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Monday, July 28, 2014

Internet lets unwelcome visitors into my home

Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 8:08 AM

This is the column I just wrote for the NSC this week. I thought I'd share it with my blogger buddies.

Sometimes a computer is more trouble than it's worth. This morning I'm groggy from a late night historical society meeting, and as I turn on my computer, I'm greeted by yet another scam letter. Looks as if my spam filter has let another unwelcome guest into the quiet confines of my living room.

This ridiculous little piece of fiction is supposedly from FedX Express. Yeah, I'm sure I'm gonna fall for that one, buddy! A "Mrs. Mary Maxwell (customer service)" informs me that I have a "registered package," which is, in fact, a bank draft of "$320,000 USD." All I have to do is contact a Mr. Richard Raynor, who gives a Fedex e-mail address, and I can receive my reward. Of course, I have to send my postal address, and I need to "telephone for immidaite attention." (Note the misspelling)

Yeah, right. I'm even supposed to include the country where I live! What does that tell you? Talk about a "phishing" attempt! This e-mail has gone out world wide, folks!

Saturday I received an e-mail from a Mr. Quincey Mitchell, addressed to "undisclosed recipients," advising me that I could collect a $500,000 settlement check, as a victim of "scamming by the internet fraudsters." On that sweet little piece of business, all I have to do is contact the United Parcel Service of Nigeria for more information. As usual, I have to send my full name, address, country, age, sex, and telephone number. This scam supposedly comes from a company called UN-HABITAT.

What an irony! The fraudsters blanket the world with scams, and then they send out scams to scam the people who have previously been scammed! The racket ideas just keep multiplying. Who was it who said, "There's a sucker born every minute?" Wasn't it that circus fellow? P.T. Barnum?

What gets me is this: If these guys are smart enough to design an e-mail that can get past my scam filter, why aren't they smart enough to create a believable story? These scam approaches always sound like something a sixth-grader would concoct.

And what makes them think that a person smart enough to use a computer would be dumb enough to fall for their scam?

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with these letters, other than keep them in my deleted files awhile. As I've mentioned in a previous NSC story, you should never, never click on the file to open it, since it is possible for them to gain access to your computer.

If I can figure out where to send the e-mails as attachments, I'll turn them in to an authority that can track them down. People more savvy than I am can dissect these e-mails to figure out where they came from. As for me, I treat them like snakes - very delicately.

The computer can be an amazing invention, opening up the world beyond our immediate environment. Unfortunately, it sometimes lets the bad guys in!

From the not-so-distant hills of Tillman, Mo., this is your rural reporter, Madeline, trying to adjust to a world that's moving just a little too fast!


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What I find scary is that these scams must actually work on some people, if they did not work then these scammers would move on to a new line of criminality. I get e-mails all the time that are supposed to be from the Australian national lottery, Nigerian royalty, even one that looks like it came from microsoft (I checked around online and yup scam). It amazes me that in this day and age with all the awareness of identity theft that people will still give out this kind of personal information to a stranger.

-- Posted by michaelc76 on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 8:20 AM

That's the main reason I propose everyone stay sober, all you gotta do is have a couple beers and fall into one of these scam traps thinking you'll have beer money for life. Thanks for sharing MD, some of these are hilarious if they weren't so dangerous. Misspelling is a common fault with these idjits!!!!

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 9:41 AM

Hmmm so drunk people fall for this...Ok anyone drunk I am Albanian royalty, I need your bank account information to help transfer funds from my country to yours. Never mind the fact that you have never heard of me, this is legitimate I pinky promise lol.

-- Posted by michaelc76 on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 10:32 AM

MD knows to whom I was inferring about the 'beers'. Not everyone.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 12:55 PM

Just this week I placed an ad on Craigslist for my beloved VW Convertible (that's another story!) This was my first experience with the list but I decided to give it a try because it was free. The next day I received an email from an interested buyer, wondering if the car was still available. I replied that it was. Then I received an email from the same person telling me 1) to consider the car sold because he wanted it, sight unseen. 2) that he would not be able to pick it up but would send a "mover." 3)that he would be sending me a cashier's check for the amount. The whole thing sounded fishy because it was just too good to be true. I looked up scams on the Craigslist Web site and sure enough, that's what it was.

This guy wanted my address so he could send me the check. When I received it, he would then email and say he had sent a check for too much, and would I please wire him the difference. Even if I had deposited the check and it cleared, days later the bank would discover that the check was fake and they would want their money back! I can see how people could fall for this one, but I'm glad I didn't.

-- Posted by lovebooks on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 3:01 PM

The most authentic-looking scam I've seen is supposedly from the I.R.S., but I didn't answer it, so I don't know what the person had to gain. There may have been a link to click on and take me to the evil domain of a dark lord of darkness...

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 3:30 PM

lovebooks, I do all my internet buying through Ebay and Paypal, and use my Amerex credit card, never been ripped off. Good luck on finding a buyer. (Legit that is).

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 8:37 PM


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Madeline DeJournett
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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 or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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