Here’s something to try: stay away from your home computer or laptop for twenty-four hours while refraining from checking personal e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, the Internet, and texts on the smart phone for one day.
“Not checking my Facebook or texts for one day? What, are you, (insert expletive) crazy?” you might be thinking with high anxiety.
Attempt it some time. It can be therapeutic, for life exists beyond your hand-held. Should a dire emergency develop where your immediate attention is needed, the individual wanting your direct response most likely has a phone number to reach you. I didn’t include not answering a cell phone in this hypothetical scenario.
What does one encounter—besides delirious tremors with empty feelings of doom and uncertainty—before returning to these modern-day conveniences? Having fasted from said Internet-connected devices recently, I found my e-mail in-box loaded with more than two hundred useless messages beside those I expected or needed, for which took some time sifting through the mess.
Spam, scams, sundry statements from financial institutions, and other online bill-paying paraphernalia awaited disposition, along with forwarded jokes and pictures from friends, announcements from social-networking Web sites, E-Newsletters from my federal and state congressmen and senators, various advertisements from subscribed-to vendors of various articles and services bought in the past; not to mention congenial correspondences from acquaintances: close and otherwise; family hubbub: sometimes tragic, mostly small talk and chit-chat; and solicitations from charities to whom donations had been sent via the Interwebs.
My e-mail client does a good job of presorting spam and whatnot, putting it all in a designated “Junk” folder; but perusal through those sent items before deletion is still necessary, as many important documents and notifications always seem to end up there.
Taking a closer look at the scams this time, I decided to write about the audacity of the scoundrels who sent the outrageous proposals, thinking about who in their right minds would fall for these nefarious capers?
The ones most amusing are the introductory e-mails from some barrister, doctor, or clergyman: a Mr. or Mrs. Whozewhatsits, but never any from just a plain John or Joanna Doe. Titles are always placed before the scammer’s name.
Take, for instance, the following example sent from a Dr. Eric Alcock. All the quoted instances in this particular journal entry are as received:
- I am currently representing some members of British Banking Association (BBA), my associates at the BBA repose confident in me, to find an interested partner from your region, whose information can be used for the claim and transfer of a mis-sold PPI (Payment Protection Insurance).
Note: The above author is a doctor, soliciting for a banking association. Why would a man with his degree be working for a bank? That is, unless he had a PHD in business or jurisprudence, which is highly unlikely, considering the grammatical structure and wordage of his message.
Dr. Alcock goes on to explain his highfalutin scheme with all sorts of esoteric terms followed by their acronyms in parentheses. The bottom line is he’s proposing I be the recipient of a compensation claim with “[sic] over £18Million (Over Eighteen Million British Pounds) with the accumulated interest, for the further transfer to your banking system for a fair share of 20% of the total claim sum, upon receipt.”
Right, and I’ve got six bridges in the Philadelphia area I can sell back to him. Of course, I’ll give him my bank account number, complete with the bank’s routing number for the immediate transaction, only later to find out all my money is gone.
The scamster closed his communication with:
- [sic] I know that there is lot of scams going on the internet and I have been a victim once so please do not contact me if you are not genuine and legit.
Thanks for the reassurance.
- Kindly provide your information’s and a working phone number for us to be able to proceed, reply to my private email: email@example.com.
A Hotmail return address is quite reputable, and his outrageous plan was addressed to “Undisclosed Recipients.” Should I jump on this right away?
Here’s another preposterous premise:
- I am Mr Neil Gordon currently undergoing medical treatment at the Northern Centre For Cancer Care, United Kingdom. My wife died in a car accident over a year ago and we were married without a child. When my late wife was alive, she deposited the sum of $6 Million in a private bank.
This guy is trying to pull on my heart strings. He wrote further:
- I want a God fearing individual to manager this fund and provide [sic] succour to poor in society. Please contact me and let me know if you can be of help.
His signature was “Mr. Neil Gordon,” with a Yahoo return address, another most reputable sign this man is legit.
Another communique allegedly came from Thailand, with the salutation, “Dear Trusted.” Oh, how trustworthy that made me feel. This man wrote:
- My name is Mr. Cristo F. Lead, an Attorney at law and Solicitor to the Supreme Court of Thailand.
He’s not a doctor this time, but, nonetheless a “Mr.” He went on to explain:
- I represent a bank in an investigation involving a customer who came from your country and died in Bangkok after a brief illness. He died intestate and nominated no next of kin to inherit the title over the investments made with the bank.
Isn’t that special? I’m so lucky he is considering me. Incidentally, what the heck is “intestate”? The correspondence ended with:
- It is important to determine his family relations so as to enable me to conclude my investigation and have his account pass on. I want your assistance in this matter. Please let me know if you could be of any help. If you agree I shall send you his details and full name.
Mr. Cristo F. Lead signs off with a Hotmail return address and, of course, had addressed his letter to Undisclosed Recipients. How many poor, unfortunate, unintelligent, and misled suckers fall for such garbage?
Yippee, I’ve got one new E-card. All that’s needed is to click “Here” to retrieve it; and after I had done so, malicious spyware was about to be loaded onto my machine.
Lucky for me, splendid anti-spyware and virus protections are installed in my computer, blocking and notifying me of such a precarious, impending infection. The only time I picked up a diabolical affliction similar to that, nothing could remove the nasty nit short of reformatting my hard drive and installing a fresh copy of the operating system. What a giant pain in the rump that was!
This last one for now is a lollapalooza, with the subject line stating, “Payment Release Order,” and reads:
- This is to bring to your notice that your overdue Inheritance claims has been scheduled to pay you through a certified ATM debit Card which you will be only required to proceed to any ATM Cash Point to withdraw $5,000 per day till your complete payment fund of $1.5 Million USD are completed.
Who died and left me that much cash, coming clear out of the crystal-blue sky from the “UN Representative Zonal Office” and sent again to undisclosed recipients?
The e-mail stipulated I provide my name, address, “confidential” telephone, cell and fax numbers; sex, age and my occupation; requesting I send all that information to where my ATM card awaited delivery to me by UPS Express. The return address was at blumail.org, and not UPS.com, by the way.
All I would have to do after all of this is call a certain telephone number in another country, and make arrangements to send them $95 US for processing.
Oh, boy, I’ve struck the motherload!
My, that’s a cheap amount to spend for receipt of $1.5 million dollars US. I wonder how long I would have to wait after sending them my hard-earned cash, before receiving the debit card? Maybe I’ll call them instead, and have the representative deduct the processing fee from my windfall. What do you think?