Man gets revenge on Web scammer by texting entire works of Shakespeare

William_Shakespeare

Reported first by the Bristol Post, 24-year-old Edd Joseph of Bristol, England decided that he wanted a bit of revenge on a scammer that failed to come through with a game console purchase on a UK classified listings site called GumTree. Joseph found a listing that offered a PlayStation 3 bundle for the price of 80 British pounds (approximately $132 U.S. dollars) and paid the seller immediately. Unfortunately for Joseph, the scammer decided to keep the money and not ship Joseph the advertised PlayStation 3.

Armed with the scammer’s mobile phone number, Joseph started searching for the works of William Shakespeare and copying the full text of plays into his texting application. This allows him to send the entire play in a single text, but the scammer receives hundreds upon hundreds of text messages broken into 160 word chunks.

shakespeare-text-messageWhile Joseph doesn’t have to pay a dime to send the message each time, the scammer could potentially have to pay text messaging charges if they don’t have an unlimited plan. Of course, it’s also incredibly annoying to receive an endless amount of text messages, basically making the phone a paperweight until all messages have been delivered each time.

At this point, Joseph has sent 22 plays in total that amount to approximately 17,424 texts on the scammer’s phone. After sending notable works such as Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello, Joseph plans to send the remaining 17 plays in Shakespeare’s collection in the next few days. When complete, Joseph will have sent 37 text messages, but the scammer will have received nearly 30,000 messages.

Speaking about the idea to send a near endless amount of text messages, Joseph told the Post “I was really annoyed and I was trying to think of ways of being more in the position of power because I felt so helpless about it. My first thought was that I could try and pretend I had found out where he lived but it was all a bit of a cliche and it wasn’t going to worry him really. Then it just occurred to me you can copy and paste things from the internet and into a text message. It got me thinking, ‘what can I sent to him’ which turned to ‘what is a really long book’, which ended with me sending him Macbeth.”

Joseph turned to the idea of sending Shakespeare’s works after speaking with the police about the scam. According to local authorities, it’s unlikely that the money would be recovered from the scammer because Joseph paid with a direct bank transfer. Joseph also didn’t have any recourse with GumTree since the site specifically warns against using direct bank transfers within the site’s terms and conditions.

After the first play, Joseph started receiving abusive texts and calls from the scammer. Recounting the abuse, Joseph said “I got the first reply after an hour, and then a few more abusive messages after that. His phone must have been going off pretty constantly for hours. But recently he has taken to calling me and giving me abuse on the phone. I tried to ask him if he was enjoying the plays, but he was very confused. I’m going to keep doing it. If nothing else I’m sharing a little bit of culture with someone who probably doesn’t have much experience of it.”

Emerging Tech

Behind the unsettling sci-fi landscapes of Simon Stalenhag’s ‘Electric State’

The narrative artbook follows the journey of a young traveler, Michelle, and her robot, Skip, as they head west to the Pacific coast through an alternative America torn apart by civil war and the trappings of military-grade virtual reality.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

Peter Dinklage gets cryptic about two 'Game of Thrones' characters' fates

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable -- if you don't mind spoilers.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Mobile

How to sell your old Google Pixel or Pixel 2 for the most money

So, it's time for a expensive new smartphone, and you'd like to partially fund the purchase by selling your old Google Pixel. Find all the information you need to get as much money as possible for your Pixel or Pixel 2 here in our guide.
Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…
Mobile

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Mobile

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

It’s about time! A USB-C magnetic charger for the Apple Watch has finally arrived

While most of the buzz surrounding Apple has been about the iPhone XR, the company also introduced a new Apple Watch accessory. Starting October 24, a USB-C magnetic charger will be available for purchase.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Product Review

Amazon’s child-friendly tablet is the complete package

Kids are tough on electronics and it’s difficult to police screen time and manage what they’re doing. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition could be the affordable answer to your prayers, with a rugged case and worry-free warranty.
Mobile

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. P20 Pro: Which 2018 Huawei flagship is best for you?

If you're tempted by Huawei's latest flagship, the Mate 20 Pro, but you're uncertain how it differs from the P20 Pro which Huawei released earlier this year, then we have you covered. Find out exactly what sets these two phones apart.