I am but another innocent victim of the Internet piracy


by Ghahremani

Give me any episode of Ironside, Law and Order, or Murder She Wrote and I’ll happily turn into a couch potato. Courtroom scenes have always fascinated me. What does it feel like to be innocent yet be dragged into an incriminating situation with no apparent way out? Well, I recently was in such a position and, let me tell you, none of that TV watching had made me the wiser for it.

Last week, on a boring hot afternoon, I was checking my E-mail when I came across this message: “Ladan Khazai wants you to be her friend”, which I thought was not a problem. Ladan is my sister, she is already my friend, so what’s another click worth to me?

Upon accepting my big sister’s invite, a new interesting page opened. It was a tricky picture that could be interpreted as a psychological test, and when I answered the question, a whole new questionnaire opened with the promise to check my IQ. Had I had any intelligence at all, I should have known that my own sister wouldn’t need my IQ in order to be my friend, but too proud of my ability to solve crossword puzzles, I decided to find out just how close I am to the genius level.

The computer monitor lit up, “Well done,” it stated. “Click here to accept the terms before we reveal your IQ score.”

Who has the time to read the fine print about the terms? They are most probably asking if it’s okay to use my scores in a nationwide survey, or maybe they’re giving prizes to the people with the highest IQ – me being one of them. Whatever it was, I didn’t have time for it, so I went ahead and accepted the terms.

Next, my AOL address book opened, showing thousands of names, some of which I had no idea how they got there or whose they were. Before confusion could change my mind, the computer instructed, “Invite a friend.”

This, I knew I didn’t want to do. I’m the type who exchanges daily e-mails with a total of two-and-a-half people and even then I often hesitate to “forward” stuff. The rest of my address book developed over the years and, as I said, I don’t even know most of them. The majority of my friends are other writers who have already missed a couple of deadlines, and I know sending them this questionnaire would jeopardize what friendship exists. Besides, none of those people are likely to want to join anything new and, as for IQ, if theirs happened to be so high, they’d have more exciting plans than to befriend the likes of me.

Deciding the best thing would be to quit while I was ahead, I exited the site, leaving the unfinished IQ deal behind. I was so frustrated that for the rest of that day, each time I went to the back of the house, I detoured around the computer room, avoiding its vicinity as much as possible.

The following day, I got an e-mail from a friend whom I have not heard from in years, saying she had accepted my invitation to Jhoos and wants to be my friend. It sounded like good news, but unfortunately this was only the beginning of a disastrous cycle. People wrote and, though a couple more accepted me, a majority rejected my friendship, left me without a response, asked me what it was or resorted to all kinds of despicable insults. Finally, when my own husband refused to be my friend, I decided to check out Jhoos and learn what this site was.

According to Google, Jhoos is a “free online dating service. They promise, “No subscription fees and lifetime membership with text and audio video chat features.” Wonder-freaking-full! I can’t imagine what more a middle-aged woman whose profile describes her as ‘married with three grown children’ wants from life? But that wasn’t all; the invitation went not just to friends, but also to all my siblings, cousins, and even my own three children! Come on kids, don’t you want to join your Mom on a dating service?

Unable to withdraw the thousands of indecent invitations, I composed a letter of apology to be sent to everyone on my address book. Oh, but this couldn’t be done! There were too many wrong addresses, changed addresses and meaningless ones. Over the following days, the “Mailer Daemon” sent me more e-mail than all the years since the invention of the Internet put together. What I’d like to know is, where the heck was this Mailer Daemon when the Jhoos people used my list? While my apologies circled the cyberspace and found no destination, I tolerated insult after insult from recipients who were gullible enough to believe I was still willing, not to mention capable, to “date.”

Having no “Ironside” to defend me, and with no “Law and Order” on my side, I was oh so ready for “Murder she DID!

So, if you happen to be one of the thousands who received an invitation to “be my friend,” please know that I am but another innocent victim of the Internet piracy. And if you happen to want to be my friend, please keep in mind that I am actively looking for a friend who could suggest a cure for my arthritic fingers, aching lower back or this nagging acid reflux. Above all, I am eager to converse with anyone who’d commiserate with my progressive hair loss. And if you happen to be one of my kids reading this and planning to make fun of Mom, you’d better “Go to your room!”

Zohreh K. Ghahremani


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more from Ghahremani

Right now the best anyone

by medea on

Right now the best anyone can do really is prevent filesharing networks from distributing their material. Any smart individual who knows that piracy is being monitored in their area can just go somewhere else and use another connection (especially a public one) and download his stuff there.
pentru caderea parului


Simple rules

by Gordzadeh (not verified) on

Zhohreh khanoom (and others),

There are a few simple things you can do (or rather not do) that can spare you some of the spam and other nasty mails coming to you. I just mention a few and you figure out the rest.

- Do not, and I repeat, Do not click on a link on any letter that says "unsubscribe". This only signals to the spammer that your e-mail account is active, i.e., someone checks it, so you'll see many more mails coming.

- If you receive a mail with a content that sounds too good to be true, then it is not true. It is that simple. Ignore the mail.

- Do not forward mails with funny or beautiful content to friends.

- If you receive a mail from your bank that requires an action from you and includes a link to the bank inside the mail, do not use that link. Just open a new window and write the address yourself and continue from there.

- Mark unwanted e-mails as spam in your mail program to help decrease the spam.

I guess there are other things you can do, e.g. delete mail from people you don't know directly, but that might be a little too much. If you are receiving too many unwanted mail and it just doesn't seem to stop, change your e-mail address. Give the new address only to people you know and let them know that you won't be checking the old one.

Good luck!


It was sent to me by my family from Iran!!!

by Tahirih on

I called them right away and told them what kind of married woman do they think I am ? :)))

It was my brother's daughter in law , poor thing is trying to learn English! She even made my brother a member, it was hilarious his wife throw a fit:)) I guess it could be part of daughter in law's revenge:)))

Thank God I did not go into it as much as you did. I had a good laugh for a few days, because of my brother's situation. I enjoyed your blog , very funny and educational.


Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

I don't no how but.......

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

I seem to have gotten on a lot of companies "sucker list". I feel your pain. I have been unsubscribing to these companies as soon as I get their email. It is getting on my last nerve.

Oh well! All one can do is block, delete or unsurscribe.

anonymous fish


by anonymous fish on

loved it... simply loved it.  what incredibly talented women are emerging on  of this you must and should be very proud.

damet garm.


Dear "Ghahremani",

by MiNeum71 on

Welcome to the club :)))


Nazy Kaviani

Dear Zohreh:

by Nazy Kaviani on

I'll be your friend! And you don't need to send me anything, and I won't send you anything, either!

Just this morning, I received an email from my bank, inviting me to take a five-question questionnaire so that they could credit me with a $50.00 reward in my account. All they wanted to know in addition to answering all the questions was my card number, expiration date, the security code on the back and my pin number! To think that I had already "reviewed" the five stupid questions before I started wondering why my bank would want to know information they should already have, still has me terrified! How stupid can I be? Luckily, I didn't fill out the questionnaire and instead forwarded the email to my bank's fraud section, because there is no Ironside to defend me and the others, but a bit of civic responsibility might be marginally helpful!

You're not alone and you should stop beating yourself up over this. We live in strange times--strange days, indeed!