Monday, July 12, 2010

Monkeying around with my muse



I believe the Monkey Playing Cymbals merits some more explanation. So if you click on the link on the left (the highlighted "Monkey Playing Cymbals" text) you will find the first blog post dedicated to the little bugger. He eventually took on a life of his own and had his own blog for awhile. But he gave that up because he has a very short attention span (he is a monkey after all) and in all honesty, he is only a mechanical toy that doesn't really work.

There, I said it. The monkey isn't real. Oh, he is a real object, but he doesn't really talk or move outside of my imagination. This may come as a great shock to anyone who already followed the monkey on my blog. But at least I now have the monkey off my back.

I really shouldn't blame the monkey anyway for not having interesting things to blog about. I could blog about many things going on in my life, but unfortunately, since this is a public blog, I have learned the hard way not to share too much personal information on the Web.

I used to think it was okay to just blurt out anything about my life and history. But a brush with a stalker and a heightened awareness of identity theft and fraud have made me err on the side of caution as to what I talk about.

I will say that I have been trying to sell a 1978 Bally Pinball machine online. I'd bought it about 12 years ago in my bachelor days. It took up the better part of my family room in my old house. For the past five or so years, it has taken up a corner of my garage covered with blankets. It is a great vintage machine that actually still works. It is just like a machine I used to play at the Student Union Building when I was in college and the Playmates depicted on the machine were Hugh Hefner's favorites. Since he never seems to date anyone under 23, I imagine they have long since retired.

Anyway, I have trying to sell the machine at a site called Mr. Pinball. Right after the ad went live, I received this e-mail:


-- 
Hello,
Do you still have the above item for sale for sale?i would want to know the present condition as well and arrange for the shipping myself,i';ll like to know if you would accept a cashier cheque.....kindly email me back as soon with your final asking price.i reside in U.K and your quick response will be highly appreciated.
Thank you.
In the good old days, I would have been elated and trusting about receiving such an inquiry. But I was immediately skeptical, especially since Mr. Pinball warned buyers and sellers about scam artists trying to bilk people with a scam whereas they send a counterfeit cashiers check for more than the amount of your item (to cover shipping and your inconvenience). The check apparently clears and you wire the shipping money to an address designated by the scammer. Then the bank discovers the check is bogus and you are libel for the money you've wired.

So even though I figured the e-mail was a scam, I replied to "Mr. Perry Bridge" who for some reason lived in the UK but had no command of the English language or any apparent knowledge of pinball machines. I sent a few photos of the machine and said I'd accept a check but wouldn't ship until it cleared the bank (this was before I'd done research on the cashiers check scam). 

Mr. Bridge fired back this e-mail:

Hello,
Thanks for the quick response.i will be buying the machine you have
for sale,so kindly reserve it for me.However, the payment will be
deliver to you this week or next week...So please as soon as you
receive the payment, get it cashed immediately, deduct the money for
the item and send the remaining balance to the shipping agent that
handles the shipment via Western union money transfer. Moreso, I'll be
giving you an extra $40 for keeping this item for me till the
shipper's come for the pick up and to know you're selling this to me.
So in view of the above, Here are some of the details I will need for
final issuance of the Check or MoneyOrder to you.
(1) Full Name
(2) Mailing address, not p.o.box please
(3) your direct telephone number both home and cell.
Once you get back to me with all the above informations, the payment
will be issued out immediately and it will be sent to you.
hope to hear from you.
Best regards.
Perry

All of my red flags were flying full mast at this point. I did a quick Google search and discovered Mr. Perry Bridge who uses the e-mail addresses "king.kuyt0009@yahoo.com" and "king.kuyt0009@gmail.com" was quite the active buyer. He had used the exact same e-mail trying to purchase several other pinball machines, a horse trailer, a horse, and various other big ticket items online that would require a hefty shipping cost wired back to the shipper (who we can bet was Mr. Perry Bridge). 

Okay, all of this depressed me. There was a time when I cashiers check was pretty much as good as cash. Now if you sell something online, you are pretty much stuck using Paypal or only selling for local pick up and demanding cash. 

I thought about goofing with Mr. Bridge like I used to do with the Nigerian spammers in the old days. But, although it would waste the spammers time, I didn't have the energy. 

I realize that this was a major digression from writing about the monkey, but I think in a roundabout nonsensical way, it was relevant. The moral is that, not all monkeys are as they seem to be and there is a lot of monkey business on the Web.


1 comment:

JP/deb said...

it's hard to be circumspect ... but, that is the day we live in :(