Cops and Robbers

The deluge of GDPR emails has finally dried up, thank the Lord. For the uninitiated, GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation 2018. It’s the latest wheeze from the European Union intended to strengthen the law about the collection, privacy, security and retention of personal data. The new rules are fairly straightforward, if a little OTT – like so much that comes out of Brussels. I’m all for protecting the little person from the exploitation of corporate bigwigs but I can’t help thinking the reputable will comply, the disreputable won’t bother and those squeezed in the middle will be bewildered – think brown owl trying to chivvy up the girl guides or some poor sod juggling the mailing list of a local am-dram society. I doubt it will stop nuisance calls from India or spam emails from God knows where. A case in point was the mailshot that recently dropped into my inbox from a US company. They were trying to flog me such must-have products as a concealed ankle holster perfect for a sneaky armed robbery, a decorative bracelet knife because Saturday night’s alright for fighting and a magnetised holder for the loaded pistol I keep under the sink next to the Fairy Liquid (that’s a joke, obviously). Every trailer should have one. Did I subscribe to this crap? Nope. Did I unsubscribe straightaway? Yep. Will it make the slightest bit of difference? Not a chance.

If you like to see my own half-cocked GDPR kinda-compliant privacy thingy, you can see it here. Happy reading.

My Brokeback Mountain Moment

My Brokeback Mountain Moment

Recently, I received a solicitous email from an ‘admirer’ who wrote:

You look nice and charming, to be honest, I can’t pass your page without saying HELLO to such a gorgeous person like you. I am really very sorry if my message upsets you, but i just can’t stop looking at your profile on Facebook.

My name is XXXX, I am from Callaghan, Texas, USA, I live in IOWA city, not that far from City center, i am gay and what about you?

Usually this kind of thing comes to me via Facebook. And most contacts are from young ladies who haven’t checked my profile despite it virtually screaming ‘poofter’ at them. Delete and block.

As this was an email, curiosity got the better of me and I Googled Callaghan, Texas. According to Wikipedia, it’s a small ranching community near the Mexican border. Images of strapping cowboys flooded my mind – sweaty chaps in chaps, saddle-sore after a hard ride and in need of a good rub down. It was my Brokeback Mountain moment.

I’m not daft. I know the message was either from a scammer or some Third World likely lad trying to climb out of poverty. And who can blame him? Whoever he is, he brought some brightness to a dull day. Sadly for him, I’m not in the market for a new model nor am I sugar daddy material. I just don’t have the ‘handbag’ for it as they used to say in Polari. My adoring ‘Texan’ was consigned to spam. Sad face.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Lonely hearts1

I’m used to receiving tons of emails telling me that a little blue pill will put the spring back into my step or I’ve hit the jackpot in the Burkina Faso National Lottery. The spam filter on my account picks up most of them and after they’ve been screened by MI5, I’m only troubled by a trickle. Now Facebook is getting in on the act. Hardly a week goes by when I don’t receive a private message from ladies in faraway lands looking for love and, no doubt, bowled over by my sharp wit, winning smile and Judy Garland vinyls. This is the kind of thing:

“Hello Am linda, i saw your profile today and became interested in you, i will like to know you the more, and i want you to send an email to my mail so that i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am. Here is my email address (xxxxxx{at} yahoo.de) I believe we can move from here. I am waiting for your reply in my mail don’t send it in the site. Remember the distance or color does not matter but love matters allot in life Note!!! that am not always online on facebook, so do not contact me in facebook contact me directly in my email address at (xxxxxx{at} yahoo.de)”

“hello, My name is Alina, I saw your profile here as i was just browsing through facebook, I will be much pleased to have communication with you,I have a very important thing to discuss with you please reply me on my email address:(xxxxxx outlook com) because am not always on facebook but we can communicate through my private email ID, i will send my pictures to you and more details about me. God bless you.”

Spot the similarity? Me too. Whether it is just an attempt to scam me (and a thousand and one others) out of my bank account details or a genuine international mating game for the lost and lonely, you’d think they’d do their homework first before barking up the wrong tree.

Spamalot

Pay Day LoansGenerally, I enjoy this blogging malarkey. I’m little troubled by the cyber-trolls and infobahn ne’er do wells. But, one tedious aspect of blogging is the endless stream of spam attacks – over 34,000 so far. If only I got that amount of genuine interest. Most get picked up by WordPress’ spam filter but a few still sneak through. I receive an eclectic range of spam – the collective weaknesses, desires, vices and foibles of humanity are laid bare in Latin, Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese (and probably in Runic if I bothered to decipher) mixed in with the endless machine-generated auto-babble. I could develop RSI just from the repetitive deletes. Since our return to Blighty, I’ve noticed an alarming increase in the number of dodgy comments from pay day loan companies (parasites, actually). These micro loans are designed to lure the financially embarrassed as they struggle from one wage to the next. Shooting ducks spring to mind. There’s a recession on. Some people are short of the readies and easily seduced. I looked up one of the more well-known lenders who advertise on the box. Their ‘representative APR’ is 2414%. Yes, you read right – two thousand, four hundred and fourteen per cent. I hear the ConDems intend to cap the rates these lenders charge – this year, next year, sometime never. These smiley cyber-sharks in sharp suits don’t need to send in the heavies to bully the desperate. They can afford to drop a few pounds and a couple of percent and still be quids in.