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Valentin Mikhaylin

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Valentin Mikhaylin Index


Country: Russian Federation
State: Kaluga Oblast
Since 1999, Valentin Mikhaylin spams to send email appeals across the Internet, where he asks for help (goods, money) to be sent to his home in Kaluga.


Valentin Mikhaylin SBL Listings History
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The strange case of Valentin, dying in cold every year


Abstract from the research of Paolo Attivissimo
[http://www.attivissimo.net/antibufala/valentin/valentin_russia.htm]:

An e-mail appeal from a Mr. Valentin Mikhaylin or Walentin Mihailin (or other similar-sounding spellings) has been circulating on the Internet at least since November 1999. In the various versions of this appeal, Valentin claims to be a desperately needy teacher (1999 version) or student (post-1999 version) who is dying of cold in Kaluga, Russia. The address given is always "Ryleeva Str. 6-45 Kaluga 248030". Sometimes the appeal asks to swap music CDs instead of clothing and emergency aid.

According to several hoax- and scam-busting sites and Net abuse monitoring newsgroups, "Valentin" has been sending so many e-mails for so many years with different excuses that he has been classified as a spammer. Moreover, because of the various identities and inconsistent stories he has used, his appeals are presumed to be a scam.

[...]

There are also other reasons for being suspicious about Valentin's appeals. For example, there are questions as to how an allegedly desperately poor Russian student is able to harvest hundreds of thousands of e-mail addresses and send as many e-mails. Also, the freezing temperatures described in his appeals are not always consistent with the temperatures in Kaluga as published on the Internet by several Websites.

Moreover, information reported by websites in Russia and other countries suggests that Valentin is a rather foolish young man who thought he could make a living for his family and himself by begging over the Internet, but wasn't smart enough to keep quiet about it with the local authorities, ultimately getting in deep trouble with the law for slandering the local Post Office authorities and for the threats to launch nuclear missiles that originated from his computer and were sent to thousands of West European addresses, causing alarm as they claimed to be sent by a group of disgruntled workers of a Russian nuclear missile base.

According to several sources and personal tests, when Valentin is contacted with offers to send emergency aid, he replies with a standard text giving details of how to send him money via Western Union. His name and address would appear to be genuine, as he uses them to receive these money transfers.

Another reason for being suspicious about Valentin's appeal is that he is extremely reluctant to give information that might corroborate his story. He has been asked by myself and other Internet users to provide simple evidence of his condition, or just a photograph of himself in exchange for a donation, but he has always refused, giving all sorts of implausible excuses.

Finally, Valentin's reaction to the Web page you're reading has been unusually aggressive. In January 2005, Valentin contacted me, accusing this Web page of slander. He then started a series of personal attacks.

First he threatened me with an international lawsuit, which so far has failed to materialize. Then he claimed that he had found classified advertisements of mine in gay Websites, seeking young men for sex, and indeed I subsequently received few offers (which I politely declined); I didn't post the ads, so I presume someone planted them in an attempt to harass me. Then he contacted Paypal.com and asked them to close my account because, he said, I was a slanderer (Paypal refused). He then tried to block my e-mail account at Pobox.com by again claiming that I was a slanderer (Pobox refused).

There have also been several instances in which my e-mail address was used as apparent source of a spamming campaign. Analysis of the headers of this spam flood shows that the sender was using Moscow time. In a third instance, several blogs and discussion groups were spammed with a poorly written advert about my website, which also gave my personal details and used almost verbatim the text of personal e-mails that Valentin had sent to me.

I cannot establish a bulletproof link between Valentin and these spam-based harassments, but it is a fact that they all coincided with my attempts to contact Valentin asking him what had happened to the lawsuit and politely offering him further opportunity to provide evidence of his condition.

Further details, together with Valentin's rather amusing messages to me, are provided in the links on this page, which also include an article from a Russian website, detailing his questionable activities and his troubles with the Russian legal system.

Readers in Russia were able to visit Kaluga and acquire further information about Valentin. I am not publishing this information for the time being, as I am waiting for further confirmation.

In view of all these facts, this appeal should be considered a scam unless strong evidence to the contrary is provided.


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The Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) collates information and evidence on entities with a history of spamming or providing spam services, and entities affiliated or otherwise connected with them, for the purpose of assisting ISP Abuse Desks and Law Enforcement Agencies.
The address of this ROKSO record is: http://www.spamhaus.org/rokso/evidence/ROK8471/

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