Tricking an Internet Conman Into Sculpting You a Wooden Commodore 64S

Internet spamsters are often nigh-artistic with the fraudulent tales they weave—an exiled prince! Hidden treasure!—but scamming them can be even more creative. The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal tells one revenge story of a conman duped into carving wooden sculptures.

When anti-spam hero Mike Berry received an obviously false email promise of African millions, he resisted the urge to roll his eyes and delete—and instead strung the criminal into an unwitting career in art. Sort of.

To keep the spammer's interest—and waste a ton of his time—Berry upped the lie ante, claiming to represent an art gallery that was looking for submissions (and offering a scholarship—a nice little reverse-con in itself). The spammer took the bait, following Berry's detailed directions, and shipped miniature sculptures of dogs and cats all the way from Africa. When Berry informed him these pieces weren't up to snuff (the nerve!), the spammer produced his pièce de résistance—a hand-carved model of a Commodore 64.

Sadly, this replica failed to impress Berry's gallery persona as well, and the carving conman failed to get a scholarship that never existed in the first place. Which I think is kind of a shame, because, really! Look at that thing! He might have been able to restart his life as a sculptor, rather than as a petty internet crook. But at least many, many hours of his time as the latter were wasted during the ruse. [The Atlantic]