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Internet Scams

Is There a Scam Letter in The Hobbit?

With a film adaptation of JRR Tolkein’s The Hobbit now being made, Stephen Granades has re-imagined Thorin’s letter [^] to Bilbo Baggins as a Nigerian scam (419) email.

"Dear MR BAGGINS, Fellow Conspirator,…I and my twelve companions have agreed to give you 10% of the total gold and jewels that the dragon Smaug now rests upon if you can join us on our long journey. When you have agreed please tell us the place where you dwell and send one hundred pence so that we might travel to you." Live Granades – Hobbit 419 [^]

Stephen has tried to keep as much of the original as possible, but that hasn’t stopped commenters mangling the prose in order to get a more "authentic" 419 scam [^] style message.

I think that this small taste of The Hobbit has been enough to make me want to go back and re-read it.

JRR Tolkein - The Hobbit

Internet Crooks

There have been a couple of different views of internet scammers that I have read recently. 

The Big Steal (1990)

At [^] recently there was a comparison of the con-man in the digital and pre-internet ages.  Lore Sjöberg argues that in earlier times the con-man was an artist, individually tailoring each scam for each victim.  Once you had been bled, at least you had a good story, a very expensive story, as some form of consolation.  In the digital age you are just one recipient amongst many thousands being targeted but the scammer today.  Has the art of the scam been lost, or maybe the scam is just mass-produced so many other things in this modern age.

Confidence tricks revolve around gaining the confidence of the victim, and as obvious as most internet scams appear there are still plenty of victims.  This victims are often new to computers and the internet, luckily there is a group looking out for them – and I don’t mean the “security” software companies either.  The Age [^] has run a story about a group that are working on getting revenge on internet con-artists.  This group are known as scam-baiters, and they actively seek-out scams.  Along with the revenge aspect they also work with authorities to publicise the the issues and help to provide evidence for a conviction.

It seems that as far as the digital scamming is concerned the art may very well have moved on to the scam-baiters.  The efforts that they go to for no return, other than being able to feel good about themselves, are amazing.