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Man Loses Millions In Bizarre Virus-Protection Scam 366

Orome1 writes "A US court has heard that a couple conned at least $6 million from the great-grandson of an oil industry tycoon after he brought his virus-infected computer in for repair. The couple are said to have tricked the composer into believing that, while investigating the virus, they had found evidence that his life was in danger – concocting a story that the virus had been tracked to a hard drive in Honduras, and that evidence had been found that the composer's life was in danger." The victim here, Roger Davidson, may have lost as much as $20 million, after being convinced that he was in danger from a grand conspiracy. Vickram Bedi and girlfriend Helga Invarsdottir convinced Davidson to pay $160,000 monthly, and possibly much more, for their help.
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Man Loses Millions In Bizarre Virus-Protection Scam

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  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:50PM (#34182384) Homepage Journal

    More and more I feel that people who are that paranoid and quick to believe conspiracies have an extrem form of narcism. They actually believe that the are important enough to worth that much effort. They think the world is out to get them in fact most the world doesn't even know they are here.

  • Stupid Tax v. Scam (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oxford_Comma_Lover ( 1679530 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:54PM (#34182412)

    > More of a stupid tax than a scam, really.

    Which is, in and of itself, an interesting dichotomy. To what extent should the law protect those who don't protect themselves? That's an issue comes up in false advertising cases, in tort cases, in welfare issues, in tax policy, and generally throughout society, as soon as you decide there will be rule of law. Do we defend someone against malicious speech? Against the elements? Do we care if they could have diffused a situation with a kind word and instead chose to be belligerent and got punched in the nose? Do we feel differently if the nose hit belongs to a woman or a man or a child or a dog? A multimillionaire should be able to protect himself, but then, if it's inherited, he may have no nose for it. Or if he's only used to dealing with reputable companies, he may be hoodwinked.

  • by m93 ( 684512 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @10:55PM (#34182416)
    A friend of mine was renting a room in the house of a lady who lived down the street from me. She had been suckered into a Nigerian 419 scam, was convinced that the people she was communicating with were "Good Christians", and sent them about $30,000. When she took out a loan against her home, her daughters attempted to intervene with the courts to declare her incapable of managing her assets. She ended up losing the house and all her money, and my friend lost his room. She was a nice old lady whose mind was starting to go, and unfortunately was taken advantage of by some cold bastards. Don't mock too hard, it could be someone you love or even you one day.
  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:04PM (#34182470)

    More and more I feel that people who are that paranoid and quick to believe conspiracies have an extrem form of narcism. They actually believe that the are important enough to worth that much effort. They think the world is out to get them in fact most the world doesn't even know they are here.

    There is one glaring problem with that viewpoint. It may have been true back when tracking/spying on a particular target would have required special effort and dedication of manpower. It is no longer true now that surveillance, monitoring, and database technology has advanced to the point where monitoring everyone all of the time is becoming increasingly feasible and cost-effective.

    For one narrow example, consider police. It used to be that if they wanted to track someone's whereabouts, they had to assign police officers to stake out a suspect and follow him/her around. That's expensive. There are only so many police officers. Dedicating a number of them to constantly track a particular individual had to be justified. That individual had to be exceptional and extraordinary to justify this cost, because that manpower could be put to much better use otherwise. Now it's both cost-effective and (recently) legally justifiable to simply install GPS tracking devices on citizens' vehicles. Now a computer can automatically perform that tracking and all it costs is a piece of mass-produced electronics that only becomes cheaper over time.

    Far from narcissists, I am coming to believe that those you call "paranoid" are realists. In a previous era they may have been quaint and paranoid but these days they're among the few willing to face the implications of a hard truth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @11:54PM (#34182758)
    I once received a 419 letter that took on the form of a death threat. The writer claimed he was a hit man contracted to kills me, but for a price, he would tell me who my enemy was, and sell me a video of the contract being made. It told me not to contact the police, or he would act immediately. I could tell from the broken English that it was a 419, but I did call the police, hoping they could catch the scammer. They couldn't. I imagine that a senior or eccentric rich person would have taken this seriously, and done what they were told. Naturally, as soon as they paid, the scammer would say their enemy had upped the offer, and they need more money. This story reminds me of that letter I recieved.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:51AM (#34183044)
    It's sort of sad. Then again, he is an heir. He didn't earn the money. The guys who stole it from him worked harder for it than he did.
  • Re:And... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ikkonoishi ( 674762 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:55AM (#34183058) Journal

    Robin Hood was running a guerrilla campaign against the nobility in the area. Of course he gave money to the poor. They would have ratted him out otherwise.

  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @02:04AM (#34183390) Homepage Journal

    He'd rather dick around with his guitar and TV than become informed about a two ton device that can kill others and that is one of the most likely instruments in a premature death of his children. His priorities are clear.

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @02:36AM (#34183528) Homepage

    You know, this is true. Something similar happened to me. A friend played a joke. I'm not famous by any stretch, but I'm a published writer and my work has appeared all over the place, including my local newspaper. So a friend decided (for whatever reason) to play this prank on me. He emailed me acting like he was somebody who had read something I'd written in the paper. At first it was just a regular "reader letter" type thing, but over the course of a few more emails he continued to escalate it onto some really weird and creepy stalker type thing. He'd say, email is so impersonal, how would you like to meet up to discuss this further? (No thanks.) Oh come on, we can meet at [a certain bar I go to regularly]. (Really, I'm not interested.) No? How about [this coffee shop right down the street from my house]? And the whole thing culminated in him sending me an email saying "I know you'll love this," along with a bunch of JPEGs of bloody dead bodies and people with injuries. Ha ha ha.

    Now, I was maybe 70 percent sure that this was some kind of prank. I mean, who would care enough to really wish harm on me? But that 30 percent is a killer. It eats at you. There are some straaaaaannnge people out there -- just look around Slashdot. And in this day and age, it really is pretty hard to imagine that a stranger could not be able to narrow down my place of residence if they really felt like they wanted to. I have to admit that the whole thing made me pretty uncomfortable -- enough to take it seriously.

    Anyway, my friend denied that he had anything to do with it, denied it and denied it again. So after the third denial I just said, "OK, well you've seen the emails. You should come down to the police station with me when I file the report." That's when he realized I was really serious, and he owned up -- and we all laughed at what a funny, funny, funny joke that was.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:23AM (#34183700)

    > simply install GPS tracking devices on citizens' vehicles

    For 'special' trips, simply drive to a parking lot near a taxi rank and take a random taxi the rest of the way to your real destination, perhaps take several taxis if you really want to slip away. The GPS based system will think you've spent all day at the mall.

    Lojacking people of interest and then assuming that they only places they went where the places the lojack went is just plain stupid.

  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @04:35AM (#34183946) Journal

    No Shit.

    I administer 3 websites as a "part time". I contracted the hosting and bought the domain. I have been working on computers and programming since around 1988 and as such, I consider myself pretty "computer saavy" (e.e. I used to do cracks and keygens in my youth... ).

    Nevertheless, about two weeks ago I've got a mail that seemed quite sincere telling me that certain company wanted to acquire domains similar to one of mines but with different TLD:

    Dear Manager,
    This email is from China Domain Name registration service company, which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. A formal application here dated on Oct. 18, 2010 from Wells inc requested " XXXXX " as their Internet Brand and China domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it's necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China ?

    Well... it was after exchanging two emails with the bastards that I got it and googled for some background (they were very pushy suggesting me to buy the domains from them :-/)

    After some time looking I found out it is a well known scam: []

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian