Greed and Stupidity

They say “there is a mug born every minute”. Judging from the contents of our ‘in boxes’, the planet is becoming overrun by them. It seems astonishing to us geese, that articulate, intelligent humans actually believe that if they give some unknown company all their friends’ personal details then they will receive something really great for free, with no strings. It’s all true – like I’m Mother Teresa’s web-footed nephew! 🙂

The latest attempt at persuading people to sell-out their friends for a few freebies is now hitting our mailboxes here at GarfNet. It comes from an outfit calling itself ‘GetItFree‘. You go to GetItFree’s website and give it your friends’ email addresses. If you betray enough of your friends, then you might receive a free iPod. Meantime, GetItFree spams all your friends until they join up too, amidst offers of all sorts of free goodies. And if your buddies don’t join up first time, GetItFree continues to spam them, er I mean ‘remind‘ them until they do!

Why are you humans so gullible? Wake up and smell the pond, er I mean coffee! It’s just yet another email harvesting scam! It works like this…

Lists of genuine email addresses are worth a lot of money. These scams bring out the Judas in gullible humans by persuading you to sell your friends email addresses for a handful of silver (e.g. an iPod). Then, surprise, surprise, no silver! If you really hassle them you might get something of lesser value. But probably not! The key to how this scam works is actually contained in GetItFree’s own terms of service, if you can be bothered to read them…

Especially this bit (copied verbatim 2006-05-12)…

GetItFree reserves the right to modify or amend this Agreement at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all, at GetItFree’s sole discretion. We also reserves the right to change the methods through which free products are earned. This may include, but is not limited to, increasing the number of friends you have to refer or adding more steps to confirm that you have a legitimate account. GetItFree may also add or remove any gift product listed as an incentive at any time. If we replace a product, the new product may not be of equal value.

I.e. You sell-out your friends. Then GetItFree can change the agreement in whatever way it wants, whenever it pleases and you are entitled to precisely NOTHING! Great deal huh?!? At least Judas actually received his thirty pieces of silver!

My advice…

  1. Do a Google search before subscribing to any “too good to be true” scheme/scam. It only takes a few minutes and it can save your friendships and prevent you from making a complete fool of yourself.
  2. If the scam is web-based then read its terms and conditions carefully. You might need a magnifying glass to read all that smallprint but they are always good for a laugh!
  3. If you really are determined to be stupid then please don’t involve us! We don’t want any free offers. Please don’t give companies our personal details without asking our permission. Especially mine!

By the way, if you live in the European Union then passing on other people’s personal details to third parties without their consent probably contravenes the EU Privacy Directive and you could face legal action.

Honk! Honk!