The p-p-p-powerbook story is one of great internet detectivery, drama, scamming the scammer, and lulz. Once upon a time, there was a SomethingAwful goon named MyNameIsJeff. His friend named Corey had an Apple Powerbook in brand-new condition which he wanted to sell, because it was 9 days past the 10-day return limit. Jeff tried to sell it on eBay with a starting price of $1,700 and a Buy It Now price of $2,100, and eventually got this awkwardly-worded reply:
Hello I am very interested in your unit. I would like to know your best price if you buy it now and if you ship international. I am in London UK right now. I would also like to know the condition of the unit. Please let me know I am very interested. Thank you in advance.
Jeff responded that he would ship to London, but that msalamon would have to pay the overseas shipping costs.
Jeff then received a reply telling him that msalamon was using an escrow service that would pass the money on as soon as he viewed the item and made sure it was in good condition. Jeff, using his detective skillz, instantly recognized this textbook scam. He was going to just type FUCK YOU in font size=5, or perhaps spam the guy with goatse, but he decided to post it to the SAforums.
Instantly, Grom confirms the escrow service isn't legit and Starbucks gets the WHOIS information and sees the site is registered to one Saral Sarakul, a college professor from Indiana. Jeff almost sent him an email with some of the information they dug up on him, when he decided to instead mess with the guy.
Jeff played the part of a noob, asking what escrow is and if it is safe. The scammer told him it was, in fact, safe, and Jeff responded with this gem: "It is too bad we are settling this outside of eBay, because I was going to leave you "EXCELENT EBAYER!!!!!11 A++++++++== WOULD SELL TO ANYTIME". Jeff wrote to eBay telling them about the scammer, and some eBay did its typical response of telling him the definition of Escrow service for some reason. Jeff sent an angry reply to the eBay rep before getting an email from the escrow service telling him to mail the merchandise to the buyer.
The scammer told Jeff to put a low price on the package as taxes are 27.5% for imports, so of course the math fags told him to mark the package $8,000 so he'd have to pay $2,200 for the duty. EricFate decided on the plan:
Send a three ring binder with a hand drawn keyboard taped to the inside of the bottom flap, and a hand drawn screen taped to the inside of the top flap.
Jeff further took advantage of the scammer's lack of English and left this in his next email: "I only wish I could leave you feedback on eBay because I wanted to leave EXCELENT SELLAR A+++ [email protected] LQQK OMGBBQ or something like that. I think feedback is so cool! I like to come up with new and exciting ways to leave it!"
Then it was time to make it.
- 3 Ring binder
- Failed CD burns
- Broken keyboard keys
- Printout of Something Awful thread, sans links to SomethingAwful
- Shock pictures
- Pencil shavings
The package was valued at $2,100 and weighed as much as an actual Powerbook.
After construction (see pictures on the right) Jeff received an email from eBay confirming once again that his partner was a scammer. The account the scammer used to get on eBay was a hacked one.
Jeff received another Engrish email from the guy, this one reading:
OK What configuration have the apple?
Please send me today the package becouse I need soon.
Please send me the track number.
Jeff asked for donations to pay for his shipping and ended up with over $100. After getting enough money to ship with FedEx, +$15 extra, he felt some troll's remorse before he stopped being a pussy and choked it down.
Turned out he needed a phone number in order to send it, so he emailed the scammer and was instantly given a fake number. The number was given to FedEx and the package was on its way.
Pipski and Starbucks then went on a recon mission to the mail address used by the scammer. It was a combination barbershop/internet cafe (silly British people). They took some photos of the shop and posted them.
Jeff got a note on the forums telling him the package status was "STANSTED GB". (London Stansted is an international Airport in the UK) No one knew what the hell this meant. This was apparently normal for Powerbooks and customs rejected the forms because the price was declared. This didn't really matter though and it cleared itself up, though Jeff did almost shit himself in the process.
Not too long after, Starbucks posted
Starbucks recorded the truck delivery with a webcam. He also set the cafe computers' screensavers to read P-P-P-POWERBOOK!
The package ended up being delayed. Someone had to find out what was up, and Jeff didn't want to. Gizmo Gun called FedEx and told them that she and her husband were worried about the package. FedEx told her that they were waiting for him to call in. She didn't authorize for him to pick it up at the FedEx shop for obvious reasons.
Gizmo was called back by FedEx who told her that Jeff would have to pay for a storage fee or pay the taxes in order for it to be delivered unless the scammer contacted FedEx soon. Jeff emailed the scammer telling him if he doesn't contact FedEx then Jeff will just pay for it to be returned to Seattle. The scammer went to FedEx and paid the fee, and was told he would receive it the next day or on that Monday afternoon at the latest.
While waiting for the status to update, the board erupts in a flame war. Eventually the package is released for delivery and the package is released for clearance.
The package was then in transit in the UK. The thread was temporarily closed, but OMGWTFBBQ reopened it.
After making hundreds, if not thousands of goons have a lollercaust, Jeff sent one final email to the scammer. It read:
It sure took a long time, but it got there! I was worried for a while! I thought I had lost my powerbook for good in some kind of scam
I wish I didn't pay for such fast shipping, now that I see how long FedEx takes. Please let me know when you are done checking everything and making sure it works. I packed it pretty well. I hope shipping didn't bang it up. You will see I included some extra books. I didn't really need them now that I got rid of the powerbook.
Anyways, I still cannot log onto the escrow site. Will payment still be sent even though they are having connection problems? I realize I never gave my address or any bank account information for payment. If I were to give that to you, would you be able to get it to them so they can send the payment? That would be great. I need the money to pay my rent.
I am curious... What did you end up paying for the taxes? I wanted to know because I still want to refund some of the money to you
Jeff has one last statement to the scammer:
I WIN YOU FUCKER!
Eventually the scammer sent Jeff one final e-mail.
For security purposes the attached file is password protected. Password 27735
This was in fact a W32.Beagle virus, which was a piss-poor excuse for anyone to try to fuck up anyone's computer. Not only did Jeff's virus checker immediately pick it up, in fact a three-year-old with brain damage could pick it up.
Seeing that this had failed, the scammer then launched a Denial of Service attack against Jeff's website where he had posted the story so far, which was a failure since this guy couldn't even spell properly, let alone launch an attack against another computer.
He probably tried using the Powerbinder he got in the transaction.
Read what you just read, only in first person and on a crappy .pdf<-- lol squatted Read what you just read, only in the first person! In html! Huzzah!<-- deader than Osama
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