Stafford: Unsolicited text messages target ‘Lawrence’ of a certain age

I told you last week that I put my grandpa phone out to pasture because it was having prostate problems.

But before putting it out to pasture, I retrieved a dozen or so texts I’d set aside for you over the past couple of years.

I’ve put off bringing this up for a reason.

The first text arrived maybe two years ago and seemed to be intended for a guy named Lawrence on the County Line Road that separates Clark and Champaign counties.

I’ll not mention Lawrence’s last name, because there may really be such a person who has nothing to do with all of this.

That first text involved the delivery of a package of some sort. It asked whether the address on County Line Road was right. By doing so, it offered me the chance to substitute my own address for Lawrence’s, opening the door for me to get free goods by bad means.

I deleted the text.

But the messages kept coming.

And they soon offered an expanded and more explicit array of products and services.

The most memorable – a few months in – included the picture of what appeared to be a rather young female who expressed interested in chatting with me.

Although I have this same issues with many of my physicians these days, the female looked to be in high school.

Apparently to make the point of that message perfectly clear, a second text arrived with an offer for Viagra.

Whether the senders were aware of Lawrence’s age or mine - which is 66 - isn’t clear to me.

But the product offerings suggest an attempt to appeal to the baser instincts of that demographic.

In an inviting text, Andrea asked me to “hold her tight” when I dropped by, promising it would put “a big smile on my face filled with happiness.”

Erica texted next. She used the words “kiss the sky” to express her expectations of our meeting.

The words are from the Jimi Hendrix song, Purple Haze, which also fits the same demographic.

Then came some confusing messages.

Sydney texted next; she said she had seen my profile and asked if we might meet for drinks.

But not long after that, I was advised to “stop wasting money buying drinks for women.”

That message endorsed a product that would provide a more economical route to guaranteed success with women – the first of a series of successes the text promised would “release my inner beast.”

In case my inner beast was in deep hibernation, texts then came with suggestions of how I could awaken it.

“It is no coincidence that male adult-industry celebs vouch for our pills,” one message said.

This line of marketing gave way to a series of texts offering lively prizes.

By clicking on a URL, I could start using my Group 1 Card that day.

Amazon purportedly offered me discounts of $102, $120 and $130, though I expect the first one was a typo.

Tossed in there were offers for 100 percent pure DBD infused gummies that would reduce my pain and anxiety and CDB oil to reduce pain without addiction.

What do you think, Lawrence? Is that in our demographic, too?

A couple more texts involved weight loss products: 15 pounds in seven nights, 35 pounds in eight days and 75 pounds in less than 4 weeks. I suspect the last one involved the use of Ginsu knives.

Then came the texts touting ways to boost my credit score.

But by playing hard to get, I got my way with the latest offers.

“Lawrence: Please check that these credits in the amount $469.13.”

“Your prayers have been answered! You ARE QUALIFIED for a $5,000 dollars.”

“Write OK to get 1,000 bucks in a few minutes.”

Finally, the time came for an invitation to move to easy street.

“Hi, Lawrence, it is our pleasure to inform that you are approved for $4,000. Fill in your deposit details to receive funds.”

Some may by now wonder why I didn’t ask to be taken off the texting list.

For one, I didn’t trust that would happen. The sender of these texts did not seem to be the kind to honor a legitimate request like that.

Second, I wanted to see where this all would go; I wanted to keep up with what is happening in the wider world, and eventually share it with you.

I know this sort of thing has been going on a long time in the weirdly wired world. And I assume my demographic is a promising market for whomever was texting ’Lawrence.’

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