1694: Phishing License
Title text: Later, walking out of jail after posting $10,000 bail: "Wait, this isn't the street the county jail is on."
Phishing is a scam where a criminal sends emails or other messages (often large numbers of them) pretending to be from a trusted institution in order to obtain passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal details of victims. The term is a neologism, playing on the term "fishing", because the process is likened to dangling bait and waiting for someone to bite. Phishing is illegal under both traditional fraud laws and modern cybercrime laws.
A fishing license is a government-issued permit allowing the catching of fish in controlled waters.
Cueball saw the sign offering phishing licenses, and was immediately arrested by the receptionist Ponytail upon applying for one. There is no need for a license for a crime like fraud, so it is dubious an authority would issue them, hence why Cueball should have been more suspicious of the offer. The joke is that the process of offering "phishing licenses" is analogous to the process of phishing itself: they pretend to be a legitimate business and display a sign with a false offer, hoping someone will be fooled into interacting with them. While the ideal phishing attempt is indistinguishable from the real thing, that's generally impossible to attain and there are always some ways to identify it as a scam. But still some people fall into the trap, partly because they don't know what to be on the alert for, and partly because the attempt is often directed at so many people at once that statistically there will be some that will fall for it. Still as Cueball himself states, he should have known it was a scam.
The title text reveals that Cueball's arrest was itself a scam, not an actual police sting, adding even more "phishing" to the phishing for potential phishers. He has been put in jail, but is allowed to walk out after paying a bail of $10,000, only to find that when he gets back out on the street, it is not the street on which the county jail has its address. So Ponytail is actually not trying to capture people who would be interested in scamming people, she is trying to scam those people instead; although this is illegal, it may be rather clever as such people might not be likely to go to the police. Another joke in the title text is that a way to recognize phishing attempts is to look at the address of the website (or in his false prison sentence, the street address instead of the web address).
- [A sign has an arrow below the text that points toward a sales window in a wall (with glass in front and small semicircular opening at the bottom for transferring money and goods). On each side of the window there are two pieces of paper with illegible text, and there is also one below the window that seems to have some kind of stamp or seal, still illegible). In front of the window Cueball is addressing Ponytail who sits behind the window.]
- Sign: Phishing license apply here
- Cueball: Hi, I’d like to apply for a—
- Ponytail: You’re under arrest.
- Cueball: …OK, I should’ve seen that coming.
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