September 03, 2003

Spamming the Ages

Here's an update on the source of the rather odd e-mail we tracked in ITF #12.

As you will all no doubt remember:

The anonymous e-mail offered $5,000 to any vendor capable of promptly delivering a collection of far-fetched gadgets for conducting time travel. Among the mysterious devices sought by the message's author were an "Acme 5X24 series time transducing capacitor with built-in temporal displacement" and an "AMD Dimensional Warp Generator module containing the GRC79 induction motor."

A fellow named Dave Hill, one of the e-mail's many recipients, decided to track down the time travelling spammer.

With a little deft Photoshop work, Hill created an online store offering a range of the sci-fi items sought by e-mailer "Bob White." In July, Hill even shipped by UPS an old hard drive motor disguised as a "warp generator" to an address provided by White.

But when White gratefully acknowledged receipt of the parts a few days later and earnestly asked for help obtaining others, Hill decided to end the stunt.

"I expected him to tell me at that point that it was all a joke, and he'd give me the punch line," said Hill. Instead, Hill began to worry that White was "a person challenged by reality and as such deserves our sympathy and support."

Hill's hunch, it turns out, was correct. An investigation has revealed that the time-travel spammer is dead serious about his quest for technology that can rewind time.

Our time traveller turns out to be something of a disappointment — a delusional spammer who sends out other messages offering bogus "cash grants." This is somewhat akin to learning that all those Nessie sightings are most likely the result of boat wakes on the surface of Loch Ness. Not really a surprise, but somehow disappointing anyway.

The spammer's father claims that his son has been bilked out of quite a bit of money by unscrupulous recipients of his e-mail. I don't doubt that part. Read the whole thing. It's quite interesting.

via Allah is in the House

Posted by Phil at September 3, 2003 09:09 AM | TrackBack
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