Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Porn site preys on lonely chain-store fans

One day it was Home Depot, the next it was Wendy's, and then a secret admirer told me he'd stopped by "applebees and thought about u." Now I just got an e-mail from someone who spotted me at Starbucks -- at least according to this:

Howdy Patricia. not usually this brave, i thought i saw u by starbucks but maybe not. will love ya forever if you could tell me how you really feel about this if you look at this u can see it...

As spam scam goes, this doesn't have the bang for the buck of some Nigerian check deal. But it has an even stronger lure: love, chain-store-style.

My first experience with this latest, fast-spreading gimmick came just a few weeks ago:

"Patricia. having a hardd time explaining this, was over by chilis and thought i saw u. But will u make my day and criticize this ffor me come see it oon here, luv, youu know who."

Chili's? Not likely. But the spam artist's typos were irresistible, so I followed the link to the next level, Crush Greetings, where I found this message (spelled much better than the original one):

"This is difficult for me to do because I'm shy... but I have a crush on you. I've never been able to tell you for reasons which you would quickly identify as obvious if you knew who this was. With that said, I want you to guess who I am, and approach me yourself. To help you out with your guessing I made a few pictures and videos with 'Patricia' written on my body. They're kind of risque photos so I had to make a profile at Camfunonline.com and post them there...I'm shy and this is the bravest thing I've probably ever done, but you need to do the rest."

But to do the rest, surprise, surprise, you had to enter credit card info. So tempting as it was to see just how far this site might go to lure lovelorn Chili's fans -- would my secret admirer be slathered with Baby Back Rib sauce, my name etched on his own... rib? -- I declined the offer.

Just don't get me started on what he might be doing with a Chili's Big Mouth Burger to "pepper in some flavor."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun