Skeptic Spam Scam Scam?

March 3, 2020

I had a little fun yesterday with an internet scam artist.

Ok, to be fair, I didn’t know it was a scam until a couple of e-mails in when I actually looked at the origin e-mail address, which didn’t match the actual e-mail address of CFI president and CEO Robyn Blumner. I called her to confirm my suspicions, and after a brief laugh, decided to see how long I could keep the scammer on the hook.

If that sounds familiar, you may be remembering a hilarious show called Nigerian Spam Scam Scam which was written by and has been performed by our old pal Dean Cameron. In a recap of real events, the show chronicles Dean keeping his spam scammer on the hook for months. What follows is a nod to Dean’s work in this field.

I didn’t even make it to the end of the day with my scammer, but it was still fun and, I hope, frustrating for the crook on the other end of the correspondence. I intersperse a few notes below (in BOLD) into the verbatim transcript to reveal my thoughts at those points.

For the record, the CFI Board of directors does not drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer during board meetings. And though Scientologists have occasionally been mean to me in the past (wah), I don’t suggest that being a Scientologist automatically makes you mean… a bit gullible, maybe, but not necessarily mean.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 9:37 AM

To: junderdown@centerforinquiry.org

Subject:

Hello , are you reachable for a quick task ??

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(I answer from a different e-mail address.)

On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 07:50, James Underdown <jimu@cfiwest.org> wrote:

yes

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 11:52 AM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

 I need you to complete a task for me discreetly.

P.S: I am in a meeting now and can’t talk, so just reply back.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 08:21, James Underdown <jimu@cfiwest.org> wrote:

Name it.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 12:24 PM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

I need you to get some gift cards. We have some few clients we want to complement with gifts.

Let me know if its possible to get them right now, so i can tell you which product we would need and what amount.

(Here’s where the alarms go off! What the…? Gift cards? I finally look at the e-mail address and call Robyn. And we’re off! I answer from yet another e-mail address.)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 08:36, James Underdown <gabbadost@gmail.com> wrote:

I’m on it. Whatever you need.

Should I just go to Rite Aid?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 12:41 PM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

 Yes or any other store ,The product and amount that I need is steam wallet  Gift Cards of $100 face value. I need 10 of Each card. That’s $100 X 10. $1000 in total. Get the physical cards at the store, scratch the back out and Email me pictures of the codes.

(Hmmm…Robyn’s punctuation has deteriorated. Maybe she’s just getting excited about this $1000 heading her way.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 08:43, James Underdown <gabbadost@gmail.com> wrote:

Should I use the company card?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 12:49 PM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

 Yes , if the company card is with you , and if not you can make use of your card .i will reimburse you the money immediately after this meeting . Are you going now ??

(We’re awfully impatient, aren’t we?)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 09:02, James Underdown <gabbadost@gmail.com> wrote:

Driving now…

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 1:06 PM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

Ok i am waiting .

(i am too, you crooked bastard.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 09:26, James Underdown <gabbadost@gmail.com> wrote:

I am there now.

 They say I have to pay cash.

 What do you want me to do?

(I want them to spend more time and energy on this.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 1:28 PM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

 Go to somewhere else where you can buy with card .

(Robyn, a very educated woman, has stopped using articles before her nouns. I imagine Boris Badenov saying that line above. Spasibo, I want to say to Boris — I mean Robyn.)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 09:29, James Underdown <gabbadost@gmail.com> wrote:

On my way to Walgreens.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 1:30 PM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

 Okay do quick ,i’m waiting

(Get used to it.)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, 2 Mar 2020 at 09:37, James Underdown <gabbadost@gmail.com> wrote:

The woman at Walgreens won’t take the company credit card either. She was mean to me. I think she is a Scientologist.

 Should I just cash a company check?

 On my way to CVS across the street to see if they’ll take a card.

 Sorry this is taking so long!

(I wonder if the scammer believes I can get to so many drug stores in such a short time. This is true – in Los Angeles anyway.)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Robyn Blumner [mailto:chiefexecutiveofficer791@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 1:40 PM

To: James Underdown

Subject: Re:

If they are not taking the company card then get it from your card . i will reimburse you the money immediately after this meeting .

(I guess my personal money is just as green as CFI’s money…)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: James Underdown [mailto:gabbadost@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2020 1:53 PM

To: ‘Robyn Blumner’

Subject: RE:

CVS wants cash too. My checking account only has $16 in it. The company never paid me back for the PBR I bought for the Board meeting.

Can you ask Pat in accounting to wire $1000 to my account so I can cash a check?

(Pat is real, and would ask me if I lost my mind before doing such a thing.)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mon 3/2/2020 2:31 PM

Hello?

Robyn?

Still waiting for directions…

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Still waiting…)