How on Earth is this ploy supposed to work?

In “Office Space,” there’s a scene in which the three computer engineers, having sort of backed their way into a serious crime, are talking about laundering their ill-gotten money. But they don’t know how. They are reduced to looking up “money-laundering” in a dictionary. And Michael Bolton complains,

How is it that all these stupid, Neanderthal, Mafia guys can be so good at crime and smart guys like us can suck so badly at it?

I’ve often thought something like that, only I don’t think those guys are stupid. I think maybe I am. I couldn’t begin to follow a scam I once heard described on “The Sopranos.” I forget the deal. Maybe it was selling phone cards to Mexican migrants. Whatever it was, I could not see at all how anybody made money from it.

And I really, truly can’t figure out how something like the scam text above, which I got tonight, is supposed to work. It seems to me to be predicated on the recipient getting all worried, thinking:

OhmyGod! My transaction for $292.55 got rejected! Now I’m not going to get that thing I just tried to buy for $292.55!

Suppose someone does think that. What’s going to keep him from then thinking…

Wait. WHAT thing I bought for $292.55? I didn’t buy anything for $292.55!


And when did I ever do business of any kind with Wells Fargo? No, excuse me, with “W3lls Fargo?” And if I did, what kind of business can’t spell its own name?

And then:

Apparently, I’m supposed to reach out in a panic to the sender of the message. But they didn’t tell me how to do that. Where’s the link they want me to click, so they can steal my identity or whatever?

Maybe this deal is so brilliant that I can’t suss it out. Or maybe this is legit, and the sender was so anxious to help the recipient that he forgot how to spell “Wells,” forgot to provide the contact, and sent it to the wrong person.

But I don’t think so. I suspect there’s a bot out there that’s missing a few lines of code…


One thought on “How on Earth is this ploy supposed to work?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Well, they got back to me today, and it’s as though we’ve had a dialogue going on.

    Text: Your W3lls Fargo transaction $292.55 has been rejected!

    Me: I have no pending transaction for $292.55, with anyone.

    Text: Would you believe $221.18?

    We’ve got a regular “Get Smart” routine going on here…


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