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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

Another email scam

Posted 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." (phishing@irs.gov)

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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I don't open anything from anyone I don't know. I also never follow links to anything such as banks, EBay, Papal, ect. I've had people tell me they sent me an email, but I didn't recognize them, so it was deleted.

-- Posted by tonopahrick on Wed, May 6, 2009, at 6:40 PM

Thanks gl, Maddy needs kidding sometimes since her life is always serious. Gonna get a whipping now calling her Maddy, I've just had surgery so be kind.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Tue, May 5, 2009, at 5:56 PM
Madeline DeJournett's response:
Ah, I would never whup you, Dexterite! You're one of the good ones! I didn't think we'd seen you around much lately. I just thought maybe hoon got too rough on ya! You take care of yourself, y'hear??

Oh! I see the misspelled word! You're right, Dexterite! Good job!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 10:24 PM

Ah, this is all over my head!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 10:21 PM

MD, there are a couple of easy protections. First, don't do on-line banking. Second, don't provide your bank with an email address. Third, if possible don't do online tax filing. Fourth, if you insist on providing an email address to your bank, etc., set up a separate account for only them with an easily recognizable name like bankmd@...... . That way you will know to automatically delete any email you receive concerning your finances addressed to a different address.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 5:40 PM

A "teachable moment!" Don't you love 'em? And they'll never forget it.

-- Posted by lovebooks on Mon, May 4, 2009, at 7:23 AM

I haven't received any e-mails such as this for awhile. I did however have a 'text alert' panic a group of teenagers I was chaperoning this weekend. One of the teens received a text regarding someone allegedly putting 'blood' in ketchup bottles. This made the entire group (after a bit of squealing) decide they would only use ketchup from packets. Once the squealing came to a low roar we had a quick lesson on how to look up 'urban legends' via www.snopes.com. After a quick search of the subject 'blood in ketchup' the group learned this particular e-mail originated in 2004 and is indeed false.

-- Posted by fun2teach on Sun, May 3, 2009, at 9:22 PM

I love Harvest Gold,,,,,,,,,,,,I believe the word "notisiciation' was misspelled, or close to that,,,,,,,,,unless an email is from a friend, relative or company to which I do business, immediately delete the little fella....stay safe. Dexterite.

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, May 3, 2009, at 2:26 PM
Madeline DeJournett's response:
Dexterite, are you correcting my spelling??? Shame on you! How can you say that I misspelled "notisiciation," when you spelled it like THAT???? Haha! You're a sweetheart, anyway!

I've never been able to find the SpellCheck on this system, so I find myself making mistakes and being too lazy to look them up. My computer here at home can run several applications of Explorer at one time, so I can minimize one application, open another, and check the spelling of a word that way, without having to get out of the blog. Handy dandy!

Did anybody see that italics mess I had this morning? I couldn't close that font control, and all your comments were in italics. I had to delete all the commands. Oh, well...

Anyway, I have to keep some of the harvest gold, as my 34-year-old refrigerator still works fine, and I can't afford to change countertops and tile. Have you noticed how many people laugh when you tell them you have harvest gold in your kitchen????

I've been getting a lot of official looking emails from Citibank, eBay, Yahoo, etc. and it's so hard to send them to the Spam folder because "you never know..."

Unless I've actually ordered something from a company and I know I should be receiving an email, it's off to the Spam folder!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Sun, May 3, 2009, at 7:53 AM

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Madeline (Giles) 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 graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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