Posts in Category: Stories

How to get your phone stolen online

(and meanwhile get your PayPal account wiped)

Last week I got another BlackBerry Z10 as a gift. Since I already own one, I put it on sale on a craigslist equivalent for my country.

Just after seven minutes I got an email! With much excitement I open it:

It comes from "g.....a.g.....n.....e...r....[email protected]" (uhm... what's this address? On gmail dots are ignored, it has been edited this way to avoid searching on Google, the real address is [email protected]) and it says "I am interested to that phone, it's still on sale?"

I answer from my disposable email account: "Of course it's still on sale, I posted it less than 10 minutes ago"

I get immediately a response (from a different email, [email protected]) he says he is an Italian but for work reasons he is temporarily located in Abidjan, and he needs my Z10 so badly to happily pay 100 euro more than my asking price, if I can send it immediately via ITALIAN POSTAL SERVICE.

This is the proof that the guy isn't an Italian, otherwise he would have NEVER asked to rely on the ITALIAN POSTAL SERVICE to deliver such an expensive and fragile item! wink

However, I answer "sure, send money to this email, and I will send the phone immediately"

Just a few seconds later I get a phishing email from [email protected] (I guess PayPal is cutting on budget, can't afford professional email, must use the free yahoo mail) written in bad Italian: money is arrived, if I click and insert my PayPal password, I will receive the money. wink

Super cool! In this way the scammer gets my phone for free and at the same time he steals my PayPal password, for having a free shopping spree!

So, I click the fake link in the fake email, and I get a fake site where, inserting my fake email with a fake password like "omgimdumb", I see that the fake payment has been credited on my fake account, cool!

I answer "Whoa, that's a fast payment! I send it quickly via italian postal service, it will arrive very fast, I'm sure about it."

Not understanding my irony, he answers me "Thank you! Send it to:

ZIP code:12 BP 2479
Country: Ivory Coast
TEL: +225 66751492

I answer him: Wait for it impatiently, will arrive very soon

Alice and Kev

Cleaning my bookmarks, I found this old blog from year 2009: Alice and Kev. Old story, you might say, but I find it interesting.

The author created an homeless family in The Sims 3, removed all the money and let them live in a garden, leaving them live according their digital personalities, writing a diaries of their autonomous adventures.

Alice is a kind-hearted girl, but also is shy and with a low self-esteem, while her father, Kev, is an antisocial mad guy that hates kids.

The story has already reached a conclusion, but it's still interesting to read its evolution.

Nowadays, springs are so expensive...

At job I bought a Xerox Phaser printer, and it's not bad. That printer has an optional kit to that enables to take extra thick media. Cool, I say, and I order it. I open the box, that is a normal dvd case, and the content is this:

The kit it's just a cheap spring???????

Before that I tell you how much this spring is sold, let's do a survey: How much this spring is sold for?

After answering the survey, you can see the price on the official Xerox price list.

Have you seen my nutcracker?

Tsk! A nutcracker is for losers, I'll show you how to open a walnut with hands...

1 year of Amazon in Italy

As you might guessed it from my writing style or something else, I am Italian, so I guess it would be nice to tell some stories that might be not known outside the country.

One year ago Amazon started to operate in Italy.

They started with a viral campaign in Rome and Milan with a box with amazon logo (no name on it) and the slogan "it's not the usual box". Well, now you might not understand it, but we have a way to say "dare un pacco" (give a box) that means "to cheat sb". (ex: "that seller gave me a box!" might also mean "that seller cheated me!"). So this has caught the attention, because no name on the advertisement, just the "amazon smile" and the slogan that could also be understood as "it's not the usual scam"

Just a couple of billboards and the media talked all over of it. For free. Brilliant.

They added the whole ISBN catalog to their website, carrying preorders for books not on stock: probably it is the only company in Italy that will charge the credit card only at shipping time, instead of order time. If the book is out of stock, you just order it, you will be charged only when they ship it. Awesome, right?

Some publisher did not like this idea and complained:

We are a publisher of poetry and stories. We sell our books exclusively on our ecommerce. It's not possible to find our book anywhere else. But from today we are on How Amazon could sell our books without our permission? [...] It's unfair!

Actually, if I were a publisher, I would be extremely excited to have my books listed for free on a mainstream catalog instead of an obscure ecommerce!

Of course Amazon just removed their books from the store, and that publisher was even happy about that!

I would like to say thank you to Amazon to remove us from their marketplace, understanding our problem. This is a good signal. [...]

I wonder how they can be happy about this, I took hours to find this story again on Google (I read it months ago), due to the obscurity of this publisher...

What I find revolutionary about this company is how they care about the customer. For example at work my computer was infected by a virus, and it had a strange redirect on the amazon login page: it became in English suddenly, asking SSN and ATM PIN number. After I contacted the customer service, not only they immediately understood the problem, but they called me on my mobile phone (calling a mobile phone in Italy is ridiculously expensive), forcing me to change the password.

Another day I added my friend address to send a gift when I was abroad, they called me again to make sure I'm not a scammer! How many ecommerce websites would do that??

Another way to advertise themselves is that they applied a 30% discount to the whole Italian books ISBN catalog. Awesome idea!

Was the government happy that a foreign company invested millions to build an huge warehouse (probably the bigger in the country) and hiring hundreds of people in a period of economic crisis?

No, of course! A new law, dubbed "anti-amazon law" was created, forbidding to retailers to apply a discount bigger than 15% on books!

Even the publisher itself can't discount their own books, they can do at most 25%, for at most 30 days, at selected locations.

Weird! That is a crazy way to limit the culture in a period where the people has to save money.

Who will buy remainders and unsold stock at just 15% of discount???

I guess I have to say farewell to that old, unsold books, sold at just 1€ (90% discount) in supermarkets...

As smart as a moth

The other day I was using a gas lamp. The air temperature was quite cold and, without gloves, I was a little uncomfortable. I noticed that the lamp emitted a pleasant warmth, so I started to keep my hands close to the glass.
I turn back the hand to warm the other side...
BANG! Here's the result!