For $1 A Day, You Too Can Be Accused of Crimes

Hello, strangers! It’s been a little bit since my last update. I’ve been busy with work and applying for visas to foreign countries and committing fraudulent acts such as international credit card and wire fraud. Not so much the last one, unless you ask eBay. Let’s leave that alone for now, and take a look at the goodies I’m buying with my illicit gains!

Two regular envelopes, two padded ones. Also a nice smiley face sticker that you can't see, because I still haven't learned how to work my camera!

Standard fare, once again, still fun to grab them out of the mailbox though! I centered nicely the envelope with a smiley face sticker on the back, and then totally washed it out with the flash. If you can imagine it, it’s a smiley face. Like this – :D – except rounder. A nice personal touch that I appreciate, even if they do it to every envelope and wish harm on me while they do it. Let’s go junk mining!

A baseball card from 1980. It's as old as me, but in much better shape.

You may notice I took this picture on an angle. It’s not just artistic, it also helps the terrible glare I cause with my lack of formal training! You’d be surprised how reflective 32 year old cardboard is. If not, act surprised, my feelings are hurt pretty easily. You jerk. “1980Topps Baseball Trading Card #206 Mike Schmidt Record Breaker Most Home Runs” [#150841500284]. It’s actually a really nice, simple baseball card. When I stopped collecting cards in the early 90s, I remember a lot of them had flashy foil and holograms and were printed in 16 million colors on 4 inch thick cardstock. Because of this, they also used to cost 40 million dollars a pack. Canadian dollars, but still. You certainly can’t stick one of those in your bike spokes to turn it into a motorcycle, no sir! Price: $1.00.

A football card. I don't know when it is from, but it could still beat me in completed passes.

Speaking of flashy foil cards, “2004 Topps #323 Lee Evans Rookie Card” [#110902649209]. To be fair, this isn’t a terrible card, the giant BILLS at the top and LEE EVANS at the bottom are in silver foil, but aside from that, there’s no color changing skin or suction feet or any of that sort of thing that you see on some cards. This one was shipping in a standard plastic card holder, which I much prefer to being wedged between two stapled together bits of cardboard, but you get what you pay for. Except when you get more than that. Or less. Price: $1.00.

Beads! So many beads. I knew if I opened them I would end up comically slipping around on them, and then comically breaking my femur, so I didn't. Yet.

Here’s a lovely package from possibly Singapore! It took a month for these to get to me, so I assume Singapore is somewhere on one of Saturn’s moons. As you can see from the envelope, these are a handicraft that cost 8 moonbucks. I’m not sure the exchange rate, but I think it was a good deal. “New 100pcs red LUSTER resin round spacer beads 6mm Z8” [#180897002754]. See? They’re “spacer” beads; from space. Called it! Price: $1.04. Last up we have a real prize, I think you’ll agree.

This tie is second in awesomeness only to the leopard print dog tie. It's close though.

“Clourful Stripe Silk Classic Woven Man Tie Necktie #081” [#130715622065]. These words can’t convey the awesomeness that is this tie. All the colors shimmer with a metallic sheen. It radiates with an awesome power. If I had to do it over again, I’d get married in this tie. To this tie. Based on this and the leopard print dog tie, I think that eBay is the best place in the world to go for ties, for any species. Possibly the best place in the universe. I’d put good money on it. Tie money. Price: $0.99.

So, now that we are all done with the fun visual stuff, let’s move on to the boring reading stuff. A few days ago, I got a friendly email from my hosting service letting me know that they had disabled the account that the bot is using. The account, they said, was infected with nefarious softwares, and happily linked me to a few examples. The thing about these examples were that they were copies of eBay auction pages. Copies that I, myself, had made. You see, I recently decided to start linking all the items I win to their original auction listings, in case someone somewhere ever wanted to see that sort of thing. It doesn’t hurt anything to do so, so I figured, why not. Then, I got to thinking.

This is usually where I end up in trouble. See, eBay auctions expire after some amount of time, and some day in the future, someone may find this blog (it could happen!), read an old post, and click a link, only to be rewarded with an error message from eBay. “I know what I can do,” I said to myself, “I can simply mirror the auction pages locally. Surely that’s under some kind of fair use, or at the very least nobody will ever see the blog to care about it.” So I spent a little bit of time putting together some automatic mirroring code to copy the auction page and images and suchlike, and save it locally. Once I was satisfied, I went to bed, and dreamed about how wise and good looking I was for throwing that together. Sadly, eBay did not agree.

See, I didn’t strip out any of the code from the pages that communicates back to eBay, and so when I looked at the pages, they made hits on eBay’s website, and apparently this set off a giant alarm. They quickly sent off an email to my hosting place with some of the following claims:

  • We have just learned that your service is being used to display false or “spoofed” pages, apparently in an effort to steal personal and financial information from consumers, including eBay users, in order to defraud them. Specifically, it appears that a user is sending unsolicited messages to consumers, misrepresenting itself as eBay, and making statements that encourage the recipient to go to a page to enter personal and account information. The deceptively gathered information is then sent to an email account and, based on our investigation of similar schemes, used to gain access to consumers personal accounts in order to commit fraudulent acts such as international credit card and wire fraud.
  • This matter is urgent – we believe that consumers have been falsely directed to this page and may be deceived into divulging personal information to a criminal if the page is not immediately disabled.
  • We further request that you provide us with all contact information that you have for this user so that we may provide it to the proper law enforcement authorities.
  • Should you have any accurate information that could assist eBay and law enforcement in tracking this individual, we greatly appreciate your assistance, as we know that you do not condone the use of your services for such criminal purposes.

Well, you can understand why the account was shut down. I do find it a bit silly that eBay claims I was “sending unsolicited messages to comsumers” and “stealing their interwebs”, without any proof of that, but I guess form letters take no liberties. Also all the links on the pages went right back to eBay, so aside from mirroring the text and pictures, I don’t see how I could have accomplished any of the things they claimed, but, there’s no use fighting it for such a minor benefit. I tried to put together something to automate screenshots of the pages instead, but then I got bored and had some ice cream instead. So I guess it all worked out!

If anyone is still reading this, I apologize for all the boring, boring text. I’m just trying to be thorough! I promise to stop poke giant corporations with sticks in the future. Only medium corporations from here on out.

One Response to For $1 A Day, You Too Can Be Accused of Crimes

  1. TheNosferatu says:

    Great post, as somebody who also likes to poke big companies, I really enjoyed reading it :) And not just because I’m jealus of that tie! :D

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