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I Forge Iron

Perils of joining a blacksmithing group


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We always bring up the benefits of joining a group of like minded smiths, but I've recently seen the other side.  I am a member of the local arm of the ABANA group and for my sins (as they say) I have been appointed, in absentia, as the group's treasurer.  They never would have done it if they saw how poorly I balance my checkbook. 

Been serving for over a year now and every month or so I get an e-mail that pretends to be from the president of our chapter (somehow simulating his return address).  I've had requests for money to pay vendors, bail his sister out of jail, keep his car from getting repossessed...  I've called him and alerted him that his e-mail has been hacked somehow, but no one else on his list gets these emails.

Today I guess I just felt like screwing around so the email trail goes as follows:


I urgently require your attention.Can I get hold of you  today?
sent from my iPad


Sure, give me a call.  (knowing that the president has my number and would certainly call)


Thanks for your urgent reply.I am in a marathon meeting session that will last for some few hours.I need you to process a payment of $3,420 to a vendor on my behalf today.

 Let me know if you can are available so that I can send you the beneficiary details for payment

sent from my iPad  
(good answer, guess he heard that one already)


You know we agreed that I would NEVER make any payments of any kind based on an email message. This policy won't change unless we agree on it in a face to face meeting.


We just have to bend the rules this time because of  the urgency attached to
this payment.

Be sure I am coming with the paperwork  to cover the payment after the meeting or fist thing in the morning.


Sorry, you know we would need board of director approval by at least 63% of the members to make that kind of change. Hope this isn't about the essential hydraulic fluid order. Most likely not as that was for over $7,500 if I remember correctly. Without the fluid we would need to shut down operations, so I can see why you would be concerned. 

(needless to say a total fabrication, our board of directors barely elects the officials and never gets anything done or has any authority. We never buy massive quantities of hydraulic fluid, or any for that matter, and there are no operations to shut down)


The board would rather allow my veto than to shut down.The vendor is ready to supply the whole fluid at $uat3,420 so that we can pay the balance after meeting with the board.

 This why I insist we bend the rules this time.It is a very difficult situation and i know the board will applaud me decision.Can I send the beneficiary details for payment now? leave me to handle the board.


As long as you are completely sure it will be OK.  After all if I screw this up after I blew that wad of cash last week at the PBA charity auction it will mean my job.  You still have me covered regarding that little problem, right? Will be tough on the family if I get thrown out of work.

Send me the info and I’ll try to get you out a check in the morning.  We certainly can’t do without the hydraulic fluid for our Framistagus, not to mention the swamp pounder.  Are you sure we shouldn’t be sending the whole amount?  We have to make sure we secure the entire shipment this time.  I’m sure you remember the problems that caused last year.   (just getting full out stupid here)


We will have to see how far this one can go.


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Follow up:


It is very OK. You surely understand the situation very well. Go ahead and send the whole amount for the shipment to get the shipment secured.We really have to be double sure it is secured.
FedEx a check with this details first thing in the morning:
NAME:          Richard G. Cowan
ADDRESS:    xxxxx  street
                    Yucaipa   CA,   92399.
Send me the tracking numbers and a picture of the check to get the shipment secured with the vendor.We have to do our Best to avoid last year's incidence. I have to run around a lot this coming few days.I can never allow a shut down because it will be a very big dent on our image.
Reply to confirm receipt of the details for the check.
You sure have been burning the midnight oil on this one.  I understand, I've had a sleepless night myself worrying.
I've got some kind of emergency review meeting with the board this morning, so will have to express the payment this afternoon.  One problem, I got a message direct from the supplier (funny they never mentioned that you had been in direct contact with them, or this Richard Cowan intermediary).  They need us to wire them a 10% down payment immediately so they can reserve the tanker.  I will be held up this morning, can you send the $750 from that slush fund I set you up with last month?  They have some kind of humanitarian initiative going on now and want it sent to the Red Cross disaster relief fund with the key words: Unlimited Fluids Ltd. appended to the donation..  Just send that off and copy me with an email including the receipt and I'll get the balance sent right away.
Cowan is an independent supplier.Based on last years incidence I had to look for a better alternative.  You should also no the rules that goes with slush funds.
I am skeptical dealing with this supplier due to some late negative reports on the quality of their products and that is why I involved an independent vendor to avoid a shut down.
Well, that's done it now.  Meeting with the board has just ended, and I'm out. 
Sorry I won't be able to help you with this urgent issue, but my signature will
no longer be valid on the NYSDB checks. Guess I'll have to look into
unemployment pay to see if we can make ends meet till I find a new job.

I can hear the edit whining from my office as the hydraulic fluid
begins to run thin, but that's no longer my problem.  They will have to find
someone else to babysit that tanker delivery.

The board was pretty upset about your finding that independent supplier (sorry
it just leaked out during that brutal 2 hour meeting).  I've never been so
humiliated.  They kept screaming about fraud and alerting the authorities.  One
of the board members even has an uncle who is high up in the new federal
administration's INS bureau.  Unfortunately they sound very prejudiced and plan
on having their relative look into not just poor Richard Cowan, but anyone at
that address (they really seem to hate California edit).  I'm sure it won't be a problem as long as everyone there
has their papers in order.

Sorry, but this is no longer my concern.  I have more immediate personal
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So sorry to hear about your recent termination, and all of the potential legal troubles you may now be facing.

On the upside, however, it seems that it was not the most desirable of jobs, and I am certain that you can find better employment.

I wonder if you would be interested in a partnership with me  and my revolutionary new engine design - it gets 300 mpg and uses TAP WATER for fuel!

I am very close to perfecting it - do you have any equity in your home?

Mark my words, the Return On Investment will be FANTASTIC!!

We need to act fast on this!

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Sorry, now that I can no longer embezzle funds for the president of our chapter I find myself a bit short on cash owing to paucity of the kick-backs I've become accustomed to.  Perhaps I can sell off some equipment.  Know anyone who is interested in a slightly used swamp pounder?

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Darn you Dan, you've given me a runny nose and the hiccoughs! I had to dither a bit before I could stop laughing and reply. Someone else in an online group played scammers in a similar way. It was about horse supplies I believe and the responder lived in a a 5-6th floor condo. Of course she needed discount bulk horse supplies!

You really had me ready to reply with your first couple sentences though, I'm president of the Alaskan Association because I had to go to the bathroom during one of the organizational meetings when we were setting it up. I was pres for life when I came back so I don't do anything I don't have to, even make them pester me to call a meeting to order.

I'm thinking if everybody who got scam messages responded in a long drawn out come along game maybe we wouldn't get so many. How about we start referring them to each other? I'd heard a story about stuffing postage paid, self addressed envelopes with someone else's junk mail and sending it of. I thought it sounded like fun and started spending a few minutes at the PO box doing same. Junk mail all but stopped in a couple months.

Thank you Dan, I'm going to be giggling for some time.

Frosty The Lucky.

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So I was getting a lot of calls lately about warning messages being sent to Microsoft about malicious software infecting my computer. If I'm bored enough, I like to help these people out. It goes something like this.

Call: Good day sir, this is Dave from technical support at Microsoft (in a heavy very foreign accent).

Me: Hey Dave. Hows things in Seattle?

Call: Good. We have been getting a lot of warning messages about malicious programs on your computer.

Me: (sounding distressed) Oh No, what do I do about it?

Call: We can fix it for you. Are you sitting in front of your computer?

Me: Uh, no.

Call: Can you go to your computer please?

Me: Sure, it's in the basement, give me a minute, I'm old and need my cane for the stairs (walk around for a minute, pick nose, whatever). Ok.....oh wait, there's someone at the door, could you hold a minute?

Call: Yes Sir.

Me: (go fix myself a drink).....Ok, just a delivery, I'm back. Sorry to take so long, those stairs are so xxxx hard and I don't want to give myself a heart attack.

Call: Ok Sir. I need you to press and hold the Microsoft key and press "R".

Me: What is the Microsoft key?

Call: It is the key that looks like a flag.

Me: I don't see a flag....

Call: It is next to the control key.

Me: All I see is a key that looks like a trashcan with an arrow pointing to it.

Call: (by now he thinks he's got a real moron on the line and it's gonna be an easy hack, I've got him hooked) No sir, it's on the other side of the keyboard.

Me: Ah,. ok I see it. You mean the Jesus key, the one with the little cross on it.

Call: Yes sir, please press and hold that key and press the letter R.

Me: Ok, done.

Call: What do you see?

Me: Nothing.

Call: Are you pressing the flag key and R?

Me: Yes

Call:What are you seeing sir?

Me: Just a blank screen.

Call: Are you sure you are pressing the keys I told you?

Me: Yes

Call: And what's on your screen?

Me: Nothing........do you think it would help if I turned the computer on? (this is known as setting the hook).

Call: Yes sir, please turn on your computer.

Me: Ok....I turned it on.

Call: What do you see now?

Me: It says starting Windows please wait....this usually takes a while, it's a pretty old computer, I'll let you know when it's booted up. (good time to take a leak).....(3 minutes later) OK, its booted up, hey sorry, I've got this prostate problem and need to use the bathroom, would you mind holding, I REALLY want to get rid of this bad software.

Call: Yes sir, i'll hold (this could take a while, I get the coffee pot on).

Me: Ah better, are you still there?

Call: Yes sir.

Me: this is really great of Microsoft to give me such personal service, I really do appreciate your help, thanks Dave, so now what do I do?

Call: Press and hold the flag key and then press R.

Me: Ok, I've done it.

Call: What do you see?

Me: A picture of a sailboat.

Call: What?

Me: You know, the same picture that comes up every time I turn on my computer.

Call: Are you pressing and holding the flag key and then pressing R?

Me: You mean I have to keep holding the flag key when I press the R key?

Call: Yes sir, please hold the flag key when you press R.

Me: Ok, got it.

Call: What do you see sir?

Me: A little window popped up, what is it?

Call: It is a command prompt, what does it say?

Me: I don't know, I can't see it without my glasses.

Call: Oh sorry, would you mind getting your glasses please?

Me: Sure...thanks again Dave for helping me out with this, be right back (coffee done, fix a cup)....Ok Dave, I'm back, sorry I took so long, kind of hard to find my glasses without my glasses, it's xxxx getting old.

Call: Ok, I want you to enter this command (gives me some crap I don't even bother listening to).....what happened?

Me: Oh no, my screen turned all blue for a second, said something too fast to read, and then my computer restarted. Is my computer broken? Glad I have someone from Microsoft helping me out on this.

Call: No sir, you computer is fine.

Me: well, I guess we will have to wait for it to reboot, I've got to pee again anyway, I'll be right back!......3 minutes later....Ok I'm back, sorry I took so long, I dribble some if I put it back in my pants too soon, that xxxx prostate thing....Dave, how's your prostate hanging in?

Call: Fine sir.

Me: Well, enjoy it while you're young Dave, you will be dribbling down your leg before you know it.

Call: (audible sigh) OK....now please bring up the window again.

Me: How do I do that?

Call: (beginning to sound exasperated, but not wanting to let go, figures he's got a real moron on the line, easy pickins') Press and hold the little flag key and while holding the little flag key down, press R.

Me: Oh yea, sorry, I remember now, you know what that short term memory loss is like, right Don?

Call: No sir,.... did you press the keys I told you?

Me: yup

Call: did the window come up?

Me: yes

Call: Ok, type this in (again don't even bother listening)....press enter....what does it say?

Me: I got this message...wait....can't read it, I think I left my glasses in the bathroom, be right back....................sorry to take so long, I forgot why I went to the bathroom by the time I got there, so I tried to pee again, but it didn't work,... but don't worry Dave, when I came back I remembered why I went to the bathroom in the first place so I got my glasses now.

Call: Ok, what does it say after you pressed enter?

Me: I got a message....it says....don't take calls from people claiming to be from Microsoft, they are trying to hack you.

Call: Click:

I really need to find a more productive way to enjoy my retirement. Good thing is, Dave never called back.

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OMG do I want a swamp pounder.  You should have tried to talk him into expanding the order.  I'm sure the organization could have cashed in the the big sale of nail wrenches the supplier was offering.


Sadly, Im aware of a few organizations that have fallen for that nonsense.  They do it because it works.

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This is a wonderful thread!

Dear Latticino, can I please interest you in exporting swamp pounders? I very much think we could do great business around here in the European swamp regions.

And Frosty: I rarely go to my wife and talk about IFI issues, but the above story of yours has became the favorite of the last couple years.



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Note Bene,

Microsoft Corporation does NOT telephone "clients". Nor make telephone requests for business, nor inform us unfortunates that our computer has been tampered with.

The "gentlemen" are scamsters and thieves.

Just sayin,


Mr. Dragon you behaved admirably. Well done.

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You gotta have fun with these people.  When I have the time I waste as much of theirs as possible.  When people call to tell me they can save me money on the phone bill or the electric bill I always ask them how much I'm paying now.  Of course they can't tell me that and ask me.  I say, "You told me you could save me money.  How is that possible if you don't know what I'm currently paying."  Then I act interested for a while and string them along.  At the end of it I tell them I like the more expensive phone service because the calls are clearer and the rings are louder.  If it's about the electric bill then I tell them the lights are brighter and the computers run faster with the more expensive electricity so I don't want to switch.

Asking them to hold repeatedly in the middle of all that is classic too.   If they want to talk to a person in a certain position at the company I ask them to hold while we go hire someone for that position.  The bottom line is if they are willing to waste my time I'm willing to waste theirs too if I'm not already in the middle of something.

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