Asshat convinces woman with Alzheimer’s to buy 11 organs.

Scott Lewis Heyder sure knows how to take advantage of someone with a disability. Over the course of a year and a half he convinced a 79 year-old woman with Alzheimer’s to purchase 11 different organs as trade ups on the claim that it would improve her playing. In all she was milked of $25,000.

“I think it’s unconscionable, especially after the family confronted this sales person and said our mother has mental failings due to Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Doll said.

The Spring Hill woman began buying and trading organs at the Fletcher Music Center at Gulfview Square Mall in 2003 after taking lessons there. Detectives requested that she not be publicly identified, fearing she might become the victim of another financial scam.

Heyder encouraged her to buy an organ for about $1,650, detectives said, and within days he urged her to trade up for an organ costing nearly double. Weeks later, the woman had traded up organs twice more to one costing nearly $5,000 and her family confronted Heyder.

But less than a year later, Heyder sold the woman more organs, the sheriff’s office said, including four on a single day in August.

Heyder’s been arrested and charged with felony exploitation of the elderly. He’s currently being held on $10,000 bail. The same article also describes how another elderly Alzheimer’s victim paid out over $90,000 to a landscaper for yard work he never performed. He’s also been arrested and charged with the same crime. Asshats like this almost make me wish there really was a vengeful god out there someplace.

Death in Family

I guess I will be in mourning for the next little while! Apparently I have had a whole rash of relatives killed in automobile accidents in Nigeria over the last six months to a year. I get one of these letters every second day or so and am afraid that if this keeps up the world will soon be without any Janssen’s at all. The strange thing is that I didn’t even know I had relatives in Africa. I thought all my forebearers came from Northern Europe! Oh well, I am off to Wal-Mart to buy a black suit!
Regards
Allan

Reporting e-Mail Fraud

Hey everyone,

When I first joined this site, I used an e-mail address specifically created for here, from my domain.  I don’t recall using it elsewhere.  I’ve gotten some minor spam, but a couple of days ago I started to receive “phishing” fraudulent e-mails at this particular address.  Three pretended to be from eBay, and today I got one pretending to be from LaSalle Bank.  It said that after clicking on the link, I should enter my Social Security number as username and first six digits of SS# as password. 

Here is what I have done about it; if anyone can think of more useful ways to destroy these criminals, I’ll be glad to know about it.

I report all spam and fraudulent e-mails to SpamCop.  Additionally, I forward fraudulent e-mails to the FTC at spam|@|uce.gov I went to eBay and reported each fake eBay e-mail, and I went to LaSalle Bank and did the same.  The place on these sites to look is generally called “Security”.

Anyone else had this happen lately?  If so, I suggest taking action on each one.  I think it’s worth the time.

Nigerian scammer tries Instant Messenger.

Had this exchange with a Nigerian scammer this morning:

    [11:56] barristerphilscorp: Hello, I am barrister Jc Philscorp from Nigeria, I am the personal attorney to late Mr Peru Jenkins, who worked with Brownson Five Inssurance Company here in Nigeria. My late client deposited the sum of $20 .5 million in Light Year Investment Bank Limited. This bank has given me some time to provide the next of kin to my late client or they will confiscate the money. Do you know this man?

    [11:56] stupidevilbastard: Oh shut up you fuck.

Surprisingly enough he did what I told him to do.

 

Confusion About Word of God to be Cleared Up

Holy Cow! This is very serious good news, folks.
First let me update you on the back ground. Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, a new Muslim – Stephen says Islam eschews the use of the word, convert – is in the process of informing us all, Battle for the Mosque is Joined: Founding a Center for Islamic Pluralism, that he and several other luminaries have started a new think tank charity – could it be a faith based initiative? – called, Center for Islamic Pluralism. In short, Stephen and his collaborators had planned (I’m sure this morning’s great event has put that on hold for a few weeks) to reform Islam, sort out what Muhammed really heard from God, to make it safe for US consumers, unite Sunni and Shiite Muslims and explain how all the Wahabi stuff exported by Saudi Arabia is a misunderstanding of what Allah really meant.

Now that is a worthy undertaking indeed and I was just in the process of telling Stephen what I thought when the most amazing thing happened – and it’s not just for Muslims! After all these years, God is finally going to straighten out all this confusion about what it is that He thinks. This is very big and is going to fix, not only the problems with the various interpretations of the Koran but it covers all religions, all religious texts and all the translations and interpretations. It will eliminate all the confusion – for the religious right and religious wrong, alike (even President Bush and Tom Delay and Osama and liberals, too!). Peace on earth, including the ME, is at hand … we’re very close now.

I’m very excited about this but rather than retell the story, I’m posting the very text of what happened just as it happened as I was posting. I was amazed and humbled, as I’m sure you will be too:
 

  Message: Sure, not a bad idea.

  But why the ancient middle men? Do you not think that Allah has been thinking some, himself these past millenia? It is entirely possible that Allah thinks what Muhammad thought Allah thought and the many folks who think they think what Muhammad thought Allah thought is really what Allah thought all may have lost a bit in translation and understanding over these many years.

  My humble suggestion is to get all the folks together who are at odds with each other over just what it is that God thinks in an appropriate forum, some very large place with a good sound system to hear just what it is that God thinks now.

  Excuse me a moment …

  Wow! Me? Ok, got it.

  Yep, God was a bit frustrated, even angry. But He’s ready to give it one more shot and thinks I’ve got a good idea here.

  So, here’s the deal: I am, quickly, starting a think tank – a faith based initiative – charity think tank with God. We are going to have a few conversations going over a few thousand years and update everything, modernize the terms, examples, parables, laws, etc. We’re going to remove all the ambiguities and straighten out the problems that have occurred all these many years with the various misunderstandings. God says he thinks it’s only fair, after all: ‘I am but one God’, he says, ‘and from what I see and hear of all the versions and reinterpretations of what I thought and said and meant really do need to be re-stated in modern terms, once and for all.’ He goes on, ‘Then these suckers will have no more excuse for all this nonsensical mayhem and chaos.’

  I feel extremely honored, folks, to inform you that God has chosen me to be his modern spokes-person [God was very specific that I not say spokesman – he was considering using Shirley MacLain for this]. Over the next several weeks me and God will be ready to deliver His updated Word in no uncertain terms that all will be able to understand. Let me warn you up front, folks. God says, ‘Alright, Dan, one more time. But I’m warning you – if these idiots don’t get it this time there’ll be hell to pay’.

  Whew, that Guy sure does have some wrath! So you’d better let everyone know that I’ll be ready in about a month to deliver the updated and very clear truth about just what it is that God thinks. First I have to get my, oops – I mean Our, website up, of course.

  In the meantime, Stephen, God says, ‘Tell them pluralistic Muslim guys, Whoa! They might as well get this straight from the horse’s mouth instead of the other end.’

  We’ll be back in touch. Oh yeah, God says we’re going to need lots of money to help get the new word out and He wants all of you to know that I am the exchecquer for this operation.

I didn’t realise I could post here (if that’s what I’m doing) but just wanted to share this wonderful news.  I’ve also posted it at: Confusion About Word of God to be Cleared Up

My brother receives Jesus Prayer Rug scam.


The prayer rug.


The sales pitch.

My brother contacted me through MSN Messenger last night to tell me about this amazing item he had received in the mail yesterday from the fine folks at Saint Matthew’s Church out of Tulsa, Oklahoma that just sounded amazingly wonderfully amazing: The Anointed Jesus Prayer Rug.

Now most of you don’t know my brother, but he’s largely responsible for my education in evilness and the darker side of my sense of humor is a result of his influence over the years, which is a fact I’m sure he’s quite proud of. This makes it perfectly understandable that someone out there might see him as a soul in desperate need of saving, but it turns out that’s not what this amazingly wonderfully amazing bit of mail was all about. No, the mail assumes that Wes is already saved and it offers to help bring the Lord’s blessing down upon him and his family. In particular, the mailing makes a point of emphasizing the idea that the Lord will grant him a financial blessing. All through the amazingly wonderfully amazing power of the Anointed Jesus Prayer Rug. As a bonus the rug itself will perform a minor miracle to prove its authenticity:

Notice the face of Jesus on this Church Prayer Rug. When you first look, you will notice that His eyes are closed. If you relax and continue looking straight into His eyes, you will see His eyes slowly opening, and He will begin looking back at you. Jesus sees your needs (Philippians 4:19). Use this unusual, important, Church Prayer Rug for tonight only.

Let us ask you: Would you like to have God’s blessings upon Your home, your family and your finances? Say, “Yes, Lord Jesus, I do need Your financial blessings upon me and my family’s finances!” Deuteronomy 28:6 Just put a mark (√) by your needs below, telling us that you want prayer. Also, check any other needs you are facing. Pray about sowing a seed gift to the Lord’s work. Give God your best seed and believe Him for His best blessing (St. Luke 6:38). Now, go and use this Church, Faith, Prayer Rug. The Lord is watching and waiting. You are about to enter the Holy Spirit of God right here in your home, through this faith exercise. Then, it is a must that you return it for another to use.

You can see part of the sales pitch by clicking on the image to the right underneath the amazingly wonderfully amazing Anointed Jesus Prayer Rug. As it turns out this whole thing is another religious based scam that promises the overly credulous true believers riches from God in return for a little “seed money” for Saint Mathew’s Churches, which only exist in the form of a Tulsa post office box, natch. The only person getting rich from this scam is the Rev. James Eugene Ewing who seems to have built up quite a racket with this and other similar scams to the tune of several hundred million dollars:

The approach reaped Ewing and his organization a gross income of more than $100 million since 1993, including $26 million in 1999, the last year Saint Matthew’s made its tax records public. And while much of the money is spent on postage and salaries, Ewing’s company receives nonprofit status and pays no federal taxes.

Though Ewing claims it is a church, Saint Matthew’s Churches, once called St. Matthew Publishing Inc., has no address other than a Tulsa post office box. It has two listed phone numbers in Tulsa and both are answered by a recorded religious message.

The organization is not related to other Tulsa-area churches named St. Matthew’s, though many of them have received calls asking to be removed from its mailing list.

Ole Anthony, founder of the Trinity Foundation, a nonprofit religious watchdog group, has tracked Ewing’s organization for years. The foundation was largely responsible for exposing televangelist Robert Tilton in 1991 after Anthony said he found prayer requests sent to Tilton in Tulsa trash Dumpsters.

Doing a Google search for Jesus Prayer Rug will reveal that a lot of people have written about this scam including our friends over at Chaotic Not Random as well as Ryan Cragun who handily provides a PDF of the complete mailing that he scanned in. This mailing and others like it are sent out at an estimated rate of 1 million a month and are aimed mainly at the hardcore true believers who are poor, uneducated, and most vulnerable to promises of financial reward for a demonstration of faith. The mailing includes a story about a woman who received a $46,000 windfall and another of someone receiving $10,000 after using the prayer rug. Gee, that God Guy sure is generous!

At the time, Tilton and Ewing shared the same Tulsa attorney, J.C. Joyce. Saint Matthew’s Churches is incorporated at Joyce’s downtown Tulsa law office and the organization paid Joyce’s law firm more than $2.6 million for legal services during three years, records show.

Anthony has also obtained documents that describe how Ewing and his organization use demographic data to target the poor.

‘He capitalizes on the isolation of the loneliest and poorest members of our society, promising them magical answers to their fears and needs if only they will demonstrate their faith by sending him money,’ Anthony said.

‘He is, quite literally, the father of the modern-day ‘seed-faith’ concept that fuels the multibillion-dollar Christian industry known as the ‘health-and-wealth gospel.’—Religion in America:  ‘St. Matthew’s Churches’ Mail Ministry is Highly Lucrative

It’s hard to say how illegal this sort of scam might be. While recipients are encouraged to send in money in return for the blessings promised in the mailing, there’s nothing that states it as a requirement so it’s technically not selling you anything other than a false hope. My cynical side says this is what you get when you buy into a concept as ridiculous as Gods and that those folks who are fleeced by it deserve the pain they’re bringing on themselves for being so credulous, but my sense of fair play also seeks to see people like the “good” Reverend here strung up by his testicles for taking advantage of the willfully stupid in the population.

It doesn’t take much cleverness to fleece folks who will believe wholesale in the idea of a Virgin Birth and who put more stock into Genesis than Evolution and that’s the biggest crime Christianity has visited upon so many of its believers. Some of you folks truly are like sheep and you’re just as defenseless when the wolves like Rev. James Eugene Ewing put on sheep’s clothing and come prowling around.

Phony “computer of the future” pic reveals even CEOs are gullible.

Back on September 9th over on Fark.com there was a Photoshop contest where participants were asked to manipulate a mock up of a submarine’s maneuvering room. One of the submissions was the following image which portrays the control room as being a guess on what a Personal Computer in the year 2004 might look like:


Click for a bigger pic!

It’s a clever and amusing picture and I can recall getting a pretty good chuckle over it when I saw it for the first time on Fark. It’s also apparently easy to believe. As often happens, someone ended up emailing the pic to someone else who ended up forwarding it onto yet someone else and so on and along the way someone decided it would be funny to claim the picture was from an old 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics. It wasn’t long before it was showing up on various blogs all the while whizzing around the net clogging up email servers by the thousands. Ha! Ha! People back in the 50’s were such morons!

That this happened isn’t at all surprising. What is surprising is the fact that a couple of big IT CEOs, whom you’d be inclined to think would know better, fell for the hoax hook, line, and sinker resulting in the folks at Popular Mechanics writing up a “don’t blame us” article pointing out that it’s a fake. Not that there were entirely certain about that themselves at first.

A manipulated photo of a mock submarine console (above), passed off as a 1950s projection of the 2004 home computer, was used by Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Scott McNealy in his Oracle OpenWorld keynote speech yesterday in San Francisco to illustrate how rapidly technology improves. And this past fall, Lotus founder Mitch Kapor posted the image on his blog before later posting a correction.

Even we scratched our heads for a minute after first seeing the graphic. But after a closer look, everyone agreed that something wasn’t quite right. More research revealed, much to our relief, that this was one prediction we did not make.

Good old Snopes.com has had an entry up about it for awhile now, but even without consulting Snopes all it should take is a good close look to see that this isn’t likely to be a real picture. Still, it’s funny and it makes people feel for a little while that they’re smarter than those who came before us so most folks don’t bother to question it, but it’s still surprising the number of folks involved in the IT industry who are fooled by it. Not three days ago it made an appearance in a staff meeting I had to attend where at least two of us (me being one of them) had to bum everyone else out by revealing the truth. I’m such a party pooper.

 

Pennsylvania sues to shut down diploma mill.

You’ve gotta admit the folks who run Trinity Southern University in Texas must be amazing educators. They’re so amazingly surprisingly good that they managed to take an ordinary house cat and teach it enough about business administration that it was able to graduate from the school with a degree and a 3.5 grade average. Not only that, but in this day and age of rising tuition costs they managed to pull off this incredible feat for a mere pittance. For some reason, though, the state of Pennsylvania thinks something is amiss and is suing to shut the school down.

Investigators paid $299 for a bachelor’s degree for Colby Nolan — a deputy attorney general’s 6-year-old black cat — claiming he had experience including baby-sitting and retail management.

The school, which offers no classes, allegedly determined Colby Nolan’s resume entitled him to a master of business administration degree; a transcript listed the cat’s course work and 3.5 grade-point average.

The state is seeking a permanent injunction, civil penalties, costs and restitution for violating consumer law and restrictions on unsolicited e-mail ads.

Personally, I think this is a bigoted and transparent attempt to keep cats subservient to humans by denying them the ability to gain the necessary degrees needed in the demanding world of business administration. Many cats already have the requisite talent and dedicated self-absorption to be professional syndicated cartoonists so why not MBAs? It’s naked speciesism at its worst.

Latest email scam playing on religious belief is amazingly laughable.

Woke up to find another email appeal for money in my inbox. This is another in a growing trend of scams that prey upon the overly credulous religious believers out there. It has the feel of the classic Nigerian scam in that it asks the recipient to respond to the message if they are interested in helping, but the content is designed to appeal to the religious believer concerned with helping the needy and poor in the rest of the world. I’m not sure if the poor English is intentional or not, but it makes from some amusing reading. I especially loved the line about how the religious war going on has “claimed the life of my parents whom their children are now under our custody.”

Whew! I’m glad she was able to get custody of herself!

Anyway, the appeal for any donation no matter how small—even a penny will do the email claims—is a nice touch as no one who is likely to respond to this email would ever send an amount that small. The request to help spread the word is new to this scam, but makes sense in light of the angle it’s trying as the people most likely to fall for it are also the most likely to be willing to help get the word out to other highly credulous people. A simple Google search turns up absolutely nothing for the “Green Life Rehabilitation Foundation” that’s listed in the email and the address (which I’ve snipped out of the full email in the extended entry) claims it’s located in Nigeria, West Africa. If that doesn’t set off warning bells then you’re a complete and total idiot and that’s just the sort of person these folks are looking for.

From: Green Life Rehabilitation Foundation.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Please do not be embarrassed to receive this mail from us, we are a non profit charit organization based in surburb area of Enugu state. Our mission is helping the less previledged and down throden ones by providing help to them in the way we can.

Our mission is providing assistance to the young motherless peoples of our community and the poor old ones, inorder to make them survive the hustle situation of things down here. Therefore due to increase in the number of people we are handling, the cost is becoming too heavy for us, but we still give all thanks and Glory to the almight God for all his protection and upkeeping of our home, and to the good ones here down here who are doing their best to support out effort; but still it is not easy for us as our duty is getiing wider on daily bases due to different calamities that often befall our community most especially the religious war that claimed the life of my parents whom their children are now under our custody.

We therefore decided to contact or reach the people of the world to appeal for their individual help and support of any form to our organisation so that we will be able to deliver our services well. Due to the fact that We have a duty to help others in this life and monetary support is the easiest way in our present day society to do just that.

Since our mission is to help provide clothing, shelter, food, healthcare and to support the children in providing educational facilities to them and the individuals all around our community and this our part of the world that do not have these things available to them.  It only takes one person to make a ifference in ones life, therefore all we ask of you is to donate even 1 cent, that’s one penny and I’ll tell you that With that penny you will realize that one person can truly make a huge difference in this world.
 
It is also our duty to allocate some portions of money raised among different organizations, charities and other programs to help those that are truly in need of it.  If everyone that receives this email was to tell someone else and donate their penny.  Overtime the money gained would be mind boggling and this would continue throughout time, in reality building on itself and the support and aid that could be given would be unlike any other.  A few of the organizations that we plan to donate to is toward AIDS and Cancer patient, that are poorly taken care of here, and many other charities foundations throughout the the community and Africa at Large that deeply need the help of the world.

I do not really know how exactly we are going to get this program or mission expressed but I hope and know that eventually this will meet someone that can help and will take a serious approach to my task at hand. With the funds we plan to set up a program that will collect pennies from the concern citizens of the world to assist those that are in real need.

In life we have to speak our voices and know that there is always someone listening. We have to know that when the opportunity comes to help if your intentions are genuine, and you can provide support you shouldn’t hesitate to do so.  I pray that this touches someone.  Know that we will all be better off in the future for this. 

Therefore if you will be interested in donating even a penny to our organisation kindly contact us back for further information about that. This is if this touches your human feeling, we pray that you understand my point in this, therefore we would be very happy if you consider our appeal and donate even a cent just for the support of work of God in helping to keep the world going.

Our prayer is that you help us to help the needy. May God bless you as you contribute to this.

May God bless you abundantly as God loves a cheerfull giver.

I am mandated by other senior members of our organisation to disseminate this information, therefore if it pleases you to assist us in this duty, please mail us back at: for further information.

Thanks and best regards.

Yours Faithfully,

Joanne Chris.

Possible scam using the good image of the ICRC.

Got the following in my email this morning. Click it for a bigger version:

So I did a little checking. As far as I can tell, the Red Cross doesn’t use e-gold to accept donations, but rather a service called SaferPay. The HTML in the email is pretty piss-poor compared to the ICRC website and the English in it is poorly translated at best. Plus it makes heavy use of God in its plea for your donation, which is a favorite tactic of scammers these days. It is clever on the part of the fraudsters that they are only asking for one dollar as they know a lot of folks will donate much more than that.

Now, I’ve not found anything official that debunks this email as of yet, but that could because it’s very new. It has all the classic signs of being a fraud short of a link to a fake website. Many of the images in this email are hosted at a domain that doesn’t correspond with the ICRC like you’d expect if it were a legit email. Going to the address found in the HTML code presents you with a standard welcome screen for a website that has just been set up, but no index page has been installed as of yet. “This is the future home of blah blah.com. If you’re the account administrator click here to login, etc..” Interestingly enough the scammers included an e-gold account number in the email (I’ve blurred it out) which suggests they have a legit account at e-gold—a service which purports to deal in gold transfers—that could be a way of tracking them down by the authorities.

If you want to help out the ICRC then go to their website and check into the different ways you can donate there instead of responding to an email such as this. Always be wary of emails asking you to donate money on behalf of a well-known organization and check with the group themselves to see if it’s legit.

Update: I forwarded this email to the folks at the ICRC on the off-chance that they hadn’t heard about it yet. I got a reply not too long ago which confirms this is a scam:

Dear Sir,

We thank you very much for your message and for your interest in the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

We confirm that the ICRC never gave its permission to this company to use
its logo for such a fundrasing campaign and we have just asked the chairman
of E-Gold to remove it immediatly from their website.

We hope that the other surfers will be as aware as you of this fraudulous
practice.

With our thanks,

Patricia Siegfried
Private Sector Fundraising

I’ll need to send a follow-up note explaining that it doesn’t appear that the folks at e-gold were behind this or even aware it was happening, only that they were the means the scammers appeared to be using to collect the funds. If nothing else, the folks at e-gold should be able to suspend the account number listed in the email. Anyway, now we know it’s definitely a scam.