Friday, December 30, 2016

I have (almost) been scammed!

Yes, I have! And I survived to tell the tale...

The Baiting Stage

Like all scams, it began with greed. I posted an advertisement on Mudah to sell my used camera. The price I fixed was RM600, equivalent to USD133.75. It's amazing such a low price can attract scammers. I'm officially amazed.

Anyway, I received a WhatsApp message the next day, from a +234 number, a Nigerian country code. If you type "mudah nige" into Google search bar, these are the first things that come up.

Haven't even complete the word "nigerian", Google search bar tells it all.

The seemingly interested buyer, refer henceforth as "the Nigerian", told me he was from UK and wanted to buy the camera for his cousin in Sabah. He asked me to check the postage fee to Sabah, which I did. It was about RM16 via PosLaju.

Without much questions, the Nigerian asked for my banking details and immediately transferred RM1050 to my account. And all these, were confirmed by his bank, the First Direct Bank. The payable amount was only RM616 including postage, but he paid in excess of RM434. Now, this is the bait.

The Pre-Scamming Stage

According to the email from First Direct Bank, I needed to provide proof of postage before they would credit the money into my bank account, apparently to avoid money laundering.

First email from the bank. My bank account number is the number of times I died and reincarnated.

I was again amazed by how badly-written and unprofessional the email sounded, not the mention the grammatical errors. Can't I be impressed by a more skilled scammer? How can these scammers survive in such a challenging and harsh environment? How do they even compete with the better scammers?

So the Nigerian insisted that I post him the camera today, right away. Since I was bored, and have all the time in the world (don't ask why), so I played along.

Conversation with the Nigerian Part 1. The tracking number is a lottery number I trust will be announced this week.

He then asked for the PosLaju receipt, but of course I didn't have it. I just forged some Maybank2U online payment slip, took a picture and sent to him. It was a photo after all so I guess he couldn't tell that it was a fake. I even forged a PosLaju consignment note (don't ask how) and sent back to his First Direct Bank.

The Real Scam Stage 1

Now this was when the real thing came. He made a payment in excess of RM400! So, how? He asked me. F***ing call your bank and make changes, I suggested. But the problem was, the bank said no, apparently for security reasons. Wow, such customer service. And such high security.

Okay fine, I would refund the money after the transaction had been done successfully. Bank said no again, they needed to see the refund before they could credit my account. I repeatedly demanded reasoning behind this, as I wanted to see how clever they could get and what excuses they could come up with to get around with this. But the Nigerian guy kept saying it could not be done, I had to refund the money first etc. He just kept repeating the same thing, like a retard.

Conversation with the Nigerian Part 2. He wanted to delay my suspicion before the camera could reach him.

Conversation with the Nigerian Part 3. I made him believe that I will refund RM250 to him.

So I gave him what he wanted. I refunded the money to him. Of course I forged a Maybank2U online transfer slip again, which made me realized how easily it could be done. Something to note for future reference - be it a scam or anything at all.

The Real Scam Stage 2

So what happens when you successfully cheated someone of RM250? The answer is simple. The more the merrier!

Of course the amount RM1050 is too little to be transferred. Nobody transfer that kind of money okay. Of course you need a minimum of RM2000. What is anything below RM2000? The bank was very regret to inform me that the transaction had failed, because apparently their valued customer, the Nigerian, had never had a transfer less than MYR2000.00 with them!

Second email from the bank. Transaction had failed. 

Seriously... How can anyone fall for this? And that was not all. In order to be able to transfer the money, he had made an additional transfer of RM950 into my account, so now I had to refund him this very amount as well. It's so fun right! We love transferring money from one to another!

By that time I was bored beyond hope. These scammers, they are just not creative enough. I felt lazy to entertain the Nigerian anymore so blocked that +234 number on WhatsApp. He then sent another message from another number saying that I was trying to scam him. LOL. Nice try, Nigerian.

Well that was the end of the scam and yes I had a good laugh. I had two names and a RHB account number, which I thought belong to the scammer, or at least to someone linked to him. I had thought of filing a police report but then, this amateur scammer, why had he not been caught? His skills were stupid and he gave out bank account numbers. Those who got scammed (if any) surely had reported to the police. The only reason he was still out there, either because the PDRM didn't bother, or because he was some insider with PDRM or had linkage with them. If I were to report him, and I had played him that way, would he track me down and come for revenge?

Anyway, I figured I should still provide the information here, on my blog, for the sake of all mankind. Whether or not I file a report is another story. Without further ado, let me introduce the cast:
Mr. D***head Aizad Razi (it only appeared in emails hence it could be a fake name)
Mr. F***face Mohd Afzan Afiq, owner of RHB account 15211200049444

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Elfen Lied - Anime Review

Anime has been one of my pastimes during the last few months. I've been watching some famous ones that anime fans would consider classic - Steins;Gate, Puella Madoka Magica, etc. Hours ago I just finished Elfen Lied. When you look for "greatest anime of all time" in YouTube, you almost always get Elfen Lied in the list. I'm not gonna lie - it got my attention due to its gory content.

I would have to say, it didn't live up to my expectations at all.

Well, here is my SPOILER review.

The Characters

The first thing I have to say is the characters are freaking flat. None of them is likable. None of them makes me feel emotionally attached to. None of them is really fully developed. 

We have Kouta, who had a dark childhood from watching his little sister and father being killed by Lucy / Nyu whom he considered as a friend. We have Lucy / Nyu, who as a child was bullied and betrayed by normal humans. We have Mayu, who was sexually abused by her stepfather. We have Kurama, who lost his newborn and wife, because his newborn was a Diclonius. I'm supposed to sympathize with these characters I guess. But they are so poorly-developed and so lacked of vibe. And the flashbacks didn't help either. At times I felt myself waiting for the emotional touch and it felt like it almost reach me, but then disappeared quickly.

What disturbs me most is, they didn't even try to explain why Lucy / Nyu was having split personality. I mean, she had been living her past few years in a lab facility and then suddenly when she escaped, she had split personality??? That's just too convenient for the plot, which brings me to the next point.

The Plot

The anime opened with intriguing gory scenes of a Diclonius escaping from a experimental lab facility. Then it built up to pre-climax with explanations on events in the past, including the childhood of Lucy / Nyu and how she befriended Kouta. There were little hints at the first few episodes signalling something happened in the past, and then flashbacks towards the ending which supposed to disclose the "twist". Well in short, the big twist was - *drumroll* - that Lucy / Nyu as a child was the killer of Kouta's family. I think this is the most interesting part in the whole of the series.

The gory scenes were, well gory, and that's it. They didn't leave a strong impression on me and neither were they disturbing, particularly #35 (Mariko) who was Kurama's daughter. I felt that more could be done to this character. She was supposedly raised in a lab since she was born and isolated from all other human beings. Her becoming of a blood thirsty killer and her attachment to the idea of Kurama being a father were not well-explained and simply unconvincing.

And what was the experiments conducted in the lab facility anyway? What exactly were they trying to achieve? It didn't seem to be solely for academical purposes. Towards the ending it was shown the director of the lab, Kakuzawa took off his wig and revealed that he, too was a Diclonius. Quite a reveal but I needed to ask - and then what? And in the same scene we saw that Arakawa decided to hide the identity of Kouta, being related to Lucy / Nyu - again, for convenience of the plot.

The character of Bando seemed very redundant as well. He didn't make any significant contributions or advancements to the plot. And the part where Kurama fixed his artificial hand in exchange for him to kill Mariko - first of all, why did he think Bando can kill her when she is so-all-powerful? Second of all, how did he even know Bando would be at the beach? 

The Ending

I found myself asking "that's it?" towards the last scene - surprised to find that it concluded with a mere 13 episodes. I've always liked short anime but, this one just left you hanging. Its open ending is the worst in the history of open endings.

The last scene led us to believe that Lucy / Nyu survived and came back to Kouta. If so, how? The organization behind the experimental lab facility appeared to be having quite the influence with the government, the police and the special forces. It couldn't be this simple that they left her alone after all these hard work of capturing her alive. 

All in all, Elfen Lied was a total disappointment and certainly overrated in my opinion.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Me Before You - A Book Review

I had just finished The Witcher 3 (minus the expansions) on PS4 and there was no good free games available for a few months now - damn you Sony. Hence recently I've gone back to reading. It felt like high school again. I used to drive to my friend ST's house to borrow some books during the school holidays. Normally I came back with 5 or 6 and I would stack them neatly on my study table and evaluate which one to start.

I have no idea why this book in particular could squeeze a review out of me. But here I am, back with a new post on my blog that I have abandoned since... let me check... January 2015! That was more than a year ago! And I should be ashamed that I didn't get to finish what I started. Well, in my own defense I would like to clarify that my blog is not exactly intended for popularity purposes. It's actually like a personal journal which I don't mind letting anyone read. So that means I could just come back and write something whenever I feel like it, and not write anything whenever I don't feel like it, right? Right?

Okay, back to the review. Before you proceed, I should just warn you (if anyone is reading at all), that this is a SPOILER review of Jojo Moyes' Me Before You. Proceed at your own risk!

First of all, I think it is quite well-written for a romantic novel and it's so refreshing to the eye. Well maybe it's because I have never been exposed to too many novels of this genre. I distinctly remember reading some during my teens. I remember A Greek God At The Ladies' Club by Jenna McKnight, Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, and some book which I can't remember by Nora Roberts. That was pretty much it, and they were so bad I needed to drag myself forcefully towards the last page, in between countless eye-rollings and frustrated outbursts. Oh, not forgetting to mention the ever so popular Fifty Shades Of Grey that everyone made a big fuss about. E.L.James had so limited vocabulary that the whole book had repetitive sentence structures and repetitive words. What I'm saying is, I'm pretty happy with Me Before You, given my experience with books of this genre.

The story was told with Louisa Clark's narration, with a few chapters from different characters point of view. There was one from Camilla Traynor, one from Steven Traynor, then Nathan, and one from Katrina Clark. These chapters, I felt, were entirely unnecessary and pointless. They didn't contribute anything to the whole story. It was as if the author worried that it would be too bland and so she tried adding some salt and pepper. But totally unnecessary.

I felt a little depressed upon finishing the book. I guess it's because prior to reading Me Before You, I was on Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, which is super depressing! That might have affect my mood a little. Well you could probably guess that Me Before You is a sad ending. But as much as I hate it, it actually makes perfect sense to me. I can totally understand why Will Traynor had to do what he did. It's a little selfish, yes. But let's face it, you gotta live (or not live) for yourself. It is an interesting issue to explore - whether it is right to take your own life.

Finally, here's a trailer to the movie that's coming out in June this year. I don't think I would be able to watch it alone so I guess I would have to drag Feeder into this. Sorry!

P.S. This is the first time I'm blogging since I bought my Surface Pro 3. And I just gotta say, the keyboard is amazing!