We may no longer have mustachioed merchants trying to sell us snake oil from atop wagons in front of the town saloon, but thanks to the internet there are plenty of miracle cures out there to be sucked in by, particularly when they play on our insecurities. And when that insecurity happens to relate the size of a man’s love muscle, you can bet that even more men than usual are willing to give possible wonder treatments a try.
We’re not usually bad people, but if we had an especially gullible friend who told us that they were looking for a way to increase their membership in the underwear department, this would probably be the joke we’d play on him…
According to Malaysian news site The Star Online, a man known only as Ong has filed a complaint with the Public Service and Complaint Bureau after ordering an alleged “penis enlarger” online for RM450 or about US$140. According to a spokesperson from the bureau, Ong did indeed receive the penis enlarger he had paid for–it just wasn’t exactly what he was expecting.
Instead of a pill or pump, Ong opened his mail-order package to discover…a magnifying glass with one simple written attached: “Do not use in direct sunlight.”
▼”Caution: Objects in lenses may be smaller than they appear.”
Ong isn’t the only person to be taken in by these scams, though. According to the spokesperson, scammers have ripped people off – both male and female – with similar Internet trickery, pulling in over RM80,000 (about $25,000) in 2014 alone. In fact, Ong was lucky to receive any package at all–many folks never get anything in the mail after making their payment. And, of course, it’s difficult for people to take legal action since the scammers can be hard to find. We’re also betting that publicly having to state that you ordered a penis enlarger is a big deterrent as well…
For some reason, Japanese commenters really got a kick out of this news:
“This was definitely not a mistake.”
“Well, it seems like a tool you could also use to make breasts look larger too.”
“This is certainly a shocking incident!”
“THIS IS UNFORGIVABLE!”
“This is so funny! I forgive them.”
“It’s a scam…but it’s a scam with humor!”
We have to admit that we were laughing when we read this story…and we felt bad about it, too. Well, until we found out that the real scammer here was Michal Chong, the spokesperson mentioned above. It turns out the magnifying glass scam story is actually a hoax!
▼Gasp! A politician LIED!!!
Less than 24 hours after the first story appeared, The Star Online ran a follow-up interview with Chong to explain the actual situation. Apparently, he had received a forwarded email about the story from friends who insisted that he warn the public, and promptly set about doing so. While we might criticize Chong for falling for the hoax–and basically turning the chain emails your creepy uncle sends you into matters of public record–we do have to say that his reasoning for the stunt is almost acceptable. Almost.
The Star Online later quoted Chong as saying:
“The story had [people] laughing, no doubt. If humour is what it takes for the message to sink in, then where’s the harm in that? My message is still the same: Buyers need to careful when purchasing things online.”
And when reporting news from the Malaysian Public Service and Complaint Bureau, apparently.