Meet a grammar assassin’s phishing fail

Meet a grammar assassin’s phishing fail

A customer just sent me this phishing attempt they received via email. I’ve blocked out what they wrote along with the 6 lines of cc: email addresses for obvious reasons:

Screen capture of a badly constructed phishing attempt by a spamer

Not sure if they should be arrested for phishing scams or the egregious use of upper case letters.

It is eye-wateringly bad.  Oh James, James, James! This is what happens when you don’t pay attention in class. You end up spending your life writing unreadable phishing scams and living in a cardboard box, wondering why no one is taking you seriously.  I don’t understand the wretched use of upper-case letters. What did the alphabet do to deserve this level of abuse from you? And don’t get me started on the basic construction of the email.

James’s phishing scam examined

Hi, This Is James Tyron,  From PC CARE  SOLUTION And The Reason You Are Receiving This Email Because We Will Like To Inform You That The Services Which You Have Signed Up With Us Has Been Expired.

So, The Services Will Be Automatically Renewed In 2 Days And The Renewal Charges Will Bei599.00$(USD) For Lifetime Technical Support Contract And It Will Automatically Debited From Your Account Because You Have Signed A Contract With PC CARE  SOLUTION For The Auto Renewal Contract However,  If You Dont want To Continue With Our Services Then You Can Call On Our Customer Helpline Number:+1 (321) 351 6089

This Is Our Cancellation Department’s Number And Ask For (James Tyron) PC CARE SOLUTION  To Cancel The Services And after That You Need To Fill Up A Cancellation Form In Order For The Services To Get Cancelled and We Will Like To Inform You That The Services Which You Have Signed Up For The Computer Protection.

I Hope You Remember That You Called Us when You Were Facing Problem And Errors in Your computer And Printer And Fixed That Problem And You Paid Us Certain Amount And The Invoice Of That Contract Was sent To Your Email.So Kindly Call Us On +! (321) 351 6089  If You Wish To Cancel The Contract Otherwise The Contract Will Be Renewed Automatically and The Money Will Be Debited From Your Account.




The only thing missing in this letter was a huge neon banner reading “THIS IS A SCAM”. I broke the message up a bit to improve readability, but it didn’t really help. I struggled to read your message James. But I tried, I really did. I wanted to take you seriously, but my god man! If you want to defraud little old ladies here, work on your basic sentence construction. And please, remember, Google Translate is not your friend.

A little advice for you James

Let me help you out James. Here’s some free advice, just for you. Start a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a basic English primer. Amazon carries an extensive selection. Start with English for Dummies and work your way towards slightly more complex ideas like, when to use upper case letters.  It’s a tough business you picked. Defrauding people requires a bit of effort, and clearly you haven’t put any in. You might want to consider hiring a career coach. They could offer invaluable advice on job options you are better suited for.

Time for a career coach

Look James, at least master the basics of blind carbon copy before diving into the criminal pool. Save yourself the embarrassment. Or better yet, try a job at MacDonald’s. I’m sure the abuse piled on you as a Micky D employee will be far less than the ridicule you’re receiving for this laughably bad phishing attempt. Plus, you will get a pay cheque in return.  You can have a couple cold cheeseburgers at the end of your shift.  A win-win situation.

What I’m trying to tell you James is … well … you just don’t have what it takes to be a criminal mastermind. I’m not sure you have what it takes for MacDonald’s but give it try.

An unfortunate incident with the microwave

An unfortunate incident with the microwave

“There was an unfortunate incident with the microwave” is not a sentence that inspires confidence in humanity. I’ve been visiting someone in hospital for awhile and often use the communal microwave and kettle. Last week the microwave disappeared. So did the kettle. By the second day of them missing in action my curiosity got the better of me. I asked one of the nurses what happened, and she scrunched her face a bit and mumbled something about an unfortunate incident.

Of course my mind went into overdrive wondering what the offending incident was. I’m quite sure the actual offense as quite benign, but I can’t get past the fact both the microwave and kettle were taken away. Hanging around hospital rooms is a bit boring so I latch onto anything that may be mildly entertaining and the AWOL microwave provided a tiny bit of amusement. After talking to staff on the floor, I heard stories that would make anyone despair. Luckily this week a new kettle and microwave appeared in the room. HURRAY – I can make crappy Styrofoam tea again. On Tuesday, I wandered in to heat up some soup and spotted a list of DO NOTS posted on the wall over the shiny new microwave.

The list on the wall

Photo of list of things not to microwave now posted on the wall


Most of the usual suspects are on the list – metal objects, tin foil, Styrofoam and flimsy plastic containers. Someone always pops one of these in, usually because they are distracted and not thinking. But a few of them made me stop and ponder how humanity hasn’t self extinguished already.

Evidently people love to stuff clothing into the microwave to warm them. I’m all for toasty clothing, but no, just no. The previous microwave was very small. Not even big enough to put a bath towel into let alone a blanket. Seems people were always stuffing blankets into the microwave and panicking when they began to burn.

The hot peppers? Oh man, have you ever been in a room when someone over nukes hot peppers? It’s like being pepper sprayed. Not something that should be done in a hospital. The smell and capsicum drifting in the air could level a rhino in 30 seconds. So yes, people had to be warned not to pepper spray sick people.

The grapes make me believe humanity is truly screwed. Just think of it for a second or two. Grapes are little sacks of soft, fleshy liquid. Super heat them in a microwave and you have itty bitty nuclear bombs ready to explode. If some of them survive the exposure without blowing apart while heating, imagine biting into one. I wonder how severe the burns to lips and tongue would be. I shutter each time.

For the time we are happy to have access to a kettle and microwave. They’ve been clean for 3 days now. I figure when I go in tomorrow, everything will be back to normal – ah I can almost hear the sounds of eggs exploding in the microwave now.

It was a brilliant idea – now if only I could remember what it was

It was a brilliant idea – now if only I could remember what it was

This Post-it has been stuck to my desk for months:

Post-it note with the word "epiphany" written on it

The first part is easy – it’s a site I wanted to look up. Not a clue what the epiphany moment was. I remember thinking “THAT’S BRILLIANT” (with multiple exclamation points required) and then the second thought was a fatal “Oh I’ll remember this”. I keep it on my desk in the vain hope I’ll actually remember what the earth shattering idea was. It’s really bugging the shit out of me. I’m at that awkward age where I keep pretending my memory is as elastic as it was at 18. If it was, I wouldn’t have 6 notepads half started with scribbled little notes. And yes, I do have 6 notepads on the go. I keep leaving them all over the city and have to start a new one when I can’t find the old one. When I retrieve the misplaced notepad, usually a friend or customer sends me a note about it, I put it in the pile until it’s rotation comes back up.

Was I going to change the world? Would it lead to enlightenment? Or maybe it was the perfect espresso ratio? Whatever it was, it’s lost for ever.

For want of a good proofreader – layout tunnel vision

For want of a good proofreader – layout tunnel vision

We’ve all seen posters/signs that make us shake our head and mutter “whoa, what were they thinking”.  It’s usually an amusing typo or a grammatical error that raises our eyebrows. Occasionally it’s the layout that causes us to stop in our tracks and ask “wait, what?” We all lay clangers and, sometimes, we don’t spot them for months. It’s not easy catching your own mistakes, which is why a ruthless proofreader is worth their weight in dark chocolate.

A sign making the rounds on the Internet lately that had me blinking a few times in a bit of disbelief.

A badly designed poster example that appears to advocate abuse, rather than prevention

Proofing isn’t just about catching typos and grammatical errors. It’s also layout and how the product flows. And oh boy, a fresh set of eyes would have caught this before $ were spent.

I’ve made a couple things that looked ok on the monitor but when printed, it became obvious the layout altered the message. I find it endlessly fascinating the difference between design for a monitor or small screen and print. What works for an iPhone may not translate well to a large poster and vice versa. The above sign drives home how tricky even a basic sign can be. Our eyes follow natural paths that can have unintentional consequenses. A bad case of designer tunnel vision can blur the message. Everyone involved in the poster design knew what the message was, but didn’t stop to see it through new eyes. Lots of words to incorporate, really want to stress the primary message and not seeing how the words flow.  “We Support” is great – nice use of a friendly font that draws the eye to it. Then the mistake occurs. The focus is on child abuse not prevention. Such an easy mistake to make. Shrinking “child abuse” would have solved the problem. Increase size of “prevention” so it fills the sign, bumping month below to match the other 5 letter words would have created an interesting flow that would have emphasised prevention, which is kind of the point.

I have a folder with signs and posters that should have worked but didn’t for a variety of reasons. I keep them as a teaching tool for myself. I filter through them trying to figure out how a small change would have made a difference. I also have a folder holding what I think are spectacular examples of beautiful layout. I spend quite a bit of time looking at them, trying to figure out what makes them so successful. I have a thing for professional designers. Their work can have a profound impact on how we see the world around us – signs on buildings, posters, movies titles, magazines and books but we’re oblivious to the person(s) who created the work. Most of us flatter ourselves we can whip up a poster in no time because hey we have the software and a computer. But good design is so much more than knowing how to use the software. It’s an eye and feel for the work. It’s knowing how to communicate with an audience. Good design also means good proofreading. You can’t have the first without the second.



Do I see mammoth burgers buried under that ice?

Do I see mammoth burgers buried under that ice?

I needed  tea on Sunday and zipped over to the local Sobey’s to grab a box or two.  Don’t go there often for a variety of reasons, but they’re the only ones in the area that carry the tea I like, so needs must. While whipping down the aisle to the tea section,  I spotted this: Photo of malfunctioning freezer unit with ice buildup

I had this irrational desire to knock on the freezer door and ask if Philip J Fry was there. Oh come on, admit it, there’s never an inappropriate time for a Futurama reference.  It wasn’t just one freezer unit with serious issues in that store. Freezers in the front and the back look like this. After poking the packages I figured out they weren’t cryogenics units but the frozen tundra.  Photo showing serious ice build up in an industrial freezer

If I had brought a little ice pick I could have excavated and seen if there were mammoth bones buried under all the ice and snow. And, be still my beating heart – do I see prehistoric steak cut fries buried under that snow and ice?

Photo showing serious ice build up in an industrial freezerLooks appetizing, hmm? Those Jamie Oliver meals look tempting too, don’t they? I suspect it’ll be a hell of a struggle seperating those boxes from the shelf. A blow torch might be required.

More freezer burnt food

On the upside, the staff are keeping the freezer units well stocked.