56 Comments
Jul 1, 2022Liked by Max Read

This was so fascinating. Thank you. My assistant will send you the custom mahogany furniture soon.

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they could come up with more interesting openings

'''

yo dude, I still have your possum, can you pick it up already? It's eaten my dress shoes and my cat now lives on top of the fridge

'''

I’d want to know more about what’s going on there for sure

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Jul 7, 2022·edited Jul 7, 2022Liked by Max Read

Really, really interesting. I live in Cambodia, and can report first hand the catastrophe of Sihanoukville, facing the combination of real estate collapse in China (which has defunded many construction projects) , the pandemic (which actually affected Cambodia less than almost anywhere else, but still killed Chinese tourism), and the chaos that the influx of usually unofficial gambling brought in the form of this kind of criminality. It's almost a side note to mention that it destroyed what was once one of the nicest, most quaintly old-style towns in the city. So much was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, but Sihanoukville managed to retain its character until about 5 years ago.

I also developed an app and service to help game streamers monetize more effectively, with the quid pro quo that a percentage of revenue gets directed to assist NGOs that help kids here and in Thailand. As it is, when we introduce what we're doing to game streamers on services like Discord, there's a huge trust component that you have to build to even start to ask them if they want to work with us – again, the quid pro quo is that we ask them to involve their audiences, and we provide the tool to create a tournament and play a wee game; NGOs get part of the entry fees.

So this article is like a kind of primer on the wall of shit that really poor developing nations attract, and having a quasi-predatory "partner" in the form of the Belt and Road initiative inures people to the deep compromises that brings. At the same time, this is probably where NGOs do the most good and make the most difference, besides actual crisis zones, so we feel like this is where we need to be.

The las thing I want to say is, that about 7 years ago I was working as CTO on a remittance app that used blockchain and crypto to deliver earnings from largely Burmese but also Cambodian and Bangladeshi "migrant workers" – slaves, if we're being honest – who end up in Thailand in the fishing industry. One of the problems of that business is that we needed to establish a reliable currency exchange rate between Thai Baht and Myanmar Chiat. The volume of trading is so low, that it's hard to get a real rate without going through a secondary currency, like USD, which distorts the whole transaction, and creates a need for reserves of USD.

We ended up travelling to the same lawless border between Thailand and Myanmar. There we witnessed the active "market making" that the two currencies have: guys with pickup trucks with ammo boxes of currency, on either side of one of the bridges; Warlord armed gangs on both sides with AK's and sometimes RPGs would go from either side of the bridge, one with a sample case of the one currency, the other with the other. They'd stand, negotiate, and then walkie-talkie back to their guys on either shore, who would then unload or offload ammo boxes onto carts that would then get pushed to the middle of the bridge, and exchanged. it was totally terrifying, and we were told that as much as $18m could cross that bridge in a day, with the criminal gangs reliant on this as a primary funding source. It was taken for granted that government officials on both sides had their hands in the pot.

Needless to say, they took a lively interest in a blockchain systm that might trouble their waters, and we were forced to abandon the project when some of our Myanmarese team members started getting threatening calls....

So that's probably the precursor to this article, and likely still continuing. Thanks for reading, loved the article.

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By now it's almost an open secret in China that a lot of these pig-butchering scammers are based in northern Myanmar, in de facto independent regions like the Chinese-speaking Wa State. Because these jurisdictions aren't officially recognized by either China or Myanmar, scammers often operate in legal gray zones with porous borders.

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i got

“dr. lee did you gets the results of the last test? im malina”

i replied “i did. the results were negative.”

they said “maybe my new assistant has misremembered dr. lee’s number…sorry…”

i said “yes please have that new assistant fired on monday…sorry”

they said “lol…okay!”

lmao

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Jul 4, 2022Liked by Max Read

Unfortunately I was hit by one of these pig slaughter scams, by simply replying to the message saying it's alright hope you get in touch with whoever you were texting.

Which led into a dialog which I see is a template posted above for the scam.

The scammer named themselves Anna, and their uncle worked for an exchange that provided the wining trades (eggcoins) or something and she spent time showing me screen shots of how to load the fake exchange and execute trades.

Of course over time as I loaded my account and after winning trades and tried to withdraw, I couldn't, said it took 3 weeks to initiate a withdrawal by which time the exchange folded and was gone.

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Back in the early 1970s, I decided that Multics, unlike several other system on campus, was a relatively unfriendly system. People didn't interact all that much, possibly because security was a big concern. I wrote a program, borrowing an idea from the "cookie monster", that would wait a while, then send a convincing looking text message from a random user on the system. Back then it was stuff like "Thanks for the help. That fixed it." or "Do you remember how to set the {blah blah blah} time?" I considered it a joke, You needed access to the other guys console to make it work. Then, I started getting reports of people using it to fool people. They'd activate my program on someone's terminal when they were out somewhere, perhaps using the rest room. The mark would come back, resume working, notice the message and promptly reply. Some people thought it was hilarious. I thought it was fascinating. Little did I know, I had seen the future.

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Any thoughts on whether the "Hey Dorothy - wondering if you are still interested in selling your property at 1234 xxxx road?" ... me, not being named Dorothy and not owning any property at 1234 xxx road or anywhere else - are part of this?

I keep searching for someone reporting about it...mostly because I've been known to respond to them in all caps (aka yell at them) and then block the number...and I'm not sure if that is just confirming that they've reached a person and means I'll get more, lol. (As I type that, I realize that is 100% what is happening and that sometimes it just feels good to yell...)

But also because I try to share as much of this with my 75 year old mom, as I can, to try to ensure she doesn't fall victim to one of these scams. And since we frequently get political texts - that honestly sound the same (i.e. This is so and so running for such and such office in XYZ place...and often that is not a place we live...), we've had a hard time understanding which ones we should be vigilant about and which we should just ignore.

The home-buying one is particularly concerning to me, right now, as my mom has been considering selling her home, it being located in a market that is on a steep incline.

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I was irritated and disgusted till I got to the part about them pulling a Taken and luring people there and enslaving them. Now I'm going to worry anytime I get one of these that the person who sent it is being held captive somewhere and beaten. Is there anything people in the US can do to help these poor people? (not the unscrupulous criminal scammers who deserve to rot)

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this mfer actually said "I treasure on your support"

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I am still waiting for my shipment of custom mahogany furniture. But I was able to make an appointment for that poor woman's sick dog.

Also, Flaffia? Is that really you?

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If I was retired, I'd spend my time unraveling these scams because there's all types of ways to get the scammer to click a link which can expose their real location and then you can go there via Google street view and spook the hell out of them.

The white Volkswagen beetle parked by your window, I'm across the street with binoculars and have been waiting for you to leave your establishment. When are you coming outside?

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I have a foolproof method of preventing these scams which I offer free to anyone who subscribes to my Crypto-current newsletter. For just $2.99/week I will provide the most profitable insider…

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I read this ages ago, which is why it's so weird that someone is trying to pull me in to one of these right now.

Thing is, they're not... like, getting around to it. They keep asking how my day is going about once a week and that's about it. Sometimes instead they mix it up and instead lead with "I hope your week is going really well!", but even when I reply it never actually goes anywhere.

Part of me thought "maybe this is just some rando and not some scheme", so I casually asked them how work went today, and as a follow-up, what they did for a living. They "invest in various types of businesses, but mostly restaurants" -- which given your reporting here, I think pretty much seals the deal.

So, no idea wtf is going on here. Maybe I'm in one of these super-advanced pig butchering schemes where they butter me up veeeerrrrrrrrry slowly over the course of a year before inviting me to the restaurant investment chat or something. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Welp, this got unexpectedly dark… Thanks for shedding some light on this horrible situation.

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Thank you for writing this. WhatsApp is the real scam, get rid of it!

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