BBC Three Plans New Watchdog Programme on Scamming

March 26, 2016


The BBC Watchdog programme continues its series on phishing and scamming. We report from a LWD subscriber on a classic scamming attempt

My first semi-smart phishing message purportedly from an old friend was realistic.  It said that he was trapped, having lost his wallet and passport in a hotel in Singapore. We had worked together there, and it was at least possible that he was there on a business trip.

This was a few years ago, before the scam became tiresomely obvious. Its slight error was to leave the impression through its style that it was that phoney. It was not quite how my friend would have written it (no mention of our shared experiences, for example, although these would not ‘prove’ much).

I can’t remember when my initial suspicion turned into certainty, but I ignored the message.

Since then I have had various versions, including the classics on:

The billions available to me in Africa

The unpaid bills I must pay

The inheritance awaiting confirmation

The ‘check’ on my corrupted bank account.

These are mostly implausible   A few I report to the IT department of my employer, whose name I will not mention here. These have always turned out to be rubbish to be deleted.

My advice is: do not reply directly. Never supply information of a sensitive nature. Check by other means where your friend is.

Best wishes

Suggestions welcomed

Suggestions welcomed, although I hesitate to publish any that might incur wilful scamming from malicious spirits out there [TR]


Merry Christmas to Bots everywhere

December 25, 2013

BotWhy not Merry Christmas for Bots? Plenty of people give their pets Christmas presents and wish them Merry Christmas

Bots are not lovable. This time of year they compete from out attention with images of puppies, children, glamour dads and mums and assorted cuddly toys.

Just for Once

So just for once, I want to raise a toast to the Bots that are changing our lives. 24/7 they are there for us, scanning words and images, channelling them to a myriad of other botpals. It’s through such efforts that the WWW has grown into the greatest species of the age, truly a digitatus magnificus

What is a Bot?

According to one informed [human] source:

A bot (short for “robot”) is a program that operates as an agent for a user or another program or simulates a human activity. On the Internet, the most ubiquitous bots are the programs, also called spiders or crawlers, that access Web sites and gather their content for search engine indexes.

Then there are the chatterbots, specializing in providing weather and location information, and sports scores.


eBay is losing its battle to prevent bots being used to search its site for bargains.

Botfair comes to Betfair

In the UK, Betfair have taken the more tolerant route enabling them to manage bot interactions just like those with mere human site visitors.

Malicious purposes

OK, so some bots do naughty things. Such as denial-of-service attacks, click fraud, spambotting, phishing, and grabbing the best good seats for concerts. Wherever in fact the Smithsonian and Darwinian powers of free enterprise and competition thrive. Even as I write I learn of the fate of the inventor of The Butterfly Bot, and the problems of 250,000 computer users due to cryptolocker bot blackmail.

But I still find it in my heart to extend my best wishes to those bots as well. They know not what they are forced to do. Maybe they will find redemption through their patron Saint Jobs, of the Latterday Church of Bots.


So there we have it. “To every hard working slavebot out there, a happy and botfulfilled Christmas“.