It’s The Principal Of The Thing!

, , , , | Legal | March 3, 2021

Over the holiday weekend, my sister received a strange email claiming to be from the principal of her kids’ school. When she replied, thinking it might be about a project she was working on for the school, the reply was even odder. And the follow-up reply Monday morning was even stranger. She was telling me about it and we had just thought to check if it was the actual email the principal normally uses — it wasn’t — when the next email in the chain asked her to go buy five $100 gift cards, supposedly for the “Chairman” to give to parents at a special meeting he was stuck in.

So we decided to have fun.

First, my sister agreed to buy the cards, but she was more than happy to run the cards to the school.

When the stranger then claimed to be in a meeting elsewhere, she offered to take them there. He claimed there was no time; she would have to send pictures. She agreed and ignored him for half an hour.

When he demanded to know what was taking so long, she told him that there had been a power outage and all the registers were down. She’d have to find another store.

The second store was also affected by the outage.

At the third store, my sister was in a fender-bender when someone backed out into her and she had to wait for the police.

Finally, about an hour later, she got the cards. But her phone died — it actually did! — so she had to charge it for a bit.

While all this was going on, I was having fun. I know just a little bit of graphic design — just enough to take a picture of the back of a gift card, “scratch it,” and add my own text. It was obviously fake if you looked closely at it, but on a phone at first glance, it could pass.

My sister told him she was sending the first picture, expecting that he would get the message. We were shocked when, a few minutes later, he asked about the other four cards and we had to admit defeat and ghost him.

The code I had put on the card? 1D10T 3104558 — put the second part in a calculator and turn it upside down.

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