For a few years I worked for eBay account security. Yes, there really are REAL people like you and me (well, not YOU, but definitely me) responding to those emails and helping in chat. I know. Shocking. Well, that’s a lie. There’s no longer a real person like *ME* there, they outsourced! But there’s a fine person behind those responses (this is me assuming a majority of the people doing that are the people I trained…). As proof here is my photo of me (right) hard at work with my good friend Bessie, wearing our eBay issued security badges. On a completely non Romanian related topic, rumour has it that the lanyards they used for these were recycled… that is potentially dozens of other people’s neck cooties that touched my bare neck skin. Sick.
Other than how stupid people are, I learned a few important things, mostly about Romanians. If you are Romanian, stop reading this. Don’t you have someone to swindle? Emails to send requesting financial support because you’re a king trying to transfer money to
America to help the one armed orphans in the
ghettos of ? Hollywood
**DISCLAIMER 1: I apologize to any Romanians I offend. I am fairly confident there are honest, hard working Romanians that are pleasant people. I just haven’t met you. My (limited) contact with Romanians has been through fraud attempts. **
**DISCLAIMER 2: I also feel the same about Nigerians. If you are Nigerian, please refer to disclaimer 1 and replace the word “Romanian” with “Nigerian”**
This is what I assume a Romanian looks like:
I assume a majority of the accounts stolen by Romanians were stolen by the same person, and every time I talked to a hacker in chat (it happened waaaay more often than people would assume), I was convinced it was indeed my Romanian friend.
I loved my Romanian friend. He made my life so much more entertaining, and was always so predictable. I look back on our first interaction with such fondness. It all started one beautiful evening when he stumbled into my chat. Please note this is all memory script, direct word for word may be a little faulty. I apologize to my Romanian friend if he is reading this and is disappointed that I did not recount our interaction with perfection. I have bolded and changed the colour to all the comments that I KNOW are fact:
Me: Welcome to eBay Account Security, my name is *NAME*, how may I help you?
Vlad (I named him Vlad…): Hi Friend! I no get in my account. Give me password!
Me: I’ll be more than happy to assist you, in order to do that could you please provide your name, address and phone number?
**Vlad provides it… Since the beginning of the chat I know this is a fraudulent fraudster but I still need to go through the account verification steps to give him a slight chance... Maybe the account holder was vacationing in Romania?**
Me: Great! I just need to verify you are in fact the account holder. In order to do that, I need to place a quick verification call to the registered phone number. Are you currently at *registered number, in
Vlad: Friend! No, I next door watching the babies. Can you please call my side house? The number is *Romanian phone number*?
At this point, it’s getting ridiculous. Really Vlad? Really? Because I took geography in high school, and I *KNOW* this is how the
is laid out: USA
And here is this Romanian person trying to convince me the world is all:
So the logical request was:
Me: Oh, unfortunately I cannot call another number other than the registered number. Could you please walk next door (or hop the picket fence aka ocean between your COUNTRIES) and answer the phone at your house? I’ll call you now.
Vlad: no no, I here at *Romanian number*. I wait for your call.
At this point, I’ve done other things to occupy my time for a few minutes as the registered owners did not answer the phone so I couldn’t be all like “HI RANDOM AMERICAN! YOUR EBAY ACCOUNT IS STOLED!” (I am aware stoled is not a word, but I choose to use it here). Approximately 5 minutes later:
Vlad: Friend? Friend? Why you no call?
Me: I did call. You no answer.
Vlad: Friend! I is waiting your call!!!!
And then I ended the chat requesting they send us proof of their identity.
This was not my only run in with my friend Vlad. He would constantly come to chat, and almost all opening lines would be, “HI FRIEND!”
Hi Friend. Hi Friend indeed. I miss you, Vlad, my Romanian friend.