Gone Phishin’

I regret to say that I have, thus far, had a great deal of difficulty keeping my New Year’s Resolution of earning $100 each week through tutoring. Although I have posted advertisements on craigslist, they have attracted mostly spam as responses. I have had somewhat more luck, however, having people contact me through the Department’s website (they have a special section in which prospective tutors are listed).

Earlier this week, I thought I had another such response: it seems that some lady in Austria (by the rather unlikely name of Ann Taylor, email address antylor@yahoo.co.uk) was looking for a tutor for her homeschooled son, who would be moving to Canada within a week or so. I found the request to be highly unusual, but then I don’t pretend to understand at all how homeschoolers roll, and it seemed fairly specific, so I replied, told her my rates and the hours that I was available.

She responded by offering to pay me a lump sum of $600 dollars to tutor her son for six hours a week for a month (with the possibility of renewal should he find my services satisfactory). I’m generally used to working irregular hours, rather than on a fixed schedule, so this seemed rather odd, but I am disinclined, at this point in my life, to turn down offers of money outright*. Upon consulting with my friends, however, it became clear that many of them had been negotiating similar contracts. Either our Austrian friend was a very shrewd business woman…or she was out on a phishing expedition.

It was the second one.

So mercifully, I have been alerted to the scam in time. The question now is: what should I do about it**? I could just start filing her missives into the spam folder, but I dislike having my time wasted and poverty taken advantage of, so I feel inclined to play with her a bit. I’m not yet quite sure how, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.


*I did, however, feel a great swell of pity for the poor kid. What seventeen-year old boy wants to spend six hours a week in parent-arranged tutoring over the summer?

**Other than publish this post so as to warn off others.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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5 Responses to Gone Phishin’

  1. Stephen Ross says:

    I have received the same message at my email address at UNB. This is a remarkably specific one – Math/Physics is a rather narrow target! Also, unless you are in Fredericton, her sister-in-law does not seem to be well localised!
    Thank you for your post.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion « Clarissa's Blog

  3. Steve says:

    What was it phishing for?

    I haven’t had one like that (maths/physics is not my field), but I’ve had plenty of invitations to bogus conferences. about Aids, human trafficking or similar topics, usually to be held in some US city and in Dakar, Senegal.

    I replied to a could, asking for details of the congference, but none were forthcoming, so in those ttoo I wondered what they were phishing for, other than e-mail addresses tio spam.

    • Basically it workds something like this: she tells you: “my homeschooled son is moving to Canada soon; I want him to get a scholarship at your university; could you please tutor him so that he stays sharp in math and physics.” Assuming that you agree, she e-mails again trying to negotiate a contract. Eventually, she offers a large sum of money, and will presumably eventually you for your credit/banking information in order to send it to you. I’m not precisely clear on that, as I’ve not yet reached that point in my interaction with her.

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