There’s been a recent rash of question asking and answering around the blogosphere. I put up my hand to be interviewed by Emily, and I got these questions. I changed the order around a bit, sorry Emily! ;)
1) How did you meet the Other Half?
Online, oddly enough. This was many years ago in the beginning of the internet. I got into online gaming – playing Quake. I went to a network game party one night. For those who don’t know network gaming requires you to take your computer along and they all get plugged into each other and then you play games against each other.
Back in those days the internet was too slow to play games over it, like people do these days. And there was my other half, who I knew virtually right away was my other half, strangely enough.
2) You read a lot of blogs regularly. How do you choose which ones to read, which ones to comment on, which ones to link to, etc.?
I read probably 95% of blog posts which arrive in my reader.
I would link to every blog post I read, if it was humanly possible. Sephy will tell you, I’m forever pasting links to blog posts to him in Skype. I have to make do with linking to every blog that I read in the sidebar, and then I have to be very picky about the posts I choose for the weekly wrap up, otherwise there would be 500 links and none would get clicked on.
So the bottom line for me with those weekly wrap up posts is – a post has to stand out, touch me in a major way, make me think, make me want to share it with other people, make me go “Oh, what a great idea” or “I’m going to do that” or “That’s brilliant!”.
Commenting is difficult these days. I don’t have as much time as I used to for it and I hate that, because I want to comment on probably 95% of the posts in my reader.
3) I (and I bet a lot of your readers) know nothing about NSW. What are five things someone who has never visited would be surprised to know about your home?
a. New South Wales = NSW
b. The capital of New South Wales is Sydney, which might be the most famous city in Australia, however it is not the *capital* city of Australia. The capital city of Australia is Canberra – which is completely surrounded by New South Wales. Nobody knows why or how this odd arrangement came to be. Well probably some people do but I’m not one of them.
c. I live on the South Coast of New South Wales. There is also a North Coast. All of these coasts are located on the East Coast of Australia. Yes, it is quite confusing!
d. New South Wales is home to the Funnel Web spider, which mostly lives within a 20km radius of Sydney itself. These spiders are able to stay alive underwater for up to 30 hours by trapping air under their hairs, or something. So I was told, but it was on a documentary tv channel so I am assuming it is true.
e. You can probably tell, I don’t know much about NSW. ;) That is because I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. That’s about a 15-17 hour drive from here.
4) For those of us unfamiliar with Scambaiting, can you tell us how it works? And how are you able to get compensated for all your scambaiting efforts?
Scambaiting is really pretty simple. You email a scammer (from a safe email address like gmail which does not show your location to the scammer) pretending to be a real victim. You play along with their scam, pretending you are going to do what they want you to do.
You ask a lot of questions, you make a lot of promises, you let them begin to dream of the money you’re supposedly going to pay them. If you have the means you use Skype to receive calls from them, which costs them time and money. I don’t talk to them on the phone much anymore but they call me constantly.
When they’re hooked on the dream, you keep stringing them along as long as you can. I’ve known scammers who have been strung along for well over 12 months. You’re always just about to pay them the money – but there’s an emergency, there’s a problem, there’s another question they need to answer.
I like to make them fall in love with my characters – usually using photographs of models like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. As those characters I pretend to be a virginal, extremely rich, naive girl who is looking for her perfect man. My character might be a model just starting out, she might be a singer, she might be a minor celebrity, or she might have family money. The scammers think everyone in the USA is a millionaire, so they believe it.
When they have fallen in love, I like to take their heart and crush it into tiny little pieces, like they do to their victims. The girl might find out he is a scammer. She might find a man closer to home. She might be on her way to meeting them at the airport in their country and the plane somehow falls out of the sky. I make newspaper clippings (it’s easy and simple to do) which support the story. If my character dies, it turns out my character has left them money – and they have to jump through hoops to get it, fill in forms, take photographs, etc.
There is no compensation for it, sadly. It is like any hobby, you have to put a little money into it. I pay 30 euros a year for my Skype In number, I pay around $80AUD a year for my post office box. Both of those cause a lot of anger and frustration to the scammers, so to me it is worth it. ;)
5) How did you get into scambaiting?
A scammer was silly enough to send me an email asking to borrow my bank account, I googled and found one of the scambaiting websites and began to bait them. Soon after I started I found my “first husband” and within a month I was “engaged” to six scammers. It was sometimes difficult to keep the stories straight, and tell them apart when they called. Strangely, none of these relationships worked out!
Thanks for asking me the questions. If anyone wants to be interviewed by me, just leave a comment and ye shall receive 5 questions of various goodness. ;)
Emily is hosting the Hump Day Hmmm this week as well – the topic is – something you experienced that affected and affects you. Feel free to join in the Hump Days, they are an excellent way to blog, I find.