TenthOfMarch Calling Out For Help To Fight Internet Scams!

Yesterday, I read two articles in the newspaper with great concern.

Article #1: Student falls victim to Net scam
Article #2: Millions lost in e-invest scam

Scams — online or offline — are real. The hazards are real. Despite efforts from various parties trying to educate the public regarding scams, somehow the message is just not reaching out.

Take Article #1 for example; the victim was actually conned TWICE totaling RM148,000 on the same day and by the same group of people. The first attempt saw her losing RM46,000. Having caught a naive victim, her perpetrator tried to con her again. This time, using a bigger cash prize (RM3.2mil) as the bait. Unfortunately, the poor victim fell for it.

We have probably read, heard or saw news about people falling for scams. The victims range from Datuks to lawyers to college students to housewives. Most of them are well educated people but yet they fail to identify these scams. There is nothing to be blamed but the lack of awareness itself. In the past week, I read two blogger’s post regarding scams through the Internet and SMS.

Scams and other methods of fraud will not cease by itself. In fact, it will only grow and strengthen as new techniques and methods are used. Therefore, to solve this problem I suggest we, bloggers run a “Scam Awareness Campaign“. We will use our blogs to spread the message, warning readers to be aware of scams.

We can set a date (eg. 30th April 2007), where on that date, all bloggers who are willing to join this campaign will write a post about scams in their own blog(s). It can be about how to identify scams, latest scams techniques, scam prevention or any other related topic. The post don’t need to be long. Even a “Beware of scam!” message is sufficient. This is an opportunity to spread the message to help reduce the rate of scams.

You don’t have to be a Malaysian or are currently residing in Malaysia to join this campaign. This is because scams happen throughout the world. Check this and this out. The most important thing is, this campaign is FREE. You don’t pay anything to run it. Of course, unless you say, “I pay for this site. Every alphabets, I pay for” (just joking). But hey, it is for a good cause.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.
– Les Brown

It would be great if I can gather a large number of bloggers to join this campaign. However, to not be alone at the end, would suffice.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions to help promote this campaign, please leave a comment. To help me better understand the possible response of this campaign, please answer the poll below. Thank you.

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Will you join the scam awareness campaign?
View Results

UPDATE: I found another blog entry regarding scam. Go read her entry on how a live scam would have been like.

UPDATE 2: I wrote two posts in the past about scams as well. Check them out here and here.

UPDATE 3: Yet another post from LiewCF entitled, “Why Join Internet Investment Schemes“. At first glance, I thought he was ENCOURAGING people to join Internet investment schemes! LOL! However, after reading his post, I realize he was advising people against it. It’s a good read.

Public Message To Josh

Firstly, I think you are a very smart person. Seriously, and I’m not even being sarcastic. However, I also feel that you are very manipulative (eh? I thought said won’t be sarcastic!). I have never met you in person but your feedback and responses for the past few days gives me that impression. I wonder how many others share the same thoughts as I do. Or I could be alone.

I would like to clarify two things. Firstly, I did receive your email that contains a picture of a screenshot with a graph in it. However, that picture doesn’t prove anything for it can be easily edited. If I were to post pictures instead of a video, do you think my readers would believe me half as much? Heck, it doesn’t even show which domain that graph belongs to. And I don’t see that graph anywhere in google analytics, can you please direct me to the location where it can be found?

Secondly, you’ve been saying you sent me details for the access to your website stats. And again, you said I am biased for not inspecting it. To be very honest, I don’t see it anywhere. It’s not in the attachments, it’s not even in the body of the email. Just take my word for it — it’s not there. Unless you want another video. I’m a little too stressed out for that right now, I prefer not to.

Time and time again you claimed that I am biased. Please, show me where and when. I would like to correct and improve myself further.

As for your comments:

The other point to bring up of course, is whether “DevilsAdvocate” is “TenthOfMarch”. It seems to have taken a lot of effort to make the video. If you calculate the time it took to script, shoot and edit, and the lovely props as well – it’s at least 3-4 hours, and probably more. And if you stutter, it’ll take even longer to record a good take… Btw, it’s “AdverTlets.com”. Enounciate la :) All that’s missing is ominous music in the background, and shocking sound effects (dum dum dum dum!)

Why would someone go through so much trouble? :) For a vendetta against whoever of us (Until now I have no idea which side you are on), for increased traffic, “because I can” or all of the above?

TenthOfMarch, if its not you – fine, then great piece of investigative video journalism. But you are implicated as much as we are, really. I’m not pointing the finger at you, but just stating that we can’t really see what goes on behind on your side right? We don’t even know how you look like. To either Your / DevilsAdvocate / Nuffnang’s credit though, its quite interesting though that they chose to reply in detail to the “false criticism”.

In most of the failed recordings of the video, I did mentioned, “I hope I pronounced your names correctly“. I guess I missed that out in the final recording. In the end, I was too tired I didn’t bothered going for another retake. I was wondering if Nuffnang’s ‘nang‘ was pronounced as Pe-nang or ‘Pulau Pi-nang‘. I went for the English version of course.

To say the least, when you started pointing fingers at me saying that I could be the one creating all this nonsense just to attract people into my blog did stir a little tsunami in me. To be fair to you, there is a possibility that it is true. I’ll just leave it at that. I guess I lost to you and the guys from Nuffnang in this area. Despite all my criticism, you guys managed to remain calm. I’ll need to practice more on that.

I also want to add that I DO want more traffic coming into my blog. Who doesn’t? There were a few things that I did that successfully brought in new traffic. However, there are also some that didn’t. I assure you and my readers that the technique used is legal, and most importantly, ETHICAL. I even plan to write a tutorial on it one day when my blog audience grow larger and more stable. I can’t teach something that I haven’t mastered myself, can I?

If you are still wondering whose side I am on, the answer was, and is still — neither. I’ve said this in the video, I don’t give a damn about your fights. But it looks like I stood a little too close, and have received a few blows myself.

One last thing. You don’t need to hit on me so hard. My blog did somehow attract a larger crowd out of a sudden, but it would probably disappear the same way. Furthermore, it’s not like my opinions have any ‘weight’. Now if you will excuse me, I have a Part Two review to write.

Advertlets Invites TenthOfMarch To Their Office

After posting a review on Review: Nuffnang Vs. Advertlets yesterday, I had 3 great gentlemen commenting in my blog — Ming and Timothy Tiah from Nuffnang, and Josh Lim from Advertlets. In that post, I pointed out a few mistakes and suggested further improvements that can be applied to their websites. Some of which were applied immediately. While others are taken “into consideration for future site features and amendments“.

It did felt great. Me being a one month old blogger, having such an impact on two (may I say) leaders of a unique twist in blog advertising network in Asia. It reminded me of the scene where Superman carried a truck while he was still in his diapers.

If that is not enough to make a man fly, what about an invitation to Advertlets’ office? I’m sure that even an elephant would fly. It’s true guys, TenthOfMarch has been officially invited by Josh Lim to visit Advertlets’ office. In his own words, “You’re also welcome to come down to the Advertlets office one of these days for a peek at our back end if you like …“. That was great news, but he has to add, “… but no photographs“.

What is a blogger good for ‘visiting places’ without a camera? Can’t I have my shot at cam-whoring? I’ve seen other bloggers so excited doing it. And I have no idea why. Haha. Of course, I understand and respect his reasons. However, it would be nice to at least have a picture with him, wouldn’t it? That would add an extra picture into my collections.

I’m seriously looking forward to it. I just hope that they don’t beat me up, or satay me alive because of my ‘not-so-kind’ reviews on them.

I wonder what I should wear on that day. Damn…better lose a few pounds before taking that picture. Until then…..

Lightning Strikes Twice At MAS

After my previous complaint on F1 commentary needs to improve, I believe the next person that deserves a spanking is the staff at the ticketing counter of our Malaysia Airlines (MAS) at the Kuantan airport.

I booked a ticket online for a flight from Kuantan – KLIA – Auckland – KLIA – Kuantan. As for the current procedures, the self-printed-ticket can be used for domestic flights. However, if you have an international flight, you will still need to collect the tickets from their ticketing counter.

When I went to the counter to collect my tickets about a week ago, the staff took a brief look at my self-printed-ticket, and told me that I didn’t need to collect any tickets for my flights. Seeing me puzzled, he explained that I didn’t have to collect the tickets because I booked the tickets online and had already made the payment. He also added that I only need to pass the self-printed-ticket to the check-in counter, and I will be given a boarding pass then.

Confused, I had no choice but to leave the counter even though I was quite certain that I must collect my tickets from them. After all, he’s a staff there, and I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.

Upon reaching home, I made another call to the MAS office to inform them of what happened. Again, they told me I MUST collect my tickets from the counter at least one day before my flight. I almost blew my top. It took me a little over an hour to go to the airport and back. Now I will have to waste another hour just because of the staff’s mistake.

Few days later, I made a call to the ticketing counter to ask what time they will be open. It didn’t help the situation when the staff replied rudely, “Aiyah…you just come before 6pm lah”. He sounded like he had a bad day and is picking on me. I almost had a fight with him on the phone, but decided to air my complaint in The Star one day.

When I tried to collect my tickets for the second time, I was greeted with a different staff. However, after looking at my self-printed-ticket he told me that I didn’t need to collect any tickets. I was furious. I told him to look at it properly, that I had an international flight due. He replied, “Oh yeah ah”, and finally started to print the tickets for me.

The image of MAS can easily be destroyed by a few bad staffs like that. And I thought that VMY 2007 will see some improvements in the customer service sector. I guess I was wrong.

Who said lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice?

The Star publishes TenthOfMarch’s first letter

Yesterday (Sunday) at 6:09pm, I received a phone call from The Editor of The Star. At least I think it was from him, the line was so bad it took me a lot of, “Who? What? From where?” before I got a clear “The Star….the newspaper…” from him. He called me to confirm that the letter that I sent the previous night was selected and will be published in the newspaper today (Monday). I was ecstatic when I heard the news.

The Star full page

He asked if I wanted to write off as “TenthOfMarch“. Deep down in my heart, I really wanted to write off as “TenthOfMarch.com“. At least that will pull some attention to my blog. In the end, I did not, out of fear that they might not even publish my letter (due to free advertisement). 5 minutes after the phone call, I regretted my decision. I should have at least suggested “TenthOfMarch.com“, and let him decide if it’s appropriate or not. Well, it’s already too late. I couldn’t call him back and say, “errr…can you please change it to TenthOfMarch.com instead? please please pleasee……“.

No problem, I’ll just use TenthOfMarch.com for the next letter that I will send in. Hopefully my letter will be picked again, and that they’ll allow me to publicize my blog. :)

The Star: F1 commentary needs to improve

Ahhh…sweet. They even included a picture of Kimi Raikkonen in his spanking new red ferrari for the article MY ARTICLE. Here’s a quote from the article MY ARTICLE (I wonder who owns the copyright to the article. Anyway, no harm. They’ve edited some grammar mistakes I’ve made as well. Don’t blame me, it was 4.20 AM when I posted that letter):

I WAS forced to watch the Australian Grand Prix Formula 1 qualifying on TV2 because I had no access to Astro that morning. I avoid watching local channels because the commentary is usually dull and uninteresting.

As the event progressed, I was laughing and angry at the same time. The commentator literally read all the information on screen.

There was no sense of excitement at all. You cannot commentate in Formula 1 like how you would commentate in a local football match.

The current qualifying is split into 3 sessions. At the end of the third session where qualifying is already over, the commentator actually mentioned something like; “…the drivers are coming in and preparing for their final qualifying…”. I thought I heard wrongly, but he repeated it again as if there were a 4th session.

A message to TV2 (or to whoever is concerned), please improve the quality of your commentary. At least do your homework by checking out the rules.

There are a lot of passionate Formula 1 lovers out there. I for one, rather listen to the sheer sound of the V8 engines without commentary, than having to put up with lousy commentaries like that.

There you go, my first letter to The Star. I wonder what my next letter will be. Will it be published also? We’ll see….