Another Week!

And so another week passes.

The internet is growing to be a dangerous place, I think. In one week I’ve had three invitations per day asking me to give my money to people. Yes, they are casino operations, but I don’t care. These gambling sites are not designed to provide me with money, they are designed specifically to take money out of my bank and magically transfer it to theirs. Well, apologies, but I’m not interested. Which is why I’ve tried to “unsubscribe” from them all, why I’ve registered with sites to block their inane emails, and attempted to eradicate them from my life. Sadly, none of it works. Only today I received an email from a gentleman asking if I’d allow a casino to advertise on my blog. He wanted to pay me fifty quid for the opportunity.

I need money. Not that badly, though.

That isn’t the only scam that has hit me in the past week. I also had more invitations to use “Laranita” and save myself time and trouble over writing.

Yes, they wrote again to me, an author, in order to help me save time bothering to write on my blog.

Apparently Laranita can help people (like me) by writing blogposts for me. I won’t have to worry about thinking up ideas, Laranita will go to websites, see what’s trending, and then suck the relevant information off that site and squirt it down the line into my blog. Brilliant. So, not only is the the web full of scams, now you can be even less sure about the provenance of information provided. It kills the trust between blogger and reader. And besides, apart from a few really sick people, surely the attraction of having a blog is the opportunity of ranting on about bloody Laranita and other scams?

So, here’s another one.

Last month my family and I went on holiday. That may not sound earth-shattering to you, but for my family it was our first trip abroad on holiday, our first visit to France, and our first ever two week holiday. In the past we’ve snatched a week, no more. However, my wife and I needed a good break, so we threw caution (and bank balance) to the winds, and rented a camper van in France. And we had a wonderful time.

On returning, we eyed with avaricious jealousy all the internet adverts for campers. A few sites have hundreds of vans for sale, and my wife kept an eye on them. And she found one!

Okay, it’s more than we can afford: £6,600; but you look at all the prices out there. This is only a third of what it should have been up for.

Yes. A loud alarm was ringing.

I wrote to the advertising site. It’s a large, reputable group. They put my details on to the seller. A Mr Thomas Morrison wrote back to say that he had the camper, and that because he was a soldier going to New Zealand for ten months, he was keen to get rid of the camper urgently. He couldn’t drop below £6,000.


Hi Mike,

Yes i confirm that the engine size is 2300 diesel.
As I’ve said in my previous email I am in Edinburgh , Scotland in a military base, getting ready for New Zealand ( for the first time so i am very excited ). I’m doing a special training program each day and I am not allowed to get out of the unit or give calls whenever I want. The delivery will take 2 to 3 days depending on your location and it’s not a problem because I can do it at no cost for you. Because it is a large transaction, we will complete the deal only using an authorized third part like Google Wallet because I already prearranged the whole process with them, using their Google Safe Pay Solutions (bank-to-bank wire transfer) for vehicles.

The money will be sent to Google Wallet, before you will receive the vehicle. So, you will deposit the payment directly into the Google Wallet agent’s bank account in United Kingdom, either online or at most banks and they will hold and secure your money during the entire transaction. I repeat, they will hold and insure your money until receipt of the vehicle in good condition and will release the funds to us only after you decide to keep the vehicle and you register it, into your name. You will have an inspection period of 10 days. In this time you can check, test and inspect the vehicle. If by any reason (the vehicle has any hidden damages or is not like I describe it) you can reject the deal. In this case Google Wallet will refund you totally and they will deliver the vehicle back.
You can read more about Google Wallet by searching this link in your browser :

Please let me know your delivery details (your full name, full address and home phone number) so I can open a transaction case with Google Wallet and declare you as buyer. They will contact you with further information regarding payment and delivery.

Thomas Morrison

P.S. Hope you will be my buyer.




Right. Read that again.

First, no Brit would say “Edinburgh, Scotland”. We all know where Edinburgh is, and there’s only the one. Second, he’s a soldier, by inference, which makes him an honest, trustworthy character. Except can you imagine a soldier surviving two seconds if he insisted on calling himself “Thomas”? Tom, perhaps, but not Thomas.

Then, read that second paragraph again.”I repeat…”? Why repeat? Oh, because not many people have heard of Google Wallet. Well, I have, actually. It’s a moderately good idea for the bone idle who cannot be bothered to remove a credit card from a wallet to pay for goods in shops. And that is all. It is not, categorically, a system for holding money in escrow, and it is not provided for people to buy cars or camper vans. I know. I’ve checked.

So, what this fellow was trying to do was steal £6,000 from me. Now, if I wasn’t so hard up, perhaps I’d have fallen for it. Many, many others have, after all. If you google any number of key words from this post, “Google Wallet car scam”, for example, you’ll find lots of people being very authoritative on the nature of the fraud involved. Why? Because people are inherently trusting. They want to trust nice people who contact them on the web to chat.

Last week there was a report on the radio about several women who had tried to meet men by logging on to a contacts website. They had been persuaded, after a while, to give money to their prospective partners. One had given away over a hundred thousand pounds. These were not idiots, but intelligent women. But they wanted the story they were sold to be true, and paid the price.

For me, if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

So I won’t be able to afford a camper van for a while longer.

13 Responses to “Another Week!”
  1. Nice critique. I like Edinburgh, Scotland catch.


    • It did strike me as not sounding like a soldier (not a British one, anyway) as soon as I saw that. A very odd slip. Then again I hear that a lot of fraudsters will put in obvious errors like that in order to warn off the brighter reader, so they can concentrate on easier targets. Terrible, really. Have a great week.


  2. Probably just as well. The kids aren’t getting any smaller, and the wifi tends to be rubbish.


    • Hah! The wifi’s very good in the French campsites we visited. In fact most things in life were a great deal better, other than the cost of meat. I could emigrate with ease if the kids would allow me! Have a great week, matey.


  3. Jack Eason says:

    Whenever I need to pay for something online Michael, either I use the direct link to my bank on reputable sites, or I make use of PayPal. As for the ladies who were duped out of their savings by unscrupulous men, when it comes to affairs of the heart, commonsense goes out the window along with their money.


  4. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Michael brings up some salutary lessons for us all.


  5. Hans van der Boom says:

    You crucial sentence should be engraved in all internet users/buyers memory: “If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
    And Google is your friend if you have counts. You don’t need fancy tag words, just type your question into the Google box and read!


  6. knotrune says:

    Have you tried ebay for a camper van? They have loads on there and ebay offers protections for buyers. You can search geographically too, so you might find something close enough to go look before you buy, I’d want to see it before I bought one. I’d love a camper or caravan too, one day I might get one.


  7. anghistri says:

    Hi Mike, I am currently in France myself and had a frightening experience when I received an email stating a large 3 figure amount was being transferred from my bank account. One feels very vulnerable when an email like that comes whilst in another country. Looking at the email address it was not actually mine but a concocted one to look similar. The bank assured me all was well so that was that. These phishing emails keep on coming! You will not know me by my username but I have the same name as your brother and I bought a first edition of Sticklepath Strangler. Also we met in your house for coffee. So you know who I am but no one else does! Keep on keeping us aware of Internet crime attempts!


    • It’s a constant source of amazement to me how many people announce when they are going on holiday, publish pictures of their children, and tell the whole world their most private details. The web really is an ID fraudster’s heavenly playground, isn’t it!


  8. geraldine says:

    It’s so easy to be duped, you really need your wits about you. I make a point of only mentioning holidays when I’ve returned from them. I never considered it wise to advertise that you were away from home as I didn’t much fancy returning and finding the place stripped bare and unwelcome ‘deposits’ left in place of my possessions.


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