True Story©... The Treasure Hunt




    I tend to try to mind my own damned business most of the time.
My brain, however, is a BUSY place and a torturous situation comes from when I am forced against my will to re-litigate old cases. Worry not, nothing happening here has been discussed in previous stories. Anyways… When I run back down memory lane sometimes I get NEW mad all over again, sometimes as pissed as one might get when the misdeed is actively transpiring.

    When I get pissed or anxious, I try to make myself busy. I do this to quell the “noise” in my head. Not noise as in literal sound, but as in the cacophony of shit in my head that in a past lifetime would drive me fucking nuts until I drank myself to sleep. Needless to say, I have unlearned that habit. Nowadays I write, I exercise until my knees and hips make me stop, I clean house, I think about writing while I am working out or cleaning, I research and plan lawn care, I do WHATEVER I can to combat the noise. To quote a good friend: “ADHD… It’s fun until it isn’t.”
On the day we are currently discussing, though? None of that shit was flying.  I kinda think I could play the long game here.
I feel like I’mma need Moe for this shit.

    First, I came downstairs to the desktop PC. I searched and searched on how to spoof a website. I then logged out of my BookFace and right-clicked to get the page sourcing elements because I was too busy working and chasing pussy back in the MySpace days and never learned even rudimentary coding. I combined these two gathered pieces of information and created a convincing fake Facebook landing page. More on that in a minute.

    Next, I joined as many local BookFace groups and took down the email addresses of anyone non-savvy enough to NOT display their shit on their public profiles. I used those email addresses and the suggested unsavviness to create an official-looking spearphishing email, sending each one an email that their accounts had been compromised and to change their password.
As expected, three of them fell for the shit, I closed my eyes and chose the unlucky soul and did the thing. I rightly assumed (I guess that makes it an ‘inference’) that their email and FB passwords would be the same, so when they put in the old password into my fake site to try and establish a new one, I hijacked both their email and FB accounts.

[Phlip note: never EVER answer those “your middle name plus the first car you owned is your new rap name” quizzes on Social Media]

I was innocent about my handling the email account, in that I didn’t dig in for personal information or anything sensitive. Whenever they learned of the compromise and came back to recover their shit, they can have it. That FB account, though? Hell no, I want – no, NEED – that shit. I quickly used the email to reset the FaceBook password. Once I had logged into the account and changed the password, I changed the attached email address and display name and CLEANED it of any personal-identifying information. All the pictures, posts, tags, videos, likes, check-ins, contact info and relationships gone. I needed an absolutely naked profile; a clean slate to make something completely real-looking. Naturally, this cost the mark a couple of hundred friends and followers but I will deal with that later.

    Now that I have a new/old FaceBook profile, I used AI imaging to create pictures for the profile that cannot be reverse image searched and easily pointed out as a fake profile.

[Phlip note: don’t EVER let it be said that watching Catfish five hours a day doesn’t teach you anything]

Speaking of Catfish…
With that profile now completely cleaned, I went BACK to the local groups and created spammish-but-not-quite spammy posts to gather the interest of locals. I had already cased the group for a VERY specific three locals; we will call them Chucky, Joseph and Kenneth. To make it real, I made the most interesting post to say that we were putting together a “Grand Prize Treasure Hunt” open to a randomly-selected 15 people, to be completed over the course of the coming five months with three people eliminated every month. All interested parties were to send an inbox message showing their interest.

    Naturally, my three marks were in the first responses, but DAMN I wasn’t expecting 263 MORE responses.
In order to apply some fairness to an already-skewed game, I wrote the games down and called Yeti into the room with me. I started calling off names and noted the strength of his reactions and kept the twelve strongest, as judged by Mr Yetimer Bartholomew. “Good boy, buddy, here’s a treat!”

    I messaged my fifteen people that they would soon receive their first instructions on the Treasure Hunt and would have 24 hours to respond FROM the location of the answer and the first to each would move to the next steps, with the lowest three (or non-responders) would be eliminated.
Now I have a couple of days to put my metaphorical thumb on this scale to make sure the ones I need to advance in this are the ones who actually advance. This is gonna be fun, though not easy.



Thumb. On. The. Scale…
    To give these three hapless (potential-) dumbasses a slight advantage, I sent THEM the first inquiry two days prior to the rest of the group. I masked this by NOT using a group message. Everyone received the message independently of the rest of the participants. This would also help to keep people from forming undesigned-by-me cliques, something we often see on shows like Survivor or The Amazing Race and the likes.



    The first clue? A SIMPLE one…

“Opened originally in 1927 to serve the healthcare needs of Greensboro’s Black residents, this hospital named for the creator of Vick’s Vapo Rub was originally located where? Your response will not be accepted without a picture from the location.”

    I probably really didn’t spend enough time thinking about this one. I mean, hell I GREW UP in the city and walked directly past this location in my pre-and teen years and knew exactly what it was while it was a nursing home during my entire youth and then apartments since then.
I am either guilty of taking for granted what is common knowledge for people like myself, even among locals or am a little too generous with the knowledge of what people know about where they live.

    Either way, I am sure that of 15 people, I had made it simple enough that the involved parties should be adept enough at the use of Google in the absence of what they may or not know. Perhaps, even, people would show up to the same location at the same time and not yet realize they’re after the same shit.

  Let’s see what shakes.


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