Cindy is not like other scammers.

Did you know that you can hack any ATM machine? You can! Or so those Nigerian scammers would have you think.

Half a dozen messages in today’s spam filter read as follows:


PLEASE READ!!! Celebrate this season with joy and gladness in your heart, Do you know that you can hack any ATM machine? this is a Life Time transformation I have being hearing about this blank ATM card for a while and i never really paid any interest to it because of my doubts. Until now i discovered a hacking lady called Cindy. Am so happy I got mine from Cindy, My blank ATM card can withdraw $4,000 daily. I got it from Her last week and now I have $30,000 for free. The blank ATM withdraws money from any ATM machines and there is no name on it, it is not traceable and now i have money for business and enough money for me and my family to live on .I am really happy i met Cindy because i met two people before her and they took my money not knowing that they were scams. But am happy now. Cindy sent the card through DHL and i got it in two days. Get your own card from her now she is not like other scammer [emphasis added] pretending to have the ATM card,She is giving it out for free to help people even if it is illegal but it helps a lot and no one ever gets caught. im grateful to Cindy because she changed my story all of a sudden . The card works in all countries.

Note: All errors of capitalization, punctuation and spacing are the scammer’s, not mine. Soooo hard not to correct them, but authenticity matters.


Scammers are everywhere

According to a site called Predators and Parasites, this swindle works like other Nigerian scams:

You wire some money, and

You never get anything in return.

Obviously the idea is ridiculous. These cards let you steal other people’s money and no one ever gets caught? You’ll definitely receive this miraculous piece of plastic as soon as you part with some cash?

And for extra credit: If these cards let a person steal all the money s/he wants, why go to the trouble of selling them? Why not just withdraw $4,000 a day and retire happy?

Scammers aren’t stupid. They know that some people want to reap big rewards while putting forth zero effort. Sadly, they also know that people with cognitive issues due to brain injury or undiagnosed dementia will fall for anything.

I doubt anyone reading this site would fall for this ruse. However, you may have broke relatives or friends who are looking for a way out of their troubles and who believe that desperate times call for desperate measures.

So yeah, noise around this scheme with loud scorn about how dumb someone would have to be to believe such malarkey. If you have relatives with those cognitive issues, make sure someone’s keeping an eye on their finances. It’s said that a sucker is born every minute. A scam is, too.


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  1. Important to look out for the elderly and the people with poor reading skills and perhaps head injuries. There are people who are vulnerable to scams. One of my friends (in her 80’s) actually went down to her bank to get some money for her “Grandson” to make bail. Fortunately her bank was on their toes and told her to please call her daughter and ask where said kid actually was! My dad got a similar call and was not snowed at all, being blind he was aware that he was not the person his grandson would call, not to mention that his grandson is too disabled to be able to speak with him on the phone! Busted…..

    • Donna Freedman

      DF’s father got a call from someone pretending to be his son. Apparently he knew immediately it wasn’t, so he decided to mess with the guy a bit. “If you’re my son, tell me the name of the city where you grew up.” The guy did a wild-assed guess (“Denver”) but didn’t have a prayer of hitting the right one.

  2. I’ll be honest: I’m young and mostly have all of my faculties and some scammers have nearly tricked me. They’re always coming up with new, smarter scams that often sound legit. The openness of the internet has given them a new avenue to explore. It’s horrible because people who are elderly or mentally disabled are more at risk to these scammers, which makes the situation even sicker. What horrible people.

  3. Nigeria must be a crazy place…a Nation of scammers it seems. I wonder if they just scam folks in the States or scam domestically as well. And why hasn’t there been a “movement” to put this kind of activity to rest?

    • Donna Freedman

      Getting rid of Internet scammers would be just as impossible as getting rid of ripoff artists who operate by phone or in person. I just read an article about “woodchucks” from your region who were sentenced for scamming tens of thousands of dollars from elderly people by promising to do tree cutting and home repair that was not only overpriced, it was never completed — and may not have even been necessary in the first place. Each year I hear about dudes who offer to “seal-coat” driveways for large amounts of money, and then do nothing except coat those driveways with a mixture of waste oil and water. Lately there’s been warnings of phone calls made by “IRS agents” who demand immediate payment via wired funds or gift cards (!) — which sounds preposterous to those who aren’t easily confused or cognitively impaired.

      Many of these folks can at least be seen and apprehended. Internet crooks operate invisibly, and often from other countries. I used to wonder how they could sleep at night and then realized, “Quite comfortably — and under high thread-count sheets, at that — because to them the world is made up of winners and marks and in their minds, they are the winners.”

      However, I do hope that as they get a little older their sons and daughters (or fellow scammers, or government agents) take away their ill-gotten gains. Seems fitting.

    • I think it’s dangerous to label an entire nation based on the notoriety of a few waves of scams. Think about how the U.S. would be, at best, labeled the nation of virus-makers/computer-destroyers. From what I can tell, most of those are made right here in the good ole U.S.A.

      Besides, based on syntax, most of the scam emails I get these days (plus lots of offers to enlarge my penis) seem to come from Asia and Russia/other Slavic countries. Plus, I have a theory that we remember the English speakers’ spam emails because the wording isn’t so ridiculously wrong/jarring.

  4. Cathy in NJ

    Fortunately my elderly Mom is not on the internet. She grew up without computers and is not comfortable with them. Internet scamming is about to ramp up to a whole new level when the large population of internet savvy baby boomers age and struggle with dementia.

  5. Of course you can trust Cindy! She’s not like the others at all.

    I highly recommend listening to James Veitch on YouTube or the Ted Talks site. He replies to scam emails to hilarious ends.

  6. Whoa — you freaked me out for a second there!

    On behalf of all Cindys everywhere, I want to emphasize:

    I am not a scammer. Period.

  7. Kate Nelson

    This is one of the reasons why I think the phone companies should make Caller ID free for senior citizens 65 and above. I wish these scammers would put their obvious intelligence to use and find a cure for cancer, solve the world’s water problem, mitigate climate change, etc.

  8. These scuzzballs get around. I wouldn’t be so quick to label Nigeria the “nation of scammers”, they just happen to be the ones people talk about the most but we have hundreds, thousands, of our own.

    Among hundreds of other homegrown scams, ranging from the scammy versions of the USPS, IRS, and utility companies to fake prizes awarded from a dozen major shops, I was targeted for months by a bunch of special folks in Florida calling pretending to be lawyers trying to warn me of a suit pending against me, and I had better call back and provide my SSN! Yes, sure, let me do that right now.

    And some of them are rather sophisticated, enough to pull the wool over your eyes if you were busy, rushed, or stressed. No wonder folks who are at a disadvantage in any way are more often taken in.

  9. THAT is one of the most hilarious phishing emails I’ve seen in a long time.

    People fall for this stuff, eh? Once again (sigh)…we’re in the wrong business.

    LOL! Before I block a call that’s coming in from a local area code, I want to be sure it really IS spoofed and not a call from a client. So sometimes I’ll answer a call just to be sure it’s a scam; then tell the jerk to take a flying !!!! at the moon. A few days ago one of those came in, hilariously, from a guy with an Indian or Pakistani accent telling me he was from Microsoft and my computer needed… “Flying !!!!, little brother!” 😀

    Phone companies should be required by law to provide NoMoRobo. Most of them refuse to do so, leading one to the obvious conclusion that they’re making money in some way from robocalling scammers. I’ve been very pleased, though, with the CPR V5000 call blocker. It doesn’t catch every single one of them, but it’s now blocking almost all of the nuisance calls. Down from 6 to 12 a day to maybe 1 a day (some days are nuisance free!).

    They DO seek out people who are likely to be suffering from dementia. Almost instantly after I was auto-enrolled in AARP (do they still glom onto you when you turn 50?), I started getting calls from people trying to pitch scams to the elderly. They acquire mailing and phone lists that are filtered by age, so that they can target people who may be most vulnerable to a scam artist, or most easily frightened by the “you haven’t paid your taxes” or “we’re suing your a$$” scams. If you have elderly parents, or if like me you’re already elderly, it’s hard to imagine what you can do to protect them, other than removing their phones and communicating by walkie-talkie.

  10. Practical Parsimony

    After I turned 50, I was assailed with calls wanting to sell me everything. I don’t know if they were scams or not because I just hung up on all of them. It has been this way for 20 years (I am 70) and I doubt it will stop.

    One thing that helped was getting Magic Jack and paying about $2/month. I have it set to send an email to me with a voicemail. I use my cell phone exclusively with unlimited talk and text. All the calls that are scams are only 3 seconds long. I don’t even click on those to hear the voice mail. Calls that are 30 seconds or more are usually a doctor’s office who called the wrong number.

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