Putting it all together

In my previous entries, I told you about the suspicious e-mail I got from ‘Yuki’, and talked in depth about how her site worked to lure people in. Today we’re gonna finish up the series and describe what it is they hope to do once you’ve joined the site, and how it basically works. But first, a summary!

A few days ago, I got an e-mail from someone I didn’t recognize, a-c-a-@docomo.ne.jp. They were e-mailing to let me know that they changed their address. I wasn’t sure who it was, so I followed up. For the next few days, I got an e-mail at 5-6pm every day from ‘Yuki’ (kar-ry.kuq@docomo.ne.jp), who seemed remarkably friendly, even saying she wants to be friends with a total stranger, but never answered any questions. Figuring it was spam, I looked into it and wrote about it. Sure enough, she eventually sent me to her private blog that I need to register to join. That brings us up to now, to finally discuss how the actual money-making process works! You know, in case you want to be a scammer someday.

In case you’re curious as to why I post the address so many times, it’s to make a record in google. Whenever I get a suspicious e-mail, I always Google the address to see if anyone else has mentioned it’s spam, etc. It’s worked so far, and 20 people found the article yesterday searching for the address.

That last leaves us at trying to register to join the blogging website, so we can get access to Yuki’s photos. They had references to all sorts of intriguing pictures that were just out of reach. If only you sign up, they say, you can see all of these and more! Well, hey, sounds like a great deal to me! Let’s sign up, shall we?

Assuming you click on the link, it’ll send a blank e-mail to ml-raiykn_m@797955[—]. Even the casual observer will notice that it’s a completely different website from what her blog was on, but we’re too busy thinking about pictures and our new bestest friend to care about such things. I did a little bit of research, and it looks like the same e-mails from the same fake person (Yukina) have been going around since April, though sometimes leading to different sites (all numbers).

After you e-mail, you’ll get a confirmation link, which will then tell you to make a profile. Sounds innocent. Simple. Right? OFF COURSE! (No way!).  Some of the questions seem a little strange, almost like a dating site. Weird. Anyway, move along son. You’ve got a friend to meet! So you keep clicking buttons and entering info, and then your free profile is complete!

FREE??? I can almost hear you saying. Yes, free. We’re not to the scam yet, silly. Scam artists don’t make money by outwardly fleecing you. By the way, if you don’t register, or back out at any time, ‘Yuki’ will e-mail you again and ask you why not, even offering help during the registration process. She’ll also tell you that she can’t really get e-mails any more, so this is the only way to contact her. I exchanged 10+ e-mails with one of these people before, and they finally broke out of the script when I said “You’re not even a real person, you know.” An interesting conversation about ghosts on the internet ensued.

So, you’ve got a profile to a website (a different one, called Love Community, at that), and Yuki disappeared. Weird. Well, you forget about it, until the very next day you get a notice from the new site. It seems, you know, that some woman saw your profile, and they liked what they saw. She, in fact, sent you an e-mail. Just click right here to see it.

But heeeeeeeeeeey there boy, calm down. There’s nothing free in this world. You need points to open the e-mail. 20, to be exact. Each point is 10yen, making it about $2.60US. So let’s say that you’re really drawn in by this e-mail and the tantalizing subject (and I assure you, it will be tantalizing) and decide to go for it. Seems friendly enough, and she wants to talk more. Great!, you shout, jumping for delight. The love of my life has found me!

Of course she has. You should reply. So you hit that reply button and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s gonna cost 25 points to reply. But we’re talking about love here! Go for it!

Over the next few hours, you’ll get e-mails from tons of other people. E-mails will get friendlier, and people will talk about meeting up. But calm down there, buddy! You can’t just go on telling people your phone number, address, or e-mail. No, no, no. To send any contact info, you must pay 300 points ($40USD). If she sends you her phone number? You still have to pay. Even if, say, her phone number is invalid. She loves you, though, so it’s okay.

I’m pretty sure you’ve all figured out what’s happened now. The only contact info on the site is a cell phone number (how professional), and an e-mail address. Wanna take bets on how often they answer that address? Also, under the disclaimer page, it says that your membership will be automatically renewed until 100 new members join the site. Good luck on quitting! And until you can get them to unsubscribe you (hint: They won’t), you’ll keep getting 2-3 e-mails every hour.

So that’s what happens when some girl you don’t know e-mails you! Remember, when the big, bad wolf knocks on the door, just pretend you’re not home.

That brings to an end our exciting story on Japanese spammers, but before I go to bed, here’s the pricing chart for their wonderful service:

(and remember: They have your billing info!)

Men (Women)

Write a Profile: 0p
View a Profile: 0p
Send a message: 25p (100p)
Open a message: 20p (80p)
Save a message: 0p
Send contact info: 300p (1200p!!! $160!)
Receive contact info: 300p (1200p)
Load a profile picture: 30p (120p)
Load a private picture: 30p (120p)
Attach a photo: 30p (120p)
Be suspected of sending contact info: 300p (1200p)
Be suspected of receiving private info: 300p (1200p)

All I can guess about the 4x rate for women is because they don’t anticipate having women customers, so it really doesn’t matter. Maybe?

Update: I looked up the address for the company behind this (and many other websites just like it), and found out that they are apparently operating out of a bicycle. Or they lied about their address. One of the two.

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