Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sometimes a criminal can do you a favor

File this one under ‘life is best drunk black’.

We know phishing scams are getting more sophisticated. It’s the age old story – target the vulnerable. Mostly the vulnerable are the cognitively disabled, including the ever growing population of once sophisticated adults with new pre-dementia. (Emerging trend: children filtering their parent’s email.)

There are other vulnerables though. People facing medical or financial crises, where desperation trumps judgment. Or people with a missing loved one.

Recently I received a phishing email promising information on my brother. It wasn’t all that well done (no, I won’t point out how the scum could improve); I presume it was an amateurish attack from some online registry.

Coincidentally it came in around the 6th anniversary of my return to Saint Paul from Whistler Canada. Nice timing!

Ironically, the crooks did me a favor. They made me check the old domain I setup years ago. I was shocked to find it pointing to my hosting service – Lunarpages. Turns out a credit card had expired, and the registration had lapsed. Lunarpages still held the domain, so once I fixed the card they restored the service. (Now I have to figure out what happened to their missing notifications, and whether I want a different host.)

So here’s a thanks to the scum-sucking lice running phishing scams against the families of disappeared persons. You did me a good turn. Tell me where you live, and I’ll return the favor …

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