Remember When We Killed That Bum?

I was sitting at work, happily working hours of overtime for no pay, when I got an instant message from a young lady that used to live with us. (She’s now in college, doing quite well — I’m incredibly proud of her, but that’s another story altogether…) Anyway, here’s how the conversation went:

Jess: hi
Jess: hw u doing?

Me: Eh.
Me: I’m alive. :)

Jess: i need your help fast

Me: What’s up?

[the next lines came faster than any human being can type]

Jess: I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, I came down here to London, United Kingdom for a short vacation unfortunately i was mugged at the park of the hotel where i stayed, all cash, credit card and cell were stolen off me but luckily for me i still have my passport with me. I’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and my flight leaves soonest from now but am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let me leave until i settle the bills.

[I didn't think it was a scammer, I actually thought it was Jess pretending to be a scammer, which was funny, so I played along]

Me: But you’ve got WiFi, so that’s good.

Jess: Please, all I need now is just lend me $900 or any amount you have at hand now and you can have it wired to my name via Western Union I’ll have to show my passport as ID to pick it up here and i promise to pay you back as soon as I get back home

Me: You know — you could probably hock that laptop you’re on for 900 bones.

Jess: am on someone elses computer system here in the hotel where i am

Me: And that’s a problem?

Jess: and i won’t stay here for long

Me: Even better! Grab the computer and go!

Jess: pls do something

Me: What are you talking about, anyway?

Jess: am serious
Jess: in UK now

Me: Your IP address does not trace to the UK

Jess disconnected

At which point I thought the fun was over. I texted the real Jess to let her know her Yahoo account was compromised, and went back to work. A minute later though…

Jess: are u there?

Me: Yes, I’m here. You want me to send money to your name, to Western Union in London?

Jess: yes

Me: Who went with you?

Jess: me alone

Me: Does Marge even know you left? I saw her yesterday!
Me: Jess?

[long pause, at which point "Jess" is obviously looking over our previous conversations]

Jess: dad

[Jess calls me Dad, true, but it wasn't really an answer to the question!]

Me: Did you tell Marge you were leaving?

[oh yeah, there is no Marge, I was watching the Simpsons in the background]

Jess: no
Jess: am sorry
Jess: i never knew it will result all this

Me: I’ll let her know you’re OK. Do you have a local Western Union I can send it to?

Jess: yes
Jess: there is one close to the hotel

Me: I actually only have $750… perhaps the hotel will let you settle?

Jess: yes

Me: Otherwise it will be a day or so before I can get the rest, the bank is closed.

Jess: am scared
Jess: the hotel management is threatening to hand me over to the police

Me: I understand. Let me know the Western Union address, and I’ll go up to the Hippry Market and send it out.

["Hippry" was actually a typo, I was going to make up some OTHER funny name, but since it was made up anyway, it didn't really matter]

Jess: can u go and send it now

Me: Yeah, but they need to know where
Me: When I sent money to your sister for her boob job, they needed the address of the place it was going

[Jess has no sister. I also didn't really say boob job, but I wish I had...]

Jess: just tell them u want to send it to the information i gave to u

Me: Sweety, you just said you’re in the UK. I’m sure you’re scared, but can you get more info?

Jess: this is the address to send it to
Jess: Name: Jessica , State: London W10 4AH, Country: United Kingdom
Jess: when u get there, send it like this
Jess: Dad…. are u there

Me: Yes, I’m here.

Jess: are u going to send it now

Me: I’m calling your sister to see if she has the other $150

Jess: why not send me the $750 u have with u
Jess: send it first, so that i can settle the hotel bills

Me: I don’t want the hotel to give you a hard time, those people in the UK can be nasty

Jess: i know

[at this point I started to get tired of the conversation, so I figured I should just have fun]

Me: I hear they kill Americans sometimes if they don’t pay!

Jess: if i get that,i can settle them and they will be patient with me

Me: I just want to get you home

Jess: i know
Jess: just go and send the $750 first

Me: Also, your sister just texted me, she’s in Amsterdam. She can fly to London and meet you.

Jess: I need to settle the hotel bills as soon as possible

Me: Marge is going to be really upset though… I can’t believe you didn’t tell her!

Jess: Dad,pls don’t tell her anything about it
Jess: Dad, pls act fast am scared and starving here

Me: Hmm… Who is letting you use their computer? Is it a private location?
Me: Remember when we killed that bum so he wouldn’t rat us out?
Me: Maybe you can do the same to this computer person… Take their computer, and if they chase you… you know what to do. It’s a foreign country, they’ll never find you.

Jess: Dad… I can’t believe u are saying such things now, that i really need your help the most

Me: I mean, don’t be as cruel as you were to that person that stole your identity… They never could identify the body…

Jess disconnected

Oh well, fun while it lasted. :)

10 Comments

  1. Colin Dean says:

    Messing with scammers is GREAT fun. ALWAYS.

  2. Nathan says:

    It amazes me how evil you can be. :D

  3. ChristianT says:

    Harrrrrr. I want someone to do that to me. Too much fun!

  4. Tania says:

    Shawn, as ever, you are so much more AWESOME than I. I got one of those from the account of a friend I went to elementary school with. Who makes serious bank. He’d NEVER ask me for money, he’d have his attorney handle it.

    I <3 you.

  5. Daniel says:

    Awesome. This happened to my mother-in-law and while
    I don’t think the scammer used instant messages they did
    manage to convince at least one person in her contacts list
    that she really was stranded in London.

    I’m glad you were able to give them some of their own
    medicine.

  6. Katherine says:

    Wow, that totally made my day. I was almost in tears laughing by the end. Hmm, wonder how I can be the target of a scammer too!

  7. Metalx1000 says:

    This is just great.
    You’re like the people who mess with telemarketers.

  8. Tierre Brundige says:

    I am so glad you posted this! i needed the Laugh :-)

  9. [...] This scenario was very close to what Linux Journal editor Shawn Powers encountered in 2010. Powers’ approach was, shall we say, unique. [...]

  10. Cal Olson says:

    You are all that is twisted in this world… and I love it!

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