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Internet lets unwelcome visitors into my homePosted 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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.