Saturday, May 10, 2008

1313 Mockingbird Lane

It was one of those online IQ tests or quizzes or something. I got through all the questions, but to get the results I had to fill out a questionnaire requiring personal information like home address, income level, etc. At this point I was curious, but there was no way that I was giving this site my actual information. I didn't know who they were. They didn't actually need to know this stuff.

So, for address I gave them 1313 Mockingbird Lane (thanks, Chris). For the city I said something like Nowheresville. For state I would have used "of denial" or "of confusion", but it had one of those drop down menus, so I couldn't get away with that. I gave other equally bogus information for the rest, and then the site finally released my results.

The results were pretty general, mostly incomplete. To get the complete results I would have had to fork over $19.95 (or some amount like that). The come on for this quiz was "are you smart?" Clearly, not smart enough to avoid that trap.

I hadn't thought about this in a while--two or more years. I wouldn't even be mentioning this, but today I got a spam email, and the subject gave the address 1313 Mockingbird Lane. I remembered the quiz thing, so I opened the email just to see what the scam was. It was all about a loan or refinancing or something; I didn't read enough to get the details, just the gist. I reported it as spam right away, but it got me to thinking.

Clearly, it was all computer generated, because if any human had looked at that address, he would have realized that it was bogus. And I did this a while ago, so I wonder how long it took that site to sell my "information". Or how long has my "information" been floating around the web? And how many people fall for this sort of thing? I mean, some have to, otherwise what would be the point?

I guess the moral of my story is: don't answer online quizzes. At least, don't answer the long ones that want you to fill out a questionnaire to get the results. If it looks like a scam, it is.

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