Why is the thread worthless? Pray tell you are not one of these scam artists. This is an issue that deserves to be vetted. I will venture to guess that there are a lot of inexperienced sailors out there who unknowingly get taken in by this scam.
And what about the legalities of the situation. In the USA, such a "deal" might be construed as paying for passage. Is the owner/captain licensed to take on passengers?
A worthless thread? I think not. It's something worthy of discussion.