Jane, Jane, wherefore art thou Spam?

Today’s “Scam o’ the Day” award goes to FriendlyMatch.com.

They’re the latest and most innovative catch in my spambucket. This one is downright criminal. (Although, slightly less humorously malicious than the Citibank Spelling Fiasco, it’s also far more subtle.) I’m blogging it in the hopes that this will prevent others from spending any money on this scam. It really had me going until I thought about it and realized how obviously bogus it is, which is to say, for about 2.7 seconds.

The first tip-off was that her name is “Jane.” Not to be offensive to any of my readers out there named “Jane,” but that’s like using “John Smith” as an alias. Come on, be at least a LITTLE original. You’d think they’d use a less-obviously-fake name, like Miranda or Kaitlyn, or even Betty.

Second, her phone number has 8 digits. AFAIK, all phone numbers in the US are 7 digits, with a 3-digit area code. (611, 411, and 911 being the obvious exceptions.) So either that’s bogus, or Jane can’t type. And who wants a woman who can’t type a freaking phone number, or who doesn’t proofread her emails? Sorry, but I have standards.

Third, the sort of person who “spends alot of time with my family members, volunteering around the community, and with kids” probably wouldn’t try to contact me, or at least, should have the good sense to advertise something other than altruism to get my attention. And if she doesn’t, then she’s too stupid to deserve my time.

Fourth, there’s the claim that she “doesn’t know if we’ll be using this address anymore.” IOW: “Don’t bother replying. The return-path is bogus.”

Lastly, and this was really the major tip-off, “she” requested that I go to friendlymatch. Can you possibly scream “This is spam” any louder, please?

Return-Path: janemasu@robimail.com
From: “Jane” janem@robimail.com
To: isaactheblue@yahoo.com
Subject: Transferred to San Diego,…

Hello there

I saw your ad on Match.com and thought I would write.
I am new to this area and looking for new friends. I just moved near San Diego from Colorado about a month ago andI must say I really like it here.
But i hardly know anybody here, except for my roomate who moved here a while back. She’s made some friends through the internet and she says there’s a lot of nice people I might like here.
I don’t have an email connection yet so I am using my friends. I am generally a happy person. I spend alot of time with my family members, volunteering around the community, and with kids. I love reading, renting movies and playing cards.
My roomate Christine thought I should email you and she showed me how to send it but nowI can’t figure out how to attach my picture here. My picture is on my profile at www.friendlymatch.com. You can locate my number 2945290. If it interests you, you can call me on my cell phone tomorrow at 65255677I am fairly open minded and I like trying new things. I’m a very honest girl, and I’m going to make some guy very happy when I find him.
Any way we can talk and see what we have in common and maybe get together if you would like to. Bye,
Jane

P.S.
Looking forward to your call.
I don’t know if we’ll be using this address anymore so call me and let’s see where it goes.
By the way, did you get my last email?

I scoped out the hoax by searching google for a snippet of the message. (BTW, I gotta just say, I LOVE how well that technique always works! What did people do before google? It’s too frightening to think about those dark ages.)

I found that Cecil Coupe was struck by this scam, and he blogged it back in January. He also created a separate blog all about this “Jane” scam.

The genius part of this scam is that it almost seems real. Plus, since the phone number is invalid, it prompts the target to reply to the email. I’m willing to bet that if you do reply, your email will be logged as valid, and then sold to other spammers, and you’ll get a failure rejection. The obvious next step would be to sign up for FriendlyMatch, thinking that “Jane” is anxiously awaiting your response, only to find out that Jane doesn’t even exist!

14 Responses to “Jane, Jane, wherefore art thou Spam?”

  1. On April 29th, 2004 at 08:59:33, Pamela Said:

    I wouldn’t have read any further than “I saw your ad on Match.com…” Have you been advertising on that site?
    </tease>

  2. On April 29th, 2004 at 21:30:51, Isaac Said:

    Yeah, I do actually have an account there. Why not? It’s free to just post a profile, and I’m single as can be at the moment. I figure, oppertunity doesn’t fall in your lap often. But why not be ready to catch it, just in case?

    However, that line did actually tip me off. When people write to your Match account, the message comes from Match.com. This was sent directly to isaactheblue@yahoo.com, and that isn’t even the address that I used to sign up for Match. Only a computer could so expertly guess that I’d have a yahoo address with exactly the same prefix as my match name. Pretty slick, I gotta say.

  3. On May 9th, 2004 at 12:08:51, Isaac Said:

    FYI:
    I am not Jane, nor am I a “perty lady”. Comments posted at Schlueterica will not get to Jane. She doesn’t exist. Any messages for Jane posted on this site will be deleted ruthlessly by The Management. Thank you.

  4. On May 18th, 2004 at 23:03:32, Isaac Schlueter Said:

    Billy,

    What part of “I am not Jane” didn’t you understand?

    The comment directly above the one that you wrote:
    I am not Jane, nor am I a “perty lady”. Comments posted at Schlueterica will not get to Jane. She doesn’t exist. Any messages for Jane posted on this site will be deleted ruthlessly by The Management. Thank you.

    Your comment at Schlueterica has been ruthlessly deleted.

    Newsflash, Einstein: She doesn’t exist.

  5. On June 18th, 2004 at 18:40:24, brian Said:

    Is anyone sueing this scammer yet?

    Brian

  6. On July 27th, 2004 at 20:46:19, Isaac Schlueter Said:

    This scam made its way into Cottleston Pie back in November. More info there.

  7. On October 4th, 2004 at 07:53:01, Daniel Norton Said:

    This spammer is still at it, as I just got one this weekend. They also use these URLs:

    http://www.MeetAtFriendlyMatch.com
    http://www.GetAFriendlyMatch.com

  8. On October 19th, 2004 at 00:35:38, Isaac Schlueter Said:

    I got a referrer hit from a discussion on this topic over at google groups.

  9. On February 21st, 2005 at 20:25:13, debra Said:

    hey I’m a chick and this happend to me in reverse a guy emailed me and said almost the same thing as Jane with the same invite to friendly match. I caught on pretty fast with that 8 digit. no harm done here.Elsewhere? no harm no foul.

  10. On April 9th, 2005 at 12:14:23, Jonas Said:

    got one today….

    not to much trouble seeing it for what it is..

    but still… annoying!

  11. On May 10th, 2007 at 03:16:59, SeventhCycle Said:

    I just posted a journal entry on this. It turns out that they started doing this again with a different site called match4friendship.com. I didn’t realize that their scheme was that old until reading the date on this entry.

  12. On June 8th, 2007 at 19:15:21, eschneid Said:

    I too received an email from “Jane” on May 10th to my yahoo email for match4friendship.com. I wonder why they are still using 8 digit phone numbers. You’d think they would have fixed that after all of these years.

  13. On June 8th, 2007 at 19:27:20, SeventhCycle Said:

    Eschneid: The 8 digit number is deliberate. That way, the potential sucker will sign up for their site in order to talk to “janie”

  14. On June 8th, 2007 at 19:49:29, eschneid Said:

    Oh.. that makes sense.. thanks.. just shouts SPAM loudly. :-)

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