Snopes: Ashley Florres

I’ve been browsing on Snopes.com, which is an awesome directory of chain/forward message legends and scams and whatnot that have been running around the internet. It also tells you whether the forward message is true or not. Or if it’s just a mixture of true and false that has strayed so far away from whatever it used to be. It’s an awesome site, and if you receive a chain message which you just don’t know is true or not, check out Snopes.com and search for it.

The tale of Ashley Flores is one of the top 25 messages that are going around the internet right now. It’s about a 13 year old girl from Philadelphia who went missing.

Only it was completely FALSE.

Here at Snopes is the forward message in it’s entirety. It includes a picture of an attractive brunette with a big smile, seen below.

Excerpt:

My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing. She has been missing now for two weeks. It is still not too late. Please help us. If anyone any where knows anything, please contact me at ____@_____. I am including a picture of her.

All prayers are appreciated!

Some people on Facebook fall for the “send this message to 15 people and your account will not be shut down. Signed, Founder of Facebook.” Many people on the interwebz fell for this message in a similar way. Because starting a forward message and sending it to everyone you know is the best way to find a (fake) missing girl. “Keep the picture moving on.”

And you would want all the help you could get, if it was your child. Only if it was your child, would you start a forward message begging your friends to take a couple of seconds to forward it to their entire address book?

This is an awfully pretty chain and pendant.

This is an awfully pretty chain and pendant.

Yeah, maybe. Because according to this forward message, the internet circulates overseas. People use TV to advertise real missing people. Why not a chain message? Brilliant idea! Noting that no official report was filed about Ashley, you could bypass the cops, the Missing Children organizations, the signs in supermarkets… just start a cool chain message talking about a FAKE person who doesn’t even exist!

Heartless is the brute who refuses to forward the message and instead deletes it. There’s a fake missing child at risk here! Do it for your fake missing child that you don’t even have!

According to Snopes, this alert falls into one of two categories. There’s the chain message that goes around about a real child who really is missing. And it goes around and around and around, even after the missing child has been found. At which point people are really really annoyed and wish they never started the forward in the first place.

Then there’s the message that is a hoax. It implores readers to look for fake children who aren’t missing and who don’t exist. That’s the category this one falls into.

And if you were making an email about a real person and telling people about it, wouldn’t you say where the girl went missing, when she went missing, when and where she was last seen, a physical description, contact information for her parents, contact information for the local police, and so on. But no. This is a very vague forward, with vague information. Her mother is a deli manager from Philadelphia with a daughter that had been missing for two weeks. How many deli managers from Philadelphia are there? The forward gives the impression that only one exists.

505418473_7082b290d8Snopes’ verdict?

In this case it was a particularly bad and widespread prank, one that left thousands and thousands of concerned citizens attempting to verify the status of a missing girl who wasn’t really missing.

And that’s what makes this forward particularly nasty. People were worried about this girl. They tried to find out whether she was found or not. They spent time and energy worrying about something that didn’t exist.

And after a version appeared over the signature of Staff Sergeant Rick Williams of the Rolla Police Department, they spent money calling the Rolla Police Department to ask whether Ashley Flores was all right. Even though the department confirmed that there was no official report of a girl named Ashley Flores missing, the department still receives hundreds of calls every day asking about this teenager.

Who doesn’t even exist. And even if she does exist, she’s not lost at all.

All this mess and nastiness and worry just because someone thought he or she would have a bit of fun screwing with people’s minds. There’s a reason pranks like this example are illegal. It also hampers with communications and law enforcement operations.

It’s sick, that’s what it is.

When you go on Snopes, you can find reports from a police department as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Picture credits: knitsteel and j2dread.

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Become the Ugly Cartoon You’ve Always Wanted

This doesn’t have much to do with anything. It’s just an ad I saw on Youtube.

However, I think it’s quite humorous, if not a little sad.

uglycartoon

I’ve seen lots of ads offering the same type of purpose: make yourself into a pretty cartoon whom everyone will like. I even saw an animated add of a rather unattractive housewife sitting in front of her laptop and smiling. Then it cut to an animation. Her altar ego on the site was really really sexy. Big, perky boobs, white teeth, all the goods.

sororityTotally unlike the poor woman.

Facebook has a lot of advertisements like this. Cruise through Facebook, and chances are if you are female and indicate yourself as so, you’ll see various ads for making hot avatars of yourself and having fun with imaginary guys who have hot avatars but in all likelihood are fat overweight middle-aged men who don’t have anything to do with their time.

Like Sorority Life. It’s the hottest game for the hottest girls, the ad proclaims. I’m not a hot girl and no one would consider me so. That’s fine. But in real life, no one looks like that. Do they? Do they?

I kind of hope not. It’s just so… unreal. Real ladies don’t have waists that small and breasts that big and tooshes that curvy.

It appeals to those who have never walked a catwalk and never will. Not that it isn’t fun. But…

And the cartoon figure is always WAYYY hotter than the real person they use as an example.

That’s why this ad doesn’t make any sense. Angelina Jolie is one of the most beautiful women I’ve seen. Why would she take a picture of her and make it ugly and then show it off 100% free? Why would anyone want to make an uglier version of themselves and throw it around the interwebz? It’s totally beyond me.

And why do her arms look so stringy?

“I’m so beautiful! I guess I’ll see what it is like being ugly for once.”

Nah.

But using this site’s services, you can become the cartoon you’ve always wanted to become.

Albeit an extremely ugly one.

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Wealthy Dater

Was on Yahoo. Whenever I go there to catch up on celebrity gossip (no, I actually go there to gawk at their fashion mistakes. Really.) I can’t help wondering just how many dating sites for the rich and well known there are.

Why are these wealthy people so lonely?

Picture 1

Is it any coincidence that this was posted in response to every single Yahoo celebrity blog post there was? As well as embarrassing picture?

britney-spearsThis particular one was posted in response to a picture of Britney Spears in one of her getups. (It was also in response to a picture of Mariah Carey at Jackson’s funeral, among others.) The story was about some Swedish newspapers threatening to boycott her because of some media restrictions. I can see why.

In regards to Britney, I had a wonderful time trying to find a decent picture of her that didn’t have her naked or out partying. All the good pictures were of when she was 16. Those days are long gone.

Can’t we see her sane, happy, and beautiful again?

Back on topic.

According to this spammer, Katie Holmes, the wife of scientologist Tom Cruise, has been seen on this specific millionaire personals site. “I am wondering what kind of relationship she is seeking on that site.Is she single again now?”

She is not. Sorry to disappoint.

So was hotel heiress Paris Hilton. I don’t think Paris will have any trouble finding someone else  because she’s just so out there.

In case you were wondering, there’s a man version of this spam.

spam

Same user, as you can see.

Maybe the spammer is bisexual.

The response to seeing a beautiful (or not) celebrity, for y.melly, is to say, “She is my favorite.”

For a man, it’s, “OMG he looks so handsome.”

Even if he doesn’t look handsome at all.

Paris Hilton is as beautiful as it gets. 

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A new twist on the ol’ 419

ni-lgflagPAYMENT NOTIFICATION OF YOUR FUNDS.

Definitely, I know that this letter will be a surprising one to you.

Firstly, I will like to introduce myself formally as Prof. Charles So ludo, The Executive Governor of The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

You are been officially contacted by me today because your Inheritance Funds were Re-deposited into the “Federal Suspense Account” of CBN last week, because you did not Claim your funds as the Rightful beneficiary in our Corresponding bank.

TRANSACTION CODESHNFXX17439OPP
PASSWORDREXV1999900000
To proceed.
First i advice that you copy out your transaction codes.
1.New Payment Reference:- 321009871
2.Allocation No: 6890132
3.Password No : AB911001
4.Pin Code No: 978
5.Certificate of Merit Payment No: 090
6.Released Code No: 0763
7.Immediate Telex confirmation No: ws0014433
8.Secret Code No: XXFGN013

Well known to all, The Central Bank of Nigeria is the mother Bank of all commercial Banks here in Nigeria.

This morning at about (9:00am Standard Pacific Time), I was alerted by my Secretary that Three men were at my Office Reception waiting to see me and so I told my Secretary to let them in.

To my surprise they were two UK LONDON and one Nigerian Attorney, and they introduced themselves as (Mr. Tim Parker, Mr. Roland Gulf, see them telephone +447031906572 UK and accompanied with them was a Nigerian Attorney with the name (Barrister Okoya Williams).

Really these men were unexpected by me because their visit was impromptu. I had to ask them why they came to see me in person and they said that they were here to Collect the Inheritance Bill Sum of TEN Million Dollars(US$10,000,000:00) which rightfully belongs to you, on your behalf. These foreigners actually claimed this beyond reasonable doubts.

At this development I asked them who authorized them to come down to Nigeria for the Collection of this Payment and they told me that you asked them to come and collect this Funds on your Behalf. Infact this was the biggest shock that this Bank have ever received so far because your Inheritance Funds is still in the “Federal Suspense Account” of CBN, yet you sent these men to come and collect this Funds on your behalf without notifying us.

We in this Bank do not understand why you sent these men to come and Collect your Funds on your behalf. If actually you want them to help you Collect your Inheritance Bill Sum, atleast you should have informed me as the Executive Governor of this Bank.

They actually tendered some Vital Documents which Proved that you actually sent them for the Collection of this Funds. Honestly, it really baffles me that you took such decision without my consent.

Here are the Document which they tendered to this Bank today:

1. LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION.
2. HIGH COURT INJUCTION.
3. ORDER TO RELEASE.

Actually, these Documents which they tendered to this Noble Bank is a clear Proof that you sent them to Collect this Funds for you. Finally, I told them to come back by Monday morning and they promised to come back.

As the Governor of this Noble Bank, I was supposed to Release this Funds to them but I refused to do so because I wanted to hear from you first. Due to the Nature of my job, I will not want to make any mistake in Releasing this Funds to anyone except you whom is the Recognised Bonafide Beneficiary to this Funds.

Kindly clarify us on this issue before we make this Payment to these foreigners whom came on your behalf.

In receipt of this confidential Letter, you are required to call this Bank immediately you receive this Confidential Letter.on +234-80240007952 and send me this relevant informations
YOUR FULL NAME
OCCUPATION
NATIONALITY
AGE
PHONE AND FAX NUMNER

OFFICIALLY SIGNED.
PROF. CHARLES SO LUDO.
DIRECTOR,KTT DEPT,

Here’s an interesting new spin on the old familiar 419. Instead of offering me a deal, the Nigerian scammer comes to me with a question: apparently  my Inheritance Funds were deposited again because I didn’t claim them as a responding beneficiary (whatever that is). Maybe in the past I contacted them but didn’t go through the deal, so they want me to take another chance.

Or they just want me to go, “What the heck? Did I contact them? Really?”

He also frames an accusation against me. I sent three men (he says) to collect the funds on my behalf. I have bolded this section so it will be easier to find. I did not notify him or the other people in the bank. I just went ahead and sent them to demand my money. “If you really want us to help you, then you should have told us first.”

Yeah, right.

Anyway, he’s just being nice. Those three men that I supposedly sent… he wants to hear from me first so he can be sure that it’s me that wants the money, and not some scammers. (Though it really would serve him right.)

Note the random capitalizations.

All the same, it’s very likely that this one attempt to get me or any other readers hooked on a scam. And a very interesting way to try to get someone’s money. He makes up some accusatory letter to someone he does not know in attempt to get them hooked. It’s all very well, because I’m not falling for it. I don’t talk to this kind of people.

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Guardian Angel

Picture 3

I got a nice poem in my inbox. It basically thanked me for being a part of the sender’s life, whether for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. It also seemed to be a simple way of checking to see how many friends actually check their email.

You knew there had to be a catch somewhere, right?

There is. Picture 1

I’m supposed to forward the message the same day I receive it. “We” (who the heck is we????) believe that “something” is about to happen. And then it says that I’m an angel. Nice. And that something wonderful is going to happen to me and my friends.

It will happen at 10:35 AM. And as per instructions, I am not to break “it.” I have to send the message to at least 7 of my friends.

The email also gives more details as to how I’m going to claim my prize.

Picture 2

Wait, not just 7 friends, but everyone online? Including the person who sent it to me? That’s a lot of people!

And if I get 0 replies, it means that I have to work on my people skills. Meaning that I have to stop sending these crappy chain messages. And that these crappy chain messages are driving away all my friends. That makes sense.

That, or you really really need to start spamming your friends. Or find some friends who will spam you back and so contribute to the spam chaos in the world wide web.

2 replies: you probably need to find more people that buy into chain messages.

4 replies: You’ve picked your friends well. You’ve picked a good number of people who buy into chain messages.

6 replies: Among the chain messaging world, you are one popular person.

8 or more replies: Wow. You’re so awesome. You’re singlehandedly contributing to 50% of the spam in the world by forwarding chain messages. You will win a prize, and maybe your love life won’t go down the drain after all. And that’s why you’re on MY list. Which can be translated into “and that’s why you’re MY friend.”

Send chain messages. Spam the Web. Good luck forever!

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Song Publicity

I love to write.

I like to write poetry.

And when I write the perfect piece of poetry that will touch everyone’s hearts and move them to tears and spontaneous combustion, I know it. Since my work is so awesome, I want everyone to know about me and my awesome work. Yup.

But how do I promote such a work? I need people to read my song and comment on it. And talk about about how they were moved to tears and spontaneous combustion… yup yup.

So of course, I go for the obvious: Youtube.

After all, what better way to promote my song than by posting it to any random youtube video?

wrotesong

3324701060_b25c21c47fNever mind that my grammar is awful and I don’t know that capitalization and punctuation exists.

Never mind that I don’t know how to spell, either.

And spaces are optional.

—————–

When I saw this spam on Youtube, I had to laugh. And squint at the screen for a while before I realized that “chrous” is actually “chorus.”

To the writer’s credit, the lyrics are rather unique. They’re about the usual love, pain, betrayal, and the stuff that teenagers are so interested in nowadays. I listen to that kind of stuff, too, so I should know. I did a search on Google and it doesn’t seem like yummygummybearEC copied anyone’s lyrics and passed them off as her own. Which I really would have a problem with as that’s lying and plagiarism and all that wonderful stuff which could probably get you in trouble with the authorities even though you’re only a 13 year old girl who still lives with her parents and doesn’t know how to spell.

Her problem is her choice of promotion.

When promoting a poem or song, do it on your own blog. Do it on a forum where people talk about music. Or where the people are songwriters and share their work periodically. Do not do it on a random youtube video (she did it on a Taylor Swift video).

Besides, youtube video comments only allow you to use a certain number of characters. Not the best thing when you try to post a whole song in a comment. Which you shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

I sent her a message telling her that her song could become a good song. However, she needs to work on her grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. And I encouraged her to seek a message board where she could share her work.

But come on… just randomly posting the lyrics to your great new song in reply to a random youtube vid???

Gah.

Picture credit: gorgeous rose picture by Ariston Collander Photography. Creative Commons.

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Mom and Twitter

I’ve read the comic Zits for some time. Recently, these particular strips were published in the local newspaper:

88505

89903

Not exactly spam related, but quite humorous.

I wonder what would happen if I taught my mom how to twitter?

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