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Russian seminar spam


rconner
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I must have received carloads of messages like this one over the years, I can't be the only one.

To save you the work of decoding, the title of the message is "Обучение: Разработка Ð±Ð¸Ð·Ð½ÐµÑ Ð¿Ð»Ð°Ð½Ð° (изучение его Ñтруктуры)." (or, in English, "Education: Developing a business plan (the study of its structure).")

Believe it or not, this actually sounds like one of the more exciting courses offered; they have rates in the range of 5,000-10,000 rubles (about USD 150-300). They give no location for the class, and no company name -- just a phone number, which is often "encoded" using alternate Cyrillic characters instead of numbers (Russian "l33tspeek" I guess).

I read somewhere that Russian scammers often send these sorts of pitches to get people to sign up for (and pay for) courses that will never be taught. That experience, in and of itself, might be educational for the victims, although possibly not worth even such modest tuition.

Anyone know anything about these?

-- rick

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...I must have received carloads of messages like this one over the years, I can't be the only one. ...
(When I used to get spam.) Yes, I used to get a few seminar ones, also cruises (which made more sense in the international context). But mostly "my" Cyrillic ones were very small and "Want to purchase" warehouse space in various Russian cities, etc., all were just phone number contacts (except for the cruise ones). Others had small graphics advertising bakeries and all sorts of innocuous things. A real lucky dip. Some of them could certainly have been scams of various types. Others (we have pondered before) maybe just reflecting a different way of doing business, a different definition of "legitimate business contact", though sadly misdirected if so.

Makes you wonder, no harm in assuming the worst. But I don't know. In my few business dealings with the Russians they were very upfront and "straight" and there was a lot of bureaucracy involved (stopping just short of contracts signed in blood but including corporate seals and copious Government regulations to be perused and acknowledged). Like the mating of elephants, I imagine, not having been privileged to actually participate in same.

The text of the spam body in the tracking URL comes out like =EF=C2=D5=DE=C5=CE=C9=C5: =F2=C1=DA=D2=C1=C2=CF=D4=CB=C1 =C2=C9=DA=CE=C5= for me by the way, others may see the same. There is probably a way to fix that, my end, (it has been discussed elsewhere 'here' before) but that's cool - I don't need/want to at this stage.

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The text of the spam body in the tracking URL comes out like =EF=C2=D5=DE=C5=CE=C9=C5: =F2=C1=DA=D2=C1=C2=CF=D4=CB=C1 =C2=C9=DA=CE=C5= for me by the way, others may see the same. There is probably a way to fix that, my end, (it has been discussed elsewhere 'here' before) but that's cool - I don't need/want to at this stage.

Unfortunately, you have to MIME-decode (quoted-printable, in this case), then you get a lot of text salad; then you have to force the browser to render it in the indicated character set (KOI-8R for most of these I think). Then you can "read" them or at least paste them into Google for a translation.

-- rick

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