The saddest man on MySpace
Shane Symington succumbed to a phishing scam not once, but twice. And he lost more than $200,000. There is good nature, and there is blind airheadedness.
If you are one of those people who is never surprised at how silly people can be, then perhaps you will find this story dull.
However, for the rest of us hopeful humans, the story of Shane Symington leaves us clutching our lattes a little too tightly and screaming a little too loud.
Shane appears to be a somewhat lonely U.K. mailman who went on MySpace looking for company. He found it in Angela Gates. She chatted to him for several weeks before revealing that she needed money to help with her mother's medical and funeral expenses.
For so many, such a request would scream "PHISH!" But for Shane, it whispered, "I'll pay you back when I get my $2 million inheritance." So in a few installments, he handed over about $160,000. (Did I mention that Shane is a mailman?)
Once she'd squeezed him till she'd caught sight of his pips, Angela texted him to reveal she was both very grateful and a man from Nigeria.
Shortly afterward, Shane got an e-mail from another woman who claimed that she had been caught up in the same scam. His trust as firm as an oak trunk in a storm, he gave her some money to hire a couple of ex-FBI agents to track down Angela.
You already know what happened to that money (yes, another $50,000 or so), don't you?
"I feel sick from it all. I feel disillusioned, they have just played on my good nature. I've lost my life savings, I have two loans and credit card debts, I'm in huge debts because of all of this," Shane told the Daily Mail.
Shane, there is good nature and there is blind airheadedness, and I feel you may have temporarily drifted into the latter. Those who get phishing e-mails every day, which would include anyone alive or dead in the last 30 years, know that they tend to be written in a very poor, slightly old-worldy, colonial English.
You know: "I am the sole legal representative of His Excellency the Admiral of Hong Kong," etc. You can see them coming from an even greater distance than a Jay Leno joke--especially when they begin to ask for your bank account details. So how is it possible that you were taken in?
Police in the U.K. say that Nigerian authorities aren't too keen to contribute to the search for Angela. Who knows, perhaps Angela is actually a Nigerian policeman.
But perhaps Technically Incorrect readers have more sympathy for Shane. Perhaps some of you would like to club together to help him?
If any of you are willing to contribute some money in these difficult times to help Shane repair the space between his kindness and his MySpace spaciness, I am happy to collect your contributions.
Please send me your bank account details, your address, the current balance in your checking account and savings account, your investment portfolio details, your drivers license details, the license number of your car, and its current location. And I will direct debit the appropriate amount in the morning and send it on to Shane.
Oh men...they always think with their heart, don't they?