back to article Hurricane Sandy: Where are all the cynical online scams?

The occurrence of a natural disaster or celebrity death have been guaranteed to mean the appearance of topical scams and malware for some years, certainly since the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 if not before. But the devastation wrought by superstorm Sandy on the US north-east coast and beyond has strangely been accompanied by …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still had a phone call from "Microsoft Windows Technical Support" yesterday telling me that my computer had a problem and they would help me fix it. I tried to keep the lady on the line whilst extracting her urine, but she hung up on me after a couple of minutes. On a previous occasion I kept them on the line for over an hour.....

    Brilliant entertainment for when I have nothing more interesting to do..... :o)

    1. James O'Shea

      I salute you

      I've had several calls from those boys, though none recently, they may have actually caught a clue by some miracle. My personal record for keeping them on the phone is 27 minutes 43 seconds. If you managed to keep 'em hanging for an hour, that's just magnificent.

      Among the things that I've found out about them are:

      they don't know what an IP is

      they don't know what a private IP is (one bright young lad said that the IP address of the machine with the problem was

      they don't know what an OS is

      they use WinXP machines (when asked what OS I use, the ones who know what an OS is answer WinXP.)

      they don't know the difference between XP Home, Pro, and Media Center. (They don't know that Media Center exists, actually.) (Yes, it's 'Media Center', not 'Media Centre'. I know the diff. Microsoft doesn't.)

      they're really persistent (they've called me seven times...)

      and they're always good entertainment.

      1. Magani

        Re: I salute you

        Add to that their total ignorance of MSDN, TechNet, TechEd or any of the MSFT developer / reseller tools or similar.

        My best effort only got me to about 16 minutes before they hung up. :-(

        Mind you, trying to follow their instructions while looking at a virtual machine running Mint did cause delightful confusion.

    2. GuyC

      The Easiest Way

      If you want to keep them on for a while, just tell them that your PC is in the attic and your phone is downstairs and neither are mobile, add more time for finding a pencil and paper to write things down a few mistakes and then an argument about access to the PC, well over half an hour and that's without getting creative

  2. David Webb

    I'm still wondering how much quicker everything in NY will be fully repaired compared to when Katrina hit, has New Orleans recovered fully yet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Already fixed.

      It's election year after all.

      1. David Webb

        You know, you're probably really correct :)

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Apples and Oranges

        New York is richer and less devastated.

    2. zen1


      I don't know how the absence of tragedy related scams degraded into a "brilliant" political analysis of the first idiot and his pin head challenger, but the biggest difference is that New Orleans sits below sea level. There are levee's surrounding it and there are massive sump pumps under the city that run pretty much 24/7. So when the city floods, there's a fairly probability that the power feeding those pumps stops. A fair portion of NYC sits a fair piece above sea level and it's on bedrock.

      While Sandy was a big storm, statistically, the storms that move through the gulf of mexico are much more powerful and bring a much higher storm surge along with them. So one would figure the municiple government of New Orleans would have learned from neighboring gulf states.

      While Bush was another poor example of American leadership, he didn't go to New Orleans simply because he knew the Secret Service would attempt to rob every available first responder from the job of actually helping for additonal security detail support. The current administration wanted to come to NYC to survey the damage, but the mayor at least had sense graciously decline the visit request. Instead he toured New Jersey with their governor.

      Perhaps the biggest difference is that instead of the examples set by the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana, the Mayor of NYC remained in the city and the necessary authorities made sure that the City's support infrastructure didn't degrade. When the management of both New Orleans and Louisiana bailed to save their own skins, even when they had every convienance at their disposal, the city and state fell into a state of anarchy.

      Finally, even with all the warnings to evacuate, most of the people down in New Orleans stayed put. Being unable to live off the land like the cajun folk and completely unprepared, I'm really quite surprised there weren't more tragedies. Personally I hold the mayor of New Orleans and governor of Louisania completely responsible because of their utter lack of leadership.

      1. Esskay

        Re: wtf

        Having a stock exchange in the middle of a hurricane affected city in a capitalist nation goes a long way towards making sure things get fixed quick. For all the environmental factors that contributed to the devastation of Katrina, I can't help but feel that the lack of influential affected people contributed to the completely half-arsed clean up attempt.

  3. Tom Maddox Silver badge


    The tasteless comments by civilized and compassionate Reg readers show that there's plenty of cynicism alive and well here.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Quite

      Yes, lets face it, the grid is not down or the whole of the USA would be "dark" also the storm and the damage was not big enough to need any additional reporting. Life will go on and perhaps I am cynical too or too cynical to understand I am not. Have to stop here, gets too confusing.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Chris 242

          Re: Quite

          Quote from e-mail "as people were trying to make out"

          Damm fine bulldog british sprit.

          Total disaster and people are still wanting shag.

          Hats off

        2. Esskay

          Re: Quite

          "but she's got no power and no water, and is online at a Starbucks."

          If someone has to go to Starbucks for anything, the situation should automatically be upgraded to "pretty fucking bad".

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Quite

        A quick GIS on "Japenese Tsunami Damage" puts a couple of flooded underground stations and a the destruction of a rather tacky looking seaside fun fair into perspective.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yeah, I knew there was something I was supposed to be doing

    thanks for the reminder

  5. Ilsa Loving
    Thumb Up

    Obama vs Bush

    Unlike Bush, Obama is apparently doing an exceptional job in getting relief to affected people. Apparently he's doing such a good job that even major Republican talking heads are *congratulating and thanking him*.

    I think Sandy just won Obama the election. Or perhaps more accurately, Americans are now seeing clearly first hand how effective a democrat president is, compared to the mindblowing incompetence of a republican one. Mitt is getting his rear end handed to him over wanting to shut down FEMA.

    1. Chris 228

      Re: Obama vs Bush

      I guess this is meant to be sarcasm? Those in need certainly aren't getting help from anyone but locals and charities. The Feds move very slow and it has nothing to do with who is President.

      The damage from hurrican Sandy is surreal. Pricie gouging before and after the storm is as you'd expect in the Rotten Apple. The lack of petrol, food and supplies is only a small example of the pain that so many are suffering with 68 known dead and unimaginable property damage.

      If Obama gets re-elected people in the U.S., Europe and Asia can expect more economic stuggles. Get the facts. Obama has never had a real job in his life and doesn't have a clue how to create jobs. No new jobs means a stagnant economy and with the U.S. being a very high consumer country that means less sales for Euro and Asian products.

      All the politics in the world can't create real jobs.

  6. Stratman

    Never mind 'where are the scams?...'

    ... where are the zombies?

    1. Graham Marsden

      @Stratman Re: Never mind 'where are the scams?...'

      Ask Joss Whedon...

  7. g e
    Black Helicopters

    No scams because..?

    The email servers are underwater due to the hurricane?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No scams because..?

      Either that or all of the scammers are from New York City, and are unable to get their webservers online.

      1. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: No scams because..?

        My take on this is that while many of the scammers in question reside in and around NYC, they are unable to get to the internet cafes and other online access which they typically use to help anonymize their activities. Starbucks (and similar) has become a major port of refuge after the storm for those without power and internet access at home. A bit ironic given the origins of the name of the chain...

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: No scams because..?

      This does seem rather more plausible than El Reg's (tongue-in-cheek) version. After all, the emails don't come from the scammers' machines. They come from compromised boxes owned by others. There are a lot of boxes on the East coast and they probably enjoy better bandwidth than average.

  8. Paul 129

    I'm a cynic

    "Only a cynic would suggest that perhaps scammers mainly live in New Jersey ..."

  9. Rick Brasche

    not the scammers

    the servers that host the scammers are on the east coast, natch.

  10. Oliver Mayes

    "Fake donation pages are notable by their absence"

    If you don't count the IRL one Romney held in Ohio, where he went out and bought loads of stuff then gave it to people to 'donate' to the cause on camera.

  11. Senior Ugli

    My name Is Cousin Benson, I am resident of Nigeria currently on holiday in the United States, My uncle was a very rich man in the torture industry, and he has sadly passed away and left me $8,934,098,009 ready for my account. Currently I am in starbucks in New York, however all of my US dollars are wet from Mr Sandy. If you just send me $4,987,098 for a flight back, once I am back home I can send you your money plus $5 for your trouble.

    Sincerly Cousin Benson

    1. James O'Shea

      don't upi mean 'Cousin Hedges'?

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