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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Another email scamPosted Monday, May 4, 2009, at 7:39 AM
This morning I'm up before five a.m. with my brain working overtime, and my body wishing I could stay in bed. This blog is another form of mental therapy.
Time was when we could stay home, lock our doors, and feel safe in our own homes, assured that if we didn't go out looking for trouble, we wouldn't find it.
Now, thanks to this device known as a computer, shady folks such as "Mr. Monies Soloman," that generous (though fictitious) soul in Benin, can reach out and tap us on the shoulder, offering us sudden riches beyond our wildest dreams.
Having resisted the urge to return "Mr. Soloman's" email, I now find myself preyed upon by what appears to be that revered and respected governmental entity - the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, known affectionately as "the I.R.S." (three letters which strike fear in hearts of most Americans).
Yeah, you got it. My internet provider has let another slyly masked marauder into the inner sanctum of my home.
The impressive looking email arrived Wednesday, all decked out in the official United States Department of the Treasury logo -the blue box with the scales of justice on the left. The return address was "Internal Revenue Service On-Line," and the subject was "IRS Noticiation Tax refund." It said, "After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $215.36. Please follow the link to continue:" The letter was signed by "Alice Pong, Tax Refund Department."
My first reaction was to believe the notification, since we all know that we're going to receive some sort of refund. However, a little warning voice went off in my head, and I treated the message like a snake.
My darling daughter is home this week for the Great Wallpaper Weekend (her attempt to remove any sign of Harvest Gold from my kitchen), so I had her take a look at my IRS notice. Being more computer literate than I, she determined that the email had been "blind-copied" (Bcc) to 11 other addresses, variations on my own. In other words, whoever sent it was not sure of my address. They were "fishing," or in internet terms - "phishing."
Phishing is defined as "the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft."
Online Fraud Detection and Prevention response:
"We have received your report of possible phishing or fraud. Although we review and investigate each email we receive, due to the number of incident complaints, we cannot guarantee a personal response to your message. Please note that the IRS does not contact individuals by email. Therefore, if you received an e-mail claiming to be from the IRS it is a phishing attempt and should be reported to us." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My final comment on this subject:
It is wise to note that more is involved in this scheme than meets the eye. If you clink on a link in the email or open an attachment, you may activate a Trojan Horse, which can take over your computer hard drive and allow someone to have remote access to the computer.
It's a dangerous world out there, folks! Be careful!
From the green not-as-remote-as-I-thought hills of Tillman, Missouri, this is your rural reporter, Madeline, waking up with a hot cup of coffee and a kitchen with much less harvest gold than it had last week.
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Madeline DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She can be contacted at email@example.com or by phone at 573-722-5322.