unsafe sites.

    I hope for your prudence.

    Farewell.

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh noes! I got one too. 4 days ago. With a 2 day deadline...

      "There will be laughter when I send these photos to your contacts!"

      ...

      "After receiving the specified amount, all your data will be immediately destroyed automatically."

      So, the choice is to share a good joke with your contacts, or wipe your computer clean after paying the ransom. Guess which one I'd choose?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Oh noes! I got one too. 4 days ago. With a 2 day deadline...

      "p.s. I can give you advice for the future. Do not enter your passwords on unsafe sites."

      That does raise an interesting point I'd not thought of before. I wonder how many people, on setting up and account somewhere and being asked for their email address then go on to use their email account password rather than create a new one?

  42. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Boffin

    I don't get so many

    I suppose it's due to my habit of using user@mouse-potato.com as my throwaway address.

    1. Film@11

      Re: I don't get so many

      noone@nowhere.com

  43. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Yes, "That" in italics completely distinguishes The Reg from The Express

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. katrinab Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Think they mixed me up with someone else

    Based on the description of the videos they’ve allegedly taken of me, they’ve clearly got a video of a completely different person, ie a man.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Think they mixed me up with someone else

      Your secret's out. :D

      Are we still allowed to make the distinction? Isn't that hate speech against someone whose appearance belies their self-identity?

  46. ICPurvis47
    Facepalm

    Apparently, I've won the Lottery

    I have recently received an email from "maryecampbell@cox.net" with an attached PDF which reads as follows:

    National Lottery Office

    61-70 Southampton Row,

    Bloomsbury

    London

    United Kingdom

    WC1B 4AR.

    Attention Dear Winner!

    This Is to Inform you that Your E-mail ID have Won a Prize sum of (£)2,700,000.00 GBP) Two Million Seven Hundred Great British Pounds Starlings, a Window’s 10 Laptop from this Year Lottery Promotion Which Is Organized by the National Lottery and state-franchise national lottery in the United Kingdom.

    We Collects the E-mail Addresses of the People That Are Active Online email user, among the People that has subscribed to Gmail, MSN, Windows/Yahoo and Web-mail, We Only Select 10 People as Our Winners through Electronic Balloting System without you applying.

    Winner Verification Form:

    Full Name..................

    You’re Tel/fax Numbers..................

    Your Nationality/country..................

    You’re Contact Address/private Email Address.....................

    Occupation/company............

    Age/gender.........

    Ever Won An Online Lottery? ............

    E-Mail Details To: info.nationallotryhq@gmail.com

    Await your Prompt responds.

    As you can see, it contains at least fifteen spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, and what are 'Pounds Starlings'? I realise that making a few intentional spelling errors would cause anyone who is not themselves illiterate to delete it immediately, but surely, this takes the biscuit.

    They are not consistent, three consecutive lines contain two different spellings of 'Your/You're', they give a return email address containing 'nationallotry', and they ask for my 'responds' instead of my response.

    I cannot for the life of me see what they hope to achieve by this obvious scam attempt, please enlighten me.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Apparently, I've won the Lottery

      "Two Million Seven Hundred Great British Pounds Starlings"

      I know starlings form big flocks but I'd no idea the problem had got so bad. Where do they all roost?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and yet invariably

    given those message keep circulating, a sucker is healthily born every minute, no matter how much we snigger at VHS

    p.s. the first letter from a Nigarian this or that my parents got, wait for this, around 1992! Yes, on real paper, in a real envelope, and I think it was from Nigeria too. Wish we had kept it, might be worth $17.6 M these days... Less handling fees, etc.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: and yet invariably

      First one I saw was on paper back in the 1990s. Sent to the owner of a bar in Rome, at which I was a regular (one evening a week). He asked me about it 'cos it was in English, and he thought a native English speaker might have more clue than he did. Neither of us had a clue, beyond the good Italian and international word "mafia".

  48. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    ...and nervously massaging my scalp in a desperate bid to delay the onset of male pattern baldness.

    Don't let that worry you Alistair, a bit of hair loss didn't stop Sean from playing Bond. Just keep working on the eye-brow exercises and we'll have that screen test soon.

    Love

    Barbara

  49. N2 Silver badge

    You are my vicrim

    I fell about laughing with that one and according to the text I hit the screen so I'd really like to see the video...

  50. Ygvb

    They never pretended having your winnie in video. Only your face while your get overexcited, which is far more valuable :)

    Well, if that was true...

    1. onefang Silver badge

      "Only your face while your get overexcited,"

      Oh, they have video of the overexcited look on my face when I finally solved that bug that had been driving me nuts all week?

      On the other hand, with all that hair on my face, it can be hard to tell what sort of expression I have.

  51. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Computers Anonymous: Live

    The meetings are held once a week, at the same geo-location. The first visit, is always the hardest, having to stand up among peers and after holding back, in safe hands, it's okay to release or so I've been told.

    Usually those that have the least to hide, fear the most, though it has to be said, the green among us, after practice, tend to get their comeuppance. #twelvesteps #splash

    N.B. I was going for Nautilus, but see above.

  52. Michael Maxwell

    VCR

    As it happens, I just packed two VCRs in a box today, to be given away to a used-things place that actually accepts them. BUT: they haven't picked it up yet. So if you send me 300 BC in the next 48 hours, I'll pull the VCR out of the box and ship it to you. (Free shipping, such a bargain!) Then you can watch your tape!

  53. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Blackmail Me?

    I might just have to use the Sukarno defense.

  54. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Alert

    Things 'puters get up to

    One of these this morning.

    Only it wasn't sent to me, but to a mailinglist I subscribe to. Which reminds me, I think most of these I've seen have come through lists. Dear <listname> ...

    On the premise that these are addressed to an individual, that must be the list server itself rather than list members. Though the mind boggles either way.

  55. Stoneshop Silver badge

    Please don't try to contact me or find me

    it is impossible, since I sent you an email from your email account.

    Hahaha.

    Received-SPF: None (no SPF record) identity=mailfrom; client-ip=185.236.209.63; helo=[185.236.209.126]; envelope-from=compromisedaccount; receiver=compromisedaccount

    Received: from [185.236.209.126] (unknown [185.236.209.63]) by mailprovider (Postfix) with ESMTP id 93152252CE

    Message-ID: <BE6780530B59B4D801E6356D3FD2BE67@CTJANL63ROU>

    iplocation.net tells me 185.236.209.63 is in Russia, and who his ISP is.

    But spammers expect people not to be able to real mail headers.

  56. Gnomalarta
    FAIL

    Rat Software?

    "Through your e-mail, I uploaded malicious code to your Operation System. I saved all of your contacts with friends, colleagues, relatives and a complete history of visits to the Internet resources. Also I installed a rat software on your device and long tome spying for you."

    I guess this a non-existent Windows issue. It's certainly not a Linux problem. Still can't work out how grabbing an old site password would allow access to my computer!

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Rat Software?

      "Still can't work out how grabbing an old site password would allow access to my computer!"

      The scammer is assuming you used the same password everywhere.

  57. Anthony Hulse

    Several this week

    Hah! Shame that this is a scam!! I was quite looking forward to finding out how my contacts would react to some of the "interest sites" I visit :D :D

  58. Temmokan

    Oh, those kinds are very funny.

    They/he/she/it/whatever are blackmailing my technical email forwarder with similar crap for at least 4 weeks.

    First, they found a stale leaked password database and stated they have "password for me account" (go on, hackers, try logging in under email forwarder address). Then they stated they "hacked that account half a year ago" and infected "my device" with super malware, re-sending its owner all the new passwords I try to use. Woe unto me, I'm pwned...

    With every message the "hacker" gets so increasingly ridiculous, I am just tempted to send them 0.01$ worth of bitcoin with comment "you can do better".

    But no, I won't. I am just too lazy to waste both time and money...

  59. Ima Ballsy
    Facepalm

    Pissed ....

    I'm REALLY pissed, I haven't gotten on of those.

    I suppose they took one look at the little fella and died laughing !

  60. neatoelito

    Right on time I actually got one of those emails on the 25th. I sent mine to network forensics people at the university after getting the sender IP out of the headers... because it contained one of my passwords in the title... anyway... Go Alistair Von Teese! :P

  61. Mandoscottie

    heh my dear dad got it also...too funny

    cue phone call from a 78 year old freaking out because it states his password (or part of) in the claim, not that hes been surfing porn......again....<sigh> thank F for Webroot web console ;)

    Dad, its fake,...no...no...dad...listen dammit....yes thats part of your password but not all of it, thats an old one, lemme guess its your facebook pwd.....Gotcha.

    how to prevent it further? Easy dad

    1) stop watching bloody porn, your married to my mum!

    2) get the F off of facebook!

    3) use that bloody password manager i set up for you, and stop using same password for everything!

    4) let me look at metaheader data...ok got real senders, address, sit back and watch this dad.

    cue me emailing to say ill never find you eh, you potato sucking ukranian fucktard, you picked an infosec engineers dad to try your shite on, get ready for a deluge of gay pron to your "untracable address" you script kiddy retard. enjoy the buttplug on its way to you ;)

  62. Jake Maverick

    this couldn't possibly be the same guy that got Dirty Den sacked/ killed off again could it? :-(

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019